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Philippines avaFilipino national costume is rather colorful, ornate and beautiful. Filipino people lived under the occupation of other countries for centuries. That's why their national attire was formed under the influence of different cultures and got some of their features. The US, Spain, and Japan had the biggest impact on the traditional clothing of the Philippines. But nevertheless, Filipino folk dress is very unique, authentic and even tribal, if we can say so.

The main factors that formed traditional clothing of this country are climate, cultural traditions, foreign conquerors, and way of living.

Filipino couple in barong tagalog and barot at saya. Photo from

Men's national costume
. Barong tagalog (a formal garment, often made from thin fabric and richly embroidered) is used both by men and women. It looks like a tunic or shirt with long sleeves and is worn over a usual shirt. Filipino men often wear barong tagalog with a Chinese collarless shirt (called "camisa de Chino"). Barong tagalog can turn European-style clothing into Filipino easily. It is ornamented or embroidered with traditional patterns. And it can be made from various fabrics, but mostly natural: like pina fabric (hand-woven from pineapple leaf fibers), jusi fabric (machine-woven from banana silk) and banana fabric (hand-woven from banana fiber).

Men's barong tagalong. Photo from the online store

Filipino men wear different kinds of trousers or even wrap-around skirts with a barong tagalong. Often they use Western-style pants, and still their attire looks rather traditionally and has a local flavor.

Muslim men in the Philippines use a wrap-around skirt and a loose tunic or shirt. Their clothing is formed not only by their religion. It has some national features also.

Women's national costume
. Barong tagalog is as well used by women. But there are many much more feminine and beautiful female clothing. For example, mestiza dress. It is a formal dress made from lace and embroidered richly. It has butterfly sleeves. And it looks really charming. Actually, mestiza dress is a version of baro at saya, but more sophisticated. Baro at saya means blouse and skirt and has a lot of variations. It is very typical for people in the Philippines to wear baro at saya. In the past, it used to be just a short blouse with long sleeves and a long wrap around skirt. But today this national costume can be very ornate and beautiful.

Delicate mestiza dress. Photo from the online store

In support of the above let's talk about another variant of baro at saya, a very popular among Filipino one. It is called "Maria Clara dress". This is a dress of Filipino national novels heroine Dr. Jose Rizal. It consists of a collarless blouse, waist-long and with bell sleeves; a bubble-shaped long skirt; a stiff, neck-covering pañuelo (a scarf); and a hip-hugging, knee-long overskirt.

Very ornate and opulent baro at saya. Photo from

Another popular garment in the Philippines is a dress called "terno". It evolved from baro at saya but turned into a dress. Terno has butterfly sleeves, it is always long. There are plenty of designs and styles of a terno. This dress is mostly used for special occasions.

Muslim women in the Philippines wear long skirts, long-sleeved shirts and scarves to cover their head. Women can also use long trousers instead of a skirt. Some of them add an umbrella to their set.

There is also a very interesting piece of clothes called "malong". It is a hand-woven piece of cloth and a very multifunctional one. It can be used as a skirt for men and women, a blanket, a dress, a bed sheet, a prayer mat, a hammock etc. Mostly malong is used to show the social and economic status of the wearer. For example, the royal colors on malong show that the wearer has a royal status.

Filipino people with various malongs. Photo from

In the Philippines, there are also many tribal costumes which are traditional for a certain tribe. They all are handmade and decline the features of the tribe, its traditions, beliefs, symbolics, folklore and so on. Here are several tribes that have their national tribal clothing: Mandaya, Bagobo, Maranaw, Yakan, Kalinga, Ifugao, Samal, Aetas and others.


#7 antavious 2018-10-22 17:37
you know this is not a human characteristic because you talk about tribes and i need to find out what they do and wear and speak not learn about tribes common get you head in the game
#6 Apple 2018-04-01 18:27
Quoting Lucy:
Thanks, this was very helpful, but I would like to know of the circumstances that people would wear these outfits. To they do it on a regular basis? Is it more of a church dress? When and why do they wear this outfit?
A lot of these outfits are light because Philippines is a really hot and humid place. As for when we wear them, it's usually during special occasions. Such as festivals, weddings, it certainly isn't a church outfit. There are a lot of festivals in Philippines so you're bound to see them if you go. The type of dress you wear is also different depending on where you lived in Philippines (there's different islands), as well as social status. Basically the higher up the social ladder you are, the more intricate the dress.
#5 Satisfied Customer 2017-11-20 14:40
Hey what is up my dudes. I really enjoyed this fascinating topic. It was really exiting learning about a country I've never heard of, I just want to say ya'll did a swell job. All of you working on this website need to give yourselves a pat on the back. Thank you, and goodbye.
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Satisfied customer.
#4 Lucy 2017-11-15 00:56
Thanks, this was very helpful, but I would like to know of the circumstances that people would wear these outfits. To they do it on a regular basis? Is it more of a church dress? When and why do they wear this outfit?
#3 Sofia 2017-03-08 09:38
Quoting arche:
whos the author of this? and the date it was publish?

It was published on 25 September 2015. My name is Sofia, I'm the author. Do you have any questions or corrections?
#2 arche 2017-03-06 13:13
whos the author of this? and the date it was publish?
#1 Ladomyra 2015-10-06 09:49
One of the main features of female Filipino dress is butterfly sleeves. They make dresses look pretty and festive.

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Every culture has features and peculiarities, familiar only to the people of this nation. And it’s very interesting to learn about traditional clothing from natives. That’s why if you have something to say about your national costume, please, do it using comments. Tell us things which you know about your country’s cultural heritage. Other people will discover something new for them thanks to you.

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