Photo from Israel Ungkakay’s Facebook

DAVAO CITY (July 24, PNA) –In a remarkable display of cultural appreciation, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte made a stunning fashion statement during President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) on Monday. She gracefully adorned herself in a captivating Maguindanaon dress, showcasing the essence of the vibrant traditions upheld by the Moro tribes dwelling predominantly in south central Mindanao.

The dress, an exquisite masterpiece, was meticulously crafted by the talented designer Israel Ellah Ungkakay, who hails from Cotabato City. For over 16 years, Ungkakay has passionately dedicated his design prowess to promote and celebrate the rich culture and heritage of the Moro people of Mindanao, a commitment that began with his graduation from the esteemed University of Southern Mindanao. Recently, his tireless efforts received well-deserved recognition and accolades from the local government of Cotabato City.

Photo from Israel Ungkakay’s Facebook

Vice President Sara Duterte graced the event wearing a resplendent Bangala, the traditional dress of the Maguindanaon people. Complementing the dress were trousers and a gracefully draped inaul or malong, which added an air of sophistication to the ensemble. Delicate gold accessories adorned the attire, serving as a testament to the bountiful natural resources of Mindanao, paying homage to the region’s prosperity and abundance.

The inaul, a cherished Maguindanaon fabric, is a masterpiece meticulously handwoven with a blend of cotton and silk. Beyond being a mere textile, it holds profound significance as a cultural gem, representing the very essence of the Maguindanaoan identity – their pride, bravery, heritage, and a rich tapestry of history woven through time.

Photo from Israel Ungkakay’s Facebook

VP Sara Duterte expressed her profound appreciation to Governor Bai Mariam Mangudadatu of Maguindanao del Sur and Mr. Jearson Demavivas for their remarkable contributions that served as a powerful inspiration for her recent choice to embrace the richness of Maguindanaon culture through traditional attire.

This display of cultural appreciation is not a singular event for Vice President Sara Duterte. On a momentous occasion during the opening session of the 19th Congress, which preceded last year’s unforgettable SONA in July, Duterte adorned herself in a resplendent Bagobo Tagabawa dress, honoring and magnificently representing one of the prominent indigenous groups that call Southern Mindanao their home. This gesture showcased her profound commitment to celebrating and preserving the unique heritage of Mindanao’s indigenous communities.

As President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. graced the stage to deliver his highly anticipated second State of the Nation Address (SONA), the political atmosphere crackled with excitement and curiosity. Among the distinguished guests, Vice President Sara Duterte, adorned in her regal attire, took center stage as well, ready to share her perspectives on the President’s leadership and the remarkable achievements of his administration.

Following the captivating 70-minute address, Vice President Duterte stepped forward to address the media with graciousness and candor. In her statement, she extended her heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to President Marcos for his steadfast commitment to uplifting the education sector and fostering development in the region of Mindanao. As a seasoned political figure, Vice President Duterte was no stranger to the grandeur of the occasion, but she remained impressed by the President’s dedication to these crucial causes.

Photo taken from Manila Bulletin’s official Page

In her thoughtful assessment of President Marcos’s tenure, Vice President Duterte openly commended his remarkable leadership qualities. She acknowledged his decisiveness, strength, fortitude, and unwavering political will, traits that had undeniably shaped his time in office. As a fellow leader, she found inspiration in his steadfast determination to steer the nation towards progress and prosperity.

President Marcos lauded Vice President Duterte’s groundbreaking MATATAG agenda, which has been instrumental in ushering in transformative reforms within the country’s education system. The MATATAG Agenda, an array of initiatives crafted by the Department of Education, has received widespread acclaim for its positive impact on both students and the devoted teaching and non-teaching personnel.

Photo taken from Inday Sara Dutertes’ official Facebook Page

Drawing inspiration from Marcos’ leadership, Vice President Duterte’s team feels empowered to fulfill their promises to the Filipino people, a commitment they made during the 2022 election. The Vice President expresses deep gratitude for the reminder of their responsibilities to the nation, fueling their dedication to serve the people wholeheartedly.

During his recent address, President Marcos warmly acknowledged Vice President Duterte’s efforts in tackling long standing challenges in the education sector. The agenda has successfully addressed issues like classroom and facility shortages, workforce inadequacy, and the hurdles posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The emphasis lies in strengthening public schools and facilities, making them resilient to climate-related adversities and embracing cutting-edge hybrid and high-tech learning methods.

Photo taken from Inday Sara Dutertes’ official Facebook Page

For Vice President Sara Duterte, the administration’s development agenda for Mindanao holds special significance, as it is the region she proudly calls home. She exudes hope and optimism that these initiatives, coupled with peace-building efforts, will pave the way for substantial progress in combating terrorism and bringing prosperity to the region and its people.

Assuring the continued support for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), President Marcos stressed financial aid for the victims of the Marawi siege. The commitment to fostering peace-building efforts remains steadfast throughout his term. With immense pride in the progress made by BARMM, the President envisions a self-governing and progressive region that will contribute significantly to the overall sustainable development and lasting peace in Southern Philippines.

Photo from Israel Ungkakay’s Facebook

Following the SONA, President Marcos took the time to express appreciation to members of Congress and Cabinet secretaries for their valuable collaboration. A heartwarming moment unfolded as he posed for a photograph with Vice President Sara Duterte, joined by his sister, Senator Imee Marcos, and other esteemed congressional members.

The SONA witnessed a poignant moment that encapsulated the unity and cultural richness of the Philippines. Vice President Sara Duterte’s eloquent cultural statement through her Maguindanaon dress combined with the resounding appreciation of President Marcos’ leadership underscored the profound significance of their collaboration and the country’s diverse heritage.