TUBIGON WOVEN RAFFIA
We are a women led-social enterprise with a passion to create unique raffia woven fabrics using indigenous materials that would-be CURIOSITY PROVOKING by the use of the century old weaving traditions handed down by a generation of artisans in Bohol.
In doing so, we are OBSERVANT to the needs of our growing market and we always VALUE privacy on the designs by the buyers and we are SUBSTANTIVE and CALCULATED in our production techniques and we do not do short cuts in producing quality products and on -time deliveries.
Our narrative started in 1989 when a group of women folks decided to take charge of their future. While lacking in education, we however are highly skilled loomweavers. Leveraging this traditional and cultural skills to our advantage we organized ourselves into the Tubigon Loomweavers Association. Years passed and we realized we could do better if we are a cooperative, we register ourselves as the Tubigon Loomweavers Multi Purpose Cooperative with the Cooperatives Development Authority.
The last twenty-eight (28) years have seen our group evolve from its humble beginnings to being a preeminent weaving house that is in the radar screen of major local and foreign buyers. Our story is undoubtedly inspiring and the narrative is carried further through the loomwoven fabrics that the weavers produce. The fabrics carry their own brand of handmade uniqueness, quality and culture.
Traditionally, we produce raffia placemats and fabrics in rolls or yardage. While these products have a robust market, prices are however quite low. This is the essence of why our cooperative partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry which opened a wide array of opportunities for us to include, skills and entrepreneurial trainings, marketing support and assistance, financing, production and equipment to name a few.
We use traditional handlooms with bamboo reeds. Basically, this means that the we have a width limitation of 24 inches. The use of bamboo reeds (vis a vis metal reeds) also affected the quality of the weave since the space between dents was inconsistent thus making for a coarser fabric.
The acquisition of wider metal-framed looms to the cooperative (72 inch-width) provided us with the opportunity to do finer weave works. This is a big leap on its product and design direction since it could now produce products that met the requirements of the furniture and furnishings market that it wanted to target. Moreover, the use of metal reeds and a more stable handloom meant better quality.
The new metal reeds also allowed the weavers to use finer raw materials such as polyester thread, abaca and super fine raffia. Mixing or crossing fine raffia with silk, cotton, polyester created a fluent and soft fabric. Meanwhile, mixing and crossing the usual/traditional raffia with indigenous materials to include but not limited to pandan, abaca, cogon grass, and corn husk created a textured, medium strong and semi-lucent appearance.
To date. we have now a total of 56 plant based weavers and 102 community/home-based weavers and ably assisted by 400 raw material suppliers and other support workers doing hand in and in to pursue our passion for excellence to weave the fabric that our buyers need and in doing so weaving also out future.