The Barong Tagalog is the official Filipino national attire. Its name comes from the phrase “Baro ng Tagalog” (dress of the Tagalog people).
It has a similar cut to a men’s dress shirt but comes in varied natural fabrics such as Jusi, Pina, Abaca, Organza, and the more recent Pina-Jusi. It can be long or short-sleeved with various collars, colors, embroideries, and appliques. It is predominantly worn by men, but there are now female variations as well.
The loose fit of being untucked makes it suitable for the hot climes of the tropical islands of the Philippines.
HISTORY OF THE BARONG
During the Spanish era, Filipinos were coerced to wear see-through clothing to deter them from hiding weapons on their person. Because it was worn untucked, the barong originally conveyed a lower class than the Spaniards.
Nevertheless, though it started as a symbol of oppression, even after Filipinos gained independence from Spain, the barong had become such a staple in the Filipino culture and wardrobe that it was honored by Presidents Manuel Quezon and Ferdinand Marcos as the national attire.
Today, the barong can bee seen worn in the workplace and at special occasions such as weddings, “debuts” (a Filipina’s 18th birthday), fiestas, political functions, and many other formal events. Fashion designers have embraced the barong by adding it to their collections and putting their own spin on this true classic. It is known so well globally that even non-Filipinos, such as the director Quentin Tarantino who wore one at the 65th Golden Globe Awards night, are glad to wear it.
Here is a beautiful song associated with haranista Ruben Tagalog, aptly titled “Barong Tagalog.”
Kung wawariin ko sa ngayon ay muling nagbabalik
Ang barong Tagalog na sadyang makisig…
Mahaba-habang panahon nawaglit sa ating isip
Na ito’y damit ng bansang kay hirap malupig
Ang barong ito ay tatak Pilipino talaga
Dapat nating mahalin sa tuwi-tuwina
Sa sariling bayan nati’y alinsangan
Makapal na kayo’y hindi kailangan.
Ang barong Tagalog kahit sinamay lang
Ginhawang gamitin sa lahat ng pagdiriwang
Nang maghimagsik itong ating bansa
Dahil sa paglaya
Ang barong Tagalog natin ay dakila
Pagka’t siyang ginamit ng bayaning namayapa…