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Feature: Costumes of ASEAN countries give Asian flavor to World Costume Festival in Vigan City

By Imelda C. Rivero, PIA 1, Ilocos Sur

VIGAN CITY (PIA) – To promote further the 50th anniversary of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the country, the costumes of women of the 10 member-states were displayed at the city’s Vigan Culture and Trade Center from October 21 to 27 and were paraded at Calle Crisologo on October 30.
The exhibit of costumes was the first part of the World Costume Festival in the city held yearly as part of the Raniag Twilight Festival. The event ended with the awarding ceremony at Calle Crisologo on October 30 where the costumes were paraded by local models.
As part of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Ilocos Sur’s advocacy to educate the people on the benefits of ASEAN, the exhibit and the parade of ASEAN costumes aimed to stir interest and appreciation of Vigan City residents, including tourists, on the traditional costumes and the culture of the ASEAN member-countries.
The 10 costumes include Brunei Darrusalam’s ‘baju kurung,’ a traditional Malay costume which means ‘enclosed dress’. Women dresses usually covers the body from head to toe, and women wear head scarf in government offices. The ‘sampot of Cambodia is a woman’s long skirt with a fold or pleat in the front. Some sampot are styled differently and look more like trousers.
Indonesians wear the ‘kebaya’, a traditional blouse-dress combination, worn with sarong or batik. The sarong is worn only during Friday prayers in the mosque.
Laos women wear the ‘sinh’, a traditional garment of simple tube skirt of silk or cotton. Malays wear the ‘baju kurung’. The national dress of Myanmar is the ‘longyi’ worn by men and women. The ‘ahtet hsin’ keeps the longyi firmly in place.
The terno is the Philippine traditional dress for women worn in formal occasions. It evolved from the baro’t saya, a four-piece dress of a bodice, shawl, long skirt and overskirt.
Women in Singapore wear the ‘nyonya kebaya’, the Chinese ‘cheongsam,’ the ‘sari,’ and the ‘baju kurung’.
In Thailand, women wear the ‘chut Thai’ (Thai outfit) which has a long skirt, ‘pha nung,’ a blouse, ‘chong kraben’ and a sabal.
In Vietnam, the ‘ao dai’ mening long shirt, is the most popular and widely-recognized national costume. It is tight-fitting silk tunic worn over trousers worn in formal events.
The models of the 10 costumes are high school students of the province and the bearers of the ASEAN flags are elementary students of the city. They were supported by their parents and teachers.
The World Costume Festival in Vigan first started in April 2013. Every two years, it holds the international edition. It features indigenous and modern costumes used in live shows like drama, festivals, multimedia show. The focus is on the costume’s special ritual occasions or theater performance. The event aims to promote tourism and urge use of native loom-weaving and fabrics. Batic, abel and pina from the Philippines are given focus, too.
For the last three years, the festival became part of the yearly Raniag Twilight Festival which gives residents the chance to remember their dead relatives in a longer period through activities like candle floating, sky lanterns, electric float parade, street dancing. (JNPD/ICR/PIA-1, Ilocos Sur)