The Barong Tagalog is the national dress of the Philippines for men. It is a long-sleeved formal shirt designed for men with special embroidery that reflects the Filipino culture. The Barong Tagalog and the infamous Maria Clara gown, which owe its name from Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere (Noli Me Tangere Buod), combine elements from the pre-colonial native Filipino and colonial Spanish clothing styles. It is traditionally made with pure textiles made from piña or abacá; although in modern times, cheaper materials such as silk, ramie, or polyester are also used. It is used on special occasions in the Philippines.
It is an attire common to Filipino culture. Usually worn in formal and semi-formal gatherings. It is worn unbuttoned and over an undershirt. Usually partnered with belted trousers and formal shoes. The Baro’t saya or the Maria Clara outfit is the feminine equal of the Barong Tagalog. The Barong Tagalog was also referred to as camisa fuera or outer shirt in Filipino Spanish.
Barong Tagalog as a National Dress
Even though “Barong Tagalog” practically means ” Tagalog attire “, the “Tagalog” on the name doesn’t mean that it had been a kind of outfit unique to the Tagalog, as opposed to other Filipino cultural groups. The Barong Tagalog and its counterpart, the and baro ‘t saya for women, were donned widely amongst lowlanders who were Christianized in the Philippines through the Spanish colonial time. Rather, the Barong Tagalog was given to differentiate clothing as native (therefore “Tagalog”, ex. Indio ) rather than the styles of clothes put on by Europeans and various foreign nationalities.
The traditional Barong Tagalog (Barong) is possibly the most common classic apparel of the Philippines among men. It has appreciated tremendous recognition as the distinguished outfit donned on extremely important occasions, specifically wedding ceremonies. At the same time, the traditional outfit has also been used by Presidents, various other world frontrunners, as well as Hollywood personalities.
The Barong Tagalog Today
Recently, Filipino men have handed down the Filipino clothing for the traditional western suit. Nonetheless, there is no question the sartorial achievement of the Barong Tagalog, which generally looks finest in its purest kind – transparent and cream-colored with hand embroidery in jusi or piña.
The literature of Visitacion dela Torres – The Barong Tagalog: The Philippines National Wear – shows how Filipinos were colonized as many variations of the barong had been introduced. The book describes various styles of men’s dresses even before the Spanish arrived.
Through time, the Barong Tagalog has evolved. When the Philippines gained its independence, the barong has slowly changed to adapt a more flamboyant style to show freedom. The Barong Tagalog today features more colors and elaborate designs but hasn’t lost its embroidered designs.