As a tribute to the recent inscription of the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental as a Unesco World Heritage Site, Sen. Loren Legarda wore a traditional Mandaya outfit at the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday.
Legarda, chairman of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, said she wanted to further promote her advocacies through the garments she wore on the important occasion.
“My outfit represents two advocacies closest to my heart—environmental protection and heritage preservation. Since the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary is the newest addition to the Philippines’ Unesco World Heritage Sites, I want to celebrate this triumph by wearing the traditional gar–ments of the Mandaya, one of the indigenous communities in the area,” she said.
Legarda’s Mandaya attire was handcrafted by the Mandayas and a gift from Gov. Corazon Ma–lanyaon of Davao Oriental. It is composed of a badô (blouse) with embroidered geometric designs of colorful threads and beads, and a dagmay (handwoven skirt) made of abaca strips dyed using organic colorants from plants and herbs. The outfit was worn with various metal jewelry.
The Mandayas, characterized as brave and intelligent, are one of the three major indigenous groups of Davao. In Davao Oriental, most of them reside in Barangays Sangab and Pichon, Municipality of Caraga; Baran- gay Pantuyan, Municipality of Manay; and Sitio Patong Barangay Aliwagwag, Munici–pality of Cateel.
Meanwhile, a highlight of Legarda’s outfit at the opening of the Second Regular Session of the 16th Congress, in the morning before the President’s SONA, is the pangalapang necklace.
The pangalapang is one of the neck ornaments of the Cor–dillerans, particularly those in the eastern Ifugao region. It is made of at least six pieces of mother of pearl formed into flat trapezoidal shapes and connected by a thin rope of finely braided rattan.
“The outfits and accessories that I wear prove the richness of our cultural heritage and the abundance of our natural resources as these items are made of organic materials. In wearing them, I hope to convey the message that we should not take these things for granted and instead show our gratitude through responsible steward–ship of our natural resources and safeguarding our heritage,” said Legarda.
In the 2013 SONA, the senator also wore indigenous garments from the Gaddangs of Mountain Province and the Bagobos of Mt. Apo in Davao and explained that her outfits represent “fashionalism”—fashion and nationalism.