“THANK God you were mistakenly identified as a congressman,” laughed broadcast

journalist Sheryl Cosim, referring to her co-anchor’s quick entrance to the Batasang Pambansa Complex.

“The security team was very strict. One of our colleagues had to call the newsroom and present his ID to the guard so he could get in,” Erwin Tulfo replied on TV 5’s live coverage of the first State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino Jr. (or PNoy), last July 26, Monday.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

“I’m glad my barong (piña-woven) was fine enough that it exactly blended with the politicians. I was able to get in the area easily,” he continued. “This is the most fashionable Sona I have ever covered.”

On the recently delivered speech, we hold our peace. But we certainly can’t take our hands off the terno—a formal dress with appropriately oversized sleeves that defines the Philippine long gown in a sea of regional costumes—that defined the women in politics.

Even Tulfo, known to be a tough straight news commentator, noticed the grandeur.

Raise your hand for more questions, but for now, the more pressing ones first, as far as visual appetite is concerned: Who topped and who tipped-off in the best dressed list?

Unlike the previous Sona, we held fast to our seats as former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo limited her options to the country’s regal designers, alternating her options among Inno Sotto, JC Buendia, and her favorite, Ito Curata.

Now that her post has been assumed by PNoy, we lessen our expectation—sartorial-wise, that is. Yet, we anticipated that he would opt for the classic barong Tagalog for his first Sona last Monday.

But we never thought it would be as exciting as seeing Ilocos Rep. Imelda Marcos in a mauve Abel Iloco number, styled with her signature diamond jewelry sets—popularly described as “Imeldific.” ”

Rumor has it that she can slip into these butterfly dresses in less than 10 minutes in her car. But no record could prove how many hours it would consume to plump up her upswept coiffure and to color-scheme her eyelids with the dress. Keep guessing.

Thanks to designer Randy Ortiz, Lucy Torres-Gomez, model turned actress turned lawmaker, was appropriate for the event. With husband Richard beside her—her “chief of staff”—she appeared flawless in her powder blue gown, embroidered with floral cutouts.

“You have to be dressed appropriately out of respect for the occasion. It’s part of history. You don’t want to be captured as part of history looking shabby,” Gomez told Marie Luzano, reporter of ABS-CBN’s late-night newscast, Bandila.

“Her dress fits her. She looked elegant. I like the slight embellishment on her dress,” Manila-based fashion designer Jon Herrera said about the few photos shown to him.

Jon lauded personalities, such as Jinkee Pacquiao, wife of Congressman Manny Pacquiao. She wore a peach draped dress by Pepsi Herrera (not a relative of Jon). Jon also lauded Audrey Zubiri’s class, channeled through her Inno Sotto ensemble; and Assunta de Rossi in her yellow floral dress that, she said, was given for free.

“Budget is tight these days. I would not spend money on a dress I would only wear once,” de Rossi said.

While he was impressed by the craftsmanship of former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros’s white strapless dress with gumamela-patterned prints designed by Joel Acebuche, he thought the style did not fit the lady.

“Though it was very fashionable and she carried it very well, it was too fashionable for the Sona. I fear it was too fashionable,” Jon emphasized.

Sen. Loren Legarda sported a bob haircut that lessened her age by 10 years. But Jon was not moved by the printed skirt and the 1970 heirloom blouse from her mother.

“First of all, it was cut at the waist, or below the waist, which is not flattering because the figure is cut in the middle,” Jon said. “It was deceiving.” So what did Party-List representatives wear? We have two photos to show. You be the judge.