The choice of an alternative livelihood program was influenced by yet another factor – a love for traditional Filipino crafts. Many of these unique skills and products have been vanishing from the local culture due to lack of support and their inability to compete in an economy with an increasingly global orientation.
The Foundation’s endeavor involves reviving the unique identity of Filipino craft by educating communities about weaving while focusing on the transference of this knowledge amongst generations of women.
The making of very fine and exquisitely designed piña (pineapple fiber) cloth is a dying art and trade that is now practiced only in a few places in the Philippines. The raw material source, the pineapple plant, is abundant and easily propagated. The leaves of this plant are otherwise unused and the extraction of the fiber is simple. However, the skill and technology of the extraction, preparation and weaving process has been increasingly neglected through the years.
In the 18th century, both men and women used the fabric as upper garments that were naturally dyed and/or embroidered. They were also used as kerchiefs, traditional panuelos and alampays (neck shawls). The demand for the fabric was also based on its appropriateness to the tropical climate of the Philippines.
Today the Tepiña fiber as revived a once traditional material into a contemporary textile that holds endless opportunities for exciting applications.