UP’s Sablay Filipiniana graduation dress eyed to replace toga

UP Sablay Filipiniana
University of the Philippines candidates for graduation wear their “Sablay” graduation sash over their right shoulder and shift the Sablay to their left shoulder after being announced as graduates. Photo from UP Diliman Facebook.

The University of the Philippines’ (UP) Sablay Filipiniana graduation attire is being eyed to replace the traditional graduation toga in the country’s schools.

Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary for Administration Alain del Pascua, in a memorandum dated February 18, 2020, proposed an end to the use of the toga in graduation ceremonies and instead forwarded the use of the UP “Sablay” to highlight the Filipino dress.

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A copy of the memorandum was posted on Facebook the same day it was sent to the DepEd executive committee. The undersecretary confirmed the accuracy of the document on Wednesday, clarifying that it “remains a proposition.”

The proposal states that the toga is more Western than Filipino and does not fit the local climate.

“The use of the toga, with its deep Western roots, has been taken for granted all these years despite its many disadvantages,” wrote Del Pascua on the aide-mémoire, “It is not Filipino.”

The DepEd official said that he is pushing for the use of the sablay to “instill patriotism and nationalism among young leaders” specifically in elementary and secondary schools nationwide.

UP graduates shift their Sablay sash over the left shoulder to signify their status as graduates. Photo from UP Diliman Facebook.

The University of the Philippines Diliman website states that the UP Sablay is the official academic costume of the University which was introduced in 1990 and officially adopted in 2000.

The Sablay is adorned with ukkil (which represents the growth of knowledge) and geometric elements (common design elements across indigenous cultures in the Philippines). The sash is traditionally paired with a white or cream Filipiniana outfit.

Del Pascua also said that the toga does not inspire loyalty to the nation and is “impractical and uncomfortable to use in a tropical country like the Philippines” and that renting or buying a toga with a gown and cap increases the expenses of parents.

Del Pascua also mentioned that the use of the sablay will help “promote the core values of Makabansa and Makakalikasan, local culture, and national diversity.”

The memorandum needs approval from the DepEd Execom and Mancom Groups for the use of the Sablay during graduation rites to be implemented.

The University of the Philippines draws thousands of applicants to the annual entrance examination of the leading educational institution in the country and its students and graduates have been known to excel in various endeavors, including dominating professional board examinations, innovating in Filipino technology such as the Lab-in-a-Mug dengue and Covid-19 test kits, and leading the university outreach in disaster relief and management.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the UP community for being held a model of excellence, even in their Sablay Filipiniana graduation dress!

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Gicel Livelo is an individualistic person whose passion is to inform, encourage, motivate, and comfort others through the art of writing and photography. She believes in the importance of loving oneself and others as well as hospitality for the betterment of humanity.