"The Barong Tagalog 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.
The barong appears to have retained its essential look since it was first worn. Through the years, almost imperceptibly, the barong's round neck, straight long sleeves and mid-thigh hemline were ingeniously modified with collar, cuffs and side slits."
"The Maria Clara consists of four separate pieces: the collarless waist-length, bell sleeved camisa; the bubble-shaped, floor-length saya; th stiff, neck-covering paņuelo; and the hip-hugging, knee length tapis, or overskirt. Its origin was the traditional baro't saya of early Filipinos: the original ensemble of a loose, long-sleeved blouse over a wide, angkle-length skirt. The incarnation of the paņuelo was the period's concession to modesty-the camisa being low necked, and made of the flimsiest fabrics, the piņa and jusi. Similarly, the addition of the tapis as overskirt was to keep the lower torso from showing through the sheerness of the skirt material. Opaque muslin and "madras" were used for the overskirt."
"Like their menfolk, the female indigenes of the archipelago, gradually cover their upper torso with short, sleeved collarless blouses called baro, through the 400 years of colonization. And what was, since ancient times, an all-purpose brief wrap-around skirt--metamorphosed into the long skirts called saya. Interestingly the saya was generally fashioned out of opaque plaid or striped cotton and sinamay varieties, while the baro was rather stubbornly made quite persistently of sheer fabrics."
"It has been called a masterpiece, a classic, a national treasure. Terno: from the Spanish word meaning "to match." It was the handiwork of not just one couturier but a coming together of the innovations of many. The Filipino terno alludes to the matching of blouse and skirt, joined at the waist to form a one-piece creation, with both bodice and skirt made of the same material.
But the seamlessness is only one of its inventive features. The sleeveless are upright, flat against the shoulders like clipped butterfly wings. Its low neckline contours the bosom. The whole is nipped at the waist to let fall a shapely skirt that is rounded, flared or trailed at the hem."
"A shortened skirt, the butterfly sleeves, the plaid textile, the low cut bodice, came together in the 1930s in the costume called Balintawak. It was worn during picnics and other jaunts into the countryside. Balintawak as "look" was deeply associated with Antipolo, a favorite summer destination for Manila dwellers. This costume was to epitomize Filipina gaiety, light-heartedness and her costuming sense of rural roots. Even when it was absorbed into the domain of haute couture, the balintawak continued to signal song, dance, and festivity."
Camisa de Chino
"At certain, likely fluid moments in the last four hundreds years, the naked torso of the indigenous man was gradually sheathed in a full skirt, exchanging half nudity for a collarless garment with long, cuffless sleeve. Many colonized indios discovered the clothing possibility in what was to be called, in Spanish, the Camisa. Tailored out of light usually translucent materials such as sinamay, piņa cloth or cotton, the camisa became standard wear of those social strata who had to labor in the enervating warmth of the tropics. In due course, the camisa was devoted to the local weaver's many decorative skills. Fine embroidery, supplementary weft floats (suksuk), cut-openwork embroidery (calado and doble calado) and such details as pleating pockets, in time indigenized a shirt cut which was generally thought to have originated in China. And, in the nineteenth century, the Camisa de Chino would metamorphose - with the addition of the collar, cuffs and elaborations such as shirts and pleats - into the Filipino Barong Tagalog."
Mantones de Manila
Among the galleons' precious cargoes were mantones de Manila, an elaboratelyfringed type of shawl of Chinese silk. Mantones de Manila were the rage in Spanish capitals. It was an indispensable mantle covering the shoulders, or a dona and senorita. Made in China, it was shipped to Manila for export to Spain. Many samples that found their way into Filipino wardrobes. And whether used as piano cover, table runner or antimacassar, the manton de Manila evoked a Castilian sense of luxury. The intricately oriental or baroque embroidery was the most striking feature of these silken shawls. Satin, showed floriat and tendril-like motifs, complex curlicues and sinuous lines, and delicate birds and butterflies. The color treatments were vivid and varied, from two tones for intense contrast, to bursts of magentas and alizarenes!
Traje de Mestiza
"This century's two world wars book-ended, so to speak, a frenzied phase in Philippine history. The nation emerged from a colony, became a part of a commonwealth and then moved on to become a republic - all within a span of forty years.
It was the peak moment of Americana in the Philippines: movies, musicals, magazines! And the Manila Carnival was the centerstage for that stunning Filipino costume creation of the new century, the traje de mestiza.
The silhouettes of Hollywood screen goddesses and the Gibson Girl cast a sleek and svelte shadow on the hitherto wide bouffant shape of the Maria Clara, sculpting it to a closer fitting style.
The traje de mestiza was in fact the "Maria Clara", trimmed into a shapely modernity. The camisa became a clinging bodice, with the sleeves puched up and cut short to be an abbreviated leg-o-mutton. The saya deflated to a slim column that burst out at the hem into a flare or train."
More Information (links)
Philippine costumes - detailed description of the costumes
Costume history - detailed history on some of the filipino costumes
For more information, please contact Frances Roehm at Skokie Public Library...
Phone: 847.324.3173 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web design by Diane Fernandez, Summer 2003