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This Stunning Muslim Pre-Engagement Shoot Will Make Your Jaw Drop

We're in awe of this couple’s breathtaking outfits!
This Stunning Muslim Pre-Engagement Shoot Will Make Your Jaw Drop
IMAGE Courtesy of Mac Taug / James Michael
We're in awe of this couple’s breathtaking outfits!

It’s amazing how our Filipino designers deliver fresh and modern ideas coupled with extraordinary craftsmanship—all these without compromising traditions that make us who we are today. When we saw the decadent “acceptance” photos of Shari Ampatuan and Datu Pax Ali Mangududatu, we knew there was a rich and purposeful story behind the fashion.

Shari Ampatuan and Datu Pax Ali Mangududatu acceptance pre-engagement photoshoot
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Mac Taug / James Michael
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To fully understand the importance of these photos, here’s a little primer on what an “acceptance” is. In Maguindanao culture, pangengedung or acceptance is the traditional way of courtship where two families come to an initial understanding and make the relationship official to the public. “Pangengedung is the first step towards marriage. Traditionally, pangengedung would lead towards a salangguni or engagement proper. It’s actually the first ever pangengedung shoot in Maguindanaoan history,” Muslim fashion designer Mac Taug tells Preview.  

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“Shari, the bride-to-be, already had the concept in mind for a modern Inaul Filipiniana and Agila gown. The couple immediately agreed on the theme because they both wanted to honor both their Muslim-Filipino and Chinese roots,” Mac shares. After an online meeting with the couple, Mac started the design process almost immediately. 

Shari Ampatuan and Datu Pax Ali Mangududatu acceptance pre-engagement photoshoot
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Mac Taug / James Michael
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Preparing the couple’s ensemble was no easy feat as it took the designer and his whole team almost a month to finish everything. Mac was also particular about the color scheme that would best describe the couple. “As a Muslim fashion designer, I believe in good choices of color. The color red for the Agila gown and suit means art and power of Maguindanao. For the Filipiniana gown, green means peace; whereas the colors blue and violet in the Agila gown mean royalty and hierarchy,” he explains.

Shari Ampatuan and Datu Pax Ali Mangududatu acceptance pre-engagement photoshoot
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Mac Taug / James Michael
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The bride suggested an embroidered image of an Agila dedicated to the mother of the groom, Gov. Bai Mariam Mangudadatu, who is known to be the “Mother of Maguindanao” or the “Agila of Maguindanao.” Mac admits that was the most challenging look to make because of the overwhelming detail. “As you can see on the gown, it is very detailed because it has thousands of Swarovski crystals and the embroidered Agila,” the designer notes. 

Taking pride in Inaul, Maguindanao’s local handwoven fabric, Shari’s modern Filipiniana gown and Datu Pax Ali’s barong suit was created. “It gives us pride as we represent Maguindanao,” he adds. The designer had a particular pattern in mind for the overall design. The intricate Inaul modern barong suit represents royalty and bravery as the groom himself came from a royal family of a Datu or Sultan. The suit was fully handwoven, with a distinct color-blocking technique done to streamline the silhouette and accentuate the intricate Inaul pattern on the sleeves.

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Shari Ampatuan and Datu Pax Ali Mangududatu acceptance pre-engagement photoshoot

PHOTO BY Courtesy of Mac Taug / James Michael

Meanwhile, Shari’s breathtaking Filipinana wrap-dress was cinched at the waist with a golden ribbon and embellished with sequins. Her look perfectly complemented that of her husband-to-be's.

Shari Ampatuan and Datu Pax Ali Mangududatu acceptance pre-engagement photoshoot
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Mac Taug / James Michael
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Shot on location at Samal Island, the couple also worked with event stylist Cameo Luxe, coordinator Katrine Salud Sarmiento, hair and makeup artist Noeh Jani, and photographer James Michael to create the memorable images. We could definitely say that this pangengedung photoshoot is one for the books!

Shari Ampatuan and Datu Pax Ali Mangududatu acceptance pre-engagement photoshoot
PHOTO BY Courtesy of Mac Taug / James Michael
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