Piña is a fiber made from the leaves of a pineapple plant and is commonly used in the Philippines. It is sometimes combined with silk or polyester to create a textile fabric. Piña's name comes from the Spanish word piña which literally means pineapple.
Since piña is from a leaf, the leaf has to be cut first from the plant. Then the fiber is pulled or split away from the leaf. Most leaf fibers are long and somewhat stiff. Each strand of the piña fiber is hand scraped and is knotted one by one to form a continuous filament to be handwoven and then made into a piña cloth.
Kalibo, Aklan, is the main and the oldest manufacturer/weaver of piña cloth in the Philippines which are being exported to various parts of the world most particularly North America, and Europe. Piña weaving is an age-old tradition which was recently revived in the past 20 years. History records suggest that Kalibo's piña cloth was traded during the Pre-Hispanic times and reached as far as Greece and Egypt during its heyday, although the pineapple plant was brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards from the Americas. Kalibo is also known for other native products such as handbags made of buri leaves which is a favorite for tourists visiting the town. Pineapple silk is considered the queen of Philippine fabrics and is considered the fabric of choice of the Philippine elite. During the 1996 meeting of APEC in the Philippines, world leaders donned a pineapple silk Barong Tagalog from Kalibo during the traditional group photo.
A major use for piña fabric is in the creation of the Barong Tagalog and other formal wear in the Philippines. It is also used for other table linens, bags, mats and other clothing items, or anytime that a lightweight, but stiff and sheer fabric is needed.
- Nestor Burgos (28 May 2010). "Aklan’s piña looms start weaving again". Inquirer.net. Asian Journal. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- "Rambie Lim: Rurungan sa Tubod Foundation marketing specialist, 'Pipiña' Pioneer, 31". The Philippine Star. Young Star. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2011.