Tote your culture

A Filipiniana-themed bayong ensemble.

Who made the bayong cool?

This useful tote made of buri leaves or pandan has become a fashion statement for many — especially on environmental awareness.

Indeed, Filipino innovativeness and creativity knows no bounds, as one young designer, during the coronavirus pandemic, found a way to survive while creating something new.

G Magalona, a fashion designer and artist from Iloilo also experienced the damage of the pandemic which caused her to stop operations for her brand, G Magalona Couture.

Finding herself in a predicament, she picked up the bayong and listened to her mother’s encouragement to start painting again.

G Magalona’s bayong features traditional women ala Maria Clara in their elegant traje de mestiza (above).

In the long months of quarantine, Magalona rediscovered her love for art and, at the same time, turned an ordinary item into something stylish.

She hand-painted the bayong with nostalgic images of the country’s Spanish colonial history including different depictions of Maria Clara in a traje de mestiza, Baroque churches and a vibrant landscape with a picturesque bahay na bato. The artist was able to include 18th century Rococo romantic paintings as well.

The first few pieces of this collection were a hit among consumers and soon after, customized orders started to come in.

The designer was not only able to make something extraordinary out of the ordinary bayong that is typically used as a basket for vegetables, meats and other things at local wet markets, but her native hand-painted woven totes succeeded in further showcasing rich Philippine traditions.

CLOSE-UP shot of the tote bags.

Magalona is proud to promote “native handicrafts and eco-friendly fashion. But more importantly, (her work) echoes the statement Mahalin Ang Sariling Atin.”

She said, “I want to emphasize that it is a beautiful piece made with so much love and effort. I don’t want it to be just another souvenir from our country. It is something we could use and more importantly, be proud of.”

G Magalona studied Fashion Design and Merchandising at Benilde. She is currently based at Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales and continues to come up with new designs for the bayong. Likewise, she is also accepting customized couture pieces under her label.

Visit her Facebook (G Paris Magalona), Instagram (@gistheheiress and @g.magalona.couture) and search for #gmagalonaart to discover more of her works.

Artist and fashion designer G Magalona with her Filipiniana-themed bayong collection.


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