Heritage and style at the SoNA

Three of Daily Tribune’s top reporters, Michelle Guillang, Jomelle Garner and Edjen Oliquino, received the plum assignment to cover the much-awaited State of the Nation Address (SoNA) delivered by the President of the Philippines.

This year’s SoNA was doubly exciting because it marked the return to political power and ascendancy of the Marcos family.

Next to the inauguration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. the SoNA, as it has become generally called, was a most-awaited event for all kinds of reasons.

For those of us in the lifestyle section, the thrill of the coverage lay in the fashion choices of the attendees, from those of the first family to the legislators and their spouses.

Yet, equally important and exciting for us was how our own reporters would dress up for this “once in a lifetime assignment.”

Indeed, our ace reporters rose to the occasion, as it were, by wearing no less than the surprisingly mod outfits they chose at the iconic Tesoro’s department store, the country’s “go to” institution for Filipiniana wear.

Photography of Jomelle Garner




EDJEN Oliquino


Legendary entrepreneur

Thanks to Ms. Isabel Tesoro, whose mother, the late legendary entrepreneur, Mrs. Salud S. Tesoro, founded Tesoro’s, the Daily Tribune’s discriminating, smart and intellectually-gifted scribes were given the free rein in choosing their outfits at the store’s famous location on Antonio Arnaiz Avenue in the Makati commercial business district.

Allowed to “show off” their Tesoro›s outfits, they excitedly took their pick from the store’s selections and were surprised at the extent of the versatile choices, unique and modern at the same time reflective of world-class Filipino craftsmanship. Although 21st century in design, suiting the needs and preferences of our millennial reporters, these Filipiniana attires were made of indigenous textile, for which our country’s craftsmen and women have been known and admired for centuries.

Social Set, though Proust Redux, interviewed our Daily Tribune news reporters who gamely answered our questions. Indeed, this was a new experience for them, with Tesoro’s adding to the thrill of wearing something new yet traditional, and their answers reflecting not only their perSoNAl fashion choices but their impressive understanding of the lifestyle world.

TESORO’S has become one of the pillars of Philippine handicraft industry.

Trusted clothing brand

Michelle Guillang, who prefers to be called “Mish,” works as a reporter for the Daily Tribune, covering President Bongbong Marcos.
Mish shares that she has been with Daily Tribune “since 12 February 2020, just a month before the government-imposed community lockdowns. I felt blessed that I was able to snatch a job before Covid-19 hit. If not, I would have been stuck at home for a year.”

Daily Tribune (DT): How many SoNAs have you covered live?
Michelle Guillang (MG): I have covered at least two SoNAs. The sixth and the final State of the Nation Address of former President Rodrigo Duterte, and the first-ever SoNA of his successor, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

DT: Which part of the SoNA caught your attention?
MG: My favorite part of the SoNA was, of course, when the President started to deliver his speech. I prepared myself to listen to his address as early as 3:00 in the morning. I left home at 4 a.m. to travel to the Batasang Pambansa. I waited 12 hours for that moment. I needed to be on site as early as I could because we didn’t know what would happen between those hours. As a reporter, I should be able to report any happenings inside Congress.

So at exactly 4 p.m., President Marcos entered the plenary hall to deliver his speech. He discussed his goals for the country and plans to achieve them. He wanted to make the Philippines an investment destination.

SALUD Tesoro, a woman ahead of her time.


DT: Why did you choose Tesoro’s?
MG: We know for sure that Tesoro’s is very well-known for its quality and authentic embroidered crafts, but visiting their store and seeing their dresses and other garments in person was a memorable experience for me. When I entered their store, I really just couldn›t help but gasp. The quality of workmanship was so evident in every terno, barong, skirt, chaleco, and the handcrafted pieces of jewelry displayed. I can only imagine how much time our designers and dressmakers devoted to complete such quintessential apparels. What’s more interesting was that even Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri was wearing Tesoro’s for the SONA. The event was not only historic for President Marcos, but also for Senator Zubiri because it was the day that he was elected as Senate President, making him the third highest public official of the land. Tesoro’s is certainly a trusted clothing brand that you can always rely on for your momentous occasions.

DT: What do you like about what you wore?
MG: To be honest, I had a hard time choosing which dress I should wear for the SoNA, because there are too many designs and styles to choose from. There are embroidered blazers, modern-day terno dresses, gowns adorned with exquisite lace appliques, boleros, ponchos, skirts — crafts that are made from Piña-silk, Jusi and Cocoon, all with vibrant colors and intricate Filipino designs.
Thinking that it was going to be a very long day of coverage, I opted for a light and comfortable garment to wear, so I chose the terno top in blue. My fellow reporter, Edjen, and I chose blue tops because blue is our company’s brand color.

Combining Itneg and Maria Clara influences

DT: How would you compare your attire with those worn by others?
MG: Well, everybody in the Batasang Pambansa looked so good in their Filipiniana. It felt so good to celebrate our heritage through our clothing. But I think what set my attire apart from the others was that mine was classic-styled yet trendy. From what I have been told, what I chose was an Itneg handmade embroidered top with Maria Clara sleeves. While we know that Filipinos’ weaving tradition started way back from earlier than the Spanish colonial times, the top that I chose displayed a modern look and exuded a very fashion-forward sense.

DT: Given the chance, would you wear a Tesoro’s creation again?
MG: Yes! I love the fact that Tesoro’s has a wide selection of Filipiniana formal wear that complements any perSoNAl style. The intricate designs of their creations can blow anyone away. If you want to look your best, go to Tesoro’s.

DT: What is your dream Tesoro’s outfit?
MG: I want to wear a Filipniana dress that looks closest to the traditional dresses that our ancestors used to wear in the olden times. I’m curious how I would look when I wear the classic baro’t saya with the panuelo and tapis. I want to know how it would feel to wear the traditional outfit of Filipino women, which was then the symbol of virtue and nobility of the Filipina. For sure, it would feel like I were time-traveling.

DT: Did you look around? What Tesoro’s accessory caught your attention?
MG: Aside from the clothes, what caught my attention inside Tesoro’s store were the Filipino-themed souvenirs like bamboo tumblers, burlap abaca bags, and wooden
hand-painted yoyos and slingshots.
I found the miniature of unique Filipino stuff like the jeepneys, calesas, bahay kubo, and tricycle interesting, that we can give our foreigner friends.
I also found here things we use at home like dinnerware and organizers that are handwoven and made out of natural fibers.
Truly, Tesoros is a testament to the richness of the Filipino culture.

DT: Who was the best-looking guest or government official? Male — why?
MG: The most interesting barong that I saw was of House Speaker and Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez. He was wearing a barong with embroidery that showed the styles of the windows of the centuries-old Palo Cathedral in his home province. He said he wanted his barong to be designed that way to symbolize the opening of new opportunities for Filipinos under the new administration, being led by his cousin, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

DT: Who was the best-looking guest or government official? Female — why?
MG: I liked the outfit worn by Gabriela Women’s Party representative Arlene Brosas. To my surprise, I bumped into her when we rode the elevator at the same time hours before the SONA at the Batasang Pambansa. I was literally ‘starstruck,’ she was even more beautiful in person. That time, she donned a traditional Baro and Panuelo. She was wearing a
hand-painted black skirt. The artwork on her knee-length skirt represents the women’s struggle against the rising prices of basic commodities in the country. It’s good to see our lawmakers eagerly pushing for their advocacies.

DT: How would you describe your coverage of the SONA?
MG: Nothing compares to being able to witness firsthand a historic event for the Philippines.

DT: What is your advice to your officemate who will next cover the SONA?
MG: Prepare yourself for a whole day of coverage, store a lot of energy. Preparation is the key. Select a formal attire that is light and comfortable to wear.
(To be continued)



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