Yakan Village: Appreciation for the art and people of Zamboanga

When we arrived in Zamboanga, we already had a horrible experience with a tricycle driver. He did not drop us directly to our hotel and overcharged us for our fare. Worse, my friend’s luggage got broken when he unloaded it from his tricycle. We don’t know if it was accidentally (or intentionally) dropped, because the handle got dismantled completely. He left us walking in the muddy streets of the city, looking for our hotel and tugging along a broken luggage.

Initially, we were scared and disappointed. But we did not want to ruin our moods with this unfortunate experience. At the back of my mind, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Zamboanga that I don’t want to put stereotypes to its people. Good thing, I randomly prodded Cath to go with me to Yakan village after our afternoon nap. Our short encounter with the Yakans somewhat changed our perception about Zamboangenos.

How to Get to Yakan Village

After our traumatic experience with the tricycle driver at the airport, we resolved to avoid riding tricycles for the meantime. Instead, we booked a Grab Taxi (yes they are available in Zamboanga, but Grab Cars are not) and paid Php 500 for the fare because it was the same taxi that we rode going to Alavar. Yes, it’s that far from the commercial district of Zamboanga, around 7 kilometers. Even my friends who are from Zamboanga haven’t visited yet this place due to distance.

If you are not taking the cab, you may take the PUJs to the Zamboanga Golf Course and the Yakan weaving village, from the public market look for a jeepney with the signage “Ayala” or “Sinunuc”. You may also take the vans for hire that pass by the area and just tell the driver where you will be getting off.

About the Yakans

The Yakans are the first inhabitants of the Basilan province and are considered to be one of the finest weavers in the Philippines. According to one of the Yakans I’ve met, they use the “huli” and “sulip” type of thread for their weaving.

With the Yakans
One of the oldest Yakans in the village

Most of the designs are colorful geometric patterns. The standard time to finish a meter of cloth is about one week, depending on the design details. Yakans weave table runners, place mats, coasters, wallets and bags, just to name a few.


One of the coasters that we bought was made by a young Yakan. Amazingly, her mother told us that it was just by memory that she designed this.

What to see in the Yakan Village

The small village is dotted with stores selling different Yakan products. Aside from woven fabrics and apparel, they also sell accessories, souvenirs, and antiques. To see the actual weaving of the Yakans, you should climb up the small stairs then go to the open area on the left. Just ask the other Yakan sellers.

Tennun by Yakan

Tennun by Yakan is owned by Daisy Ballati, a Yakan I met in the village. Since she was young, she already knew how to weave. It’s a long-time business of their family. She ventured into the business five years ago, when she was invited in the Pakaradjaan Festival in Isabela City. Her Facebook page Tennun by Yakan displays some of their Yakan products. She accepts orders outside Mindanao. For orders or inquiries, you may reach her at 09066771227.

Here are some of her products and their prices:

Inalaman 3500
Saputangan 3500
Table runners 500
Placemat 300
Pillowcase 350
Bags 300-800
Pouch 150-200
Clucts wallet 150
Eco bag 150
Coin purse 20-50

Daisy Ballati and her colorful work of art

What to do in the Yakan Village

  1. Talk with the Yakans. Ask questions about their products, their history, their livelihood. They are nice and warm to answer your questions. Appreciate their work.
  2. Do not haggle. As much as possible, do not ask for cheaper prices. You see, it takes pure labor of love and craftsmanship to create these products.
  3. Do not leave the village without buying anything. If only I had a big budget, I’ll buy more of their products. Support their livelihood by buying from them. Some of these cannot be found in Canelar Barter Trade. The quality of the hand-made products will last for years, that is guaranteed.
  4. Ask permission when taking photos. Since we do not know their cultural values, it is better to always practice courtesy when asking for favors so as not to intrude their privacy.

Thankful for the Experience

Thanks to Ate Daisy and her companions, for allowing me and Cath to know more about your livelihood. It was a pleasant experience that made us forget our dismay about the driver who fooled us.

Yakans are kind and accommodating. It is true that these are the tribes with closely-knit families.

Yakan Weaving Village
Upper Calarian, Zamboanga City
0915 4630812

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Those are really affordable compared to what we see in malls. I totally agree that we should not haggle. If I’m there, I probably bought a lot of clothes!

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    1. Yeah, if I had more budget lang. Gusto ko din yung mga table runners nila. 🙂

      Like

  2. Camille says:

    Wow! That’s a very comprehensive guide. I’ve never been to Zamboanga, but I once saw a weaving in action in Caraga, Davao Oriental. It’s so fascinating.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, indeed fascinating talaga to see hand made products. Talaga? I didn’t know Davao has like that.

      Like

  3. Jean Ricamata says:

    Wow. Featuring the Yakan village makes me proud as a Filipino even more because of our rich culture and talented village people there.

    Like

  4. Support local!! Hoping to visit Zamboanga next year and experience the same 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jayneglezelle says:

    Id love to go to someday and learn their stuff 🙂 also buy these beautifully made weaves

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have been to zamboanga but did not heard about this! The place and culture are very interesting. Will try to visit it when I get back. Love your photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 🙂 ❤❤

      Really? Yeah you should try visiting this village. It’s really worth learning about their culture.

      Like

  7. jayresa03 says:

    Just upon looking at their weaves, my heart suddenly jumped with joy. They’re soooo beautiful! Definitely a masterpiece. Something Filipinos can be proud of!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The details in the fabric are just amazing! I agree that we should support the livelihood of the tribe because they are preserving their culture through the products. Hope i can pay a visit some time as well!!

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    1. Yes agree. The details are impeccable.

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  9. Rad says:

    Bilang Pilipino ay dapat ipagmalaki natin ang mga produktong lokal gaya ng mga galing sa Yakan village. Sana ay yumabong pa ang nasa Yakan. 🙂

    Like

  10. KathGraceDM says:

    I really love the traditional color combination of Zamboangan art. It catches my eyes everytime! ❤️

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  11. dareut_ tech gaming says:

    A fully handmade na pag hahabi ng tela, ung patient at dedication sa paggawa nyan ay hindi talaga matatawaran.
    Parang ang ganda ng lugar nila ha

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  12. I love the design of the fabric. I want to try their life as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wendyflor says:

    I am into cultural fabrics. I would have bought a lot. Weakness ko talaga yan and I love to promote our fabrics and wear them or use them.

    Like

    1. Nice to know! And the quality diba.. 🙂

      Like

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