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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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6 news items


Thu, 24 Jul 2014 11:15:15 -0700

“May terno, may Muslim costume, may baro't saya, parang fiesta! It's funny because even the guests were competing for attention. It was a pageant for all. There's a time for pageantry, and I think the Sona isn't the time for that.” This coming from a ...


Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:00:00 -0700

Perhaps more than anyone in Manila's social set, the low-key Irene Marcos-Araneta has advanced the native wear, particularly the baro't saya, and the indigenous fabrics, especially the abel Iloko. The rare times she attends high-profile events, she ...
Business Mirror
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 03:18:45 -0700

It was a fun-filled night that was graciously hosted by the very charming Argentinean chargée d'affaires Mónica Deregibus, who was elegant in her delicately embroidered baro't saya made of piña, an intrinsically Filipino material made from pineapple fiber.
Business Mirror
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 04:26:15 -0700

Our roots are never forgotten. Inspired by the baro't saya, our national costume with its butterfly sleeves and flowy skirt, the chair is a strong accent piece to any home. It speaks of what is truly Filipino in a more global environment. What a way to ...
GMA News
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 18:30:00 -0700

"Flip" is a word rarely heard in polite conversation nowadays, and "zoids" unheard of outside science and pop culture. Hearing it mashed together in the word "Flipzoids" is naturally alienating, and invites criticism to what seems like an insult or a ...


Sat, 05 Jul 2014 09:11:06 -0700

We hope Manila theatergoers give a warm welcome-back embrace to Becca/Aying, who will wear the baro't saya designed by Alan del Rosario that she wore in the LA production. “Flipzoids,” sponsored by Amici Restaurants and produced by GODinUs ...

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