T'nalak has become the best-known product of the province of South Cotabato. Due to its rarity and exotic design, the product has already reached the international fashion landscape. The province's yearly festival commemorating its foundation anniversary is known as the T'nalak Festival in honor of this cloth.
Making the t'nalak
T'nalak is made from abaca and dyed with natural vegetable dyes in red and black. The red is said to represent bravery, commitment and love, while the black stands for struggles, hardships and perseverance. The geometric patterns vary from piece to piece, with no two pieces of t'nalak being exactly alike.
According to the T'boli, a t'nalak should never be cut or washed since it is considered sacred. They believe that the art of weaving was taught to their ancestors in a dream by the goddess Fu Dalu. Many of the designs are influenced by T'boli religion and have taboos associated with them. For instance, when weaving certain designs, the weavers are not supposed to sleep with their husbands until they have finished the cloth.
- Wow Philippines (accessed on February 13, 2008).