MANILA, Philippines—Fancying themselves as the fashion police, netizens zeroed in on Sen. Nancy Binay’s gown during Monday’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) event.
“Tell her the World Cup is over and that Brazil lost. Time to return its flag,” one Facebook post read, referring to the yellow-and-green skirt panels on the gown that Binay wore to the Senate’s morning session.
Facebook also bloomed with pictures of hot air balloons and ice bags posted alongside Binay’s gown, a rather unflattering two-piece ensemble consisting of a long-sleeved blouse and multicolored, ankle-length tulip skirt.
Some also described the senator as looking like a mascot for Korean Air for the high-waisted gown that resembled the Korean hanbok or national dress.
Binay’s afternoon gown, a white number also by designer Randy Ortiz, got as much dissing for its draped bodice and serpentine skirt, with netizens comparing its front panel to the “Easter Bunny,” and its voluminous side folds to “the satin lining of a coffin.”
Getting as much attention for her outfit was Dionisia “Mommy D” Pacquiao who was tastefully garbed in an immaculate white terno lashed with a tulle skirt, its bodice studded with green sequins.
Hair pulled back in a bun and wearing simple pearl studs, she was a picture of elegance, restraint and taste, although some netizens described her gown as “Santacruzan-inspired.”
In fact, the usually flamboyant mother of world boxing champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao created such a commotion with her entrance on the red carpet—with kibitzers breaking protocol and crossing the velvet rope to take selfies with her—that House security personnel quickly declared the red carpet pictorial over as they herded the journalists and photographers covering the event out of the room.
Gowns and formal wear also proved to be convenient political statements in Monday’s Sona, as allies and critics wore either yellow or peach outfits to signify support for President Aquino or to call for his impeachment.
President Aquino has been under fire from several quarters over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that the Supreme Court had declared unconstitutional.
Glitz and glamor
For other politicians, government officials and their spouses and guests, the lingering effects of recent natural calamities and political scandals did little to dim the glitz and glamor they had been accustomed to at every Sona event.
Less than two weeks after Typhoon Glenda hit southern Luzon, including Metro Manila, politics and fashion converged anew as leading public figures strutted their stuff on the red carpet, with their respective ideas of Filipiniana finery.
Leading the pack of fashion mavericks were Sen. Loren Legarda and actress Heart Evangelista, as well as congressional spouse Stella Quimbo and senatorial wife Tootsie Angara.
Sen. Grace Poe, on the other hand, looked “presidential,” according to netizens, who posted pictures of her in an off-white creation by upcoming designer Roulette Esmilla that also had intricate embroidery.
Legarda wore an authentic Mandaya costume gifted her by the Mandaya tribe of Davao Oriental province.
“I’m doing this to celebrate the Unesco inscription on Mt. Hamiguitan as a World Heritage Site,” said the senator who was helped into the outfit by a member of the tribe flown to Manila, according to Davao Oriental Gov. Cora Malanyaon.
Legarda’s blouse had geometric designs and was accented with intricate beadwork. The skirt called dagmay was made from abaca and used natural dye. The senator’s accessories—a huge, round, silver pendant called patina and a pair of wooden bangles—were lent her by the Mandayas.
The wife of Sen. Sonny Angara, Tootsie, paid tribute to her Cordillera roots by asking designer Rajo Laurel to fashion a stylized and beaded terno using native fabrics in red and black with touches of yellow.
“It fuses tradition with modern and stylized elements,” Angara said, referring to her short terno sleeves.
Quimbo, a lawyer and wife of Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo, opted for a terno-cum-stylized Maria Clara gown by Jun Escario. The white number was accented with black lace on the bodice and sides of the serpentine skirt. The net-like material accenting the terno sleeves extended across the back, a design that Quimbo described as a “modern version of the pañuelo.”
Quimbo, who also designs and makes footwear, proudly showed off black satin and snakeskin shoes under the Lope Saenz label that went with her outfit.
Evangelista, the girlfriend of Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, was easily one of the afternoon’s most photographed personalities in designer Joey Samson’s trademark off-white “caged” terno top, with fitted bodice and godet skirt.
Sen. JV Ejercito’s wife, Cindy, wore a red chiffon terno with a fine ruffle finish and horsehair trimmings by Paul Cabral.
Also in red was Pangasinan Rep. Rosemarie “Baby” Arenas in a Cabral creation made of Thai silk.
Sen. Cynthia Villar wore an orange terno embroidered with vines and cherry blossoms on the bodice that was designed by her cousin Noli Hans.
Former actress Sheila Ysrael, who came with husband Rep. Dan Fernandez and their three kids, slipped into a fully beaded and fully embroidered sea blue terno by Gideon Sy.
A number of famous personalities tried to avoid the red carpet in vain.
Makati Rep. Abby Binay, who came with her daughter Martina, tried to go straight to the plenary hall, but was spotted by a group of photographers who requested her to do the red carpet. Binay, younger sister of Senator Binay, gamely obliged by cutting through the velvet rope. The Makati representative donned a fitted heather gray terno with a series of magenta trimmings on the bodice by her favorite designer, Ivarluski Aseron.
Daughter Martina had a square patch on her gown that, some observers noted, was actually a mosquito patch—a precaution, perhaps, against insect bites.
Marga Nograles, wife of Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, made heads turn in Bobby Castillo’s off-white hand-painted Mikado silk terno.
A pregnant Timi Gomez-Aquino, wife of Sen. Bam Aquino, asked designer Noel Crisostomo to produce something “light and easy,” and he came up with a mint green terno with beaded ribbons and pleated details on the bodice.
Fille Cainglet-Cayetano, who came with her husband, Taguig
Rep. Lino Cayetano, opted for a low-key, navy blue terno made of silk gazar and accented with French lace by JC Buendia.
Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano, wife of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, wore a lavender Thai silk terno with draped details on the sleeves by her favorite designer Onin Pagsisihan.
Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, a former TV reporter, opted for a red terno with fully beaded bodice and flouncy skirt by veteran designer Renee Salud.
New fashion darling
Mommy D, the new fashion darling, could not recall who made her gown. “Basta, taga-Maynila (someone from Manila),” she told reporters.
Actress Lucy Torres-Gomez came with her husband, actor Richard Gomez, wearing a champagne-colored cocoon serpentine terno by Randy Ortiz that had baroque basket-weave callado and embossed flower embroidery.
Angeline Lee-Tupas, wife of House justice committee chair Niel Tupas Jr., wore an off-white stylized barong over a magenta gown by Edgar Santiago.
Wearing Laurel gowns were Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco’s wife, Yulia, in an eggplant purple gown with embroidery cutouts, and Jenny Montejo, wife of An Waray Rep. Neil Benedict Montejo, who wore a serpentine terno of nude tulle embellished with lilac embroidery.
Early bird Joni Villanueva-Tugna, wife of Cibac Rep. Sherwin Tugna, donned a cobalt blue satin gown, a modern take on the tapis by Jo Rubio of Bulacan province.
Cecile Guidote-Alvarez wore an aqua Maria Clara from Tesoro’s.
Kitchie Ridon, wife of Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon, wore a strikingly simple terno with a beige bodice and black skirt by Toby Albrando.
Former Cibac Rep. Kim Bernardo-Lokin wore an apple green Aureo Alonzo that offset her gold necklace.
Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao went for a monochromic terno by cause-oriented favorite Joel Azebuche, whom her colleague former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros also chose for her dramatic white jusi barong over a black sheath gown.
Quezon City Rep. Alfredo Vargas III’s wife Yasmine’s bold lip color contrasted sharply with her mint green terno by Stephanie Gan.
Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson’s precocious daughter Samantha (“call me Ariel”) and her cousin Elise (“call me Cinderella”), daughter of Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Singson, elicited “oohs” and “ahs” with their red-carpet debut. Both wore similar-looking dresses in cream.
Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia wore an old rose, off-shoulder number by Philip Rodriguez that she paired with a brass and mother-of-pearl minaudiere.
Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita “Ging” Suansing chose an Aseron nude gown with red embroidery, while Senate President Franklin Drilon’s wife, Mila, wore a yellow outfit with an opera-length pearl necklace.
Easily a head-turner was actress Assunta de Rossi, who walked the red carpet without her husband, Negros Occidental Rep. Julio Ledesma, a frequent absentee in House sessions.
Other attention-grabbers were Diwa Rep. Em Aglipay, who came in Boom Sazon’s body-hugging, cream-colored, neoprene terno with strategic cutouts on the sleeves and back, and model-socialite Bambi del Rosario, who posed for photographers in a blue green Mikado silk terno with a serpentine silhouette and draped bodice.
As expected, lawmakers from several cause-oriented party-list groups wore their politics on their sleeves, as they donned peach-colored barong, terno and outfits to call for President Aquino’s impeachment.
“Dapat managot lahat ng sangkot (Those who are involved must answer for it),” chanted party-list Representatives Emmi de Jesus, Luz Ilagan, Neri Colmenares, Antonio Tinio, Carlos Zarate and actress Juana Change.
“We’re supporting [the President’s] impeachment on the basis of Edca and the DAP,” De Jesus said.
Edca, or the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, with the United States aims to boost the defense capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines amid regional territorial disputes.–With a report from Tetch Torres, INQUIRER.net