BULUAN, Maguindanao—Maguindanao aims to become synonymous to its colorful Inaul fabric, woven on a primitive bamboo loom but is worn unisex on significant modern-day occasions.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said the phenomenal world market that the Malay Batik has reached also started small in Indonesia’s Java province.
“That [Batik phenomenon] is my ultimate dream for the Inaul fabric,” said Mangudadatu.
Mangudadatu opened the Maguindanao Inaul Festival on Feb. 8 in this town, and the feast will run up to Valentine’s Day.
He said the theme for the Second Inaul Festival this year is “Fabric of Peace: Weaving Diversity; Connecting Boundaries.”
The governor also assured officials and celebrities who graced the occasion that in Maguindanao, a predominant Muslim province, people do not discriminate against each other.
He added that the offices of the provincial government are a friendly convergence where peacefully coexist employees among Maguindanaon Muslims, Visayan, Tagalog and Ilocano Christians residents, as well as lumads or members of the Minority Tribes.
Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Eden David said Maguindanao should really strive to become synonymous to such an important product as Inaul and be ready to face high demands and the ever-growing challenges of product marketing.
David said one such challenge is the demand for a massive production to satisfy market supply.
Because of this, Mangudadatu said the provincial government, through its Local Tourism Council, had to directly support the Inaul production which also meant sustaining the old tradition and art of weaving the Inaul.
The PLGU also provides for a continuing program on technology-transfer to effectively handover the centuries-old art of loom weaving to young generation of mostly female members of families displaced by armed conflict in the past.
Weavers at the Go Negosyo Center here said they are being paid for every Inaul fabric woven and are stay-in workers with free board and lodging provided for by the provincial government.
Mangudadatu said true to its present theme, the Inaul Festival offers a “healing venue even for political rift generated by past elections,” noting that even his former political foes in the last two elections—the Midtimbangs and the Masturas—have graced the occasion.
Trade and Industry Regional Secretary Anwar Malang of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said the Inaul fabric fairly represents the Maguindanaon culture and tradition and the language of their quest for peace.
“I’ve been looking for something that can unify our people; and now found out that the Inaul can represent our people, our culture in our quest for peace, as everyone knows what Inaul is,” Malang sad.
Malang added: “It’s now the era of a new revolution; the economic revolution; the revolt against poverty. Some credits facilities are in place for those who are ready to start their small businesses.”
Mangudadatu said it is “not impossible to become successful in business as there is now the so-called online shopping; you can sell your products online,” noting that even the rich and famous of the generation started in humble beginnings.
The governor said as the business-minded young man in his student years, he bought live chickens from peddling whole sellers and sold them the same day with a minimal profit margin to the town’s restaurateurs.
“Where did Henry Sy and Lucio Tan and, in fact, many of the rich and famous start? Of course, they started small,” the governor said.
He added: “It is really not that impossible for Muslims to succeed in business, because the last prophet, the Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, was a businessman.”