Celebrating Filipino Creativity: A Journey Through the Evolution of the MEGA Ball

Celebrating Filipino Creativity: A Journey Through the Evolution of the MEGA Ball

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Every Independence Day, MEGA celebrates iconic Filipino fashion, artistic expression, and Pinoy pride through various themes that highlight the local scene. But how did it all come about?

In Philippine fashion, one event has flowed the industry’s imagination and ignited sparks of creativity. The MEGA Ball, an annual event that merges fashion, culture, and innovation while championing the Filipino, has become an emblem of artistic expression and national pride. This event continues to evolve into a celebration that honors the boundless creativity of the Filipino people. Thus, we find ourselves interested and immersed in the traces of the history of the MEGA Ball.

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The birth of an iconic event

Sari Yap MEGA ball 2023
Tim Yap MEGA ball 2023

The MEGA Ball was the brainchild of founding editor Sari Yap and eventologist Tim Yap. The vision was to create a signature event that celebrated Independence Day, showcasing Filipino culture and heritage through the lens of fashion. In addition to its homage to tradition, the MEGA Ball embraces the contemporary cultural scene. It recognizes that art, fashion, and Filipino expression are in a constant state of flux, influenced by the changing dynamics of society yet always static by pride. By documenting and appreciating these cultural shifts, the MEGA Ball sums up the zeitgeist of its era, capturing the spirit of the present moment and preserving it for future generations.

Setting the tone for subsequent events

In its nascent years, the MEGA Ball unveiled its grandeur through the Terno Ball. The event found its home within the walls of the Champagne Room in Manila Hotel, a venue steeped in history and elegance. It was here that luminaries from the world of fashion, society, and the arts gathered, welcoming the opportunity to pay tribute to the traditional Filipino attire—the terno.

MEGA celebrated Independence Day by looking into our culture and heritage, which is why the attire was consistently terno for the next few years. Every year, designers, society, creatives, and celebrities mark June 12 on their calendars and express their nationalism by donning artfully designed ternos from Filipino designers.

The terno, with its distinctive butterfly sleeves and intricate embroidery, represented a union of indigenous traditions and Spanish influence, dating back to the colonial era. By adopting the terno as the central theme, the ball not only celebrated the beauty of the attire, but also acknowledged its historical significance and its role in shaping the identity of Filipino fashion.

The very first of its kind set the stage that would unfold in the years to come. It laid the foundation for the MEGA Ball’s commitment to featuring the richness of Philippine culture and its impact on the world of fashion and art, from past, to present, toward the future.

Themes that define

As the MEGA Ball journeyed through time, each year writes a new chapter, heralded by a new theme. Concepts—from the Terno Ball, the MEGA Pinoy Pride Ball, the MEGA Millennial Ball, to the MEGA Equality Ball—showcase the diverse creativity and cultural celebration of Filipino passion. The themes not only recognized successes in numerous fields, but also highlighted the nation’s varied kaleidoscope of talent.

The very first theme highlighting the terno celebrated the Philippines’ heritage through fashion. It eventually put a spotlight on Filipino creatives who were making a mark in their own fields and contributing to society through the Pinoy Pride Ball.

The annual event has encapsulated the multifaceted nature of the nation’s landscape. Whether it was through traditional craftsmanship on top of contemporary art forms, or celebrating the union of local and global influences, each theme brought to light the talent that defines the Philippines. 

A nexus of creativity and talent

Within the core of the MEGA Ball, fashion always emerged as its strenght. It transcended ensembles to become a language that redefined boundaries. Throughout the years, the MEGA Ball has featured various fashion shows, looking to Filipino designers such as Puey Quiñones, Furne One, and Michael Cinco. The MEGA Ball elevated fashion as it transformed it into an art form that adopted a profound sense of purpose.

The celebration of Filipino talent at the MEGA Ball goes beyond recognizing the achievements of awardees and artists. It also acknowledges the collective effort of numerous individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes to bring the event to life. It extends its recognition to all those involved, from suppliers to collaborators and performers, and even all the way to the local ingredients used in the menu.

One of the highlights of the MEGA Ball is the recognition of exceptional individuals who have made significant contributions to their respective fields and brought pride to the Philippines. The “Pinoy Pride” awardees are individuals who have achieved excellence in their chosen fields while embodying the values and spirit of being Filipino. They are role models who inspire others with their achievements and serve as ambassadors of Philippine talent and culture. Past “Pinoy Pride” awardees have included renowned figures such as Francis Libiran, Catriona Gray, and Pia Wurtzbach.

The “Global Pinoys” awardees are Filipinos who have achieved success and recognition abroad, becoming influential figures and representing the best of Filipino talent on the international stage. These individuals have excelled in various fields, including arts, music, film, fashion, and business. Their accomplishments not only bring pride to the Philippines, but also inspire and motivate others to pursue their dreams globally. Previous “Global Pinoys” awardees have included internationally acclaimed designers, artists, and corporations like Cary Santiago, Lesley Mobo, Lea Salonga, and Jollibee as the first-ever “Global Pinoy Brand” awardee.

The “New PH” awardees represent a new generation of game-changers and innovators who are making a significant impact in their respective fields within the Philippines. These individuals are driving change, pushing boundaries, and shaping the future of their industries. From technology disruptors to social entrepreneurs and designers, the New PH awardees showcase the dynamic and forward-thinking spirit of the country. Previous “New PH” awardees have included notable personalities such as Michael Cinco, Len Cabili, and Gabbie Sarenas.

The event embodies evolution, capturing the contemporary cultural scene and emphasizing the importance of documenting and appreciating its dynamic nature. It serves as a platform to showcase the diverse creativity within the country, fostering unity and collective pride.

Memorable moments and transformations

Collaborations between designers, artists, and artisans gave rise to extraordinary pieces that gave thought of what could be worn. From handcrafted gowns adorned with delicate embroidery to avant-garde ensembles incorporating unconventional materials, wearable art became a testament to the limitless imagination and technical skill of Filipino designers.

The MEGA Ball is where expressive power soars, sparking conversations, and amplifying messages of social change. It will continue to evolve, innovate, and remain true to its DNA, which highlights and celebrates Filipino talent, whether they are young or old, based locally or making waves internationally.

The future of the MEGA Ball

The MEGA Ball’s trajectory continues to evolve, propelled by a commitment to celebrate Filipino talent and embrace the spirit of the times. With each passing year, the event reinvents itself, staying attuned to the dynamic landscape of fashion and society. As it expands into new territory, the MEGA Ball continues to be a source of inspiration and a monument to the eternal power of creative expression.

Photos: MEGA Archives

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