A B O U T
I founded Abek Home and Culture because I wanted to share the interesting stories I had gathered while going around the Philippines. As a photographer, I was amazed at much of the ignorance and lack of appreciation many of us had about our own country. I started with handwoven textiles which I knew had stories attached to its symbols, patterns and designs. The PIS YABIT from Jolo has its own unique story like the INLA DANG in Ifugao. I also imagined these textiles inside a modern Filipino home.
I grew up in Baguio in the north and was familiar with the handwoven clothing used by the various communities in the Cordillera region. This was a major influence on why I chose to start with our local woven fabrics.
Then in 2015, I was introduced to indigo, a plant dye used in natural fabrics. I met Karin, an American textile enthusiast who had bought some of the stuff I was selling in a museum shop. We met before she went back home to the US. She also gave me a DVD on indigo dyeing in India and many parts of the world. I became excited and realized that this was the next chapter of my journey and I embraced it gladly.
I googled if we had local indigo and to my surprise, we had Philippine indigo! I also came across the website of the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), a branch of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). I called them and asked if they gave workshops on natural dyeing. This is where I learned about our local plant dyes. This was my introduction to the science of dyeing textiles.
I have since supplemented my knowledge on natural dyeing with travels to Thailand and Vietnam to learn about their own indigo dyeing. Since 2016, naturally dyed fabrics have become incorporated in the designs of Abek clothing and its home products.
Abek Home and Culture is deeply inspired from within our archipelago—from the backstrap loom of a middle-aged man weaving ikat cloth in an interior barangay in Kiangan, Ifugao to the pandan mats of an award-winning Sama woman weaver in a far-off island in Tawi-tawi or the 90-year old women expertly weaving the binakul in a seaside town in Ilocos.
Abek Home and Culture is on a continuing adventure throughout the Philippines. It's a creative studio that is currently exploring mainly local natural dyes and applying these dyes in natural fabrics. Thank you for visiting.