[SEEN AT THE SONA: Celebrities and politicians attended President Aquino’s SONA in force yesterday. Clockwise, from left: actress Heart Evangelista, clad in an Ivar Aseron, accompanies Sen. Francis Escudero; Sen. Paolo Benigno and his wife, Timi; Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, in a Randy Ortiz gown, and STAR columnist Mons Romulo, in a Dennis Lustico creation; Sen. Cynthia Villar, in a Noli Hans gown; Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano, wearing an Onin Pagsisihan; Sen. Grace Poe, in a Rajo Laurel gown; and Makati Rep. Abby Binay, in another Aseron creation, accompanied by her husband, Luis Campos.]

MANILA, JULY 29, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Helen Flores - Female lawmakers showcased indigenous fabrics and expressed their advocacies in the gowns they wore at the joint session of Congress for President Aquino’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa yesterday.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan put forward the plight of indigenous communities and the increasing threats to indigenous life and lands amid Charter change initiatives through her gown.

Ilagan donned a straight-cut fuchsia gown topped with a Filipiniana bolero made of T’nalak, an indigenous cloth woven by Manobo and T’boli tribes in Southern Mindanao.

Neophyte lawmaker Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis party-list wore an embroidered and hand-painted barong made by visual artist Lorena Pacampara.

“This year, I will not wear my usual SONA rally outfit of shirt, denim pants and sandals. I will not carry a placard. I’ll be wearing a barong tagalog, with conviction to be the voice of workers and farmers in the elite-dominated Congress,” Hicap said.

Dinagat Island Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, meanwhile, was dressed in a princess cut Filipiniana gown by Joel Acebuche.

Bag-ao said her outfit reflected her priority legislation, including the national land use and management, forest resources and alternative minerals management bills.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon was clad in a simple barong with a sablay designed by activists depicting the plight of urban poor and students.

Senators glam up

Sen. Loren Legarda’s outfit was made of Nabal abaca cloth.

“My SONA outfit represents the artistry of our Mindanao indigenous peoples. I’m wearing a skirt called ginayan that was woven using the Bagobo abaca ikat weaving technique called inabal. The skirt was formed using dyed abaca fibers, red dye is from the bark of apatot tree, black dye is from leaves of mabolo and turmeric for the yellow color,” she explained.

Legarda wore the attire of the ethnic Gaddang group of the Mountain Province during the opening of the Senate session.

“My outfit represents ‘fashionalism’, fashion and nationalism,” she said.

Sen. Grace Poe donned a white Rajo Laurel creation during the SONA. She wore an off-white long gown with gold embroidery, designed by Kristel Yulo of Bacolod, during the Senate session.

Renowned designer Randy Ortiz made the sea foam green gown made of piña fabric that Sen. Nancy Binay wore at the opening of Senate session.

Sen. Cynthia Villar wore an orange modern kimona with a wraparound lacy tapis over orange chiffon gown created by her cousin Noli Hans.

At the SONA, Villar wore a skin tone gown with an asymmetrical drape of mocha French tulle, which was accented by a swag of orange chiffon.

In the morning session, Sen. Pia Cayetano wore a backless vintage 1950s-inspired black and nude jersey and stretch tulle gown with layered hem.

For the joint session, Cayetano wore a black modern Filipiniana silk gown with black braided accents on the bodice. Mia Urquico designed Cayetano’s gowns.

Leyte Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez wore a blue grey terno by Ortiz.

The widow of former interior secretary Jesse Robredo, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, arrived in a black terno.

Meanwhile, the President’s SONA serves as an annual fashion event for politicians and their wives, as well as some celebrities.

Makati City Rep. Abigail Binay, daughter of Vice President Jejomar Binay, donned a piña terno with black lace as accent created by Ivarluski Aseron. – With Christina Mendez

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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