DoST Cites Fine Fabric by Women Weavers of Baras - MB

A group of women weavers in the town of Baras, Catanduanes, has been reaping praise for their high-value fabrics from abaca that have ended up as suits and accessories of foreign dignitaries and other VIPs in high offices.

The women weavers of Baras, who form the Apanti Development Company, are recognized as one of the shining examples of a small-scale business making it big through the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DoST’s) SET-UP program.

Just recently, DoST Secretary Estrella Alabastro headed a team to visit Apanti and its famed “abaca-pinukpok” product made through the traditional manual style of weaving fabric through the use of handlooms.

The handlooms are made up of wood pieces that keep the warp (vertical) threads tight and straight so that the horizontal threads can pass through easier.

Apanti began as a DoST-assisted small-scale business known as the Tupa ng Baras Multi-Purpose Coop., Inc. in 1994.

Virgilio Apanti, the man behind the company, came up with tapping women weavers to form his livelihood group who are also members a born-again Christian charismatic group in Baras.

The group started receiving assistance from the DoST in October of 1996, when a basic training on weaving patterns for abaca-pinukpok was conducted by the Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) in San Lorenzo, Baras, with Engr. Rogelio Valenteros of the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) as trainer.

In 1998, the company acquired 5-units jack-type handloom with the help of the DoST. The following year, the PTRI conducted training on scouring, bleaching, dyeing, and advanced weaving.

Several years after, the firm sought again the assistance of the PSTC Catanduanes through the training on natural dye extraction and application on abaca textile.

The weavers and sorters of the company comprise of the families living in Baras. The workforce includes college students who want to work part-time during their breaks or after school.

To date, the Apanti operates about 40 units of handlooms for its abaca fabric production. The firm is the sole provider of the abaca fabrics to designer Dita Sandico Ong’s store.

The company is looking for more livelihood activities that can help improve the community.

Alabastro, however, said that the firm must penetrate the market first and search for more clients before engaging into other business ventures to avoid any crises.

May 27, 2010, 4:32pm