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Surfing in Filipiniana

By MARBBIE TAGABUCBA, The Philippine Star Published Jul 02, 2021 6:00 am

Popular depictions of the Filipiniana in art capture the Filipina’s role in doing the domestic heavy lifting in sustaining households and communities. She’s raising the children, gathering produce, or doing the laundry. Or she’s demure and elegant as she poses in it during a milestone of her life. That’s why it’s refreshing to see it worn while embracing freedom and play while surfing.

Sisters and champion surfers Aping and Ikit Agudo, two of the best longboard surfers in Asia, are wearing Rafaella by Kultura ternos in a collaboration between the artist Archie Geotina, photographer Bren Lopez, and Aping and Ikit for “Pearls,” a limited-edition series of 91 x 61 cm photographs.

But kids, don’t try it for the ‘gram! Aping warns, “I do not recommend surfing in the Filipiniana! It was difficult for us to stay afloat in the water because of the added weight.”

 Sisters and champion surfers Aping and Ikit Agudo are wearing Rafaella by Kultura ternos in a collaboration with the artist Archie Geotina and photographer Bren Lopez for “Pearls.”

Ikit adds, “Honestly, it was hard surfing wearing the traditional Filipiniana dress! But at the same time, it's empowering.” Of course, in the photos, they both make it look way easy.

She continues, “This project is a lot more meaningful because we get to represent Filipino women in a different light. We want to be a representation of what a modern-day Filipina could be: strong, capable and modest.”

Archie tells YStyle, “The idea had been in my head since February 2020 after I finished the Salcedo Underpass Mural named ‘Ang Lakbay ng 105 Milyon.’ I had wanted to keep pushing our culture in my own way so I mixed two things that I love the most: surfing and our tradition.”

Treated to look like film photographs of surfing in Hawaii during the ’60s — the same period as The Endless Summer documentary — based on Archie’s obsession with the aesthetic and style of surf culture from the ’60s to the ’70s, the photos can look like they’ve been taken at any point in time; this is part of its charm. For a Filipina looking on, it’s a reminder that there’s no better time than now to embrace the fierceness within.