On the morning of Day 2 of the 2nd Jesuit Basic Education Congress, the short film “The Dreamweaver” was shown to the delegates as a recap of the previous day’s big ideas and as a springboard for reflection and prayer.
Under the guise of a parable, the prayer leader spoke of the t’nalak–thousands of strands of the abaca plant are woven into unique patterns to make t’nalak, a rough fabric that is the traditional textile of the ethnic Tboli tribe in South Cotabato, southern Mindanao. T’nalak is made through a centuries-old process of tie-dye weaving by the T’boli women of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.
The designs come to the T’boli women in their dreams–hence, the name “dreamweavers.” Legends have it that a goddess named Fu Dalu taught the Tboli women–and only the women–this esoteric art of dream-weaving. Generations of Tboli women have learned this skill, basing tribal designs & cloth patterns on their dreams.
“And then,” the prayer leader said before playing the film, “once upon a time, there was a T’boli boy who dreamed of becoming a dreamweaver…”
This beautiful film by Jedd Rommel and Ronald Genato teaches us to demolish stereotypes, the root of the discrimination and conflict in Mindanao.
Ronald Genato is an alumnus of Xavier School.