The weaving industry in Oton began when early Malay women developed a fondness for nice dresses and began indulging in weaving. The raw materials used then were fibers of abaca.
But it was only during the Spanish time that the textile industry flourished and Iloilo became known as the “Textile Center of the Philippines”. It was reported that Iloilo had more than 5,000 weaving looms (tidal) and most of them were found in Miag-ao, Guimbal, Tigbauan and Oton.
To preserve this centuries-old industry, Oton made its handwoven products as its One-Town-One-Product (OTOP). This support from the government has attracted young housewives to the trade and encouraged the creation of weaving communities. Today, Oton has five (5) barangays that are into weaving, namely – Cagbang, Salngan, Lambuyao, Buray, and Tagbac Norte.
The hablon fabric is a product of a painstaking, thread by thread laboring in the handloom. The fabric design is sometimes enhanced by a glitering thread called rotex that gives the fabric its shine. Hablons can be sewn into gowns, shawls, handkerchiefs, pillow cases, table runners, etc.