When I wear something native, some people are so “aliw” or amused to see something fresh and new. This was one of those cases when my photo junkie friend John Ed was so amused, he started clicking away. The ever-obliging posing fiend that I am, I did as many silly/ fashion/ crazy poses for him. Sometimes though, I get funny looks for wearing native stuff and even questions like, “Are you Ifugao?” (since this is an Ifugao top)

No, I’m not but I’m Filipino and Ifugaos are Filipinos too.

Many Ifugaos would argue with that. They would rather just be Ifugaos and not Filipinos. Honestly, I would be proud to be an Ifugao. They are part of the Northern Cordilleran cultural groups who have managed to keep their culture intact mostly because they were unreachable by the Spaniards. Why would you want to keep that rich heritage cooped up when we can all celebrate it? When an American dons a Sari from India or a Kimono from Japan, she’s showing an appreciation of the culture.

This “barriotic” mentality is prevalent all over the country. People are protective of their culture in a way that kills it. But now is a different time, the West doesn’t encroach upon us by the might of their swords but by their ideas. They conquer us with their fashion and style using their red carpets and runways. And I’m not saying, block them out by all means. Let’s welcome Western culture but let’s not neglect our own. There’s New York. There’s London. There’s Milan. But there’s Manila. And Cebu. And Baguio too. The best inspiration is right here at home. We just need to go out and look around.

I’m wearing an Ifugao top, Delia’s minidress, and Geox black shoes.
Thank you to John Ed De Vera for the photos. (And to Nolan for the pose coaching.)