Thursday, March 12, 2015

Inabel Malong

(product promotion)
for home use during cold nights
Malong is a traditional Malay wear piece common in Mindanao (Philippines), Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia.
It’s commonly used as traditional garment (skirt for some), an add-on piece for fashion, or extra layer for warmth. 

Travelers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts acquired the taste and have used malongs for a variety of needs – as sleeping sack, warmer-layer for cold bus/train/boat rides, ‘bihisan’ (cover when changing clothes when privacy is desired), sleeping ‘mat’ or pillow, balabal (shawl), picnic mat – among other things.
I’ve used and kept many malongs in the past, mostly bought in Davao and Cotabato, and  used them as extra layer for warmth, and as a sleeping sack.
Now, Inabel.  I mentioned this traditional weave in this post here.  
Inabel or Abel-Iloko is a centuries-old hand-weaving craft in Ilocos, La Union and other nearby provinces.  Lovely pieces of intricate designs can be found from various towns.  Nowadays, a collectible design, king-sized  (blanket) piece can be valued from 10,000 to more than 50,000php (over 1000usd).  

It used to be the primary fabric of choice which for a time competed and even threatened the success of Spanish textile industry during their colonial era.  

The era of machinery and cheap imports (esp. from China) heavily threatened Philippines' hand- weaving tradition...  And the once-rich source of livelihood for our northern townsfolk.
There were significant efforts that were made to revive and grow our local weaving craft and I believe we’re making good progress.  For anyone, simply acquiring local products already do more for the industry, for the artisans, and for preserving this special craft that is both cultural and historical.

Inabel Malong – is a fusion of a southern wear design but using northern weave.  It’s longer and thicker (warmer) vs. typical short malongs; and is predominantly intended as a sleeping sack, or warm layer when riding airplane, bus, boat or even when at home.
2 common patterns available so far: face-to-face (2 left) and trambia (2 right).
Some good points:
-        Warm enough for low-altitude tropical climbs.  Who needs an extra sleeping bag!
-        It’s more skin friendly (i.e. cotton blend) vs. 100% polyester pieces like sleeping bag or poly-fleece blankets/ sacks.
-        It’s compact and light and fits to most travel packs.  Easily accessed as warmer-layer.
-        It’s cheaper!  It’s locally made.
-        It’s more planet-friendly.  Locally sourced and hand-made (no electricity), and natural material (cotton) is mostly used.
-        It’s a collectible work of art.  The design is hand-woven and not machine-printed. 
-        “Patriotic’ as we support local artisans, help grow local industry, and help revive our weaving tradition. 
-        Fashion!  Different colors to choose from suiting one’s sensitive taste. 
So the next time you shop (for malong, sleeping sack/ light sleeping bag, warm layer) – think local, hand-woven, cost-friendly, planet-friendly, art-fashion… 
Think  Inabel Malong

Now available at Lagalag Store (SM North, Quezon City). 
so many colors to choose from

Trambia-designed 'adult'/long malongs measures 5.5ft in length and 5ft2-4in in circumference. Kids/small sizes (4ft) and 2-color medium (5ft) are also available.

added July.27.15 - seamless tri-color malongs (5.5ft)

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