MANILA, Philippines – The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is, more often than not, one of the most fashionable days of the year.
During this annual event, politicians, celebrities and guests come dressed in their best Filipiniana attire to listen to the current President’s SONA at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
Last year’s top picks on the SONA red carpet are expected to wow audiences once again on Monday, July 23, when President Benigno Aquino III delivers his most important speech for 2012.
Actress-turned-lawmaker Lani Mercado, who wore a stunning off-white terno last year, is expected to don a sari tailored jacket with a scarf skirt, both designed by Rajo Laurel, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Loren Legarda, known for her love for indigenous fabrics, is reportedly “torn” among her grandmother’s antique terno, outfits of the Tingguian and T’Boli tribes, and a piña gown designed by Paul Cabral.
In 2011, Legarda was simple yet elegant in her form-fitting tube gown, which she accentuated with a huge necklace and a white lace shawl.
|On the SONA 2011 red carpet: (Clockwise, from top left) Risa Hontiveros, Loren Legarda, Pia Cayetano and Lani Mercado.
Lucy Torres, another celebrity-turned-congresswoman, is widely seen to be wearing another Randy Ortiz creation, Inquirer reported. Citing Ortiz, the newspaper said the designer made an apricot full calado dress with piña overlay for Torres.
The wife of actor Richard Gomez is often included in “Best Dressed” lists of local magazines. In 2010, Torres donned a blue Ortiz terno with embellishments, which brought out her natural beauty.
As for television host and Presidential sister Kris Aquino, Ortiz said he does not know which of his creations she will be wearing for this year’s SONA.
“You know Kris, she might have other options,” he told Inquirer. Ortiz said he has designed a yellow off-shoulder kimono with a panuelo, and a teal gown for Kris.
Like Mercado, Kris wore an off-white terno in last year’s SONA.
Meanwhile, the daughters of Vice President Jejomar Binay are expected to wear a mix of Ortiz and another famous Filipino designer, Ivarluski Aseron, according to Inquirer.
The newspaper said Anne Binay-Alcantara will wear a powder blue piña gown with a modern tapis, while Nancy Binay-Angeles will don a T’nalak corseted terno.
Makati Rep. Abby Binay-Campos, meanwhile, is set to wear a lace terno by Aseron.
Of course, SONA would not be complete without the one-of-a-kind outfits, usually worn by members of militant groups or others who simply want to make a statement.
Among them are the wife of Deputy Speaker Raul Daza, Tessie, wore a bright orange and yellow gown to last year’s SONA as she expressed her support for President Aquino.
Her outfit was matched with a yellow purse, pearls and nails lacquered with the popular yellow ribbon associated with the Aquino family.
|Tessie Daza's yellow ribbon-inspired ensemble in last year's SONA.
Another is Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, who showed up two years ago in a barong Tagalog that was uniquely his -- it bore the words “Stop the Killings in the Philippines.”
It is also likely that there will be “recycled” pieces worn by guests on the SONA red carpet, such as those of Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay last year and actress Assunta de Rossi-Ledesma in 2010.
In separate interviews, Magsaysay and de Rossi-Ledesma said one does not need to spend a lot for something that will be worn only once.