Beautiful and Seamless Story of Moving Forward
I’ve been to Marawi City after the historical siege confrontation between the government forces and pro-ISIS militants. The Islamic City of Marawi is a 4th class city and capital of the province of Lanao del Sur, in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). In 2018, several months after the Government has fully taken over the City, we went to Marawi to provide support to the people as part of the education sector.
We visited some of the communities and their devastated, abandoned Capital. I was horrified seeing the ruins and the thoughts that there were people who were buried alive in some of the buildings during the five (5) month war. The damages in Marawi is reported to reach PhP17 billion.
This story is not just about that. It’s about the people who were never beaten by the siege and who continued to stay alive and move forward. My friend, Rasmila M. Cosain and her cousin, an obstetrician gynecologist, both of them are Maranaos, take pride of their arts and crafts, especially of their woven textiles which have helped them recover from the devastation.
Among their specialties is the Langkit, which is a M’ranao word meaning a strip of multi-colored fabric, woven or embroidered to decorate or enhance the design or style of the malong, a multi-purpose long, skirt -like or barrel-form Maranao garment with open ends, both the top and the bottom. Used as a verb, Langkit means to embroider or to decorate with lace. (Lexicon of Classical Literary Maranao Words and Phrases compiled by Macaraya and Macaraya, 1993)
During this pandemic, they also made face masks made from their Balud cloth. Balud means wave, referring to the waving patterns on the weave. The patterns on the fabric are usually creatures from the sea like turtles. Balud are hand -woven using the back strap loom and the intricate patterns are hand-dyed using individual threads and silk rope. (www.pinterest.com)
Aside from Balud cloth, they have a number of designs for malong. Malong is a traditional Filipino rectangular or tube-like wraparound skirt. They have Malong-Landap and Katerina with Langkit designs.
I always feel glad and inspired by people who never surrender despite their difficult and challenging circumstances. As to the Maranaos, they found great refuge in their weaving skills and creativity. The Langkit, Balud cloths and others are Filipino products which are of best quality and something we’ll always be proud of.