From Sampaguita-inspired to T’nalak, Miss Philippines Catriona Gray continues to elevate icons of Filipino identity through her wardrobe.
Made by Jearson Demavivas, Catriona Gray wears this T’nalak dress for a short shoot, presumably a profile video for the 2018 Miss Universe.
T’nalak is the traditional tapestry making procedure by the T’bolis from South Cotabato in Mindanao.
It can also refer to the traditional cloth made by a tribe inhabiting ake Sebu, South Cotabato called the T’bolis or the Tboli people.
Made of Abaca fiber, the hand-woven traditional cloth usually comes three primary colors, red, black and the original color of the Abaca leaves.
The color use in the materials are natural dye concocted naturally from bark, roots and leaves of plants traditionally found in Cotabato.
The weavers can’t just create a design of the Tinalak out of thin air. Weavers have to dream of it. This is how the weavers come to be known as the “Dream Weavers“. Perhaps the weaver of this dress dreamt of Catriona winning Miss Universe?
The T’nalak fabric is often considered sacred as it is an important part of the T’boli culture. For the T’boli, the cloth should be present in specific chapters of a person life as in the case of birth, marriage, and death.
The T’boli does not have a formal writing system but the T’nalak more than made up for it as a form of Art and Literature. The T’boli used this a form of expression for their aspirations, beliefs, legends and even their religion.
Tinalak are also prized possession of the T’boli at marriage, even the covering for childbirth for ensuring safe delivery and for trading. Whenever they sell their work, they put a brass ring around it as for the spirits to allow them or to please. They’re not even allowed to cut the Tinalak ’cause of what they believe it would deliver them sickness. 👑