Haja Amina Appi – national living treasure of Tawi-Tawi PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 10:19

Thanks to Facebook, I got wind of one of our country’s living treasures in the person of Haja Amina Appi who is from Ungos Matata, Tandubas, Tawi-Tawi. She was honored for her mastery in making colorful mats by the National Commission on Arts and Culture (http://www.ncca.gov.ph/about-ncca/org-awards/gamaba/haja) in 2005 and was accorded with the prestigious GAMABA (Gawad sa Manluilikha ng Bayan) Award. This award is equivalent to the National Artists Award bestowed only for indigenous peoples of the Philippines.

Appi’s colorful mats are weaved in complex geometric patterns that usually take three months to finish.  Her unique and multi colored mats are protected by a plain white outer mat that serves as the mat backing. It exhibits her precise sense of design, proportion, symmetry and sensitivity to color.  She is recognized as the best mat weaver among the Sama indigenous community and highly admired for her unique designs, straightness of her mat edging  and the fineness of her craftsmanship.

I am not sure where she is right now but in the last note of the article about her she is willing to teach other weavers and the younger generations how to weave a uniquely Filipino mat that is incomparable. I hope people particularly the government officials and good hearted civic leaders of Tawi-Tawi have treasured her and were able to proliferate Appi’s passion in weaving.

By Dante Corteza