MANILA, Philippines - Politicians and celebrities are expected to make a fashion statement in this year's State of the Nation Address (SONA) to be held on Monday afternoon at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
Actress-turned-lawmaker Lani Mercado will wear a barong by award-winning Filipino designer Rajo Laurel, while Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera will don a gown made of white silk mesh with a yellow ribbon, a symbol closely associated with President Benigno Aquino III's parents, at the left chest.
Former Akbayan party-list representative Risa Hontiveros, who wore a hand-painted tapis (a single piece of cloth worn as a garment) last year, will arrive the Batasang Pambansa wearing a "modern take" on Filipiniana attire by local designer Joel Acebuche.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño, meanwhile, will attend the SONA in a barong inspired by one of his pet advocacies, the Freedom of Information Bill, which still remains pending in Congress.
Last year, he wore a statement barong that renewed his call to stop political killings in the country.
Despite the emergence of new designs each year, the classic terno (primarily composed of a blouse, long skirt and a shawl) remains a mainstay in the so-called SONA red carpet.
Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay is expected to wear a black and gold terno by Josie Ronario, while Lanao del Norte Rep. Aliah Dimaporo will don a hand-painted piña blouse and sequined malong (tube skirt) by Patis Tesoro.
Among those who stood out in last year's SONA are Jinkee Pacquiao, wife of boxing champ and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, who wore a pink terno with crystals and beads by Pepsi Herrera; Audrey Tan-Zubiri, former model and wife of Senator Miguel Zubiri, who came in a simple pink terno by Inno Sotto; and celebrity mom-turned-congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez who donned a blue terno with embellishments by Randy Ortiz.
Those whose gowns looked "inappropriate" were Hontiveros and senators Pia Cayetano and Loren Legarda. -- With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News