The salakot is a traditional wide-brimmed hat in the Philippines and is a common symbol for Filipino identity. Made of either rattan or reeds, the salakot is one of the traditional hats worn by Filipinos besides the conical Asian hat used in East Asia and other Southeast Asian countries.
The salakot is often worn by Juan de la Cruz, a literary personage that symbolize the collective Filipino psyche equivalent to Uncle Sam of the Americans. The custom of embellishing the salakot with decorative motifs is a practice that started in the Spanish colonial era.
Though normally worn by farmers during the colonial era, the wealthy and landed Christian Filipinos and mestizos (especially the members of the Principalía), would also use the salakot, emboss this hat with silver, and sometimes hang silver coins and pendants around the headgear’s brim. Many depictions of gobernadorcillos and village chiefs would portray these public functionaries during the colonial period wearing ornate salakots. It was not uncommon for this class to wear salakot made of more precious materials like tortoise shell and precious metals.
The first Malay settlers in the archipelago were attributed to have purchased the valleys and plains of the Island of Panay in the Philippines from the native Aetas in exchange of a golden salakot and a very long pearl necklace called manangyad, which touched the ground when worn by the wife of the Aeta chieftain. (Source: Excerpted from Wikipedia).
Mabuhay ang salakot!