The black floral petals radiated a certain kind of charm with their diamond-like stigmas and with their symmetric positions on a creamy white pina textile. The triangular connection of tiny black petals forms an intricate, fashionable and elite print that cannot escape the eye. The light silver beads glitter on leaves and vine details that curl up and down the elegant frame.
This is one of the best ornamental designs of Filipiniana gowns I’ve seen when I visited Lumban, Laguna. It was displayed at Cris Allen’s Embroidery Shop where the tricycle driver led me. The design was created with much ingenuity, teamwork, hardwork and commitment. According to the staff at the shop, Filipiniana gowns and barongs are made by three to five workers, each performing specialized functions, for example sewing the clothing, laundering, hand needlework, and machine embroidery. Wow, thumbs up to the team for a very fine work!
Lumban town is known for the craft of embroidery. Within the town are neighboring embroidery shops that offer hand and machined barong, Filipiniana gowns and other embroidered products such as shawls, fans, ladies’ wallets and pouch bags. According to local history, Lumban supplied the national government with barongs and Filipiniana gowns in the late 1960s to the early 1970s. This is under the directive of Imelda Marcos for the cabinet members to don these formal attires during certain government functions. The number of shops grew in the 1970s due to the increasing recognition of Lumban’s embroidery. In the 1980s and 1990s, Lumban catered to fashion designers Frederick Peralta and Rajo Laurel for “superior embroidery work.”
As an avid fan of embroidery, I visited Lumban chiefly to see its products. I came across three shops offering quality embroideries – Cris Allen’s Embroidery Shop, ZR Macalagay’s Embroidery and Burdahand Haven Centre – situated at Vanessa Homes in Brgy. Maytalang I. However, due to time constraints, I was able to spend my time in Cris Allen’s only.
Ate Irma, the friendly staff, showed me around their shop. Cris Allen’s embroidery, formerly known as Gene’s embroidery, started its business in 2000. At present, they sell traditional and modern barong Tagalog, gowns and women’s clothing fabrics that are ready-to-made and custom-made; hand and machined embroidered; and dyed fabrics. Their products are made of pina jusi, pina silk, pina original, cocoon silk, organza and the like.
For men, they have Raya, half-open pechera, pina Tagalog, full open pechera, boys barong tagalog, coat barong and other modern barong. For ladies, they offer ladies’ barong, classic style, full gown, mestizo dress, kimona blouse and long skirts. They also sell shawls and fans made of pina, jusi, cocoon and chiffon fabric. I love shawls so I bought an aqua green chiffon shawl at a lesser price compared to those sold at the malls.
Cris Allen’s shop also offers embroidery packages for wedding entourage, office uniforms and organization uniforms. For more information about its products and services, interested parties may contact Ms. Shella at (049) 576-0596, (049) 576-1551, 0917-683-4475 or 0917-835-0417.
So, If you are looking for a Filipiniana gown or Barong Tagalog for national celebrations like Linggo ng Wika or Philippine Independence Day, you may want to try visiting Lumban to check on a variety of designs and stores. The three stores I mentioned are just a few.
I am proud of the embroidery skills of Lumban. I am proud to be Pinoy!