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Feeling like Cinderella

LIHUE — Topaz Fernandez, Miss Hawaii Filipina 2012, said wearing a terno makes her feel like a princess.

The terno is the national Filipino formal wear for women, said Anela Green, a terno designer. Filipino men use the barong.

One of the distinctive facets of the terno is its butterfly sleeves believed to have evolved from when filipino women wore four-piece ensembles called barot saya.

“A terno must have butterfly sleeves,” Green said. “It is what makes a terno a terno.”

People will have an opportunity to celebrate their terno when the Kauai Filipino Women’s Club hosts its 51st annual Terno Ball, Sept. 19 at the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club.

Registration for judging is from 5 to 6:45 p.m.

The judging categories include the Best Terno, Best Barong, and the Best Couple.

Cocktails will be served starting at 5:30 p.m. with the program starting at 6:30 p.m.

“This is a dinner event,” Green said. “Entertainment will be integrating the youth because of the generation change taking place. The Kauai Filipino Women’s Club also encourages the youth to participate in this event celebrating one of the cultural dress.”

Proceeds benefit scholarships presented by the Kauai Women’s Filipino Club, a practice which started with the first terno ball 50 years ago.

“We have come a long way since the first scholarships,” Green said. “When the club first started presenting scholarships, it was for $25, or even savings bonds. Last year, the club gave scholarships amounting to $1,000. There were six scholarships presented — two for each of the public high schools. We have definitely come a long way.”

The terno, too, has evolved over the years.

“What makes the terno special is the detail,” Green, who has made a number of terno since moving to Kauai. “In addition to the detail, ternos utilize embroidery, beading, and illustrious fabrics.”

She said the gown in enhanced not only by its details, but by the way it is worn and how the person carries herself.

“Sophisticated,” Fernandez, who has had at least four ternos created by Green during her reign as Miss Kauai Filipina, and as Miss Hawaii Filipina. “A terno is not like a pagent dress which makes you feel playful and flirty. The terno makes you feel sophisticated. It makes me carry myself with poise. I feel like Cinderella.”

Green said she distinctly remembers the first terno she created on Kauai.

“It was for Taneil Refamonte,” Green said. “And I used cock feathers because she wanted to express her feelings for cock fighting. Since that time, I’ve created between 12 and 15 terno, including the one which won Best in State when worn by Fernandez at her state pageant. A lot of the ternos will be seen at the Terno Ball.”

Another facet of the terno is its illustrous quality.

“When I created ternos for Topaz, I used Christmas trees on the sleeves of the gown she wore during the Lights on Rice parade,” Green said. “When she was crowned Miss Hawaii Filipina, I used crowns on the sleeves when she passed the Miss Kauai Filipina crown to Nicolette Levinthol.”

Fernandez said the terno symbolizes the blossoming of youth and the opening of doors of opportunity.

“I had just graduated high school,” Fernandez said. “I felt like it was my time to blossom. The torso are indicates the strong family bonds within my family, and when I wear this, I feel like I’m floating.”

Tickets for the Terno Ball are available from Kauai Filipino Women’s Club members, or by calling 822-7987.

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