BASILAN, Philippines – Manlilikha ng Bayan Ambalang Ausalin died of a lingering illness on Friday, February 18. She was 78.
Lamitan City Mayor Rose Furigay confirmed this, saying that the renowned Yakan textile weaver died at around 4 am in her residence in Parangbasak, Lamitan City.
Ausalin, was one of the three Mindanaoans who were conferred the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (National Living Treasure) in 2016.
She gained recognition for her commitment to safeguarding and promotion of weaving the traditional Yakan textiles, especially the colorful “tennun” or tapestry weave.
“The tennun Yakan is an extraordinarily important manifestation of Yakan culture. Its categories, colors, designs or motifs, and significance will constantly remind Ambalang, in her outstanding handwork, what it means to be Yakan – people of the earth. Through her craft, Ambalang as a’a pandey megtetennun (an expert weaver), affirms their identity as a people who continuously weave the threads of culture, interlacing past, present, and, hopefully, the future, in becoming a cultural treasure for the new generation Yakan, for all Filipinos, and all humankind,” read part of Ambalang’s profile on the NCCA page.
Coming from a family of weavers, Apuh Ambalang, as she was called by other weavers, learned the craft at a young age and was able to execute the most intricate designs.
The NCCA and the Basilan provincial government were among those that paid tribute to Ambalang.
The NCCA said of Ambalang: “Her skill is deemed incomparable: she is able to bring forth all designs and actualize all textile categories typical to the Yakan.”