Filipiniana and Dalagang Bukid are not the first things that come to mind when young ladies are deciding on a theme for their pre-debut pictorial.
Granted that not all debutantes have a shoot to mark that milestone, those who do often choose fairy tales, K-pop or fun modern themes.
But for Sierra Simone Jamilaren of General Santos City, inspiration came from Amorolo’s “Dalagang Bukid,” his bucolic farm landscapes and other classic Filipino paintings.
The photos and video depict Filipino life from days gone by—a time when life was simpler and arguably better.
Turning 18 this month, Simone is a graduating student at the Catholic school Notre Dame Siena College in General Santos. She is a painter, a taekwondo black-belt, and she customizes shoes as a hobby and small business too.
“My mom and I thought of the concept,” Simone tells PhilSTAR L!fe. “We wanted something unique, loud, makatotohanan, something that would bring a message.”
“I grew up in a humble home of farmers,” she says, and adds, “I am a Filipino even though singkit ako.”
Indeed, she looks every bit the modern Filipina—at home in a terno, tapis, and a modern barong.
Videographer Arex Pilapil of Arex Pilapil Films shot a wonderful video of Simone in several locations, the first on the Jamilarens’ family farm in Polomok, South Cotabato for the “palayan series,” and the second location at Kalsangi in Polomolok. (Watch the video at the end of this article.)
The palayan is the most gorgeous part of the video with Simone dressed as a farm lass with tapis. She feeds chickens, separates grain from the husk with a bilao, walks across rice fields and, of course, does poses.
Photographer Jdee Landero captured the different moods as Simone changed from one Filipiniana dress to another, each depicting a different facet of Filipino life in history.
And the music! Cariñosa at the beginning and remixed beats of modern and folk songs by Akigami Beats.
Pilapil says, “Our Team Frakam—designer, makeup artist, photographer and video team—executed these old and modern concepts, both displaying class and sophistication. We shot everything in one day, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., which is usual for a pre-debut shoot.”
Simone says, “I grew up in a household kung saan prinsipyo po namin ang pagiging makatao at makabayan, and I really wanted to showcase that kasi that’s who I am.”
She adds that her parents were very supportive of the idea for the shoot. “Malaking tulong po talaga ang production team, sila and bumuhay ng idea namin. Since it is unique, di po talaga siya ma-envision at first. I also became very fond of Filipiniana because of my school.”
The first time she saw the video, she says, “Naiyak kami nila mama, yung lolo at lola ko umiyak rin. My teachers also complimented me and the team for the concept and production. Napaka-unique raw at kitang kita ang pagiging isang Pilipina sa modernong panahon.”
In this modern life of technology, it’s heartwarming to see a young lady embracing her country’s past so lovingly—and creatively.