Legislators on Monday ditched their glamorous gowns to comply with the dress code on the invitation to President Rodrigo Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (Sona): “Filipiniana or business attire.”
Purple, gold and Muslim-inspired patterns ruled the fashion parade of guests, after many conformed with earlier suggestions to wear Mindanao-sourced patterns as an act of solidarity with those affected by the terrorist crisis in Marawi.
House Deputy Speaker Bai Sandra Sema was the first to arrive on the red carpet, donned in a deep purple headdress and matching printed purple traditional malong made of inaul, a traditional cloth from the South, draped over her torso.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu followed shortly in a form-fitting long-sleeved purple polo, also made of inaul with gold patterns on the sleeves, collar and around the buttons.
Giving no-frills a lift, fashion designer Randy Ortiz, who made the dresses for at least five female solons, said the Maranao inspiration only applied to the congresswomen.
Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres Gomez, an Ortiz client and a regular in the annual Sona’s best dressed, wore variations of stylized barong top paired with a Maranao malong wrap skirt.
Gomez wore a high-neck dove gray top with dainty flower appliques and a vintage draped malong skirt of metallic pale lavender and gray stripes.
Daughter Juliana Gomez wore a short dove gray dress with similar floral appliques on the neckline, also by Ortiz.
Sen. Nancy Binay, who was sporting a sleek short bob by hairstylist Jing Monis, wore the same stylized embroidered Ortiz barong top from the morning session to the Sona.
Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos wore an electric purple tunic, gold pants and ponkan orange heels.
Lawyer Karen Jimeno wore a piña blouse delicately embroidered in purple thread over a simple black long dress.
Solidarity with Maranao
Lawmakers and other government officials who also expressed solidarity with distressed Maranao brothers took to the red carpet in Muslim-inspired creations.
Sen. Loren Legarda, who has long championed indigenous Mindanao culture, came in an antique off-shoulder blouse and a Maranao landap skirt made of woven inaul.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones was in an electric blue baro’t saya with embroidery at the bodice, collar and sleeves.
Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos’ wide skirt had multicolored patterns reminiscent of southern tribal designs while Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano looked regal in a Middle Eastern-inspired black kameez with heavily embroidered gold patterns by Mia Urquico.
Bocaue Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna, wife of Cibac Rep. Sherwin Tugna, had a Muslim-inspired electric teal skirt by Jo Rubio topped with a barong-inspired blouse embroidered with black thread by local craftsmen.
Marga Nograles, wife of Davao Rep. Karlo Nograles, wore an oxblood calf-length terno; Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat wore traditional attire, this time with pants; while former Sen. Nikki Coseteng put together previous favorites to create a baro’t saya look.
Black and white
Other lawmakers opted for black and white. Sen. Grace Poe had an off-shoulder white Paul Cabral cocktail dress; Leyte Rep. Yedda Romualdez shined in a Cary Santiago white off-shoulder with a heavily embroidered bodice and a fitting black skirt; and Sen. Risa Hontiveros was in a white Joel Acebuche with elbow-length sleeves.
Cindy Ejercito, wife of Sen. JV Ejercito, was demure in a sleeveless black-and-white number from Paul Cabral.
Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia sported a short white terno dress by Cary Santiago. The hemline sported a Mindanaoan-print fabric, “an ode to our brothers and sisters in the south,” said its designer.
Stella Alabastro Quimbo, wife of Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo, wore a simple midi white terno draped with a Mindanaoan print fabric on the shoulder.
Former Rep. Mitch Cajayon also draped an indigenous print fabric over her decidedly contemporary column dress by Paul Cabral.
At the Senate, Jinkee Pacquiao, wife of Sen. Manny Pacquiao, wore a floral embroidered skirt and a top with a Peter Pan collar by Paul Cabral.
Actress Heart Evangelista-Escudero opted for a white midi full-skirt terno dress by Jo Rubio. For the Sona, she changed into a purple Boom Sason design blouse with gold pattern embellishments and skinny purple trousers, a gold clutch and nude shoes.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo wore a multicolored off-shoulder Renee Salud in Mindanaoan fabric. The look was akin to Legarda’s, whose off-shoulder top was paired with a Maranao malong wrap skirt.
Like Teo, Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto chose a Renee Salud, a column dress of Mindanaoan fabric underneath a bell-sleeve bolero.
Diwa Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar’s Rhett Eala dress sported the designer’s signature trendy fringe detailing on the skirt and accented along the bodice and sleeves with strips of Maranao fabric. It was also trimmed with gold sequins in geometric patterns.
Several guests went vintage: former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Pitoy Moreno; Pangasinan Rep. Rosemarie Arenas in a mix of Aureo Alonzo and Paul Cabral; and Tootsy Angara, wife of Sen. Sonny Angara, who recycled her Pitoy Moreno prom dress for the day’s affairs.
Another red carpet favorite, Audrey Zubiri, wife of Sen. Miguel Zubiri, opted for a stylized baro top paired with a high-waist pencil midi skirt by Joey Samson.
For Batangas Rep. Lianda Bolilia, JC Buendia made a cropped barong blouse paired with a high-waist Maranao pattern skirt.
He also designed Nueva Ecija Rep. Rosanna Vergara’s dyed piña top and overlap skirt with diamond pattern border design.
Maureen Disini made a modern long-sleeved top and pencil skirt referencing the Maranao costume for Negros Oriental Rep. Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong.
Ivarluski Aseron designed several dresses: for Abra Gov. Joy Bernos, a navy short terno dress in abel fabric from her hometown; for Masbate Rep. Ma. Vida Bravo, a woven banig-style short terno dress; and for Abono Rep. Vini Nola Ortega, a short Muslim-inspired number.
Among Rajo Laurel’s Sona clients were Bacoor Mayor Lani Mercado Revilla, who wore a red off-shoulder piña cocktail dress; and Assistant Executive Secretary Annalyn Tolentino, a Marawi-inspired dress with coat.
Ito Curata made a rose pink terno dress with a crystal-beaded malong drape accent on the bodice for Batangas Rep. Maitet Collantes.
Davao del Sur Rep. Mercedes Cagas wore a Bagobo outfit of authentic t’nalak fabric complete with feather headdress.
Shying away from the cameras was the presidential legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, who described his outfit as “pang-Divisoria.”