Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Last June 5, SM Lanang Premier launched Davao’s first exhibit on the Barong Tagalog to raise awareness on the beauty and cultural preservation of our traditional heritage in the midst of modernization and globalization. Dubbed as “Passionalism,” the exhibit at the mall’s atrium featured Architect Michael Dakudao’s collection which is, as he would put it, an artistic collaboration amongst the piña and sinamay weavers of Iloilo and the fashion designers, tailors, and visual artists from Davao.
I have always identified Michael Dakudao with a flamboyant and ornate Barong Tagalog. I always see him in socials adorned in wearable Filipino art, be it for weddings, corporate functions, or events. In formal gatherings where coat / suit and tie are a common denominator among men, Mr. Dakudao always stands out in an intricately designed Barong Tagalog.
His involvement and passion in Filipino culture stem from his lineage and background in the arts. One of his cousins is no less than the very talented and multi-awarded choreographer, Agnes Locsin. Mr. Dakudao found deeper connection with the national costume while taking up a Doctorate Degree in Architecture at the Tokyo University, where the Filipino fashion art and craftsmanship was wonderfully received by one of the professors. Such approbation fortified Mr. Dakudao’s esteem for the Barong Tagalog and it reminded him to wear the national attire with dignity and pride.

Mr. Dakudao has been featured in many publications for his insatiable passion for collecting Barong Tagalog, particularly those made from sinamay and piña, adorned with handmade embroidery and beading.

Mr. Dakudao expounded more on this national heritage and the story of his collection. “Filipinos are the only lineage who’s known distinctly around the world for having pineapple fibers as the national attire. Since my return from Tokyo, I would travel all the way to Iloilo just to get good quality and artistically-made piña and sinamay fabrics in various colors from the highly respected Cecilia Gison-Villanueva of Arevalo town’s century-old House of Sinamay. For me, every piece of woven piña and sinamay is a labor of love as the process of making it is painstakingly tedious.”

“This exhibit should give attention and appreciation back to our own fashion designers namely Garimon Roferos, Otoy Mercado, Jao Tarepe, Alfonso Guino-o, and Rene Salud. This is also one opportunity to take notice of the execeptional works of tailor Jamie Laran, the ingenious embellishers Mae and Carmaela Braceros-Alcantara, jewelry designer Ann Tiukinhoy-Pamintuan, and visual artist Anoy Catague.” 

“Garimon’s obsession in producing one of a kind design to update the Barong Tagalog is evident in his creation of the luxuriously beaded and feathered peacock barong which he made in Dubai where he now resides.”
“Veteran designer, Rene Salud, creatively spruced up my vintage 1930’s black piña cloth embroidered with multi-colored sunburst patterns in silk into a classic Barong Tagalog.”

“Another notable piece in my collection is Otoy Mercdo’s classic burgundy-colored piña barong which features eye-catching Japanese Art Deco brass buttons.”

“Then there’s one here by multi-awarded designer Joao Tarepe. For this piece, he enhanced the otherwise classic embroidery pattern with tiny bugle beads to create a subtle glitter.” 
“To showcase the beauty of Mindanao’s indigenous tribes’ cultural expression in distinctive tribal fashion, Mae and Carmaela Braceros Alcantara created unique pieces by utilizing coco beads, mother of pearl disks, and natural black and white pearls. The stylish Alcantara barongs are multi-dimensional as they are multi-cultural in lavish execution of the mother-daughter team.
“Visual artist Anoy Catague hand painted a Bagoba maiden on a Barong Tagalog from Kultura. This colorful rendition of nature on linen helped define Barong Tagalog as truly Filipino in nature.” 
“Jaime Laran’s technique in creating beautifully structured barongs speaks of precise patterns, sharp silhouettes, and a passionate and great familiarity with the creation of the national attire.”

In her own speech, Mall Manager Therese Lapeña – Manalo concluded, “This barong exhibit is a platform for promoting our national identity and appreciation not only for our national costume. We hope that this will also translate to a higher regard for our history, culture, art, music, literature and all things Filipino. Living in a country that has been very much influenced by Western culture, we need to hold on to something that is truly ours, a symbol of nationalism that will stand the test of time. This exhibit will allow us to take pride in that and be a catalyst for preserving this interesting facet of Philippine culture and art. I sincerely hope that through this exhibit, we can learn a lot about Philippine fabric and embroidery, and gain a deeper admiration and respect for the quality of garments made in the Philippines, especially those made in Davao.”
Story published on my newspaper column, Metro Mom.
A1, INdulge section, Edge Davao, Vol. 6 Issue 63, 12 June 2013.





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