Zamboanga: Yakan people and their weaving

Yakan Weaving Threads and  Patterns

Yakan Weaving Threads and Patterns

When I last visited Zamboanga en route to Tawi-Tawi, I had a chance again to visit the Yakan Village in Upper Calarian, Zamboanga. The village is located just across the popular La Vista del Mar resort which can be reached by a jeep or a tricycle around 30-45 minutes from the city center of Zamboanga. Nothing much has changed since my last visit in 2007. The place still holds various yakan weaving souvenirs which is a famous draw both for local and foreign tourist.

Yakan Weaver

A Yakan Weaver

A Yakan is one of the 13 Moro groups in the Philippines, are originally settling in Basilan until political unrest got hold of the island and they were forced to move to the mainland of Zamboanga. Traditionally, Yakans wear colorful hand woven clothes but nowadays, they wear modern clothing and only wear their weaving garbs on special occasions.

Yakan Elder

An Elder Yakan

Seeing their weaving never fails to mesmerize. With fibers made from used pinapple plants and abacca as basic material, and herbal extracts from leaves, tree barks and roots as dyes, Yakans would weave colorful patterns and intricate designs. Even if there are some similarities on the basic pattern, each one is uniquely made. That’s whay a square foot of weaving could fetch a hefty price of Php 400 to Php 1500 depending on the intricacy.

Yakan Weaving

bunga-sama Python Pattern

Yakan weaving are inspired by patterns, like the Palipattang inspired by the rainbow and a Bunga-sama inspired by the skin patterns of a Python. From here they play around with combination of colors.

Yakan Intricate Pattern

Palipattang Rainbow Pattern

The Yakans and their weaving is another indigenous local treasure and it’s great to see them still thriving even at this time. I have really high regard for their local craft that I bought almost a thousand worth of their products not only for their quality but also to help them out on their living.

12 Responses to “Zamboanga: Yakan people and their weaving”

  1. very impressive craft. we have a number of yakan cloth and we still use it even in our house here. our salas table cloth is a red python yakan cloth. what’s odd though is ive never been there.

    Reply
  2. good thing you wrote about this one amigo. the names for the weaving patterns now escape my memory. when i look at my yakan mats and coasters here at home, i can’t help but think of the yakans and how creative they are in their craft.

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  3. beautiful. the last time i was there was in the late 90s. i also visited the village and have a whole bunch of table runners and place mats in this wonderful weave. some things are truly timeless

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  4. haha! Onga Dom, you’re home is nearby lang. Maybe one of these days.

    Yeah Og. Very creative and persevering. Can’t still imagine how can they keep up creating those patterns on threads not dyed.

    Glad to know you support our local crafts Tin.

    Haha. They’re nice to converse with Oman.

    I agree April. They’re crafts truly are timeless :D

    Reply
  5. Our home is filled with these timeless treasures!!!!!!! and i’m so proud to be able to be part of the tribe… I’m so grateful to grow up in an environment surrounded by people who loved art deeply and an art found at the crossroads between the past and the present, amidst the changing world………….. i would recall, when i was 3 years old, i would see them wearing their costumes during the grand Lami-lamihan Festival, parading on horseback as they pass by our house in Lamitan- the hometown of the Yakans. And from that time on i fell in love with their culture and arts, particularly, weaving, dance and music…..tutored by the most respected elders of the tribe gifted in their traditional arts and crafts…. I just would like to make a correction on the caption written as bunga-sama python pattern, the picture shows a bunga-sama, yes it is, but its name is “dambuwah kabban buddi” or 1 diamond design.” beside it, a stripe cloth, it’s called “birei-birei. the palipattang should be “sinaluan teed” “bamboo design.”
    - Thanks so much for featuring my tribe’s nearly lost art……… The Yakan life and color is very much reflected in their hand loom weaving tradition… This weaving it takes strength to set up the loom, tightening the threads to fitting tension, causing the weaver’s body to ache, but in the end…. This painstakingly done job…. turns the Yakan body into a work of art and beauty………

    Reply
  6. Thank you for featuring the Yakans and their wonderful cloth, commonly known to us as the “Yakan Cloth”. I grew up in Basilan and it makes me nostalgic to see features about my home- Basilan and the Yakans.
    Despite everything that is said of Basilan that made it infamous, we are still proud of the Yakan’s creativity!

    Reply
  7. uhhmm, anong tawag nila sa paghahabi nila? or yung tawag po sa nahabi nilang tela (like sa mga T’boli po na ‘Tinalak’ ) kailangan ko lang po salamat.

    Reply
  8. erianne2

    uhhmm, anong tawag nila sa paghahabi nila? or yung tawag po sa nahabi nilang tela (like sa mga T’boli po na ‘Tinalak’ ) kailangan ko lang po salamat.

    ^^

    Reply
  9. Rolando

    Guys can you give me an idea on how to give respect to a fellow yakans ? Thanks

    Reply

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