Francis Magundayao farmers tribute
Francis Magundayao wanted to pay tribute to rice farmers with a Paolo Baltazar Couture custom creation. Credits to Francis Magundayao and Paolo Baltazar.

Amidst trending stories about the 2019 ABS-CBN Ball’s celebrity gathering for the Bantay Bata 163 cause, actor-dancer Francis Magundayao caught everyone’s attention for his unique Paolo Baltazar Couture Palay Suit Barong that put the spotlight on the plight of Filipino rice farmers.

Francis Magundayao showed up at the September 14 Philippine event, where the biggest stars and industry leaders come together for a cause, wearing a barong suit that had real palay rice grains – the celebrity’s vision of paying tribute to rice farmers.

Magundayao, Best Supporting Actor in the To Farm Film Festival for Instalado, has continued to actively promote advocacies for rice farmers. The 20-year-old Star Magic artist revealed on social media how he thought of pursuing the same theme for the ABS-CBN Ball and being inspired by the network’s foundation chief who recently passed away, Gina Lopez.

“For most of my life, I have been part of a large artist collective, and with it, I have realized that part of being an artist is to tell the truth. This is the truth. In light of Ms. Gina Lopez’s legacy I was also inspired to share my own advocacy,” wrote Magundayao, an actor in the Philippines’ bet to the Oscars, Signal Rock.

He adds, “Our farmers have long been oppressed by big capitalist powers, and it’s our duty as Filipinos to raise such awareness.”

Magundayao thanked Laguna-based designer Paolo Baltazar for making his vision a reality. The Filipino designer shared on social media how he “designed a minimalist piece inspired by the details found in grains of rice. I embellished it with real Palay for a truly eye-popping 3D effect! Finally, I added the colors of our nation’s flag on the right arm to give thanks for the hard work and sacrifices of our farmers and show our pride in The Philippines!”

The Palay Suit Barong is embellished it with real Palay. Credits to Paolo Baltazar Couture.

The Palay Suit Barong trended on social media platforms and both Francis Magundayao and Paolo Baltazar directed fans to the needs of rice farmers in the Philippines.

“I want to salute our farmers for all of their hard work and sacrifices. Your voices and concerns deserve to be heard and it is my hope that this is just the beginning of good change to come!” wrote Baltazar.

The 2019 ABS-CBN Ball‘s theme centered on modern Filipiniana formal gowns and suits.

Advocacies for Filipino rice farmers have recently earned the support of various sectors including student-athletes from the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team‘s #RiceUP Buy Local Rice advocacy, and online platforms Session Groceries and E-Magsasaka #RicePinas initiative to bridge farmers to Filipino buyers.

WATCH this video of the creation of the Palay Suit Barong and SEND cheers to Francis Magundayao and Paolo Baltazar for their tribute to Filipino rice farmers and advocating to buy local rice!

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