LIFESTYLE | FASHION

Freedom Ball frees Filipino sense of fun, fashion and Filipiniana

Michelle Baltazar

It is a Black Tie ball that doesn’t require a black tie, but, gentlemen, wear a ‘barong’ if you please and, ladies, show us what the ‘terno’ is all about.

It’s not everyday you get to be in a room full of people dressed in Philippine costumes or evening wear. But the APCO Freedom Ball, an annual gala dinner and dance, provided just that experience.

As the doors of the Grand Ballroom of Bankstown Sports Club opened, in came women in their ‘terno’, the traditional Philippine dress easily distinguished by their ‘butterfly’ sleeves, and men in their ‘barong’, the Philippine equivalent of a suit except it is made of translucent fabric (traditionally from pineapple or banana silk) and worn over an undershirt.

Raising the stakes, the organisers of the event held a costume competition, rounding up 21 of the ‘best dressed’ in the crowd.  But scouting the tables, there were at least a dozen others who could have made it to the pre-selection.

Special commendation also went to Rommel Catap for his creative take on the barong, wearing a ruffled full-sleeve shirt made of ‘jusi’ (banana silk) and paired with a penguin-style black jacket.

In the end, the judging panel, namely award-winning chef, community leader and talented dance performer Neria Soliman, lawyer and community leader Jess Diaz, hair and make up extraordinaire Bhajune Malonzo and long-time community advocate and artist Daisy Ann Cumming, selected the winners below.

Best in Classical Filipiniana – Angie Son
Best in Modern Filipiniana  -  Myrma Lopez
Best in Classical Barong – Keith Edmonson     
Best in Modern Barong – Ramil Balingit         
Most Creative/Artistic Costume (Special award) – Oliver Cordona

The evening was not just for the winners. Everyone had a chance to get glammed up, dine out in style and dance the night away to the musical stylings of top-rated band, M7.

Credit: All photos in this photo gallery are courtesy of FLAGCOM official photographer, Ramil Balingit.

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