The SONA as mirror of Philippine society

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Rep. Leni Robredo, Gel Tupas in Edgar San Diego, Julia Abad PHOTOS BY RICHARD A. REYES, THELMA SIOSON SAN JUAN

Based on online comments generated by an earlier front-page story that I wrote on the much-awaited annual fashion showdown that preceded President Aquino’s State of the Nation address Monday afternoon, not a few readers were appalled at the extent some VIPs, especially the women, would go just to grab the public’s attention.

One even took media to task for its seeming inability to “tighten its intellectual screws and realize [that] this [Sona] is not a ‘social event’ where fashion needs to be underlined and made worthy of commentary.”

In plain speak, the reader was wondering why legitimate media were indulging these seemingly frivolous women for hogging the limelight by parading on the red carpet, as if the Sona were some movie premiere or awards night.

In effect, the reader said, these guests could even be drowning out the President’s annual report and vision for the Filipino people with their eye-popping jewelry, tiered skirts, beaded bodices and embroidered hemlines.

But the reader was also conveniently forgetting one thing: Media, at least in a free and open country, is simply doing its job by mirroring the society it covers. It would have been more remiss on our part had we ignored the event as if it never happened.

The same thread also produced this seemingly inspired suggestion from another reader. Instead of guests spending untold sums on expensive designer fashion, “How about going all-out and wearing a barong or terno made of crocodile or snake skin?”

If guests were to take the suggestion literally, the reader obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Since they’re quite rare, exotic skins, apart from harming innocent and endangered animals, can cost a pretty penny. And in some cases, they don’t, ah, photograph well.

When it comes to a subjective and touchy issue like fashion, I’ve learned through the years of covering it that it’s definitely much better and wiser to leave wearers, designers and observers to arrive at their respective opinions, illusions and conclusions.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • clanwolf

    Pitiful excuse for lazy curating of its contents, if this is the kind of editorial dishonesty inquirer, then you’re no better than the politicians you pillory. You can understand corruption in politics. But you miss the corruption of your profession. It’s outrage has been quelled by cynicism and bribed by scoops and access. Shame.

  • kayanatwo

    27jul13

    nobody asked me, but….mr.vergara,sir, you completely missed the point. my fellow juan dela cruz and i exactly knew where the ” fourth estate” role should be in a free and democratic society. but our “beef” with our SONA peacocks are the lack of their sense and sensibility along with the members of the “fourth estate” that became the mouthpiece of the ruling elite.

  • fache

    No one in their right frame of mind, especially the media, will categories the sets of division of the Filipino people. It is a well know fact, even in the US, will ever a State of the Nation address of the President turn in to a fashion show. The recent SONA is hypocritical at best. The President addresses the state of economy and how he will lift up the lives of poor Filipinos yet, they have the wives walking the so called red carpet with their wealth, courtesy of Filipino people. We are not impressed and we the people called that crap, “bull***t.”

  • cato_the_younger

    “How about going all-out and wearing a barong or terno made of crocodile or snake skin?”

    “If guests were to take the suggestion literally, the reader obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Since they’re quite rare, exotic skins, apart from harming innocent and endangered animals, can cost a pretty penny. And in some cases, they don’t, ah, photograph well.”

    Well I made the comment about wearing crocodile or snake skin but I did mention something about getting their metaphors right. Most people I know would get that terms like “buwaya” and “politician” go together. (I didn’t think I was being subtle. He! He!)

    As for the mirror of Philippine society thing – it only mirrors probably less than 5% of society. The last time I heard, most of the Filipinos are still poor. On the other hand, if you mean your article to reflect the Filipinos’ obsession with celebrity, outward appearance and things banal, well, I guess your article mirrors it then.

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