Balik Saya Design Competition
June 27, 2018
A new breed of young and aspiring Filipino designers recognized at the Balik Saya project’s design competition
Designers here and abroad, have held the terno’s structural yet delicate butterfly sleeves in high regard, and have constantly strived to modernize and immortalize this Filipino national costume also known as the Maria Clara or baro’t saya.
Positioning Intramuros as a hub for emerging fashion designers and creatives who are driven by both heritage and creative ideas, the Intramuros Administration (IA) and Manila’s 5 th District Representative Cristal Bagatsing came up with the Balik Saya project, headlined by a design competition, which encourages aspiring fashion designers to create contemporary designs for the baro’t saya using local materials.
“Balik Saya was initially only intended for the youth,” said Representative Cristal Bagatsing. “But there were a lot of queries from seamstresses and out of school youth who were interested to join. So we widened the scope from just the youth to everyone residing in Manila’s 5th district. We now champion an advocacy for everyone in the district to further develop their appreciation for cultural heritage.” Presenting their contemporary pieces for the baro’t saya at the newly opened National Museum of Natural History, participants who made it into the finals are: Alaine Isabelle Leones from St. Scholastica’s College, Alexandra Margaux Gustillo from St. Scholastica’s College, Allana Marie Ecalnea from St. Scholastica’s College, Christian Bulasag from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Jackie Ombao, Jacob Paiso from Technological University of the Philippines, Jesus Mauricio Bea, Maria Nina Luisa Doctor from St. Scholastica’s College, Mariah Marella Parayray from St. Scholastica’s College, Miguelito Cabrera, Rana Vashti Sacramento from St. Scholastica’s College, Sandra Lou Galang from St. Scholastica’s College, Somera Rana from Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Vianka Lorraine Castro from St. Scholastica’s College, and Zayre Capangyarihan.
The creations are judged based on design, workmanship, wearability, and originality. The finished design should consist of at least 25% indigenous fabrics like piña, jusi, and inabel, among others. Judges sitting on the panel are Inno Sotto, the head judge, Criselda Lontok, Jo-ann Bitagcol, Lucy Torres-Gomez, Lulu Tan Gan, Rajo Laurel, Randy Ortiz, Tobias Guggenheimer, the Dean of SoFA Design Institute, and Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez.
Five winning designers bring home cash prizes (up to P100,000 for the first prize), an apprenticeship in Rustan's, accommodation at The Bayleaf in Intramuros, and a workshop from SoFA Design Institute. Special awards include Rustan’s Iconic Award, and Fashion+Arts+Business Creatives gives the F.A.B. Award for the designer who has the most potential to become one of the most important Filipino designers in the future. The recipient of the award gets a scholarship at F.A.B. Creatives worth Php100,000.
Embracing and cultivating our cultural heritage is an essential part of protecting and preserving our sense of identity, a sense of who we are. Same is true with the baro’t saya – as long as more designers continue to make them, its tradition and history lives on. Balik Saya is a project of Intramuros Administration (IA) and Manila's 5th District Representative Cristal Bagatsing, in cooperation with Department of Tourism (DOT), and in partnership with National Museum of the Philippines, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Destileria Limtuaco, Rustan’s, SoFA Design Institute, The Bayleaf Hotels, and Ilustrado.