Ah, the Barong Tagalog. At first look, it seems like a basic garment that is made from the pineapple’s fabric. However, it appears like a very unassuming short often worn on special events. It is lightweight enough and typically associated with formalwear.
For newly married JC and Evan, choosing a barong tagalog for their wedding was the perfect outfit as it celebrates the Philippine culture and showcases the artistic and ingenuity of the Filipino people/
It turns out that the Barong Tagalog was deemed the national dress of the Philippines.
A Brief History of the Barong Tagalog
The natives of Ma-I and the Tagalogs living in the Luzon island, way before the Spaniards arrived, already wore baro. Specifically, the Tagalog men wore a sleeve-doubled of rough cotton referred to as kanga. It can reach below the waist, collarless, and with an opening in front.
Surrounding traditions around its origin typically keep the story that Barong Tagalog invented from the sixteenth century through the Spanish settlement. That was when the Spaniards presented the elegant standing collar shirt to the Baro and permitted the Ilustrados to wear them with hats and shoes.
But did you know that it was supposedly a dress code for tyranny?
The Spaniards considered it a blatant prompt for the Indios that they’d be still low-class citizens irrespective of the power and wealth they obtain. Throughout that period, the natives were obliged to wear them plainly without any pockets and untucked to avoid hiding weapons and thievery.
But how factual is this? Nonetheless, a few scholars disagree with this by showcasing that the Barong’s transparency and the way of wearing it untucked were being done before the Spaniards arrive to the nation. It was exclusively worn to cope with the nation’s tropical environment.
It was also described that the Ilustrados began showing opposition through intricate sewing designs on their Barongs.
Still, you won’t find enough proof to support this claim. As an alternative, likely, the vibrant Barongs were just imitating the clothing of their pre-colonial descendants.
Did you know that the natives during the pre-Hispanic era wore flashy doublets based on their badge of courage and social rank? Various colors categorized ordinary citizens and chiefs.
Traits of Filipino resilience, the Barong Tagalog’s story became an enduring emblem of nationalist pride despite being clouded by the myth that it was a symbol of slavery.
Why Use it?
You will find numerous reasons to use a Barong Tagalog. Here are some of them:
- Exquisite designs
The delicate designs improve the elegance of the Barong Tagalog on them. The embellished designs on it were basic in the past. However, that has transformed since them. Today, you will see the embroidery so knottily made that you may even begin to search for a formal event to display it.
- Superior quality materials
The typical version of the Barong is made of Santana fabric. However, the Barong used for formal events is made of pineapple fabric. Such kinds of Barong fetch high costs, as they’re quite complicated to create, not to mention that they are hand-made, making it extra special.
- Honorable appearance
The Barong Tagalog radiates elegance offering anyone wearing it an honorable look. You’ll feel a sense of sophistication while wearing it, especially those made of high-quality materials.
- Simple sophistication
The Barong has transformed from a basic day-to-day piece of clothing worn by natives into sophisticated yet basic clothing favored by A-lists personalities in the country. Popular Filipino celebrities wear it during formal events despite its simplicity.
Hence, if anybody asks what makes the Barong Tagalog so special, just mention these reasons above.
Who Use It?
Anyone can wear a Barong Tagalog.
Originally known as Barong Tagalog, Barong is the official Filipino National Attire. It has the same cut to a men’s dress shirt. However, it comes in different natural fabrics like abaca, pina, and jusi. It could be short or long-sleeved with different paintings, appliques, embroideries, colors, and collars.
There’s no doubt that Barong is the traditional universal clothing of the country. It has enjoyed massive fame as the formal clothing worn on very important events, such as weddings. The Barong Tagalog has also been worn by Filipino Presidents, other world leaders, and even celebrities in Hollywood.
Men widely wear Barong Tagalog, but you will also find female variations in the market.
Modern designs of the Barong for females also adopted designs that tested the classic Filipino conservativeness and introduced viewpoints, which are less limiting and more ideal for modern Filipino women.
When to Use It?
You see, the Barong Tagalog is equivalent to the suit and ties in the Western. It is typically reserved for formal events. However, that is less a rule and more of a tradition.
Government offices typically have the Barong as their equivalent of corporate office clothing, but not those full-sleeved ones. What they use is the polo barong, as it has short sleeves identical to a polo shirt.
You cannot find someone wearing a Barong for everyday use. The reason behind that is practicality. You will find a specific degree of inconveniency in wearing such elegant, beautiful clothing for everyday living even though the thin fabric was made for a very tropical climate like the Philippines.
That’s why it is ideally worn and reserve for special occasions – an ideal opportunity to show off and become patriotic at the same time.
To sum up, the Barong has gone through numerous transformations throughout the years, capturing generations’ zeitgeist alongside the unfolding of history. You will see a modest sophistication to the conventional design, which makes it ideal for both men and women and offers room for innovation.
Undoubtedly, its national value is also a message of historical commemoration. There is no denying its value in how Filipinos dress today, whether our traditional clothing inspired other cultural outfits or not. Its simple sophistication, excellent artistry, and interesting history earn the Barong a place among other fine clothing.
So, have you already worn a Barong Tagalog for a special event like a Filipino wedding? What are your ideas on this elegant and elusive piece of clothing? We’d love to know your ideas. Share your thoughts with us by leaving your comments below!