Barong Tagalog Festival

Barong Tagalog Festival

The first ever Barong Tagalog festival in Lumban was initiated by the local government for April 29 to May 3, in 1996. Various embroidery products were displayed in the plaza for the first time in the life of the festival. Initially, forty local producers took part in the celebration. Moreover, the festival showcased some regional cuisines such as Ginataang Hipon and Kesong Puti. Among other products, small producers such as yunot, bolos, sundried bags made of water lily, and walis were present in the showcase. Lumban has established itself as the primary embroidery capital of the Philippines. The festival since its initiation in 1996 has been centered on being a continuing project for the municipality. 

Origin: Barong Tagalog Festival

Barong Tagalog is an embodied shirt made by the Philippines and considered as the official signature dress of the Philippines. It is lightweight, stylish and worn untucked over an undergarment. In perhaps a patriotic move the Barong Tagalog festival adapted its name from this unique shirt. 

Barong Tagalog shirt and Festival 

The shirt was popularized by President Ramsey Magsaysay who wore it on numerous occasions including his inauguration. The significance of the name and the cultural identity the shirt possesses is an essential part of the bond between the Lumban municipality and its position in the embroidery industry in the Philippines. There are various forms of the shirt which are used as official attire while the lesser forms are used as a uniform for universities, offices, and schools. 

To understand the importance of the shirt and why it’s featured in a festival, it’s crucial to understand the pride behind it. The shirt also exists on a feminized version worn in the Philippines but quickly gaining traction in the world fashion industry. Baro’t Saya is the equivalent feminine version of the Barong Tagalog; both are made from Pina (a material made from pineapple leaves’ fiber) although other experimental forms exist. The dressing choice has been featured as an egalitarian haute couture or a power dressing worn by female state officials and, notably, by Corazon Aquino during her presidency. 

Barong Festival: Significance to the Filipino Identity

Since 1996 the Barong Tagalog festival has been celebrated annually from April 29th to May 3rd . The immense appreciation and attention paid to the festival have affected the culture in positive ways. As a national attire and a signature trademark of the Philippines, the Lumban, Laguna is proud to host the festival. 

The capital of embroidery in the Philippines has been dedicating resources to the festival since its initiation and continue to uphold the cultural significance of the Barong Tagalog shirt as a national identity of the Philippines. 

The Modern Significance of the Barong Tagalog Festival 

Among the diverse culture of the Philippines, one of the most notable ones is the wearing of the Barong Tagalog among them. Majority of the population is conversant with the dressing and highly regard it as part of their identity. Before the Japanese and the American in the 20th century, before the Spaniards in the 16th century and before the Muslims. The county was once an Indianized Kingdom. The country has had its fair share of foreign rulers leaving the islands disposed to various names such as Luzviminda and Pintados. 

The country is now free of foreign rule and has in the past few decades started to appreciate their culture. Barong Tagalog is a classic example of the diversity the culture holds. The Barong Festival is at the forefront of making the culture stick for generations. While some argue that the country is yet to fully mobilize their culture and understand their true identity, festivals such as Barong Festival point in the opposite direction. 

The Barong Festival and Baro Shirt at the turn of the 20TH century

While it has gone on to become a cherished garment, it uniquely defines a nation in its creation. Unfortunately, globalization has had an unavoidable impact on the propagation of the culture. Festivals such as the Barong Festival have been striving to make the movement universal; however, teenagers have grown up listening to international hits which does not help the situation in the least. 

Local artists. ‘artistas’ making cover songs of popular international songs have also retarded the momentum set by the festivals. Consequently, the Philippines younger generations have imitated the dressing style of the European by wearing brands from Forever21 and other similar brands. 

The Barong Tagalog Festival Attitude 

One fact that both groups, those living in urban areas those living in remote regions of the Philippines agree on is that all Filipinos traditionally wear the Barong Tagalog. Amidst the age of culture saturation and a struggling identity, The Barong Tagalog stands out as a proud marker of the Filipinos. That said, Barong festival strengthens the pride and the Filipinos, the spirit of making something out of nothing. The classic wear has been adapted as a festival and as a staple culture.

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