Did Isabelle Duterte wear gowns worth PHP1.3 million pesos during her pre-debut photo shoot?

by Nikko Tuazon
Dec 21, 2017
Presidential granddaughter Isabelle Duterte wearing the cranberry red ball gown designed by Dubai-based Filipino designer Garimon Roferos for her pre-debut photo shoot.

The pre-debut photo shoot of Presidential granddaughter Isabelle Duterte has tongues wagging.

Some question the propriety of the pictorial in Malacañang Palace, let alone the use of the Presidential seal as backdrop.

Others are scandalized by what to them is an ostentatious display of privilege.

And there are those who are charmed, commenting how classy and beautiful Isabelle looks in her photos.

Her gowns are indeed gorgeous, and they certainly look pricey. Thus, people are curious: how much did they actually cost?

The question is loaded. The father of Isabelle is Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and the implication is, he can't possibly indulge his daughter with such an expensive photo shoot on his salary as a public servant.

FASHION MATH. The photos were shot by Lito Sy, who has come out in defense of the Duterte family following a Facebook post last December 19, of The New York Times contributing writer Miguel Syjuco.


Syjuco did the math of the fashion shoot based on the photos that have gone viral on social media, such as this one in which Isabelle posed wearing a red, crystal-embellished ball gown by Garimon Roferos.

In an Instagram post last December 15, Garimon shared the details of the red gown, "Cranberry Red super intricate Hand Embroidered Gown with fully Studded dark red Swarovski Crystals."

On December 18, the Dubai-based Filipino designer shared another photo of Isabelle in a dark green gown with floral details.

In his post, Syjuco noted the price range of Roferos's gowns in dirhams, and provided the conversions in Philippine peso.

He wrote, "I was told their base price for gowns is 30,000 dirhams (PHP411,810), but with the scads of Swarovski crystals Isabelle's sporting, and the big-ass train, it runs from 45,000 to 50,000 dirhams (PHP617,715 to PHP686,350)."

Isabelle is also seen in another photo wearing a floral cold-shoulder dress made by Filipino fashion designer Rica Rico.


Based on inquiries, Rico's base price for simple gowns ranges from PHP8,000 to PHP10,000.

A post shared by Lito Sy (@litosyphoto) on

Isabelle also changed into a millennial pink ball gown designed by Rosenthal Tee for her Spring/Summer 2018 collection.

Syjuco noted in his post that Tee's creations could "run from P25,000 to P200,000, though couture is presumably pricier."

A post shared by ritamneri (@ritamneri) on

With these information in hand, the estimated price of all the gowns Isabelle wore in her pre-debut photo shoot would be at least PHP1.3 million.

PHOTOGRAPHER SPEAKS UP. However, Lito Sy clarified in a Facebook post that the photo shoot did not cost more than a million pesos.

The photographer said Garimon Roferos sponsored the gowns he made for Isabelle, and the other gowns were just borrowed from the designers.

Lito wrote, "Ang red gown na ginamit was sent through LBC from Dubai na sponsored din ng Dubai-based Davao designer na good friend din ng mom ni Isabelle noong di pa siya sikat.


"The other gowns were provided po ni Jeff Galang na stylist kung saan hinihiram din nya from famous designers in exchange for credits and [mileage] lang.

"Ang nga mamahaling shoes are pinagamit sa kanya ng iba't ibang brands para makilala kasi nga artista na si Isabelle under VIVA."

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Presidential granddaughter Isabelle Duterte wearing the cranberry red ball gown designed by Dubai-based Filipino designer Garimon Roferos for her pre-debut photo shoot.
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