IN terms of land area and population, San Jose Del Monte (SJDM) is the largest town in the province of Bulacan. It was proclaimed as a Component City under Republic Act No. 8797 on September 10, 2000, becoming the first city in the Central Luzon province.
San Jose Del Monte, or Saint Joseph of the Mountain, was declared a highly urbanized city (HUC) on December 4, 2020.
However, it will have to go through a plebiscite, on October 30, 2023, along with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, for its city charter to be ratified.
Voting yes to its HUC status is the battle cry of the city’s most prominent couple, Mayor Arturo B. Robes and his wife, Congresswoman Florida P. Robes, who “envisions the Rising City of San Jose del Monte to serve as a beacon to the San Joseños, bringing about economic development and opportunities to the city to uplift the lives of every San Joseños.”
DURING the 16th city anniversary celebration of SJDM, the couple successfully launched the Tanglawan Festival. It derived its name from the Tagalog word, tanglaw, which means light, symbolizing the light that serves as a guide for its people toward progress.
This year’s theme is “Tanglaw Ko, Bukas Mo, Mananatiling Bulakenyo. Yes to HUC!,” according to deputy festival director Glenn de Jesus.
“Sa amin pong mag-asawa, higit sa selebrasyon ang pakahulugan namin sa Tanglawan Festival. Ito po ay isang legacy, pamana at kasaysayan na aming ambag hindi lamang sa turismo at sibilisasyon ng lungsod ng San Jose del Monte, kundi ito ay aming kontribusyon sa mayamang kultura nating mga Pilipino maging sa buong mundo. Sa pamamagitan ng Tanglawan Festival, pinagliliwanag, pinasisigla at binibigyang buhay natin ang dating lungsod na hindi napapansin kahit sa napaka-raming potensyal nitong taglay,” Mayor Robes said on opening night at the city’s sports complex.
The 10-day celebration of the Tanglawan Festival every September include street dances, concerts, exhibits, masses and parades. A grand fashion show featuring the accessories of Marilao’s pride, Arnel Papa, and the designs of SJDM’s own Viña Romero were featured in a showcase called “Tanglaw ng Kahapon.”
ENTERTAINING and high-energy performances were provided by Robi Domingo, Darren Espanto, Paul Salas, AC Bonifacio and Jillian Ward. The glamorous highlight, however, was the haute-couture presentation by Francis Libiran, who hails from the town of Balagtas.
The luxurious pieces the bankable designer showed actually came from four different collections he calls “Mosaic,” “Opulence,” “2020” and “Wildflower.”
“These collections lived in separate worlds, each with its own inspiration. Yet, we saw the opportunity to weave together an entire story. We merged the structured lines of ‘Mosaic,’ the declared bold statements of ‘Opulence,’ the dramatic silhouettes of ‘2020,’ and the soft and romantic touch of ‘Wildflower,’” Libiran bared.
The colors, textures and designs blended harmoniously, creating these visual and diverse facets of the signature Francis Libiran artistry. Yaofa de la Cruz, carrying a symbolic lamp, opened the show in a creation crafted from pleated silk organdy, a piece from the “Mosaic” collection that embodies sheer luxury and refined texture.
Jach Manere modeled a piece from the “2020” collection, a dream in ruched soft tulle, showcasing graceful gathers that add a touch of romance and allure. Gabby Basiano, Binibining Pilipinas International 2022, displayed a piece from the “Opulence” collection adorned with the brand’s signature custom Art Deco embroidery and beadwork, embodying timeless sophistication and their artisan’s intricate craftsmanship.
Santino Rosales, Jericho’s son, wore a three-piece double-breasted Italian wool brocade, while Mister International Philippines 2023 Austin Cabatana donned an elegance-meets-romance three-piece double-breasted suit crafted from fine lace and luxurious Italian wool. Both standout menswear outfits are from the “Wildflower” collection.
Supermodel Jasmine Maierhofer closed the show, which was directed by Bernard Maybituin of Lumina Events and Models Management Inc. with stage manager Julius Uy. “This exquisite piece from the ‘Opulence’ collection features delicate tulle adorned with our signature custom Art Deco beading,” Libiran noted.
The materials used for these pieces were organdy, tulle, fine custom lace and Italian wool, mixed with the signature brand details like our custom handmade Art Deco embroidery and beadwork. Libiran and his team sourced all the fine materials from Turkey, Thailand and India.
Come October 22, Libiran will have a back-to-back show with Dubai-based Filipino fashion designer Furne Amato to be held at the Grand Ballroom of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel, in celebration of its 25th anniversary.
The highly talented Libiran will also be celebrating his 25th anniversary as a fashion designer this year and is preparing several events for his beloved clients and followers. His show in his native province is a prelude to his own festivities.
What made you say yes to doing the show during the Tanglawan Festival?
“The Libiran Clan is actually from Bulacan. Embracing my roots, I was driven to celebrate our heritage and empower local artists. Through fashion, I wove their stories into my designs, preserving traditions and fostering creativity. It was not just about the clothes; it was about a shared journey, uniting the past with the future, and giving back to the community that has shaped me.”
Image credits: Melvin Sia