Evelynda Otong Hamja
Nanay Evelynda is a fourth generation Yakan weaver currently residing at the Yakan Village in Zamboanga City. She was born and raised in Lamitan, Basilan where most of the Yakan community came from. In the 70's the military forced them out of Basilan and brought them to move to Zamoboanga where many settled in what is now called the Yakan Village.
Nanay Evelynda describes their lifestyle as Yakan people very simple. Her father was a farmer cultivating vegetables and root crops while her mother stayed home to weave. She picked up the weaving skill at the age of 7 where she first made a coaster until such time that she was able to make table runners and larger scale fabrics.
Nanay Evelynda work with a community of weavers, mostly her cousins called the Tuwas Yakan Weavers of Basilan. They use backstrap loom which consists of different sticks and tangles of thread. Originally, they used to weave pineapple, abaca and banana threads harvested to produce threads from plant fibers. Over the centuries, the scarcity of these natural threads forced these weavers to use polyester cotton threads and it takes about four to seven days to produce one meter or a little over 3 feet of fabric.
Nanay Evelynda is being realistic about how she is not very interested in commercializing her products. She believes in the integrity of her work. However, it is part of her mission to keep the weaving tradition alive by influencing her community to keep weaving for other communities who are able to appreciate their artisan crafts.
Manang Ophel Addom
Manang Ophel Addom is Jenny Bawer-Young’s sister. Manang Ophel started weaving at 5 and started baking delicious Kalinga delicacies at 10. She’s one of the daughters of Master Artist Cirilio “Sapi” Bawer who was a retired Kalinga teacher from Mabilong. Being known as the headhunters, the Bawer family wanted to change the conversation through “no longer using the axe” of their ancestors as weapons. Instead, they use music, dance and weaving culture against conforming dictatorship of globalization.
Ophelia works for an LGU in lubuagan. She has 3 kids and married to Kuya John Addom.
Babu Normina Abas was born and raised in Katidtuan, Sultan Kudarat. She starte weaving at the age of 8 and was solely inspired both by her Grandmother and Mother who are both weavers.
All her life, she has been inspired as it has been an ongoing influence within her family. She's hoping to keep this living tradition going and pass it on to the next generation.
Babu Monawara Basilan is 62 but still vibrant and enthusiastic to make your favorite inaul clothing!
She was born and raised in Datu Piang and started sewing at the age of 14. She's been inspired to make clothes and has been a known fashion enthusiast in Datu Piang. It was hard for her to afford clothes so she was even more motivated to make her own.
Now she's been making most of the inaul clothing seen at Daily Malong and excited to showcase her indigenous culture through her practice.