For many decades, graduates in the Philippines wear the traditional toga during graduation. That’s the same as what students in many parts of the world use. Meanwhile, graduates of the University of the Philippines (UP) use a ‘sablay’ during the graduation rites – and this is something that is associated with the university and its graduates.
But a Department of Education (DepEd) official wants to make changes in what the students wear for graduation in elementary and high school. DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua proposed that the ‘sablay’ be used in graduation rites because it has more advantages to the ‘westernized’ toga.
Disadvantages of Toga
“The use of the toga, with its deep Western roots, has been taken for granted all these years despite its many disadvantages,” he explained.
He listed the following disadvantages of using toga:
- It is not Filipino
- It does not inspire loyalty to the nation but selves as a reminder of a colonial past
- The toga, which covers the whole body, is impractical and uncomfortable to use in a tropical country like the Philippines
- It promotes uniformity and does not encourage the flourish of cultural diversity
- Renting and buying a toga, with gown and cap, is an additional expense and an added burden to parents
He did not clarify, however, how the sablay would be a lesser expense to parents when it is actually a woven piece of cloth with inscriptions. Of course, it is possible that the Undersecretary did not have the UP pattern in mind but a sablay style that might be cheaper to make.
Advantages of Sablay
Pascua believes that the sablay has more advantages than the toga in that it will:
- Instill patriotism and national among young learners
- Promote core values of Makabansa and Makakalikasan
- Promote local culture and national diversity
- Nurture ethnic roots and perpetuate the production of local textiles of indigenous peoples
- Boost rural development
- Provide jobs and empower women and men weavers
- Revive and sustain local and traditional weaving enterprises
Some netizens argued that the sablay might be more expensive than the toga, but others said that the schools can be more creative in this one. Many also pointed out that this is a good idea, as long as the school will let the kids wear their school uniforms and the sablay instead of Filipiniana, as what UP graduates do.
So, sablay or toga? Which one do you like better?