The malong is traditionally used as a garment by numerous tribes
in the Southern Philippines and the Sulu Archipelago.
Its origin is from the ethnical group of Maranao,
Maguindanao and T’boli located in Mindanao.
Handwoven malongs are made by the weavers on a backstrap loom.
Very rare malong designs and styles can indicate the village in which the malong was made.
Handwoven malongs, which are costly- made of cotton and silk,
are likely to be used only at social functions, to display
the social and economic status of the wearer.
But a malong in royal colours is worn only by Maranao men and women of royal status.
The malong can also function as a skirt for both men and women,
a dress, a blanket, a bedsheet, a hammock, a prayer mat, and other purposes.
What did I learn from my journey to this remote Filipino village? That the forms of culture & stories, houses, clothing, carvings, weaving, songs, dances, are the visible means of protecting knowledge, without which we would be less than human. They are a visible map to an invisible world within ourselves, a map that leads to no place and every place. Moreover, that if we can remember the ways to sink into reciprocal being, if the channel is left open to dreaming from that country within each one of us, we can dream all that is needed in being again. This is the treasure I brought back with me from T'boli.