This article appeared in a Dubai-based magazine few years back. Allow me to share this again.
Social events provide countless ways for Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates to showcase, once again, the pride through their dresses.
“We don’t follow the trend. We set the trend.” These were the words of the stylish Marcoses decades ago. The same sentiment reverberated in the head of Iman Mary Rose Suguitan, a Kabayan of the Year awardee, the moment she realized only the few of them thought that a Filipiniana was worthy of a Filipiniana event.
“This is my first terno and I do believe I love it! I need to understand more the mechanics of the butterfly sleeves so it looks more Imeldific and less crumpled the perfect fabric next time and the beading.”
Emphasized Iman, who is a clock builder at Ahsant Beauty & Arts LLC, seven days prior to May 9, she and her sister Luchie went on a zero-salt, low carb diet. “I lost one kilogram! Surely it’s water and not fat but being able to breathe in your gown was worth the sacrifice.”
And even beyond the nationalistic ideals, the barong and the terno are stylishly beautiful! What with the barong with its floating, earthy character and the terno with its long elegance and the “wings” which seem almost playful.
Iman says she’s already excited thinking of a next event where she could wear a terno. “There are so many options as long as one is creative. You may alter the beading; think of silhouette, think of fabric, heavy, or diaphanous, smaller wings, neckline…”
Luchie Suguitan who wore a blue terno said she does not understand why some Pinoys think it’s a ‘costume’ used in school programs only when it’s regal and respectable. “We’ve gone too casual and way too foreign!”
She’s inspired to wear a Filipiniana attire because that makes her proud of her country. “I am a Filipina. What I wear reflects the beauty and essence of being a courageous woman who defies conventionalities to be able to emerge triumphant. But that does not mean that I will traverse the wrong way as that would make me different.”
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THE BLOGGER. Ulysses Espartero is a journalist, historian and book author who traces his roots from two Philippine jewels – Laguna and Antique. While in Dubai, he enjoyed his expat life documenting the struggles and victories of migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council states. In 2014, he released Precious Gems in a Desert of Gold, the first and only coffee table book about Filipino achievers in the United Arab Emirates. Connect with him on facebook.