The Philippine Costumes
Barong Tagalog for Men
Barong Tagalog, the official national costume of Filipino men,
originated from the northern part of the Philippines, and is originally
made of jusi or pineapple cloth called “pina” (woven from pineapple leaves).
It is worn over a Chinese collarless shirt called camisa de Chino.
It exhibits the loose, long lines of its Chinese sources, the airy
tropical appearance of Indo-Malay costume, the elongated effect of Hindu dressing,
and the ornamental restraint of European men’s clothing.
Today, barong tagalong can come from different materials and different colors.
It is usually used for formal occasion and meetings
The Mestiza Dress is a formal dress made of expensive lace and fabric adorned with embroideries.
It is the sophisticated version of the national costume, the baro’t saya (blouse and skirt).
Made more popular by former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos,
some even called it Imelda dress or terno.
Mestiza dress is known for its elegance and butterfly sleeves.
It is usually worn for formal occasion
Models are wearing Barong Balintawak and the Mestiza Dress
Maria Clara Dress
Maria Clara’s dress was named after a mestiza heroine of one of the novels of the Philippine National hero Dr. Jose Rizal.
Its origin was the national costume of Filipino women which is baro’t (shirt) saya (skirt).
The Maria Clara gown features a floor-length paneled skirt of silk or satin
and it consists of four separate pieces:
the collarless waist-length, bell sleeved camisa; the bubble-shaped, floor-length saya; the stiff,
neck-covering pañuelo; and the hip-hugging, knee length tapis, or overskirt.
This dress originated from the Visayas, can be worn for everyday
activities as casual dress or for formal occasion.
Its origin was the baro’t (shirt) saya (skirt), the national costume for
Filipino women during the early years.
A casual kimona dress is always worn with matching
West Visayan wrap around called “patadyong” as a skirt.
This attire is used by the tribes in Mountain Province of
The Cordillera ranges, called Igorots. They have their own unique costume
that makes them distinctive from other tribes in the Philippines.
This costume reflects their way of life, cultures, personalities, religious practices and rituals.
Igorot costume is very simple.
The men wear long strips of handwoven loin cloth called “wanes”.
The woman wear a kind of wrap-around skirt called “lufid”.
This attire is worn by the Muslims who live
in the southern part of the Philippines.
It features long skirts for the women, frequently woven with metallic threads,
and shorter, wrap-around skirts for the men.
The women also frequently have overskirts and scarves draped from the shoulder.
Batik design is also common with this costumes.
It shows the mix of Arab, Malaysian and Chinese.
Elaborate umbrella makes a nice fashion statement, usually used by a Muslim princess.
The malong is traditionally used as a garment by numerous tribes
in the Southern Philippines and the Sulu Archipelago.
Its origin is from the ethnical group of Maranao,
Maguindanao and T’boli located in Mindanao.
Handwoven malongs are made by the weavers on a backstrap loom.
Very rare malong designs and styles can indicate the village in which the malong was made.
Handwoven malongs, which are costly- made of cotton and silk,
are likely to be used only at social functions, to display
the social and economic status of the wearer.
But a malong in royal colours is worn only by Maranao men and women of royal status.
The malong can also function as a skirt for both men and women,
a dress, a blanket, a bedsheet, a hammock, a prayer mat, and other purposes.
The Philippine Tribal Costumes
Although the Philippines has developed a mixed culture
from the blending of foreign influences with native elements,
there are still some ethnological groups whose culture remains unadulterated.
Here are some beautiful images of the Filipinos tribal costumes that
still remain as part of their traditional culture up to this day.
The B’laan are one of the indigenous peoples of Southern Mindanao in The Philippines.
They are famous for their brassworks, beadwork and t’nalak weave.
The people of these tribes wear colorful embroidered native costumes and beadwork accessories.
The women of these tribes, particularly, wear heavy brass belts
with brass ‘tassels’ ending in tiny brass bells that herald their
approach even when they are a long way off.
The Bagobo are proud people with proto Malayan features.
They have ornate traditions in weaponry and other metal arts.
They are noted for their skill in producing brass articles through the ancient lost-wax process.
These people also weave abacca cloths of earth tones and make baskets
that are trimmed with beads, fibers and horse’s hair.
The T’boli distinguish themselves from other Tribal Groups
by their colorful clothes, bracelets and earrings,
this tribe is famous for their complicated beadwork,
wonderful woven fabrics and beautiful brass ornaments.
The Mandayas are a group of non-Christian tribe,
non-Islamic people living in Eastern Mindanao, Philippines
They hand down from generation to generation the art of weaving cloth
from the fibers of abaca plant, colored with root and mud dyes with intricate
figures and patterns depicting the folklore and religion of the tribe
Typical Muslim Maranaw costumes (bottom-left photo).
The attire of Maranaw prince and princess.
“Maranaw” means ‘people of the lake’, referring to lands surrounding Lake Lanao.
Descending from Muslim Malays, the royal families within this tribe
are a mix of Arab, Malaysian and Chinese ancestry.
They are famous for their artwork, sophisticated weaving, wood and metal craft, and their epic literature.
Basilan is home to the Yakan Tribes, also known as one of the finest weavers in Philippines.
They are known to weave the most intricate designs in their clothes, purses and other accessories.
The Ifugao, immortalized by their magnificent rice terraces; inhabit the rugged terrain of the
extensive Cordillera Mountain Ranges of Central Luzon
Ifugaos have woven on looms and carved works of art from blocks of woods.
The rice terraces is a symbol of their industry that will live through the ages.
The Kalinga are called the “peacocks of the north”
because of their attention to appearance and dressing.
Kalinga is a landlocked province of northern Cordillera, Philippines.
“Kalinga” means enemy, a name that the bordering inhabitants
called this tribe because of their headhunting attacks.
The name stuck and became accepted by the natives themselves.
The Gaddang are an indigenous people from the area of Solano,
in the province of Nueva Vizcaya, in the region of Cagayan Valley
also known as region II, in the Philippine Islands.
The Gaddang tribe was first discovered by the Spaniards in the early 1600’s.
An early Spanish report written in 1581 identified them as one of ten tribes in the mountains of Northern Luzon.
They are the people who live in the mountainous areas of Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province and Kalinga-Apayao.
The tribe’s traditional clothing leaves males and females bare above the waist.
But because of modern influence, younger members of the tribe wear trousers,
shirts, dresses and shoes that lowland Filipinos usually wear
The Samal are the poorest and least independent of the major Muslim groups.
They serve as the “loyal commoners” in the hierarchy of Muslim minorities.
Their lives are literally over the sea, where the villages stand on stilts above the coastal waters
The Ibaloi are the highlanders of Benguet and the city of Baguio.
The Ibalois are collectively known as “Igorot”.
They traditionally live by cultivating rice and agriculture.
The Philippines’ aboriginal inhabitants called the Aetas
provided the pattern for these rough cotton costumes.
The Aetas or Negritos are nomads, scattered among the isolated
mountainous parts of central Luzon.
They are thought to be the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines.
Living in the Pulangi River headwaters in the southern part of Bukidnon,
the Pulangiyen is one of the many indigenous natives of the province.
The Matigsalug are the Bukidnon groups who are found in the
Tigwa-Salug Valley in San Fernando, Bukidnon.
“Matigsalug ” is a term, which means “people along the River Salug”.
Their men wear short tight-fitting pants that are of knee length
and are hem and turbans for the head decorated with beads and
fringed with goat’s/horse’s hair