Late in the morning today, Jan 1, a new friend whom I met in New York shared/posted in his Facebook page a video and article that highlights the tradition of what underwear color men wears when welcoming the New Year. Interestingly enough my country, the Philippines, is included in the video feature. And I was not surprised to find out that men in my country wears polka dots!
The researchers of The Underwear Expert really did their homework. To support this claim, I am exactly one of those who wore polka dot last December 31st and when I welcome the year 2016.
The round shape being a symbol for money, wearing anything polka dotted in the Philippines during New Year’s Eve is believed to bring prosperity all year round.
This tidbit of a tradition has been instilled upon me by my beautiful and fashionista grandmother, Lola Teray (Nengkoy’s mom). I remember during the early years when Lola Teray was still alive, she and her sisters (Lola Sario and Lola Beheng) would make sure to wear polka dot “daster” (house dress) every New Year’s Eve believing that it would bring good fortune in the coming year.
I adore H&M. A big chunk of my wardrobe are H&M. The throw pillow cases I gifted Nengkoy last Christmas were actually from H&M. And never did my family missed going to an H&M store every time we are in Japan.
Though I suffer from separation anxiety disorder every time I need to have some breathing space in my closet or needs to get rid of old clothes, let me publish one fab and cause-worthy project by H&M.
Icelandic legend has it that anyone not dressed with brand new clothes on Christmas Day would be devoured by the ferocious Yule Cat. Though my family is not from the Nordic country of Iceland, we do observe the tradition of wearing new clothes during the festive Christmas Day.
More than five years now, my family has kept a somewhat different variety of tradition in terms of wearing new clothes on Christmas. It is because we opt to be wearing the same design of clothing every year during Christmas Eve. Call if uniform, call it a costume or call it regalia but this tradition has kept us in a way to be more bonded as a family.
And every year, it takes weeks before the final color and design will be agreed upon. Knowing how liberal and outspoken each and every member of my family is, it comes not as a big surprise that there were lots of funny debates, hilarious deliberations and side-splitting discussions on how the style and design would look like.
A way of kicking the Yule Cat’s ass this year, my family opted for a vibrant baby pink color shirt with a somewhat retro chocolate brown design print. Here’s how it looks…
Sino ba ‘yan Yul Kat na ‘yan? Pusang gala lang yata ‘yan!
The Manila weather in the past two weeks has been unusually chilly. This is especially true from late afternoons until the late mornings. Between these time periods, considerable number of people in the metro as I observed are surprisingly sporting jackets and sweaters.
Temperature in Manila has always been hot and scorching all year round. Very cold countries would actually announce a heat wave in case they would experience the regular and prevalent Manila temperature. That is why, temperature has never been a topic for a Manila-based conventional conversations. But for the past two weeks, people are now talking about how chilly it has been. Also, there has been a slow down on the sales of halo-halo while sales of hot lugaw (congee) has gone hotter!
With this surprising weather changes by freaky and fickle mother Earth, I will not be surprised that in a couple of years, international weather bureaus will announce that hot tropical Philippines will already experience winter. I guess this is not farfetched because just last month snow actually fell in hot and sticky Vietnam.
What will be good in case scorching Manila will experience winter is that it is not the bitingly cold and bone-penetrating type of a winter similar to those countries away from the equator. It would be tempered type where people can simply put on a piece of scarf around the neck and will no longer look silly in case they would sport layered outfits out on the street.
Though it is a bit worrying (of course, because of treacherously distorted climate changes), for me, winter in Manila would be a welcome change. Why? Here are six advantages of having a mild chilly winter in Manila:
There would be downright decrease in electric bill since there will be lesser usage of airconditioning units;
There would be a decrease in the stench of body odors in public places – inside trains, malls, buses and jeepneys – because people will sweat less;
Fashion industry in Manila would finally take some transition. There would already be a winter collection for local fashion designers. Fashion Weeks held here in Manila are inappropriately pegged as summer and spring collections when in fact it should be labelled wet and dry season collections since these are the only seasons of equatorial Philippines.
There would be no atrocious diaphoretic beer-bellied shirtless people on the street (in Tagalog: wala ng nakahubad na malalaki ang tyan sa kalye);
Celebrities wearing jackets and layered garments who performs on TV during their Sunday weekly variety shows will no longer look stupid; and finally,
I can wear my Bershka leather jacket and Doc Martens leather boots!
I don’t know what’s the English translation for the Tagalog word panlakad. Maybe there is no single English word for it. With my limited English know-how, the best translation I can give is that panlakad are social clothes and apparels worn for an occasion, an event or by simply being out of the house and in a public place.
Back in the days when table salts are not yet iodized, inhabitants in the Philippines would make sure that their newly sewn or purchased panlakad must first be worn to attend a Holy Sunday Mass. Although this rare custom and tradition has long been gone, I can still remember people’s line of questioning to folks they saw sporting new clothes. They would ask, “Pinang simba mo na ba ‘yan?” (“Have you worn those in a Mass?”) It’s as if wearing new clothes that has not initially been worn in a Sunday Mass celebration is such an abomination and is a wicked habit of the devil.
The socio-anthropologist in me dictates that this not-so-ancient unorthodox yet dissipated belief may be a progeny of Filipino’s robust Catholic faith that owning and wearing new clothing is a gift from heaven, thus, it would be most appropriate to first wear it inside the house of God. Or this belief has been generated from Filipino’s long running tradition that they should wear new clothes during Christmas Day and it is a must to go hear a Holy Mass during this Holy day.
I don’t know if I should be thankful or resentful that this tradition is no longer observed. Thankful because with the volume of clothes I own, I cannot imagine how many times in a year would I be required to attend the Holy Mass. Resentful because this tradition could have at least given me another reason to attend and hear the Holy Mass.
Major Fail. That is what I can say about the recent Lesley Mobo fashion show (being part of the recent Philippine Fashion Week). The video’s first frame dated the show October 29, 2013. This made me confused. Was the snobbish-looking event held last October 29, 2012 was just a rehearsal?
The first frame also indicates that the designs would be for the 2013 Spring and Summer collection. I was expecting for a more upbeat background music to be used in the show since spring and summer seasons usually brings a more festive and cheery mood. Instead, music used was a chilly dirge-like sound. The music used made me expect that anytime in between gaiting models, a dead soul would appear and would scream at the top of its lungs to scare off the wits of the audience.
This was the first fashion show that I have seen that the catwalk was not in the hub and midpoint of the venue. The models were made to walk on a stage and along the borders of the venue. It felt like the event’s highlight was the classy candle-lit dinner while the actual fashion show was just a prying disturbance.
The event was held last October 29, two nights before the Halloween. The designs in the collection were indeed multo-inspired (ghost inspired). The show’s title should have been “Kaluluwa Ni Morticia: Babaing Itim, Babaing Puti”. Those designs were nothing but Halloween-y. Not in a fun Halloween sense but in a more creepy terrifying angle. Those designs had nothing to do with either the colorful spring or the joyful summer. Those audiences who graced the show for sure now know what it feels like dining inside the house of the Addams Family.
It was too over-thought to the point of being pretentious. It’s no longer stylish or classy.
While I was searching and relying on the powers of internet for an idea on what would be my suggestion to my family’s uniform t-shirt design for Christmas (which by the way has been part of my family’s tradition to wear on Christmas Eve), I stumbled upon an awesome Facebook page.
I wanted our t-shirt design this year to bear our beautiful family’s surname in Arabic calligraphy. I surfed on through the internet but there seem to be very limited source where I could adopt my surname written in classic Arabic calligraphy.
Thanks to Arabic Calligraphy Names, a Facebook Community Page, developed by an artist and graphic designer named Nihad Nadam. By “liking” this amazing community page through your own Facebook, you can actually have the chance that your name be chosen and written in Arabic calligraphy form. What is more remarkable is that Nadam’s work is FREE of charge.
My surname was luckily picked (since I accumulated significant numbers of “likes” on my request/comment) to be written in calligraphic form. And in just a couple of hours Nadam, the Genius, had it published on the community page for me to see, download and adopt.
Here is how it looked like…
Through the help of my officemate Frankie (who is an equally awesome graphic artist), this is how my first t-shirt design suggestion looked like which I presented to my crazy relatives…
Thanks Mr. Nihad Nadam! I tremendously adore your work…