Lake Sebu’s Lang Dulay

On the banks of Lake Sebu, I had the privilege of meeting—for the second time—one of the country’s “Living Treasures”.

She is a 90-year-old woman named Lang Dulay, who is an elder in the T’boli tribe. If you visit the National Museum in Manila, you can see the wall dedicated to her and her craft. But she lives in a simple home, with no electricity, and barely any material clutter.

For years, she has been weaving cloth called T’nalak, with beautiful, bold geometric designs in the T’boli colors. Inspired by her dreams, this woman is one of the last remaining indigenous people who still craft this kind of art.

As she teaches others of the generations after her, Lang Dulay hopes that her dreams will live on, long after.

We chatted with her about her work, her life story, and why she toils at the loom every day. I still find it amazing and inspiring that there are people of different cultures and nature, all living on the same planet, each with something different and unique to contribute. We need to learn more from them and be willing to let them teach us their ways, their traditions, their dreams.

(Picture: T’boli women I met back in 2007 on my first trip to South Cotabato, Mindanao)


In 1998, Former President Fidel V. Ramos, declared Bey Lang Dulay of Lake Sebu a National Living Treasure. Although abaca weaving is an art form familiar all over the world, the geometrical T’nalak designs of the Philippine T’boli people represent their traditions and beliefs.

Even the colors are significant: red, for bravery, commitment and love, and black for their struggles as an indigenous tribe. The cloth is woven into wall hangings, clothes, bags or wallets. Accessories and jewelry of the T’boli tribe, often made from horse hair, seeds, and beads, are also red, black and white.

Visitors to Lake Sebu may purchase items directly from the T’boli women at the Gono Kem Bo-I “Princess House” Store on Lake Sebu. For details, call Maria “Oyog” Aros at (+639)066345367.

Click this link for the full story of my encounter with the lengendary Lang Dulay.


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