We took a look at the cloth weaving of the Maranao people of Mindanao. They have an amazing history of making head cloths called the pis siyabit and wrap-around waist cloths called the patajung. Showing them the patterns woven into them, it was said that each pis was unique, each pattern and design were unique to the whims and creativity of the weaver. It would usually have a central shape and the design would repeat itself on all four sides to represent the cardinal directions. We talked about the colors, and the patterns they created. I even had the guts to wear a malong in place of a patajung just to show off the garment to the students.
Armed with strips of double-sided tape and colored paper, the kids attacked the project with some hesitation. Some of them wanted to draw the patterns, others spoke out because they were reluctant to use the scissors. By the end of the period, creative mayhem ruled the classroom. There were songs being sung, and paper and tape were being asked from each other. Colored paper covered the table, scissors were lying about, but happily, some got through it. Others, found an interest in double-sided foam tape. But the hour ended too soon and we had to pack our mess away. They were reluctant to end the class. And deep inside, I was happy.