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“From the Lady who Wears a Saya to the Woman who Wears a Mascara”

Maria Clara.




These are the ideal characteristics of a Filipina – at least, those were what Crisostomo Ibarra taught us. “Maria Clara” – used as a general term for Filipinas and coined from Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere; known to be a real sweetheart, beautiful and loving.  Her character defines what a real Filipina should be like, but through the course of time, do these characteristics still define our ladies? Can we still call every Filipina as a real “Maria Clara?”

The Lady who wears a Saya.

Gabriela Silang.

 Gregoria De Jesus.

 Melchora Aquino.

They served -as the mothers of the revolution. Their roles went beyond from being the feminine image of their homes. They fought for the freedom, using their feminine heart, their passionate souls and the bravery that was fuelled by a mother’s caring heart.

The Clara of this generation was not really defined by their feminine features, not by the naturally red lips, beautiful eyes and soft, long hair but more on their brave and fighting heart. This bravery was the most passionate and beautiful of its kind. True though, they were really the conservative thinkers of this generation. Long dresses, skins unexposed, untouchable by men, that’s really how conservative they were. For sure, they were really bold about their unparalleled passion. 

The passion they expressed and manifested through their efforts to express their love for their home – the country. It was something that mothers would really do after all, to make sure that their home were the best for their families.

A real definition of a Maria Clara of this time, she may look very feminine while wearing a saya, but manifested beyond men’s bravery as she holds her sword against the oppressors. She was a conservative one yet burning with a passionate heart.

The woman who wears a mascara.



Eye liners.

Far from the conservative ideas of Filipina – housewife, fragile and weak, the Maria Clara of this generation wields a different kind of armour and sword as she faces not anymore the oppressors, but a different kind of animal – the woman’s life. Under their colourful make ups that flashes their physical beauty; they overcome wars within themselves as they fight for their loved ones. Behind those faces decorated with their beautiful smiles, a proud, tough and caring lady is trying to make the most of her time to provide what her children need. They are the current faces of our Maria Clara, not the fancy and beautiful faces and share worthy looks on the social media, but those hard working faces of our loving moms. Whether, she works on the street, or she works on a comfy room, whether she loves to put on make ups for her work, or she’s full of sweat while working, she is the ideal Filipina everyone should admire. She’s the Clara who wears a make up more than what she puts on her face, but she wears a natural make up that comes from within – a woman’s heart.

The tale of the two Claras

Maria Clara. Feminine. Conservative. Simple.

Indeed, these are the ideal characteristics of our Filipinas. But the two faces of our Maria Claras show more than what Ibarra described to be the ideal. I could say;

The true meaning of being a Maria Claras will never be defined by what they wear or what they put on their faces.

The two Claras are just part of a face. They maybe bounded by the gap between their generations, but they are still the same Maria Clara we all knew –

An ever loving and passionate Clara, fuelled with a pure and burning heart, a precious but a willing soul for the people she loves.

About The Author

Reynald is an Oleia user and content contributor. He is a dreamer by night, a storyteller by day.His stories are told through the click of his camera lens and the strokes of his pen.