FPRDI’s Wency H. Carmelo (left) and Carl Anthony O. Lantican (second from left) along with handicraft weavers from Pililla, Laguna hold bundles of “sabutan” leaves ready for drying inside DOST-FPRDI’s dryer for non-wood forest products.
Turned over to the group “Sabutaneras of Pililla” last December 9, 2016, the dryer is seen as key to reviving the sabutan weaving industry in the town of Pililla.
The dryer’s fabrication was funded by the Department of Trade and Industry- Region IV-A under its Shared Service Facility Project. It is the fourteenth unit of its kind to be installed for DOST-FPRDI clients. “The important thing about the facility,” says Ms. Carmelo, “is that it allows handicraft processors to dry their raw materials even during the rainy season.”
“Sabutan” is a type of pandan plant that grows in only a few places in the Philippines. Its two-meter-long leaves yield very fine but strong fibers that are used to make attractive export quality handicrafts.
Traditionally, sabutan fibers are woven into hats, baskets, handbags, fans, wallets, wall decors, placemats, coasters, slippers and home decors. Many hand-woven bags usually accented with leather, snakeskin, suede and wood find their way in Hollywood boutiques and are hailed by renowned fashion magazines.
Reports Ms. Carmelo, “The Sabutaneras of Pililla – although not yet a formally registered group - are excited to bring back handicraft weaving in their town after it stopped for many years due to lack of raw materials. They now have their own sabutan plantation, and they see the dryer as a big help in reviving what once was a valued source of income for their families.” (Rizalina K. Araral, 29 January 2017)#