Palawan is a host to craft communities that use pandan and other plant fibre resources in their surroundings.  ©

Anna Sarmenta

Project title: Assessment of Palawan-sourced non-timber forest fibres for contemporary handweaving application 
Focal landscape: Palawan-sourced non-Timber Forest Fibers
Recipient: Rurungan sa Tubod Foundation (In-charge: Anna Sarmenta)

The  Rurungan sa Tubod Foundation (RSTF) is a non-profit organisation situated in the Philippine island of Palawan, which is located near the country's southern tip. The Foundation teaches piña weaving technology to women in the most impoverished rural areas of Palawan, providing them with an alternative source of income. The Foundation also offers the necessary physical and financial resources for these women to participate in this long-term art form. This quest continues to yield improvements based on the island of Palawan's unique looms and weaving procedures.  

Anna Sarmenta is a Program Development Associate and has been with Rurungan Sa Tubod Foundation for two years and aims to make Palawan-made handwoven products accessible to more people. Their scope of work includes (but is not limited to) conducting research on market trends and maintaining communication lines between the foundation, our weaving community, and clients/collaborators.


About the project

The intention of this project is to establish a regenerative approach to craft development and material preservation, namely of (but not limited to) Abaca, Buri, Nito, Pandan and Rattan. In this study, the researchers will be identifying and exploring other available NTFP in its scope of location. Through this study we aim to find key points, in the form of the materials index and process log, to create specific programs for design, skills enhancement, plant preservation and community-based sustainable fibre production. By using the information gathered on these non-timber forest products (NTFP) in responsible design, we can solidify their importance and establish a holistic approach to its use in the production of market ready contemporary products.

The researchers intend to carry out a collaborative process between the Rurungan Sa Tubod Foundation (RSTF), local partner communities, relevant national institutions, and our UK counterpart. The research will focus on conducting data collection, assessing information, scoping partnership opportunities and synthesizing results for recommendation in the next phase of the program.

At the end of this study they aim to produce a materials index, process log, and community profile. This will be presented in booklet form for archival purposes as well as provide practical reference for future studies that involve non-timber forest products (NTFP) in Palawan.

Through this we hope to eventually develop a holistic program that is adapted from the knowledge and materials available to the community. Further, the intention is to make sure that is done in combination with possible regenerative processing interventions from our national and international consultations for the regeneration of the communities’ resources and livelihood. We hope that by conducting the study and creating updated reference materials, we can eventually proceed to designing and prototyping market-ready products created with the knowledge gained from the scoping study. With this, not only will the communities we work with gain access to a network of collaborators, but also be able to use the shared knowledge (such as in market demand, quality expectations, etc.) to improve products made.