Mindanao fashion designers had their share of fame and honor during President Rodrigo Duterte’s inauguration on June 30, 2016. Cagayan de Oro silk weavers and fashion designer however are the proudest. Duterte is the first president of the Republic of the Philippines who comes from Mindanao.
President Duterte wore a barong made of Mindanao silk on the day of his inauguration. The Mindanao silk is woven by the Ayala Beneficiaries Association Incorporated based in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental. The silk comes from a farmer’s cooperative based in Claveria Misamis Oriental who grow silk worms and process the silk into yarn. The luxurious Mindanao silk is sold at Laguindingan airport and is also made available for order online.
Cagayan de Oro based fashion designer Melody Mae Parrel-Pimental designed the simple barong with a Philippine flag emblazoned on the chest. Duterte has always emphasized and chosen simplicity, comfort (non-itchy fabric) and of course nationalism. Think the Philippine Flag. Mimi Pimentel’s boutique is located in Gaerlan-Capistrano Streets, Cagayan de Oro City, near the St. Augustine Cathedral.
Sebastian Duterte looked dashing as always with his barong made of Mindanao silk from Laguindingan Misamis Oriental and designed by the Davao Fashion and Design Council (DFDC). His barong has hand-embroidered ethnic pattern designs reflecting Mindanao’s diverse culture. Kate Necesario his partner, wore an elegant piña terno designed by the Council.
Inday Sara looked regal in her royal blue Filipiniana gown designed by Silverio Anglacer. Her mother, Elizabeth Zimmerman, ex-wife of President Duterte, wore Filipiniana-inspired gown designed by Anglacer.
Paolo wore a piña barong tagalog designed by Erwin Lee Tan with minimalist tribal motifs. He also dressed the whole family wife and children.
President Duterte’s partner Honeylet Avanceña and daughter Veronica wore gowns designed by Chardin’s Aries Escarilla. Chardin is Rody Duterte’s favorite couturier. His signature plaid polo shirts are designed and tailored by Chardin.
This year is truly remarkable for Mindanao fashion designers and fabric weavers. Duterte’s choice of fabric is not only sophisticated but also practical. It will help spark a growing interest and demand of Mindanao silk both locally and internationally.
A Mindanaon myself, and coming from Misamis Oriental, I am also proud and hopeful for the silk industry and for the men and women who are earning their livelihood from it.