Barong Tagalog

individual style

* The use of the barong Tagalog to express individual style began to be popular and it took several shapes from varied interpretations. The Mestizos wore their Barong tagalog with imported black leather shoes and a bowler hat. The Ilustrados wore their rengue abaca-made barong with plain collar and half-open chest and pleated back design. It was worn over a Chinese collarless shirt called camisa de chino for formal functions. The ordinary men or the Indios, however, continued to wear festive colored camisa de chinos over loose pants and pointed slippers. The loose pants doubled as working pants as it could be easily folded for farm work. * The popularly known Commonwealth Barong tagalog designed with the Commonwealth and American flag, was worn by President Manuel L. Quezon during his November 15, 1935 inauguration. However, President Quezon was seen more often wearing coats, shirts, and vests, in most social functions and did not really push to promote the barong Tagalog. * Recovering from the disaster brought about by World War II, the Filipinos tried to rebuild their political independence and to create an identity as a nation. They started modifying the Barong tagalog by adding an inner pocket on the left side and making the length shorter. They also began doing colorful Barong tagalog designs depicting Philippine scenes and games to instill patriotism.<< MORE >>

handwoven embroidery

* Hand-woven embroidery on the chest of the baro was a European influence in the 19th century. Later on, the collar was modified to become ruffled and the baro started to be worn tucked under a European topcoat mostly by mestizos or Spanish Filipinos. The ordinary Filipino still wore their baro loose and over trousers. They also started wearing putong on the head and a kerchief over the shoulders. A high black hat may sometimes be worn on special occasions. * From the mid 19th century, the baro were being worn closed-neck and without the cravat. In its place, they had the collar tailored into a narrow black cravat with the buttons on the cuffs removed. Although they succumb to the restrictions on wearing the barong Tagalog, the Ilustrados started expressing subtle rebellious emotions through elaborate embroidery designs on their Barong Tagalog. * Different Barong Tagalog styles emerged after the Filipino Nationalists gained independence. The designs were more detailed and the collars and cuffs were ruffled. This type of Barong tagalog was popular until the 1920s.<< MORE >>

handkerchief

* Before the Spaniards’ discovery of Philippines, the Tagalogs of Luzon wore baro – a sleeveless doublet of rough cotton extending slightly below the waist. It is collarless and opens in the front. It is worn with a piece of cotton cloth covering the men’s loins and extending to mid thigh. * During the 18th century, the handkerchief - usually made of colored silk and inspired with European cravat - was introduced as an accessory to the baro. And while it was a more popular belief that barongs were worn loose and not tucked in because it looked better, the real reason was to show off the hand woven embroidery and sheer fabric for everyone to admire. * The Spaniards introduced the dressy standing collar shirt to the baro and allowed only the Ilustrados – the rich and landed Filipino families- to wear them with shoes and hats. However, they were not allowed to tuck in their baro under their waistbands nor were they allowed to have any pockets. It was meant to remind them that they remain an Indio regardless of the wealth and power they attain. It was clearly intended to discriminate the natives from the Spanish rulers. It was also believed that transparent, sheer fabric were used for the Barong Tagalog mainly to discourage the Indios from hiding any weapons in their shirts.<< MORE >>

Something about Barong

There’s really something about the Barong Tagalog that appeals to unassuming, low-key personalities with a penchant for subtle elegance. Needless to say, the Barong Tagalog not only boasts of a rich, ancient craft. It speaks volumes of a heritage that spanned decades of multi-cultural influences and raw patriotism. This is probably why it is naturally worn with pride and dignity. For whenever you don a barong tagalog, you are not just carrying a style, you are wearing a legacy. Here are snippets of little known facts about the Barong Tagalog…how it has come to be the Philippine National Costume and how it evolved from the simple Baro to the elaborate handicraft that it is now:<< MORE >>

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