I am an optimist at heart, so I fervently pray this disruptive and deadly COVID-19 ceases to infect more victims, and that scientists finally develop a vaccine for mass distribution very soon!
Just before the outbreak, our Assumption High School (HS) ’81 classmates had a trip to Bali. It was a hectic travel day for me because I had to pass by Ternocon 2020, the Bench and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) show, before my flight.
The terno is our national dress, getting a new and exciting rebirth thanks to the biennial Ternocon. The iconic butterfly-sleeve fashion look gives off an undeniable, Filipino, cultural value.
Ternocon, started by Bench founder Ben Chan, brings together people from all walks of life, including the hands that make the terno what it is—artisans, embroiderers, beaders and weavers. It creates dialogue among designers, and between students and mentors. Bench and the CCP created this platform to bring back our national dress to the modern fashion scene. Ternocon also enhances “Love Local,” the Pinoy-focused campaign of Bench.
CCP chair Margie Moran-Floirendo told me that Ternocon is a program that ensures the preservation, appreciation and promotion of the national dress. One of the past Ternocon mentors, JC Buendia, shared how he loves designing terno for everyday wear, and not just for formal events
Ternocon 2020 mentors Lesley Mobo, Philip Rodriguez and Ivar Aseron, who have been mentoring contestants since April, and Ternocon 2018 grand winner Marlon Tuazon showed a 10-piece collection during the presscon. London-based Lesley, also a previous designer for the Red Charity Gala, opened the main fashion show with his dramatic and stunning pieces. It was an amalgamation of Spanish, Chinese and Japanese influences. The terno is a silhouette, a perfect representation of what a modern Filipina is.
Cebu-based Philip comes from a more occasion-based way of wearing the terno. His collection had bright, bold colors with unique accents. He created some terno to be worn separately like a bolero. His red-and-black silk taffeta, double-face satin, and tulle look with tassels is decidedly flamenco-inspired. He designed with Spain in mind for next year’s celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Spanish “discovery” of the Philippines, five centuries of Christianity, and for us, the first Filipino victory when Lapu-Lapu overwhelmed Magellan.
Ivar, a modernist, presented the most contemporary collection. I liked his white, two-piece terno comprising a crew-neck tunic and wide-legged trousers with black sheer panels in patterns typically found in traditional Filipino weaves, topped off with starkly contrasting buttons down the tunic’s back.
I was extremely excited about watching Ivar’s collection because he is our Red Charity Gala 2020 featured designer. My partner Kaye Tiñga told me Ivar will surely come up with something very different from our past designers.
Chief mentor Inno Sotto shared that the aim of Ternocon is to create interest in wanting to wear the look. The judges this year are Bench founder and Ternocon chair Ben Chan, designer Chito Vijandre and past mentors Len Cabili, Cary Santiago and JC Buendia.
My favorite was silver winner Jaggy Glarino of General Santos. He was also one of three winners of Bench Design Awards in 2017. He rightly brought showmanship in his all-white collection, “Malaya.”
Assumption HS ’81 in Bali
Straight from Ternocon wearing a beautiful purple terno set by Anthony Ramirez, I headed to the Philippine Airlines terminal for my flight to Bali. Thank goodness my BFFs Popsie Gamboa and Tessa Alindogan already checked in my luggage so I made the flight just in time to board.
Bali is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, truly an “Island of the Gods.” It’s a big island so our high school batch enjoyed the different temples and markets all over, especially the art galleries in Ubud, night shopping in Seminyak and happy hour in Ku De Ta.
We especially loved a new place we discovered, the Green Village, a “master planned” community of 18 dramatically unique, bamboo homes, hand-constructed by the Ibuku team along the Ayung River. We also loved a restaurant called Bebek Bengil, or Dirty Duck, in Ubud. The restaurant backs onto a pretty rice field, thus providing multiple photo opportunities to intersperse with the food. Our group’s best photos were at the Ubud Palace, which dates from the 1800s. The complex includes the palace as well as gorgeous gardens and ornate architectural features.
Between all the touring and shopping and eating and shopping again, we totally enjoyed our Sundari Day Spa treatments and chilling in our beautiful Villa Drisana in Seminyak. I highly recommend Made Nata of Nata de Coco Travel as the most helpful and informative tour guide and driver. Check him out on Facebook. He also has great shopping and IG photo tips!
Fundraising for Taal
While I was in Bali, the 6th Wilcon Cup was held at Forest Hills Golf and Country Club, Antipolo City. The Wilcon Depot Charity Golf Tournament raised funds for communities affected by the Taal Volcano eruption.
It was heartwarming that Wilcon Depot, the Philippines’ leading home improvement and construction supply retailer, was so immediately focused on alleviating the effects on the communities affected by the eruption. Funds will provide continuous relief missions in assisting the thousands of displaced families in the provinces of Batangas, Cavite and Laguna.
Held last Jan. 29, the tournament had the largest attendance, with more than 150 valued suppliers and industry partners participating to make the event a big success. My main regret about missing this year’s Wilcon Cup is missing a round of golf with my fave hunk Derek Ramsay. Hopefully next year, I will get to watch him make a couple of birdies!