M&S Davao Style File: Jackie Garcia-Dizon, dressing up to the occasion

"AGELESS" is the perfect word to describe Jackie Garcia-Dizon. At 53 with three adult children with husband Sonny, Bianca, Rosanna and Marco, she is as beautiful and fit as she was years ago.

“At a young age, I learned to value the importance of dressing up with propriety.”
On Jackie, silver skinny belt over Blackberry Lurex tank top, black 3-button straight leg pants. All from M&S Collection.

She gives credit to her regular visits to the gym, yoga practice and communing with nature, the “indulgences” in her daily schedule charged with household, corporate, business, civic and social duties.

With a body and bearing like hers, she makes a perfect mannequin. If Jackie can make gym clothes look good, then imagine her in evening wear, or in any other dress type for that matter. Stylish and proper, she always dress right for any occasion.

“I love to shop when I am abroad & when I do, I search for pieces to wear for the holidays & my birthday, which falls on the day after Christmas.”
M&S Collection ensemble on Jackie: wide waist black belt on Dog Tooth Tunic & black Panel Techno Treggings.

Here, she shares her journey through style.

At what age were your allowed to join the Hijos de Davao ball? What was it like?

I was 8 years old when I attended my very first Hijos de Davao (HdD) Ball in 1970. The ball is held once a year to celebrate the feast of San Pedro, Davao City's patron saint.

This is one of the very few times where I would see all my relatives and family friends dressed in strictly formal and elegant attire. It was held at the Davao Insular Hotel, now Waterfront Davao, and the muse was my cousin, Maria Milagros G. Montemayor-Revilla.

VIPs and celebrities would fly in to attend the ball. The ladies who participated in the Rigodon de Honor looked so beautiful and regal in their intricately made Ternos.

In those days, people really took the time and made a big effort to prepare for the ball. Months in advance, my mother, grandmother and aunts would fly us to Manila & order their gowns and Ternos from RT Paras or Aureo Alonso and my cousins and I would have our clothes made by Malou Veloso.

“At my age, I have become more of a casual & carefree person so I am more inclined to wearing palazzos, long, casual dresses & skirts.”
Jackie wearing M&S Collection Zigzag Sweat top in grey paired with Per Una pants in ivory.

At 19, you were chosen as the muse of the 18th HdD anniversary. Tell us about it.

In 1981, after a one-year stint as a Rotary exchange student in the USA, I was chosen to be muse. I felt deeply honored & excited when I was informed. My escort was Ricky Floirendo and Tito Alfonso "Boy" Guinoo made my ball gown. It was a white dress with light blue flowers and a detachable balloon skirt. It was one magical night I will never forget.

In 2014 you were elected the president for the 50th year of HdD, what was the celebration like?

HdD’s golden anniversary was truly the grandest I have ever attended. The program started with the unveiling of our coffee table book project entitled "Witnessing Growth" which features 52 personalities who contributed to the growth of Davao City.

For the Rigodon de Honor, the officers & members of the board decided to invite the past presidents and muses to participate. It was said that the glamour was brought back on the golden year celebration.

In the early 1980s, Davao City became infamous because of the insurgency problem happening in our region. Hence, the members preferred to keep a low profile. Since the celebration had already become a tradition, it was decided that it should not be broken.

Now that Davao City has become world-class and one of the safest cities in Asia, Dabawenyos have a reason to celebrate without fear. The 50th year Grand Ball had 600 people in attendance, all elegantly garbed in their formal attire.

“I find the pieces of M&S to be classic and of very good quality.” 
M&S Collection Tomato color long sleeve panel blouse & Classic Design Ponte bottom in grey. All accessories from M&S Collection: black elastic belt, black platform Court Shoes, black patent Side Bar Bag & Mini Glass Flower necklace.

How did the whole experience affect your fashion sense?

Since I was exposed to the preparations required in attending those formal balls, I learned to value the importance of "dressing up to the occasion" at an early age.

My grandmother, the late Doña Milagros Monteverde-Garcia even taught all her grandchildren right manners and proper conduct. As a young girl whose favorite movie was Cinderella, attending those balls surely made a great impact on me. At that time, it was more of "dressing up" rather than "dressing down".

What is your current style?

At my age, I have become more of a casual & carefree person so I am more inclined to wearing long, casual dresses, long skirts & palazzos. I have already gotten rid of most of my business attires. Nowadays, I prefer to dress down.

“I have already gotten rid of most of my business attires. Nowadays, I prefer to dress down."
Jackie wearing Color Block top & white 5-pocket jeggings, red Pashminetta scrarf. All from M&S Collection.

How about dressing up for the Holidays?

I love to shop when I am abroad so my closets are always full. Whenever I shop, which can start early in the year, I already search for pieces to wear for the holidays and my birthday, which falls on the day after Christmas.

Every year, the Garcia family celebrates Noche Buena together. Everyone— cousins, nephews and nieces—will fly to Davao for a reunion. We are a huge, close-knit family, spanning four generations, numbering more than 200 now. We have a special Mass at 5:30 after which the program starts and lasts past midnight. This is a semi-formal affair and unless we have a theme for that year, I always chose a dress that will not clash with the Christmas tree (LOL).

We also celebrate New Year's Eve together & this is always a formal occasion. When I was younger, Davao Insular Hotel used to hold a grand New Year's Eve Ball & everyone who attended were also members of Hijos de Davao.

Unfortunately, because families were getting bigger & the ballroom could not accommodate everyone, we had to hold our own parties separately. This year, the Hijos board members are planning to bring that back with the help of the next generation because they want everyone involved.

“Noche Buena is a semi-formal affair for the entire clan. If there’s a theme, we dress accordingly.” 
M&S Collection ensemble on Jackie: Animal print cowl neck top, Classic Design Ponte bottom in grey & black wide waist belt.

Any Marks & Spencer label in your closet?

Oh yes! I have been a fan of Marks & Spencer ever since it opened its first outlet in the Philippines in the late 70s. The outlet was located in Rustan’s Makati and at that time it was called St. Michael’s and they sold the best quality undergarments and lingerie.

Since the items in Rustan’s were limited then, every time I went to Hong Kong, my first stop would always be M&S at the Ocean Terminal. I like their collection, I find their pieces to be classic and of very good quality.

I did and still do shop in M&S and I’m glad that they finally brought the brand here in Davao.

 “A pair of good fitting jeans is one of my favorite things.”
On Jackie: Buckle In-Lay belt over rose toned Marl Cow Neck top & blue tint 5-pocket jeggings, brown Prism Arm sunglasses. All from M&S Collection.

Fashion: Marks & Spencer 2015 Holiday Collection available at SM Lanang Premier & Abreeza Mall 

Photography: Kenneth Hao, Licentiate Wedding Photographer of Asia/2015 Tanglaw ng Inspirasyon Photography Specialist of the Year Awardee 

Make up & Styling: Otoy Mercado 

Shot on location at the Dizon Ancestral Home