Lumban Embroidery

Traveler on Foot



Gemma Perez sits in silent concentration over her mid-afternoon labor, delicate hands tirelessly shifting the needle along the beginnings of a meticulously-embroidered piña fabric. Sheltered from the scorching afternoon sun by a small foyer of her home along one of the town’s narrow streets, she is joined by other women in neighborhood doing embroidery, their attention broken only by the occasional admirers who come to observe their fine handy work. 



In the town of Lumban in Laguna, embroidery has flourished as a major industry. Mang Pilo showed me around town where street after street are lined with bamboo frames called bastidor, upon which transparent cloth is stretch to dry after being washed with water and soap.  



In houses I’ve observed women execute decorative stitches on cloth ranging from the traditional jusi and piña made from banana and pineapple fibers to modern linen…

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