Additional Product Information
Abaca is a long strand of fiber that is peeled from the core of a species of Banana tree, then woven together to create a fabric with a rich texture that has a depth unlike cotton, wool or synthetic fabrics.
It was commercially known as Manila Hemp back in the day when it was used to make ropes that anchored ships to shore.
But long before Abaca was serving duty as durable rope material it was being woven into traditional fabrics by the T'boli tribe of the southwest coastal mountain range of the Cotabato Cordillera near Davao in the Philippines.
During the Fall of 2011 we were sight seeing in the Philippines when we came across a small weaving center in Davao. Actually we were on our way to a beach resort when we got lost and missed our boat.
So instead of taking it easy, kicking back and lounging in the sun we decided to wander around the local area.
While my partner engaged two locals who were harvesting palm wine from the trees I happened into a little shop selling crafts made by local artisans.
Among the many items in the shop were bags made from an unusual material I was not familiar with.
The material resembled crisp linen but with a depth of texture and a richness of color that was just scrumptious. As it turned out the bags were made locally by a group of folks from the TADECO Livelihood and Training Center.
TLTC has been providing livelihood programs for the youth through the TADECO Youth Development Council (TYDC) and for the families of the banana plantation workers since 1989.
The Center was primarily established by Cristina Floirendo-Brias to encourage its members to engage in more productive activities and to divert the youth from harmful vices particularly drug addiction.
Area residents are trained to manufacture handmade native products such as scrap books, picture frames, lanterns and other natural paper processed from banana, pineapple or abaca fibers.
Raw materials are made into stationery, paper bags, gift-boxes and other environment-friendly novelty items.
Over the years, TLTC has bolstered its manpower strength from only 20 dependents to more than 300 workers including the housing of Lumad weavers (Indigenous people of Southern Philippines).
With the aim of reviving native artistry and of restoring the customs of Mindanao ethnic tribes, they create products made of 100% indigenous materials like abaca and banana fibers and abaca woven cloth which are produced by Tiboli and Mandaya natives.
We are thrilled to be working with our newest partners in the Philippines to bring you innovative designs that are natural and sustainable and of course cruelty free.
PAZ Apparel has been creating conscious sustainable style since 2005.