The Barong Tagalog as a Symbol of Pride

During the Spanish invasion of the Philippines (1561-1889), the barong tagalog was mandated to be worn by Filipinos (indios) for over 300 years in order to highlight the distinction between the rich and the poor. To reiterate, individuals who serve the rich must always their uniforms. Mostly their staff, which includes but is limited to valet drivers, maids, and the like. They donned their outfits in order to distinguish themselves from superiors.

A dressing code was imposed on the people of the Philippines by the Spanish colonists to demonstrate their authority. It was impossible for the servants to even tuck their shirts in for this is an implication that they are lowly members of the society. Second, the cloth should be translucent to prevent servants from hiding weapons inside it. They couldn't put anything valuable in their pockets since they weren't allowed to have them because of the risk of robbery.

At the beginning of the century, a new middle class arose from the Filipinos. They were referred to as "principalia" in their day. After studying Spanish law for many years, they were able to get property titles. There were wealthy businessmen and farmers who sent their kids to prestigious universities in the United States and Europe. It was a privilege for them to be able to settle in a part of town so near to the city's political hot spots.

The title "DON" and the right to vote were reserved only for those in principalia. They still wore the shirt-tails out as reminder that they were still Indios while possessing all the trappings of power. The Spanish administration did not restrict the Filipino's will power, and perseverance in defeating their colonial oppressors via adaption and reinterpretation. In reaction to the Spanish's overt bigotry and brutal persecution, Filipinos were "bonnga"(flashy attire).

For centuries, Filipinos have used pineapple leaves to weave their barongs since they couldn't afford to acquire foreign silky-rich material that was even finder than silk. Calado and handwork were used to meticulously decorate the from of the garment.

The Barong Tagalog became the national attire of the Philippines in 1975 under the leadership of President Marcos. Barong's poor and inferior status was another Philippines symbol of resistance to colonialism.

After World War II, the Barong Tagalog became the official state of uniform of the Philippine's presidents. In today's world, the Barong Tagalog is the modern-day power outfit. An abogado de campanilla in the Philippines would remiss if he didn't don the Barong Tagalog while on duty.

Anyone who enters the Palace of the Philippines must today must be dressed in Barong Tagalog. According to the invitation, attendees should wear "Barong" instead of their "Coat and Tie".

Everyone invited to presidential dinner at Malacanang Palace would also have to wear their shirt tails out, suffer the humiliation of having the material of their barong transparent so they could not conceal any weapons; and horros, to be accused directly of incipient theft because their barong has no pockets to put the silver. Attending a state dinner with the Spanish ambassador was a wonderful chance for "sweet vengeance."

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