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February 02, 2004

REINERIO A. ALBA

The School for Living Traditions (SLT) in Jolo, Sulu awarded certificates of recognition to 30 student weavers age 14 to 30 years held at the De Masenod Formation Center last January 23.

The women participants were part of the beneficiaries of the project of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) under its Cultural Preservation and Development Program.

The project involves the teaching and training of young apprentices in the weaving of the pis siyabit, the traditional headgear of the Tausug male. The project, divided into three phases, formally started on June 2002 with 23 original women students learning basic weaving.

The awarding of certificates marked the end of the second phase of the project (from August 2003 March 2004) where the women, this time, were taught various designs by the SLT resident master Abal Dinal, a 50 year old Tausug weaver. The designs include bunga kiyabinga’an (house), bunga biyaybay (fish), bunga tiyambantamban(dragonfly), bunga biyanagbanag, bunga ammas, bunga andalahu’, bunga biyuli’kahug, bunga kallung, andbunga kiyaba’kaba’ and will be used to produce the pis siyabit, saputangan (kerchief or veil) and kambut panda(belt).

The training is held at the Jolo SLT, 30 sq.ms. in size, located along the road in barangay Tulay, Jolo, about 2 kms. from the Jolo City Hall and near the Chinese Pier. With four sets of handlooms, classes are held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 am-11 am (morning session) and 1 pm – 5 pm (afternoon sessions). Trainees who study in DECS attend on Fridays while the rest train on weekends.

Project consultant and Head of NCCA Committee on Muslim Cultural Communities Dr. Calbi Asain said that the young women nowadays even come to the center whenever they are free and have come to appreciate Tausug weaving anew. 

Present during the awarding rites were NCCA Commissioner Romeo de la Cruz, and DILG Operations Officer Jamli Juhuri who both underlined  the project’s significance within the Tausug community.

The establishment of SLTs in the country is in response to UNESCO’s call for the preservation of cultural heritage by preserving it in a living form, ensuring its transmission to the next generations. An SLT is one where a living master/culture bearer or culture specialist teaches skills and techniques of doing a traditional art or craft. The mode of teaching is usually non-formal, oral and with practical demonstrations. The site maybe the house of the living master, a community social hall, or a center constructed for the purpose.