Mariana Zobel-Aboitiz turned heads in her Gabbie Sarenas Balintawak as she entered the Greenbelt 5 Gallery for the opening of the Ternocon III: Ang Balintawak Ngayon exhibit.
Was she wearing pants, or a skirt? She looked effortlessly cool in her six-piece outfit as she led the parade to Ayala Museum then to Glorietta Activity Center despite the heat.
That’s because the balintawak is made exactly for daytime wear in the summer, composed of light, removable layers for journeys near or far. Its characteristic butterfly sleeves are decidedly more relaxed than the Maria Clara, which is appropriate for evening formal or cocktail gatherings. The tapis can be as long as a contemporary skirt or as short as an elaborate belt while the alampay can be accessorized like a scarf, pinned on the shoulder or fixed around the head—the options are endless.
Led by Bench founder and Suyen Corporation CEO Ben Chan and Cultural Center of the Philippines chairperson Margie Moran with artistic director Gino Gonzales, Ternocon III put the spotlight on the balintawak. During the competition gala at the CCP main theater, Zobel-Aboitiz marveled as she saw all the possibilities. She knew more people had to see them up close. One of these possibilities was a timely comeback for Bravo! Filipino.
During the Glorietta ribbon-cutting, Fernando Zobel de Ayala explained, “In 2008, our chairman emeritus Jaime Zobel de Ayala envisioned a grand cultural festival—a series of activities that celebrated and honored the very best Filipino talents and the various areas of performing and visual arts, food, fashion, and more. Fueled by this innate love and passion for the arts, Bravo! Filipino came to life.”
Zobel-Aboitiz shared, “For us, this is a special ode to him. We’re so grateful to the Bench group and Gino Gonzales and the CCP for making this happen.”
With Bench and CCP, 26 looks were spread throughout Ayala Center in Makati in a three-part exhibition. Ternocon III mentor Dennis Lustico’s collection was at Greenbelt 5 Gallery while Ternocon III mentors Ricky Toledo and Chito Vijandre’s ternos—complete with a real jukebox— were at the Ayala Museum. Ternocon chief mentor Inno Sotto, Ternocon III mentor Joey Samson, and Ternocon 2020 gold medalist Hannah Adrias were at Glorietta Palm Drive Activity Center, while the 13 Ternocon III contestants were at the Glorietta Activity Center.
The exhibit is just the beginning. This weekend, Bravo! Filipino goes to Cebu and Davao afterward. There will be a live performance featuring the American Ballet Theatre and our very own Cecile Licad at Ayala Center Cebu on April 22 and Ayala Malls Abreeza on April 23. As part of the program’s vision to connect artists with a wider audience, the show is free to all mall-goers. Cebuanos and Davaoeños, why not show up in a modern balintawak?