Gentleman in barong Tagalog

(Second of three parts)

A first time for Jom

Jomelle Garner, Jom for short, has been with the Daily Tribune for more than three years. As a reporter, he initially covered the Department of Health and moved on to reporting on the Senate where, he says, he feels most at home.

Daily Tribune (DT): How many SONAs have you covered live?
Jomelle Garner (JG): It was my first time. It was also the first State of the Nation Address of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

DT: Which part of the program caught your attention?
JG: When the president delivered his SONA speech. Because more than the fancy dresses of the attendees, the state of the nation was what mattered the most, not just to a journalist like me but also to the Filipino people.

DT: Why did you choose to wear a barong Tagalog from Tesoro’s?
JG: I did a little research about the brand, although that was no longer necessary because Tesoro’s is already
well-known in the industry. But from what I’ve seen and heard from friends, they really make the finest barong in the country.

Photograph by Jom garner for the Daily Tribune
Daily Tribune Senate reporter Jom Garner.

DT: What did you like about the barong Tagalog that you wore?
JG: It was comfortable, I guess all of us would want to wear something that is not just fashionable but also comfortable. The whole SONA day was exhausting, but with my barong from Tesoro’s, I never experienced any discomfort.

DT: How would you compare your attire with those worn by others?
JG: Well, I’m also covering the Senate of the Philippines. One of the best moments of the day for me was when my fellow journalists and I were interviewing senators arriving at the Senate for their first regular session in their fancy dresses. We asked them and their families about the dresses they were wearing. My fellow reporters and I asked Senator Miguel Zubiri, where he got his barong, and he said it was from Tesoro’s. Later that day, he was elected as Senate President.

DT: Given the chance, would you wear a Tesoro’s barong Tagalog again?
JG: Of course.

DT: What is your dream Tesoro’s outfit?
JG: I must admit I know nothing about fashion. So, I do not know how to answer your question

Risa in baro’t saya

DT: Who was the best-looking guest or government official? Female — why?
JG: Senator Risa Hontiveros, who was wearing a baro’t saya. Hontiveros said her dress is made with piña textile from Aklan and features the hand embroideries of Lumban, Laguna. She looked very elegant and sophisticated on that day.

DT: What was the most exciting part of the day’s program?
JG: The most exciting part for me was when the President was delivering his speech. I knew that the words coming out from his mouth were not just simple words. They symbolized the hope of our fellow Filipinos, who are still reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

DT: Of the State of the Nation address, which of what the President said do you believe addressed the need of the Filipino people?
JG: I listened carefully to the legislative measures that he wants to be prioritized. I believe that most of the proposed measures that he mentioned will improve the plight of ordinary Filipinos.

OFWs’ contribution

DT: What did the President say that touched you most personally?
JG: When he mentioned that he wanted to look after the overseas Filipino workers. As a son of an OFW, any positive development related to the sector really touches my heart. I’m glad that he recognized the contributions of the OFW to our economy.

DT: How would you describe your coverage of the SONA?
JG: It was fun but tiring. It was full of hope.

DT: What is your advice to your officemate who will next cover the SONA?
JG: Get enough sleep days before the big event but do not forget to do your research.

DT: In hindsight, what was the best part of the program?
JG: Why? It would be redundant if I say the delivery of the speech. I also enjoyed the arrival of the attendees in their fancy dresses.

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