COTABATO CITY—The Bangsamoro Government and Cotabato City Government had a successful Fashion Show which featured the creations of local designers using the Bangsamoro Fabric—Inawl, Saturday night, Dec. 17, at the Cotabato State University (CotSu) Gymnasium in this city.
With the theme “Weaving the beautiful pattern of peace and prosperity for our people”, the show aimed to exhibit the Bangsamoro culture, vibrant weaving tradition, and the history of a great civilization amidst cultural imperialism that stands with pride and dignity.
Cotabato City Tourism Council Chairperson Bai Sandra Sema emphasized that Inawl—the Maguindanaon woven fabric—is a heritage that should be preserved and deserves to be recognized nationally.
“I, together with you, would like to push Inawl to become a national fabric. If we are to talk about unity, if we are to talk about solidarity, the Philippines must recognize Inawl as the national fabric,” Sema stressed.
Inawl is a Maguindanaon term that means “woven”. Accordingly, its design is centuries-old which symbolizes strength as it is made to last.
In the past, Inawl in Muslim Mindanao was a status symbol worn with pride and respect. Given as a gift, it is meant to last for a lifetime and is said to bring prosperity to the receiver.
Traditionally, it is being used as a “malong” but it is also considered as a “Bara-Bangsa”, a term that describes royalty, dignity, and nobility.
Through time, the Inawl fabric is now being made into dazzling modern outfits such as gowns, long and short-sleeved shirts for men, trousers, sportswear, and accessories, among many others.
In her message read by Department of Tourism (DOT) Undersecretary for Mindanao Myra Paz Abubakar, Secretary Maria Esperanza Cristina Garcia-Frasco pledged to develop Mindanao as a premier destination with the wealth of its natural resources as well as its potential to be a key economic driver for inclusive growth.
“We hope and are committed to raising greater awareness for Mindanao. We start in today’s celebration, commemorating the Shariff Kabunsuan heritage as the perfect opportunity to diversify our tourism offerings and focus on delivering on a promise of a complete travel experience that is richer, deeper, more authentic, more competitive, and ultimately, more inclusively-Filipino,” Frasco said.
Weave of Peace
Ministry of Trade, Investments and Tourism (MTIT) Director-General Rosslaini Alonto-Sinarimbo mentioned that the celebration of the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival with this Inawl Fashion Show is considered a “Weave of Peace”.
“We have been at war for many years and the gains of peace and development in our region which we have now should be sustained by weaving it into our hearts and minds,” Sinarimbo shared.
Senior Minister Abduraof Macacua believes that the fabric is a heritage that can compete globally.
“We need to support this Inawl because this is the only legitimate property of the Bangsamoro that we need to introduce—the culture of Bangsamoro—not only in the Philippines but to the world,” Macacua said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Mohammad Ali Matabalao stressed, “we will continue to promote this Inawl not only during this time of Shariff Kabunsuan Festival but the whole year round to showcase the industry to thrive Inawl in Cotabato City and Maguindanao as a whole.”
The event was participated by eight (8 local designers such as Wilfred Yee, Melissa Ajaddi Chin, Akmad Kari, Jr., Israel Ellah Ungkakay, Cely Nicolas, Marc German, Joy Puro Abayon, and Pepe Quitco. (Kasan Usop, Jr./BIO)