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Partner Communities


The Ifugao indigenous cultural community live in the Central Cordillera in Northern Luzon. They call themselves Ifugao which literally means “inhabitants of the known earth”: a self-ascription intended to distinguish them from the spirits and deities that inhabit the different worlds in the Ifugao cosmology. 



Binakol fabric is woven by the Tinggiuans of Abra and the weavers in Ilocos. The dizzying patterns form optical illusions that are meant to confuse and ward off evil spirits. Traditionally used as ceremonial blankets or as sails on boats, the patterns such as the kusikus (whirlwind), marurup (milky way) and the ti pusa (cat’s paw print) are still among the common designs woven today for contemporary use.



The Kalahan Educational Foundation (KEF) was organized to protect communities in the Kalahan Forest Reserve from land grabbers. It claims community ownership of 15,000 hectares of forest land. The KEF also created a product line of jams and jellies sustainably harvested from local and indigenous plants under the Mountain Fresh brand.

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The Dumagat- Remontado is one of the indigenous community closely associated with other groups collectively referred to as the “Negrito” group. They live freely, peacefully and abundantly in coastal areas, near the rivers, and within forests. They were traditionally semi-nomadic - hunters and gatherers, thrives on fishes, shell fish and crabs Currently, they are living in the uplands in the provinces of Aurora, Bulacan, Laguna, Quezon and Rizal in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.


Mangyans of Mindoro

Mangyan is the collective name for the eight indigenous cultural communities living in Mindoro: Iraya, Alangan, Tadyawan, Tau-buid, Bangon, Buhid, Hanunuo, and Ratagnon. Each Mangyan community has its own culture, language, customs, and way of life. The Mangyans of Southern Mindoro are still using a pre-Spanish syllabic writing system that was in general use all over the Philippines when the Spanish arrived in the 16th century.

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The Pala'wan is one of the three major tribes found in the mainland of Palwan province. It is also one of the indigenous communities of the Philippines. They take pride in having their own language and being the original inhabitants of the island that bears their name. They prefer to live in remote upland areas close to the forest where they can have easy access to the resources they need and life is peaceful.

(From "The Tingkep and Other Crafts of Palawan" by Nola Andaya and Norli Colili)

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The island of Panay has a centuries-old tradition of piña weaving that began during the Spanish colonial period. Kalibo, Aklan, in particular, is known to be the oldest and primary manufacturer of piña, and many Aklanons earn a living from piña weaving.

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The Higaonon are an indigenous cultural community that lives in the mountainous regions of Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Agusan, and Lanao del Norte in North Central Mindanao. The name Higaonon literally means “people of the living mountains,” an apt description for a people whose way of life is centered on managing the forests that serve as their homes. They are a peace-loving people, a quality that is expressed in their traditional fabric, the hinabol.



The T’Boli are an indigenous cultural community who occupy the southern and southwestern mountain ranges of South Cotabato in Mindanao, Philippines. Many of the T’Boli are concentrated in the area around Lake Sebu, a big and beautiful lake high in the mountains that, according to legend, was born from an act of sharing.



The Maguindanao are a Muslim indigenous cultural community that has traditionally lived along the banks of the mighty Rio Grande de Mindanao (Pulangi) River in Central Mindanao. Known as the “people of the flood plains,” their name literally means “to be inundated,” their ancestral land being flooded many times a year by overflowing rivers. For the Maguindanao, weaving is a spiritual exercise and one of the highest forms of artistic expression. The inaul (pronounced “inol”), the Maguindanao traditional fabric, depicts the community’s rich Muslim culture and heritage with its striking colors, intricate brocade patterns, and use of metallic threads.

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