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A family belonging to the Principalía or lowland Christian nobility, wearing the Barong Tagalog and Baro't Saya.

The Baro’t saya is the unofficial national dress of the Philippines. The name is a contraction of the Tagalog words baro at saya. Saya is women's dress while the baro means outfit. Baro sometimes mean men's top. Barong tagalog is a contraction of baro ng tagalog. meaning a tagalog's clothing.


Pre-Hispanic clothing of Tagalog nobility in the 16th century Boxer Codex, featuring a woman dressed in a prototype to the Baro't saya

This indigenous mode of dressing of the natives of the Philippines was influenced during the Spanish Colonization of the archipelago. In early pre-history, the half-naked style consisting of only the saya (long wrap-around) or tapis (knee-length wrap-around) covering the lower half of the body with bare upper torso, was gradually covered with a collarless blouse called a "baro", which is the Philippine cognate of the Malay "baju".

The early pre-colonial clothing of groups such as the Tagalogs and Visayans included both the baro and saya made from silk in matching colours. This style was exclusively worn by the women from the upper caste, while those of lower castes wore baro made from pounded white bark fibre. Modern groups whose attire still closely resembles these more ancient forms of dress include the Tumandok people of Panay—the only Visayan group that were not hispanised; various Moro peoples; and the indigenous Lumad tribes in interior Mindanao.[1]

Under the Spanish colonisation, the basic outfit had evolved into a many-layered ensemble consisting of several pieces:

  • kimona, or inner blouse.
  • baro, an often gauzy outer shirt with fine embroidery and wide sleeves.
  • pañuelo or piano shawl, starched to achieve a raised look.
  • naguas or starched petticoat. The name is derived from the Spanish enagua, and is mentioned in the folk song Paru-parong Bukid ("Farmland Butterfly").
  • saya or the skirt proper. This is laid over the naguas and either bunched at the back to mirror the then-fashionable polonaise or given a de cola or finely-embroidered train.
  • tapis, a descendant of the pre-colonial wraparound skirt, which covers the upper half of the saya.


Some variations of the baro't saya are the Maria Clara gown, the ensemble having the addition of the alampay or pañuelo, a large kerchief or shawl wrapped around the shoulders, and the more daring ternó (which sometimes disposed of the pañuelo altogether), having the butterfly sleeves and streamlined look which mirrored the then current tastes and influences of the American colonists. This design was especially popularized by the former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

See also[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baro't_saya — Please support Wikipedia.
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3 news items


Thu, 11 Sep 2014 12:00:05 -0700

In an afternoon show last week at Rustan's Makati, designer Patis Tesoro presented close to 60 ensembles that attested to how her interpretation of Filipiniana has evolved through the decades. Known for her traditional made-to-measure ternos and Maria ...


Fri, 29 Aug 2014 06:58:44 -0700

“Hibla” exhibit at the Museum of the Filipino People in Manila showcases the traditional garments and other woven fabric, including Senator Loren Legarda's collection — a “Baro't Saya — which she wears for formal occasions. From the Office of Sen.

Pilipino Star Ngayon

Pilipino Star Ngayon
Sat, 13 Sep 2014 09:07:30 -0700

It has chosen the fashion show that pays tribute to our national costumes—the Barong Tagalog for men and the Baro't Saya for women—as its first major venture. Proceeds will go to the Houses of Orphanage. (For more details contact Perry Escano at 0905 ...

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