Clothing rack displaying designs by Filip + Inna
Filip + Inna's garments are made using ancient techniques of weaving, embroidery, and beadwork from different indigenous groups of the Philippines.

5 Things To Do At The Likhang Habi Fair 2023

Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, I thought that clothes made of Filipino textiles were only for special occasions—political events, parties of the rich and famous, and other celebrations that call for a Filipino dress code. In school, we would wear them mostly for “Buwan ng Wika” (National Language Month). During Fil-Am fiestas in the US, I saw them worn in dance numbers or presentations.

Bags and accessories from Filipino brands such as Abrea Linea, Creative Definitions, and Gifts and Graces.

Fast forward to 2023, the Filipino textile is no longer just a costume or an homage, but part of everyday fashion. Whether you’ve been a longtime supporter of Filipino textiles or are just starting to appreciate its merits, there’s an annual event where you can get the best of local handcrafted textiles, weaves, and other products—the Likhang Habi Fair.

The first Likhang Habi Fair was launched 13 years ago, and it temporarily shifted online from 2020-2021 during the pandemic. This year it will be held on October 13-15 at the Glorietta and Palm Drive Activity Center.

Ces Drilon and Kate Alvarez
Catching up with Ces Drilon, who hosted the media launch of Likhang Habi Fair 2023.

It’s organized by Habi: The Philippine Textile Council—a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of indigenous textiles threads, textiles, and fabrics. This year’s theme is “Web of Woven Wonders.”

Their biggest one yet, the 2023 fair will have 71 vendors from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. To help you prep your game plan, here are five things you can do at the Likhang Habi Fair 2023:

1. Shop for Filipino textile fashion.

Browse through clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories made from handcrafted weaves that represent different regional and ethnic groups all over the Philippines.

Display of handwoven bags and purses
Handwoven bags and purses by MCV Designs. Shop their products at the Likhang Habi Fair 2023.
Clothing rack displaying designs by Filip + Inna
Filip+Inna’s garments are made using ancient weaving, embroidery, and beadwork techniques from different indigenous groups of the Philippines.

A note for the uninitiated: If you’re used to cheap and fast fashion, the price tags at Likhang Habi may initially shock you. But the materials are sustainably, locally, and ethically made. Your ₱499 shirt from a fast fashion brand was most likely made in a sweatshop and will last a number of washes, while a ₱10,000 handwoven top from one of the Filipino designers at the fair will last for years, maybe decades. Buying bespoke and few-of-a-kind pieces will also guarantee you a unique lookbook. You can start with something small, like accessories.

2. Shop for locally sourced and ethical furniture.

Looking to spruce up your condo or home? The fair also features locally sourced furniture made of wood and abaca, and home décor items that suit the native, boho, or beach theme.

3. Attend a workshop or watch a demo.

Event highlights include veteran journalist Howie Severino’s live demo on Baybayin (an ancient writing script of the Philippines), piña (pineapple) stripping and knotting with Carlo Eliserio of Raquel’s Piña Cloth Products, and a backstrap weaving workshop by Narda’s Handwoven Arts and Crafts.

Visit Habi: The Philippine Textile Council’s Facebook page for the full list of workshops, demos, and participating brands.

4. Immerse in Filipino heritage and culture.

Check out the art installations by multimedia visual artist and production designer, Paul Jatayna. Watch the live performance of Drum Circle PH. Get your copy of Piña Futures: Weaving Memories and Innovations, the fourth and latest book of Panay native, Dr. Randy M. Madrid.

5. See the winners of the piña weaving and abaca competitions.

The three-day fair is a culmination of two competitions: The 6th Lourdes Montinola Piña Weaving Competition, and the 2nd Eloisa Hizon Gomez Abaca Weaving Competition, both sponsored by Filip+Inna, an artisan clothing shop. The winners will be announced at the fair.

The Likhang Habi Fair 2023 will be held on October 13-15 at the Glorietta and Palm Drive Activity Center.