21 November 2007

My 'Personal' National Attire

Recently, I decided to find out what our national attire as Filipinos really was, mainly for the purpose of embarking on an advocacy to promote nationalistic pride through the use of attire as a medium.

Frustratingly, all roads led to the 'bahag' (loin cloth) or some other form of vestment inappropriate to be worn in contemporary times, especially in the big city.

I then posted a plea for help on one of my e-groups, LightShare. My good friend, Ed Aurelio "Ding" Reyes responded that the barong would instead be a better candidate. In spite of the fact that its roots can be traced no so far back, to the Spanish era, where our colonial masters insisted that it be worn by the Indios for the simple purpose that one could easily see through its thin material whether the wearer was armed. Their paranoia led to our acceptance and use of the barong to this very day. Ding added that the symbolism can be seen positively as well, as a sort of show of transparency not only of dress, but of inner strength or inherent character.

Many others responded that whatever attire one wears, as long as they are comfortable, should be sufficient. I beg to disagree. They completely missed the point. I wanted to define what it is we should wear to identify us as Filipinos, so that we become deliberate in our actions, for any good we do will be attributed to us being Filipinos and any ill actions are avoided at all costs lest we allow ourselves to bring shame to our country. An idealistic concept, I must admit, but one I subscribe to nonetheless.

After having a hearty dinner tonight at Evergreen, one of the few vegetarian places to dine in Makati and located at the Food Choices of Glorietta 4, my friend and I stumbled upon a magazine booth that sold a unique wrist trinket. It was made of abaca and manufactured by a group promoting nationalistic pride by wearing this abaca band. (More info can be found at http://www.yabangpinoy.com/)

Hey, I thought, this would be a great way to achieve the goals I set forth to do a few weeks ago while I was sorting my concept out. In fact, I am now considering supporting this movement in lieu of my own advocacy. I find their ideals genuine enough to merit my time and effort. Oh well, let us see what comes of it. I will start digging up more info on the movement.

In the meantime, I am adding this to the array of boodles already on my wrist. In addition to a copper band bearing the words "Hare Krishna" in sanskrit and another ornament made of native black wooden 'Kamagong' beads, which I thought would constantly remind me of my noble roots, the abaca band seems to fit nicely on my collection of increasingly confusing wrist "what-have-you's".

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