Pineapple fibre is a fruit and belongs to a group of natural fibre, see the overview of different textures from human-made to natural fibres. Piña is a durable white or creamy cobweb-like fibre drawn from tall leaves of an indigenous pineapple plant. The fibre is hand stripped from the stalks in lengths of about 18 inches to 3 feet, sun-bleached, hand-knotted and spun. As piña fibre recovery is only about 1%, it can take six months to gather enough fibre to produce two pounds of spun piña. Pineapple fibre is mostly used to away from the leaf. Each strand of the Piña fibre is hand-scraped and knotted one by one to form a continuous filament to be hand-woven and then made into a Piña cloth.
The Philippines and Piña cloth trade
Piña weaving is an age-old tradition which recently revived in the past 20 years. Aklan Kalibo is the main and the oldest manufacturer-weaver of Piña cloth in the Philippines, which exported to various parts of the world, most particularly North America, and Europe. History records suggest that Kalibo’s Piña cloth traded during the Pre-Hispanic times and reached as far as Greece and Egypt during its heyday. Kalibo is also known for other native products such as handbags made of buri leaves which are a favourite for Caucasian females visiting the town. Piña fabric is also used for table linens, bags, mats and some other clothing items, or anytime that a lightweight, but stiff and sheer fabric needed. Pineapple silk considered the queen of Philippine fabrics and considered the fabric of choice of the Philippine elite. A major use for piña fabric is in the creation of the Barong Tagalog and other formal wear that is common in the Philippines.