Following Inggo Part 2: In Weaving, ‘Things end as they begin’

Bobo fish trap weaving

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Weaving to the finished

The slide show is the continuation of the post –Following Inggo. These visual images are products of my fragmented visits to Inggo’s place in Dancalan, a coastal village of Bulusan.

My visits were made in the afternoons when Inggo was on his  break time from the sea. He usually spends the time in between shifts of his morning and afternoon sea forays weaving the bobo fish traps and viewing his favorite TV program—Discovery Channel. He likes the show he told me in our dialect in his usual animated mood (while demonstrating how to weave) because most of the settings were outdoors, nature, the sea and the vast oceans which he loved most. Then following a question afterwards, he  asked me seriously:  Is your work similar to those nature shows on the said TV program? Of which, I told him that this is a personal research for the fish trap weaving in our home town. This kind of weaving is slowly vanishing and needs documentation, I explained. Understanding my purpose,  he told me that the young ones are not interested for such weaving—too cumbersome for them. The synthetic nylon and iron wire are replacing the natural materials of the fish traps because it is easier to make and there is no need for the weaver to do the job, related Inggo. From this I surmised that in reality the bobo fish trap weavers are indeed becoming a vanishing breed in my hometown. For instance, in this village Inggo is the sole weaver serving other fishermen’s needs for these fish traps.

It must be noted that in Bulusan though proud of its weaving tradition, bobo fish trap weaving is traditionally a man’s area while weaving  hats and mats are traditionally for women.

An afterthought on the fish trap weaving

Weaving the bobo fish trap in Bulusan is a journey from the upland to the lowland to the seas. I t is a merging of the natural material of the bamban plant with the weaver transforming its split stems to trap fishes for  his food in accordance with the elements of nature and the sea as manifested in one evident flow of an orderly system of things. It represents a natural flow of man and nature co-existing with each other in harmony. It magnifies the inter-relatedness of nature, man and the things around him. Both the inanimate and the animate.  It signifies that man himself is part of the Great Web that is in a continuous flow of recurring cycles ‘within the net of life and time’.

The weaving process itself has a definite beginning and end.  Each step with names of its own repeated from generation to generation in a dance of eternal return.

Images by Alma P. Gamil

Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

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