P2M for research and development of tnalak, tabih raw materials

Koronadal City—Local agriculture officials here prepare P2M to save abaca plants and other indigenous plants like  knalum, apatot and atsuete as natural dye plants in making tnalak and tabih, the indigenous textiles made by the Tboli and Blaan in South Cotabato as its demand calls for an action after weavers claimed that the raw materials are now difficult to source out.

Though, tnalak weavers in the towns of Lake Sebu and Tboli use commercial dyes, tabih weavers in Sitio Amgu-o, Barangay Landan, are still in love  in the exquisiteness of the plants around them which are vital ingredients in dyeing abaca threads.

Rommel Eladia, Supervising Agriculturist for Field Operations Division, said his office recognizes the rampant disease spreading among the abaca plantation in the province.

“Our abaca farmers are still using traditional process in planting and stripping off abaca fiber,” Eladia said in an interview earlier. Few years back, the Office of the Provincial Agriculture handed down abaca stripping machines and abaca planting materials in Lake Sebu and Tboli.

At least 20 hectares are planted with abaca in the province, only a small portion compared to Catanduanes, where most of the abaca areas in Bicol are heavily concentrated.

“Our goal here is to produce sufficient quality abaca fiber to supply the needs of our weavers and the country’s demand while we aim to expand and rehabilitate the abaca areas in the province,” Eladia stresses out.

Polomolok, however, is unsuitable in planting abaca plants, he confirms.

Meanwhile, Eladia expresses concern over natural dye plants in Barangay Landan. He plans to visit Sitio Amgu-o to conduct situational analysis.

His office is reviving indigenous agricultural plants  to cope with the goal  to preserve these native varieties and continue the weaving tradition, he said.

“Where does tnalak or tabih come from? It comes from us, in South Cotabato!”

Eladia is inspired by the weaving tradition of Blaan and Tboli that he is eager to calendar his visit to Polomolok the soonest possible time.