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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Barong Tagalog

A barong Tagalog (or simply barong, from the word baro) is an embroidered formal garment of the Philippines. It is very lightweight and worn untucked (similar to a coat/dress shirt), over an undershirt. It is a common wedding and formal attire for Filipino men as well as women. The term "barong Tagalog" literally means "Tagalog dress" (i.e., "baro ng Tagalog" or "dress of the Tagalog") in the Filipino language. The barong was popularized as formal wear by Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay, who wore it to most official and personal affairs, including his inauguration as president. The barong was officially made the national costume by a decree from President Ferdinand Marcos in 1975. This Filipino tradition dates back to the Spanish colonial era. A legend persists that the Spaniards made Filipinos wear barongs untucked to distinguish them from the ruling class, its translucent fabric helping the Spaniards to see that the wearer was not bearing any weapon under the garment. Connoisseurs of historical details say that during the Spanish era, the rulers required that the baro of the indio be made of flimsy material so that he could not conceal weapons on his person. Supposedly, the indio was also prohibited from tucking in his shirt, to designate his low rank and to tell him apart from the mestizaje and insulares.

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