SAYAW: Filipino Dances
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Luzon Region

Barong Tagalog

	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 

	Connoisseurs of historical details say that during the 
Spanish era, the rulers required that the baro of the indio be 
made of flimsy material so that he could not conceal weapons on 
his person. 

	Supposedly, the indio was also prohibited from tucking 
in his shirt, to designate his low rank and to tell him apart 
from the mestizaje and insulares. 

	In a lighter vein, some speculate that the indio's baro 
did not have pockets because he was poor and did not have money 
to put in them anyway. 

	Such details of costume history may well be apocryphal- 
if we consider that the fabric of the barong were traditionally 
either abaka, pina or jusi. And these fabrics were naturally sheer, 
flimsy and semi-transparent, with a stiffness that discourages 
tucking, and a fineness that would sag with sewn pockets. 

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