Sunday, 25 January 2015

Iloilo Provincial Capitol Festival Costume Exhibit for Dinagyang



Breath taking beadworks with local abaca and pandan twine. Pendant is made from bamboo! I remember a similar exquisite work when young designer Jojie Lloren won the Grand Prix ( Grand Prize) at the Concourse International des Jeunes Creteurs de Mode in Paris, France as delegate of the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines. 
The Iloilo Provincial Office through its Tourism Planning Office was able to pull a beautiful exhibit of the costumes of Dinagyang from several past participants and I enjoyed it a lot, so did many visitors, mostly Ilonggos. What elated me most is that the children and their parents enjoyed the experience much more than they would see the street performance where one can not see much.

The entire experience is that one can touch the costumes and look at it closely. I did. I was amazed with the craftsmanship and details of the works. What  is amazing was the use of local materials. The ethnic Filipino patterns that bridge our modern thinking  with our past.

The colors were so  tropically alive and it was just perking up the Filipino fondness for what is festive. I will try to present some picture essay here.

On the other hand, perhaps, this exhibit is a testimony that Filipinos can do their own costumes well, too, with the advent of the disappointments of Filipinos with the national costume of our Miss Universe 2014 representative  which was created by Colombian designer Alfredo Barraza. What he designed may be ok in form as a mestiza or terno cut but the materials were downright cheap and un-Filipino. In the first place, Filipinos are not noted for using roses used in that said costume. Ours is more ethnic prints, stripes, callado, bead work and handloom.  While these intricate works on exhibit are mostly done by non-designers, I guess done by local community members and schools,  looking at the works,  they express the true essence and spirit of what is Filipino creativity in costume design which is detailed handcrafted embellishments.

The quality was not as tip top, but it is all about creativity. The artisanal spirit was impressive. 

Although, the silhouettes are really fantasy, rather than indigenous, although some reflected our tribal forms from North to South of the Philippines,  the collections were outstanding specially those using our local weave “hablon” and “patadyong”.  As a note, the Dinagyang festival costumes, should be categorized into “fantasy” design, those with influences of Africa or Latin American and the other is “indigenous” design, those which are really Filipino tribal, folkloric, colonial and regional. Dinagyang should consider these two categories in order not to confuse our young people since Ati-atihan is about the nomadic Aetas who wear only “patadyong” and “bahag” (loin cloth). Somehow the Dinagyang is becoming like a Brazilian mardigras---except those with design sensibilities like the original tribes of Barotac Nuevo Iloilo who once came only in their “bahag”.  

I was once asked how to create a distinct Filipino costume, and I said, it has to be material first and then material manipulation next  with our own indigenous resources –something that is truly ours like coconut beads, abaca, pineapple fiber, raffia or bamboo, as some costumes with Asian or Hispanic origins have some things in common.
 I learned there was a n exhibit of all of the Philippine festival costumes on the same venue but I missed that one as they were taken to the streets which is also a fantastic idea. The Philippine festival costumes certainly are the richest, most diverse and most beautiful one could imagine. They, too, tell many stories of who we are and give us a sense of pride as a Filipino race.

I must congratulate Mr Bombette Marin and his team at the Iloilo Provincial Office of Tourism for this exhibit. What a joy to see many families with their kids were happy to see---and touch---the soul of Iloilo in these well made festival costumes. 

artistc use of dyed coconut beads

woven pandan leaves as borders and intricate bead work


Amazing bead work

grass skirt with hemline of ethnic handloom fabrics. the top is exqusitely detailed in ethnic bead work 
beautiful dying technique on Philippine fiber --raffia
Local fiber "raffia" in ombre dyed technique. The costume reminds us of the Ivatans.Dong Omaga Diaz , whose entry through the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines, was made of beautiful raffia jacket won one of the major awards  at the Concourse International des Jeunes Creteurs de Mode in Paris, France. 






use of "salapid" ( braided ) palm fan leaves or pandan 

captivating bead work

Truly Ilonggo using our own handloom "patadyong"  in a stylized "saya" ( skirt) and "alampay" ( shawl)

Patadyong and use of upcycled discared fabrics

layered pattern on pattern


texture and weaving wonders of a Filipino "salakot"--a local straw hat

the rythmn of Philippine ethnic colors and movement

Iloilo, the textile capital of the Philippines during the Spanish period, has "hablon" which is handloom fabric used in this costume. It has also its own indigenous needle craft used here. 

Details of coconut beads and local weave "patadyong"

Coconut shells, dyed and interprets a Filipino skill in beadwork

the exquisite details of a hemline using  Philippine textiles and prints



Here the base fabric is dyed woven jute


Batik embellished with dye wood beads and trimmed with braided palm leaves "pandan" 

the primitive look made modern

Philippine flag as a motif

belt is made from handwoven "banig" with coconut shell rings and pandan 


This uses pineapple leaves twine from Guimaras Island

Filipino antique beads reproduction with delicate etchings of tribal patterns

Manila Hemp known also as Philippine abaca is used as cording details here

The lovely detail of ethnic print and bead work

How wonderful to see  these young Filipinos in Iloilo loving and touching these locally made festival costumes.
Local residents loved the exhibit as the costumes were just so intimate to them and they can inter-act with them.
A boy matches the colors of the Ati-atihan mask with his head cap



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