Fashion Breakthroughs: Ternocon III Broadens the Cultural Landscape of Philippine Couture | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Ternocon Fashion Designs of Joey Samson
Ternocon Fashion Designs of Joey Samson

Since its inception in 2018, Ternocon, a collaborative effort by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Bench, has made a significant impact in raising awareness of traditional dress. Elevating the Philippine terno, the highly anticipated competition challenges designers to push the boundaries of couture creation.

For this edition of Ternocon, the competition celebrates the “Balintawak” terno. Unlike the classic Maria-style terno with its full skirt and dramatic butterfly sleeves, the Balintawak terno has a shorter, narrower skirt and more practical sleeves. The blouse is usually lightweight, made of cotton or silk, and used every day or for trips to the countryside. Worn by Filipinas during the Spanish colonial era, it became a symbol of resistance against Spanish and American colonial rule. Today, it has transformed into a symbol of pride, sometimes used at rallies or public events. It is regularly worn by traditional dance troupes and performers. Many lawmakers and officials wear the dress during their sessions, helping to keep the traditional style alive.

Ternocon designs of Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo at Ayala Museum
Designer-mentors Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo celebrate maximalism, multi-culturalism, and camp with homage to the iconography of ’70s and ’80s pop culture kitsch
Fashion designer Dennis Lustico for ternocon 2023 at Greenbelt 5
Mentor Dennis Lustico works with a variety of patterns, connecting different materials like point d’esprit lace and taffeta

The Mall-Wide Exhibit of “Ang Balintawak Ngayon”

While the first in-person competition in two years was held last January, the launch of the exhibit “Ternocon III: Ang Balintawak Ngayon” helped bring the heritage to a wider audience. The mall-wide exhibit happened at the Greenbelt 5 Gallery, Ayala Museum, Glorietta Activity Center, and Glorietta Palm Drive Activity Center from April 12 to 16.

With over 60 pieces and creations, mall-goers had the chance to marvel at our local designer’s creativity. The opening was marked with the air of a provincial fiesta. Each stop on the tour had giant paper-mâché Higante puppets from original artisans in Angono, Rizal. All the way from Batangas, dancers from the Likhang Sining Dance Company regaled audiences with their perfectly coordinated, widely-smiling performances. Guests could partake in snacks from a taho stand or opt for kuya’s cheese, chocolate or ube sorbetes.

The culturally enriching mall walk marked the comeback of BRAVO! Filipino, a program initiated in 2008 by Ayala Chairman Emeritus Jaime Zobel de Ayala. “There is a wealth of untapped world-class talent among our countrymen,” he said, “as well as vast opportunities that Filipinos have if we continue to support each other.”

Joey Samson designs Ternocon III 2023 with top hat
Ternocon III Mentor Joey Samson drew inspiration from Jose Rizal and his many muses, including his nine romantic partners and his mother Teodora. He fuses the language of menswear, like a tophat, with traditional womenswear in a billowing dress
Dress designs of Ternocon 2020 Gold Medal Winner Hannah Adrias
Ternocon 2020 Winner and Gold Medalist Hannah Adrias proposed a dystopian vision with distressed materials and a muted, earthy palette that curved over the models

Ternocon III Contestants

The Ternocon contestants took centerstage with 2020 Gold Medalist Hannah Adrias, Ternocon Chief Mentor Inno Sotto, and Ternocon III mentors Chito Vijandre, Ricky Toledo, Dennis Lustico, and Joey Samson. At the Glorietta activity center were the designs of the thirteen Ternocon III contestants, namely: 

Amor Albano (Ilocos Norte), Glyn Alley Magtibay (Oriental Mindoro), Bon Hansen Reyes (Rizal), and Gabbie Sarenas (Rizal) from Luzon; Bree Esplanada (Cebu), Karl Nadales (Iloilo), Al Rey Rosano (Negros Oriental), and Marc Carcillar (Iloilo) from the Visayas; Glady Rose Pantua (Zamboanga) from Mindanao; Yssa Inumerable (Parañaque), Cheetah Rivera (Quezon City), and Dee Javier (Manila) from the National Capital Region (NCR); with semifinalist Geom Hernandez (Batangas) and Gold Medal Pacita Longos Awardee (Paranaque). 

Since the first competition in 2018, designers have continued to blend old elements with new ideas, making sure the beauty of local fashion stays relevant in the country’s identity. As the Ternocon competition continues to inspire creativity and embrace cultural pride, the future of traditional Filipino dress styles looks bright.

Bree Esplanada Ternocon III dress designs
From Cebu, contestant Bree Esplanada takes after Philippine lore, with hints of mythical creatures of the night like a printed image of the tikbalang (a half-horse, half-man monster) on the fabric
Inno Sotto designs for Ternocon III 2023
Ternocon Chief Mentor Inno Sotto presents timelessly elegant designs
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