Preserving Tradition: The Legacy of Lovelove Monon and Trinidad Bugoy in Indigenous Weaving

December 28, 2023 Travel

In the past, the weaving industry thrived with numerous matriarchs, each contributing diverse styles. However, shifting interests and changing life priorities initiated a slow decline. The younger generation embraced modern urban lifestyles, resulting in a diminishing interest in learning the traditional art of their weaving industry.

Yet, in the heart of Davao del Sur, resilient communities persist, echoing with the rhythmic sound of looms and skilled hands dedicated to preserving the time-honored craft of indigenous weaving.

At the forefront of this cultural endeavor are two remarkable weavers, Lovelove Monon and Trinidad Bugoy, each carrying a unique story of dedication to their craft.

LoveLove Monon: A Weaver from the Next Generation

LoveLove with her son

One of the highest recognitions for traditional craftsmen and women in the Philippines is the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) award. This prestigious honor requires recipients to pass down their talent for creating and preserving a traditional craft to a member of their family or community.

Salinta Monon, a Bagobo-Tagabawa master weaver, received the GAMABA award in 1998. She dedicated her life to weaving and successfully transmitted her skills to the next generation. 

Bust of Salinta Monon with her last weave

Despite her passing in 2009, her legacy thrives through her grandchild, Lovelove Monon, who continues to uphold and preserve the family's weaving tradition.

Lovelove stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of indigenous weaving, diligently preserving her family's weaving tradition.

Together with other women weavers like Estela Barra, Salinta's first student, Lovelove graciously received our group, part of the Davao del Sur Tourism Development and Promotions Office and Tourism Promotions Board’s Domestic Tourism Invitational Program. They demonstrated the intricate process of crafting the Bagobo-Ikat textile known as "Inab'l." Additionally, they showcased the proper method of donning the traditional headwear called "Tangkulo."

Trinidad Bugoy: A Master Artisan at 74

Trinidad Bugoy

Trinidad Bugoy is a skilled artisan at the age of 74, whose hands work magic, transforming romblon plants into exquisite bags, mats, and wallets. Her most intricate creation, a Filipiniana gown, showcases the depth of her artistry.

Trinidad's weaving journey started at the tender age of 10 under the guidance of her grandmother, laying the foundation for a lifelong commitment to her craft.

While Trinidad's hands weave tales of tradition and craftsmanship, certain aspects of the mat-making process involve assistance from her family members. They contribute to tasks such as picking Romblon plants, drying, and applying dyes.

Drying the dyed romblon leaves

Despite the collaborative effort, Trinidad faces the challenge of finding a successor to carry on this rich legacy. Unlike Lovelove Monon, Trinidad Bugoy stands as a solitary figure in her family, underscoring the importance of supporting and nurturing the next generation of weavers.

However, she generously shares her skills with other members of her indigenous group called Kalagan, fostering a sense of community and collaboration.

My Gratitude

In the tapestry of indigenous weaving, Lovelove Monon and Trinidad Bugoy represent the threads that connect the past, present, and future. Their stories echo the resilience of traditional craftsmanship and the need for continued efforts to ensure the survival of these cultural treasures.

Thank you very much to the Davao del Sur Tourism Development and Promotions Office and Tourism Promotions Board for organizing rare and treasured opportunities to immerse in the rich tapestry of indigenous craftsmanship.

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