DOST breathes life into the ‘dyeing’ culture through training

by Ellon Labana

The Bagobo Tagabawa Tribal Council of Brgy Binugao has recently been the recipient of a significant cultural preservation initiative, organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) XI through the Davao City S&T Office in partnership with the DOST-Philippine Textile Research Institute. The activity focused on Natural Dyeing Extraction and Application, aimed to preserve the tribe’s rich cultural heritage and enhance their traditional skills.

Twenty tribe members participated in the training, where they learned the art of natural dyeing using locally sourced materials such as coconut husk, annatto, mahogany bark, talisay leaves, and turmeric. These natural products have long been integral to the tribe’s dyeing practices, but the tradition has waned in recent years.

Mervin To-ong, a member of the tribe, expressed gratitude and commitment on behalf of the participants. 

“We promise that we will nurture the knowledge and skills we have learned through this training,” he said, highlighting the community’s dedication to reviving this fading cultural practice.

The tradition of natural dyeing holds a deep cultural significance for the Bagobo Tagabawa tribe. However, in recent times, fewer members of the tribe have been practicing this art. The training conducted by DOST XI and PTRI aims to rejuvenate this cultural practice, ensuring its survival for future generations.

By the end of the training, the participants were not only equipped with traditional dyeing techniques but also motivated to continue this practice as a potential source of income. The community hopes that by pursuing natural dyeing, they can create a sustainable economic opportunity while preserving their cultural heritage.

This initiative is part of the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) and Grassroots Innovation for Inclusive Development (GRIND) programs. These programs are designed to empower grassroots communities by providing them with scientific and technological knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to improve their livelihoods and preserve their cultural heritage.

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