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T’nalak Festival inaugural celebration was held in 1999 which was also preceded in 1998 by former president Fidel Valdez Ramos, declaring the late Bey Lang Dulay of Lake Sebu, as a GawadManlilikhang Bayan (GAMABA)/National Living Treasure in T’nalak weaving. The renowned T’nalak weaving with its geometric patterns is a traditional masterpiece of intensely colored abaca fibers dreamt to life by T’boli weavers that has come to be known as the ultimate cultural emblem of the province of South Cotabato.
The T’nalak is an intricately woven tapestry of intense and striking colors. The hues of intertwined abaca fabric depict the vivid spirit of the people whom this unique and artistic weaving has invariable come to represent. This symbol of woven dreams is a fundamental part of South Cotabato’s culture, a culture steeped in mystique. The T’nalak Festival is an annual celebration that commemorates the Foundation Anniversary of the dynamic province of South Cotabato amidst the dual presence of tradition and progress. Much like the choreographed contrast of this unique tapestry, the T’nalak Festival, is a mix of varied events that likewise characterize the South Cotabato people and their vibrant spirit, a people who distinct culture and multi-ethnicity contribute to the image of this emerging province – a province that is steadfast in weaving its wealth towards advancement, and a province undoubtedly beyond compare. From various sports events, colorful street dancing, pulsating street parties and innovative trade expos, the T’nalak Festival has it all!
T’nalak Festival is an unforgettable experience that has become the biggest, brightest and most colorful celebration held in the province of South Cotabato and has continuously been gaining grounds from the momentum and interest brought about by the mystic tapestry it has come to represent. Through the years there has been a continuing increase in the number of visitors from out of town who come to revel in the T’nalak Festival’s sensory overload, often leaving with a promise to return the next time with a bevy of friends in tow. Each passing year has seen the festival heightening its level of celebration with even more events, vibrancy and flair to welcome its guests and tourists. This year’s T’nalak Festival to be held from July 10-18, 2016 is definitely going to be no exception.
One of the eminent products that the province of South Cotabato has become celebrated for is the T’nalak weaving. A unique weaving that illustrates geometric patterns depicting both art and a definite paradigm of culture dreamt to life by the T’boli people, an ethnic tribe of the province.
The T’bolis of South Cotabato have become recognized for their distinct weaving derived from their dreams and materialized in a culture where abstraction and symbols are a common expression of tradition. In the past T’nalak was used as a dowry or a bride price, as well as to barter for farm animals.
T’nalak is made of abaca fibers joined together with miniscule knots and dyed red and black with striking profundity. The mystic T’boli people believe that in their dreams the spirit of the abaca known by the name Fu Dalu inspires the soon to be woven patterns of T’nalak. But not all weavers are granted by the spirit the special gift of envisioning the T’nalak patterns through their dreams. Those who have swayed from the traditional way of life, whom have exchanged their old ways for the convenience of the modern era, and those who do not commit themselves to abstaining from certain indulgences required for certain patterns are not visited by Fu Dalu. T’nalak is a creation of tranquility of spirit as it is of expertise, for not all T’boli women weave and not all of those who weave are granted the gift to see visions of the T’nalak in their dreams.