Instead of the men and women of Parañaque parading in intricately designed barong Tagalog and Filipiniana, dolls took the lead in showcasing the creations of the city’s designers and artisans during this year’s Sunduan Festival.
The festival, first staged in 2014, was derived from the centuries-old custom called “sunduan,” from the term sundo or to fetch, unique to Parañaque, wherein a gentleman fetches his lady love at home to bring her to the church or town plaza.
To impress the woman and her parents, the man brings with him a marching band that accompanies the couple on their walk to the church.
The romantic tradition dates back to the Spanish colonial period when the very first sunduan was recorded in 1876 in Barrio La Huerta in Parañaque, a practice that later spread to nearby barrios. The tradition is kept alive today with the city’s Sunduan Festival where men, dressed in barong, escort the community’s loveliest ladies dressed in elegant gowns in a colorful parade.
In celebration of Parañaque’s 23rd anniversary of cityhood in February, SM City BF Parañaque showcased the city’s rich cultural tradition and artistry with a Sunduan Dolls exhibition at the mall. The exhibition, which was part of Para Anya: Parañaque Arts and Culture Festival, featured the iconic Sunduan dolls from Parañaque’s Livelihood Resource Management Office.
The ornamental dolls were fitted with delicately hand-sewn barong Tagalog and Filipiniana made using local fibers and featured intricate embroidery style. Each doll’s face, which was crafted for 33 days, were designed distinctively from one another that no two dolls were alike. Parañaque City Mayor Edwin L. Olivarez and his wife Janet were also featured as Sunduan dolls in the exhibition.