What Is The Barong? How Did It Evolve? The word “Barong” is a contraction of the first two words used to refer to the Filipinos formal wear for men, the “Baro Ng Tagalog”. The Barong had undergone several changes from its original form which was a collarless shirt of rough cotton called the Canga of the pre-Hispanic Ma-i people of the island of Luzon. When the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines, the Barong evolved from having embroidery only on the chest area to a much more elaborate one.
The post-colonial Barong were ones popularized by the Philippine Presidents since the Commonwealth period; in particular
President Manual L. Quezon which bore the Philippine Commonwealth and American flags. The Barong resurrected by President Ramon Magsaysay, which saw a change in embroidery from danity flowers to geometric patters. The designer Barongs worn by President Ferdinand Marcos helped catapult the Barong to its present status and gave it international acclaim. The Barong continues to evolve with the different fabrics being used, creative use of dyes & paint, needlework, as well as beadwork.
The Different Types of Barongs
Organza Barong – The sheer and transparent material is made up of silk and polyester, which are inexpensive materials, making the Organza Barongs more affordable compared to others.
Jusi Barong – Like Organza, this is made up of silk fabrice, but is more opaque and has a softer touch. Jusi Barongs nowadays come in various colors and designs, a good fit for attending formal affairs.
Pina Barong – Brings out the elegance and Filipino quality of Barong Tagalogs. Originally made in the Philippines, the pina fabric used in creating this barong is meticulously woven by local artisans combining traditional Filipino-weaving techniques with a mix of European hand-embroidery. The Pina Barong is expensive one among the Barongs, because of its quality, fine touch and the time spent creating one. If you you have the budget and want to stand out, this is surely the perfect choice if you’re deciding on wearing a Barong.
The Barong is uniquely Filipino. Like the Filipino spirit it represents, the Barongs had to contend with several foreign influences, yet has successfully transformed itself as the respectable formal attire not just for Filipinos, but for other nationalities as well. This international acceptance enabled it to stand side-by-side with the most expensive suits in any grand affair and evoke its own appeal. Through the years, the Barong has developed a character of its own, maintaining the Filipino heritage even in the face of fast and ever-changing world of fashion.