SAYAW: Filipino Dances
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Visayas Region

















	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. 

	This two-piece ensemble usually supplemented by the 
ancient tapis used as an overskirt, and eventually by the 
square kerchief called alam[ay worn so that it covers the 
bosom--would be the archetypal clothing if the India of the 
Philippines. The saya was to remain unelaborated until the 
period of intensified global trade. But to the baro was almost 
immediately devoted the most laborious artistry, expressed in 
embroidery and supplementary weft floats. The Spanish presence 
was echoed in the patterning of the baro: floriate, trellis-like, 
lace-like designs soon enough make for the standard look. 
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