Old and new fashion mix in Aquino's 2nd SONA

By Karen Flores, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Jul 26 2011 01:59 AM | Updated as of Jul 26 2011 09:20 PM

Clockwise, from top left: Risa Hontiveros, Loren Legarda, Pia Cayetano and Lani Mercado.

MANILA, Philippines - The State of the Nation Address (SONA) is, more often than not, one of the most fashionable days of the year.

Politicians, celebrities and guests came dressed in their best Filipiniana attire to listen to President Benigno Aquino III's second SONA at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

Most of them decided to play it safe, while others opted to make a fashion statement.

Among them is former Akbayan party-list representative Risa Hontiveros, who is known for wearing unconventional pieces such as last year's white hand-painted tapis (a single piece of cloth worn as a garment) with black embroidery. This year, she donned designer Joel Acebuche's modern take on the terno: a red orange tube top with matching pants and panuelo (a wide collar).

Hontiveros added touches of black to her ensemble with her sandals and purse.

Senator Loren Legarda was simple yet elegant in her form-fitting tube gown, which she accentuated with a huge necklace and a white lace shawl. Last year, she wore an off-shoulder baro (blouse) matched with an orange and purple saya (skirt), a look that did not sit well with some fashion experts.

Another senator, Pia Cayetano, made heads turn when she showed up in a shiny red and gray dress which she paired with a red purse, hoop earrings and 2 necklaces. The outfit, which she said represents the modern Filipina, is as chic as her black and white number last year.

Also giving her own twist to SONA wear is Deputy Speaker Raul Daza's wife, Tessie, whose get-up was inspired by the yellow ribbon, a symbol closely associated with President Aquino's late parents.

Her bright orange and yellow gown was matched with a yellow purse, pearls and nails lacquered with the popular peace sign.

Tessie Daza shows off her yellow ribbon-inspired ensemble.

Despite the emergence of new styles and designs, the classic terno remained a mainstay in this year's SONA red carpet.

The President's sister Kris Aquino, actress-turned-lawmaker Lani Mercado, and Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta looked stunning in their off-white ternos, while Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos was pretty in pink in her Filipiniana dress which she said she wore back when she was the Philippines' First Lady.

Clockwise, from top left: Assunta de Rossi, Heidi Mendoza, Imelda Marcos and Mitos Magsaysay.

Assunta de Rossi-Ledesma, wife of Negros Occidental Rep. Jules Ledesma and whistleblower Heidi Mendoza, on the other hand, preferred to come in dresses in blue and silver hues.

Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay, meanwhile, said she wore her old black and gold terno by Josie Ronario to show that she is not spending unnecessarily. She paired it with big gold jewelry, all of which which looked expensive.

Traditional or modern, old or newly bought, all of their gowns have certainly turned this year's SONA into a big fashion show. -- With reports from Niña Corpuz and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News