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Piña or PINEAPPLE fiber preparation is laborious and painful. It takes 2 months of solid work for one artisan to produce 10 metres of cloth. First, the short leaves are snapped and the thorny edges are pulled off. The leaves are scraped with a broken china plate (broken antique pieces are said to work best) and pummeled by hand to reveal the first set of fibers or bastos. The leaves are scraped again, this time with coconut shell to extract the finer linawan fibres. When about 1,000 leaves have been stripped, the bundles are washed, partially sun-dried on the grass, wrung and gently beaten for a few minutes with a bamboo stick to separate the fibres. They are then line-dried, combed with an ordinary hair-comb and tied upside-down to a slim bamboo pole for knotting. Good eyesight is required here to tie the fine fibres together. The ends are cut off with a sharp piece of bamboo and the thread coiled in a clay pot containing sand to prevent tangles. Weaving is done often at home.

All weavers everywhere in the world are patient, but piña weavers must be almost saintly. The process is so tedious and they must constantly knot the broken threads. And their hands bear multiple scars from cuts they get from the sharp fibers. It is said that religious icons are fixed to many looms so maybe prayer is part of the art…

this fabric is from piña capital of the world, Aklan, Panay Island, ONLY in the Philippines.

(photo of one of my collection of ethnic fabrics in Cebu)

more pics and journeys in
Date: 2005-09-01 10:51:44

pina pineapple fiber embroidery needlework Philippine pride Filipino cloth fabric tradition Cebu Philippines Cebu-Sugbo

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Addie, it's textured natural lace really, perfect for the hot humid tropics. It is used often for the Filipino men's national costume, the barong tagalog (long sleeved shirt) or for traditional women's shirt called kimona. However, it is expensive for most Filipinos, about $60-90/meter, depending on the embroidery.
Farl 2005-09-01 11:24:44
Looks very similar to linen just thinner and much more delicate. It's the kind of cloth that I would like to wear all the time.
soniaesse 2005-09-01 12:28:09
Addie and Sonia:
The Filipino natives already practice loomweaving for centuries so when the Spaniards brought pineapple (from Brazil), the people soon discovered they could weave leaf fibers from the new fruit like they do with the native banana or abaca. In a fortunate twist, the Spaniards curiously forbade natives from wearing imported cloth so handweaving prospered. So yes, in the past, it is worn ALL THE TIME. Like any traditional industy however, modernity drove the industy almost to extinction until it was revived in the late 80s thanks to promoters of traditional Filipino culture.

On my part, I buy piña items, however small, on occasions as gifts to friends to keep the tradition strong.
Farl 2005-09-01 12:43:14
Your photostream is a host for wondeful pictures and a gold mine of cultural knowledge. Keep it up, Farl. You are doing a great job.=)
bingbing 2005-09-01 14:22:11
salamat bingbing, sama nating ipagtaguyod ang bandilang Pilipino (tama ba ang grammar? he he he)
Farl 2005-09-01 14:44:33
You mean, "sama-sama nating itaguyod ang bandilang Pilipino?" =D
bingbing 2005-09-01 15:19:43
I knew I got my Tagalog wrong! My tongue is so twisted already. Shame on me.

Thanks a lot.
Farl 2005-09-01 15:42:47
I love your photostream Farl, for exactly the same reasons mentioned by bingbing.

A great source of location pics (better than a travel agents) and the cultural info is brilliant :)
.Oss. 2005-09-01 16:57:24
very impressive!
baby7 2005-09-01 17:00:46
So where are you keeping your fabric collections? Preserve them well and do not expose them to too much sun as it breaks up the material readily!
Lall 2005-09-01 17:08:53
baby7, thanks!

Jim, the more I get to travel, the more I get to appreciate my own country so I do my best to keep the "Philippine flag flying" (that's what bingbing and I were discussing grammatically).

Lall, I have a display cabinet of all the ethnic fabrics I have: cool, dry and safe!
Farl 2005-09-01 21:14:47
Wow!! How beautiful and intricate! I didn't know we can make such beautiful things with pineapple leaves! So much painstaking work to make one too! Knowing how it's made now, if I had one I'd probably keep it framed and hung on the wall to be gazed at but not touched! :O)

Btw, thanks for your comments Farl! I hope not ... about being on the DHS's watch list! :O)
trite support 2005-09-01 21:40:21
I know h2okatcher, the DHS can be a pain sometimes.

And yep, some people do frame fabrics and piña will be perfect, especially those with calado (lace tracery) gossamer-like embroidery. But because piña is real cellulose fiber, it is strong and durable.

On the other hand, the thread is so fine that its weaving cannot be mechanized. All piña is still done by HAND even up to now.
Farl 2005-09-01 22:16:39
thank you for introducing textes - we learn with you mate
ginormous weight 2005-09-01 23:02:36
wow! One of a kind kung may piña ka, kasi walang kaparehang design.
Odz 2005-09-01 23:36:30
I used to own something made of Pina but your muted textures and light here make it look so much more delicate.
averages 2005-09-01 23:59:12
I meant to also say that I really like the textures in this picture...!
.Oss. 2005-09-02 00:06:44
hey guys, thanks for the generous words. I'm glad that one photo was able to generate interest and appreciation to the weavers who spend a week just to finish 1 meter of cloth. our hats off to them!
Farl 2005-09-02 08:19:51
Hi Farl...really admired your wonderful photostream! You take your time explaining the contents of all your beautiful shots! Have a fabulous weekends! :)
Merly *Sunflower* Busy *on and off* 2005-09-04 05:18:56
beautiful fabric but verty expensive!
Robyn's Nest 2005-09-04 14:06:04
thanks Merly. weekend was restful.

Christy, talaga! I only have 1 piece which I'm planning for a barong. Unfortunately, the finest barong tagalog can only be of this fabric so for a Filipino male, I have invest in at least one.
Farl 2005-09-05 10:48:18
I have a barang tagalog made of this fabric. I use it on some formal occasions as an alternative to my tuxedo. My only problem is getting it cleaned. I don't trust any of the laundries here in Chicago, so I have to take it to the Philippines for cleaning.
Atelier Teee 2005-09-09 08:48:20
Terence, natural fiber is a pain.

1. Drycleaning works. We do this a lot.

2. Plan B: NEVER spin barong in a washer/dryer because the fabric will be destroyed. For washing, you can try immersing it in special detergent (those with enzymes) for about 60min+ with little or no hand movement involved.

Drying will be the easy part. It air-dries easily when placed in a hanger in open well-ventilated space.

Storing soiled barong will just promote bacterial degradation (for pina, cotton, or others) so it must be washed.
Farl 2005-09-09 14:58:09
There's actually an exhibit going on now at the Retiro Park in Madrid on piña fiber and cloth. haven't been yet, but plan to.
sagarmin 2005-09-23 00:59:35
Joey, that's cool. I bet, the ones on sale will be soo expensive already. do check out the exhibit!
Farl 2005-09-23 05:50:43
Amazing pictures (and information!) I've been studying piña and its history for a bit now and used it for my Fibers thesis show when I graduated. Seeing it in your photo stream made me very happy! That's quite a beautiful detail. I'm about to spend 9 months in the Philippines learning as much as I could about the cloth. Any suggestions on some places to go?
theacanlas 2006-10-10 01:23:55
pina is still woven in Aklan and Taal. Maybe even Batangas. Try looking this up in the internet but as for now, these areas are the sources of the pineapple fabrics.
Farl 2006-10-10 15:30:19
Never heard of this before ! So many beautiful things are going on in this world and one never hear about it. Nice of you to bring it here. Thumbs up for the way you present your picures, I really appreciate.
Elishams 2007-03-26 19:14:39
thanks, you are so kind.
Farl 2007-03-26 20:56:01
Hi, I'm an admin for a group called PINOY ARTISTRY, and we'd love to have your photo added to the group.
Elmer I. Nocheseda ng Pateros 2007-12-07 16:25:09
Awesome ART!

Invites and welcome you on
swift price 2008-01-16 16:44:43
Farl 2008-04-29 03:52:08
I, who can't sew on a button, appreciates the craftsmanship needed to make this. The photo is marvelous in that we really feel the texture and the two colors work so perfectly together.
mags_Tag 2009-11-08 13:19:53
so bietefol
akonalanang 2012-07-24 19:29:01

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