LOOK: UP students dress the moon goddess, manananggal, and more in reimagined ternos

They look ravishing in their butterfly sleeves

If there is one thing to be happy about in the past years in the local fashion scene, it is the resurgence of the terno. Long before, the Philippine National Dress was thought to go extinct due as women find it unsuitable for modern lifestyle. Today, the ternos are brought out of the closet, not only for high society and formal events, but also for casual days. 

Thanks to the modern visionaries of the terno, even the young have taken notice of it, incorporating the butterfly sleeves in their wardrobe and selfies, thus prolonging the life of the dress in Philippine culture.

Among the institutions that foster the learning of terno heritage is the University of the Philippines, through its clothing textile program, under the College of Home Economics. 

Together with the UP CHE Costume Museum, which focuses on textile conversation and the preservation of the Filipino traditional clothing, the Clothing Technology students conducted a digital laboratory practicum last October. The groups of student were assigned a garment from the “baul.” Through photographic study and research, they pieced the garments together, and made illustrated reconstructions of their ensembles.

Check out some of the illustrations the students come up with for “From the Baul: Reconstruction.”

Reconstructed by: Rhaj Nortiza, Riva Quitevis, and Regine Yu

“This group reimagined the elegant Art Nouveau set on a manananggal of high influence with a dark past who preyed on corrupt officials at night. The fully-embellished ensemble was fit for a socialite during the carnivalesque 1930s, and quite an easy wear when disembodying herself after an evening’s soiree.”

Reconstructed by: Denise Camacho, Bianca Ruta, and Kira Tidon

“The students considered this ensemble as a middle class woman’s 'Sunday’s best' during the Philippine Industrialization, which gave rise to the middle class. Though minimal compared to high-end designer ternos, the garments have finely crafted embroidery and prints inspired by modern art. The sweeping silhouette of the saya de cola, too, reminded of the folk song Paru-parong Bukid, about a Filipina’s formal dress for church.”

Reconstructed by: Faye Bobis, Patricia Halos, and Immaculate Pamintuan

“For this terno, the students were inspired by the tale of the Bakunawa and the Seven Moons. Not only is this ensemble all white, the saya de cola has a “moonlight” shine to it. In the story, Bathala planted bamboo on the moon, giving its dark sports. This was to keep the serpent monster, Bakunawa, from eating the last moon, the magnificent Haliya. Hence, the gray floral embroidery on the pañuelo, manggas, and camisa further reminded them of this little lunar detail.”

Reconstructed by: Paul Andrew Domantay, Cristina Ferrer, and Julian Fernando Runio III

“Here we have a very tropical-themed terno with coconut trees in every piece. The baro is not the only cool garment in the set. Even the saya has wide lace panels and eyelet embroidery all over. The glamor of 1920s Hollywood clearly had an influence on the traje de mestiza, making it less bulky and more playful with its motifs. The coconut tree terno was possibly an early trendsetter to the 1950s tiki craze.”

Reconstructed by: Piper Cruzata, Anjanette Khong Hun, Jilleane Mariano, and Aeris Gabrielle Recillo

“This traje de mestiza is fit for the pageant ball. Its color, royal purple majesty, and arabesque filigree pattern give the wearer a glamorous air, and she even accessorizes with a matching abaniko. The Roaring Twenties influenced Filipina fashion, as evidenced by the flat butterfly sleeves and glittering motifs. This was the time when the Spanish-era traje de mestiza was evolving into the terno ensemble.”

Reconstructed by: Kyle Clarence Demot, China Monika Ho, Daniel Gene Nicholas Vilda, and Danielle Anne Vilda

“Quite a unique find in our collection is a terno set with Chinese art motifs, such as the shou symbol and flowers like the peony and chrysanthemum. Each has its own deep meaning in Chinese symbology. With its warm red color and good luck charms, the students reimagined the terno worn by an elegant mother for a special family event. Her child is even swaddled in a matching blanket.”

Visit @upche.costumemuseum to see more of the students' works.