Prominent personalities flaunted their best suits and ternos at President Benigno S. Aquino III’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 23, 2012 during the Joint Session of the 15th Congress of the Philippines at the Plenary Hall, House of Representatives Complex, Constitution Hills in Quezon City.
In their best formal outfit, lawmakers and VIP guests arrived on Monday for Aquino’s third SONA. The walk on the red carpet felt like a fashion show of who’s who in Philippine politics.
However, the most notable were Party-list representatives and their fashion statement.
The words “Ipamahagi ang Hacienda Luisita,” loosely translated “Distribute Hacienda Luisita” were embroidered on Anakpawis Representative Rafael Mariano’s barong Tagalog while the words “Presyo, Ibaba” were hand printed on Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño’s barong. Two years ago, Casiño showed up in a barong tagalog with the words “Stop the Killings in the Philippines.” In 2011, Casiño wore a barong calling for the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares revealed that the barong he was wearing was created by a political prisoner/artist from Negros.
The words “free political prisoners” were embroidered on the left side of his barong and the words “Itaas ang pension sa SSS (Raise the pension rates of SSS)” on the other side.
Meanwhile, Gabriela Party list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan donned a green and pink-checkered gown created by LimitedFashion House in Davao.
Ilagan’s outfit is accentuated by an “alampay” and “tapis” which she said “reveal the Filipino women’s call for women’s access to healthcare.”
Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez was dressed in a light pink terno with embroidery by Randy Ortiz.
Cebu Rep. Rachel del Mar donned a terno made by Cebuano designer Didi Araneta.
“I’m wearing a terno in ivory duchess satin accented with vintage cut out lace embellished with seed pearls, beads and sequins. I don’t believe in spending for much for gowns for whatever occasion, if there were a contest on who spent the least for SONA gown, I would win,” Del Mar said.
Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay wore a fuschia ethnic-inspired gown by Josie Ronario.
Bernadette Herrera-Dy of Bagong Henerasyon Party list was dressed in a gray terno by Pepsi Herrera.
“I took inspiration from the qualities I see in Congresswoman BH, a strong sense of nationalism yet feminine. The strong and defined silhouette of the modern terno is softened by with the use of candy floss tulle and laser cut flowers. Just like BH her gown stays true to the silhouette of the Philippine terno yet reflects a disarming femininity,” Pepsi Herrera explained.
Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla’s attire was Mindanao-inspired suit created by Rajo Laurel.
Pangasinan Rep. Gina de Venecia’s gown was peach colored baro’t saya in piña and stretch tulle by designer Bong de Ocampo.
Malabon Rep. Josephine Lacson-Noel wore a parma violet chiffon draped terno also by Randy Ortiz.
Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco, who designed her own gown, wore a piña beige terno with simple silver sequins.
“This is not new gown. I have worn it before to a wedding where I was the ninang,” Cojuangco said.
Deputy Speaker Maria Isabel Climaco wore a Geronie Labora’s winning piece “mascotta de zamboanga.”
Paula Locsin-Bondoc, executive director of the Congressional Spouses Foundation Inc., sister in law of Pampanga Rep. Anna York Bondoc, wore a mint green gown by Roy Gonzales.
Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos wore a royal blue terno.
Lady senators were all dressed elegantly when they attended yesterday’s session. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago skipped the resumption of Congress and the President’s SONA due to cough and colds.
While the male senators were in their respective barong tagalog, senators Loren Legarda and Pia Cayetano wore gowns that highlighted their beauty and curves.
Legarda’s gown is a recycled piña by Paul Cabral while her jade on ebony bracelet is borrowed from Celestina. Her earrings are gold diggings from her late mother while her ring is a “pamana” from her grandmother.
“It’s an all-Filipino outfit,” said Legarda, whose advocacies include the preservation of the country’s unique textile from various indigenous peoples’ groups.
Sen. Pia Cayetano also caught the attention of the media for her gray 1950s-inspired gown with sliced petal modern Filipiniana sleeves.
At the SONA proper, Cayetano wore a “Great Gatsby-1920 inspired” gown.
The SONA for many years has become a fashion event for legislators, their spouses and families.