Just like any culture in our modernist society, the Muslim culture is filled with colorful, historical value. And I had the rare opportunity of wearing a Muslim traditional dress last 2006. Nope, it's not for some school activity, but the real thing - as a participant in the cultural fashion show in International Ramadan Fair staged in Intramuros Clamshell Tent.
While in law school, I had the chance of meeting people who originated from the south. Yes, they are the people who chose to follow the teachings of Mohammed. It's a matter of really understanding the concept of Islam and their unique culture, and not the wild, wild image that media often depicted. And, maybe because, I spent my childhood in the City of Golden Friendship (read: CDO) in Mindanao where it's commonplace to hear Muslim dialects, complete with rising and falling intonations.
Having spent her life in the political arena in their province, my friend really kept on convincing us (her Christian friends) to join the event as it would be the first International Ramadan Fair in Manila. She told me that I would be wearing a traditional wedding dress of the Muslims in Tawi-tawi, known as "batawi" in the Sama dialect. The "batawi" is normally worn by the women of esteemed heritage (read: royal blood) in their province as a wedding dress and during special occasions. Having that in mind and for the spirit of F-U-N, I instantly said yes!
Behold our post-cultural fashion show pics.
With heavy make-up, unique costume, foreign and local media clicking their shutters away and some inner bubble of happiness and excitement, it was definitely an unforgettable event with my Muslim friends. And I'd never view the word "Ramadan" the same way again.