HomeManilavol. 5 no. 1 (2009)

Of Cambayas, Custas and Calicos: The Indo-Philippine Textile Connection

Marilyn R. Canta

Discipline: History



Artistic affinities between Indian and Philippine textiles exist. This paper will present a brief historical background on Indo-Philippine textile trade from the 16th century, and a discussion of where such affinities lie. The cambayas, custas and calicos can be seen as metonymies for Indian textiles in the country. While it is much easier to account for their presence and specific uses, it is another task to see in what ways they might have influenced local textile traditions. This paper is a study in that direction. Through the use of linguistic and stylistic evidence, similarities can be seen in the use of materials (yarns, dyes), technology, design elements (motifs, compositional devices) and notions of dress. Such analysis will give us insights into such cultural exchanges; it could also be the beginning of a more systematic review.

on maintains itself precisely because of the lack of concern for significant issues of the future, the resources available today to address these future issues are slowly deteriorating. The need to step back and ask, “what is all this for?” has become such a critical issue. What should the fruits of Manila’s progress be for the future? What do we want Manila to be in the future? The answer to these and similar concerns is necessarily rooted in how Manila is understood today. The manner in which the city manifests itself today as an unconscious semiotic reveals the baseline from which conscious decisions are made about the city’s future and the attitudes towards it. The Manila district of Quiapo is here examined to uncover this unconscious understanding and its resultant manifestations. This paper describes a study recently completed which sought to describe both the tangible and intangible Quiapo using the architectural concept of Spirit of Place which was employed as the nexus with which to bind both the description and the identity of the community.