The Rise of the Philippine Terno

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Traditional Maria Clara Gown
La Bulaqueña (1895) painting by Juan Luna

Change has come to Malacanang on President Rodrigo Duterte’s SONA Monday. The President has requested all the guests to veer from the glamourous red carpet long gowns to a more sombre business attire or a knee length Filipiniana terno but clearly some guests still made the effort to stand out from the crowd yesterday.

The distinctive butterfly sleeves popularized by then First Lady Imelda Marcos was clearly a crowd favorite. Meanwhile, the barong remains to be the Filipino males wardrobe staple for any formal event.

Among those who wore a knee length terno were the wife of Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, Hon. Yedda Marie Romualdez in pink, Audrey Tan Zubiri in an indigenous skirt. Stella Quimbo wore a pantsuit with butterfly sleeves while Heart Evangelista wore a white off the rack business suit.

Sticking to the sombre dress code were Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos who paired a barong top with a knee length skirt, Sen. Grace Poe in a white straight cut dress, Sen. Pia Cayetano in a black blazer and skirt combo, Gretchen Barretos Inno Sotto ensemble and Marga Nograles in a black knee length terno with small butterfly sleeves.

The more interesting pieces came from the Moro guests in their colorful outfits and Rep. Teddy Baguilat in his traditional Ifugao “wanno.”

While some VIP women dressed according to the book, there were very VIP’s who seemed to have not clearly gotten the memo despite all the publicity surrounding the President’s decree.

The women who did not listen to downplaying glamour that day were Jinky Pacquiao with her lavender floorlength, tulip petaled gown; Battan Rep. Geraldine Roman in a Paul Cabral number; Nancy Binay with her controversial leche flan molder clutch.

Most of the attendees tried their best to inject a Filipiniana motif to their attire with the use of traditional embroidery designs and textile like jusi or fabrics with traditional designs.