Tag Archives: Philippine dress

#258 Terno

Photo: Edwin Uy

Terno is the elegant, Spanish-inspired costume worn by Filipino women in the 20th century and which is still worn up to this day in special public occasions. The word ‘terno’ is Spanish for ‘to match.’

The Filipino terno refers to the matching of blouse and skirt, joined at the waist to form a one-piece creation, with both bodice and skirt made of the same material. The seamlessness is only one of its inventive features of the Filipino terno. The sleeveless are upright, flat against the shoulders like clipped butterfly wings. Its low neckline contours the bosom. The whole is nipped at the waist to let fall a shapely skirt that is rounded, flared or trailed at the hem.

Pioneering Philippine fashion designers have innovated on the terno and their designs elevated this national costume to a world-class high fashion statement. (Source: Filipino Heritage.com)

Long live Philippine costumes!


Filed under Arts and Culture, Icons, Traditions

#2 Barong Tagalog

Barong Tagalog or “dress/shirt” of the Tagalogs-  the Tagalogs being the generic name for the ethnic tribes living in the lowlands of central and southern Luzon Island.

Although this attire may be a tad ethno-centric that reflects the bias towards the Tagalog-speaking population in the Philippines, this shirt/dress has evolved from the country’s colonial Spanish past to become one of the most enduring Philippine icons.

Materials range from cotton, polyester to the more expensive imported and native silks such as the handmade jusi and pina fibers. Only the wearer’s imagination and taste set the limit regarding the tailoring and embroidery of the barong Tagalog.

Corrupt government officials and Pinoy movie stars are fond of attiring themselves with the barong Tagalog when receiving bribes and film awards.

Thus, the barong Tagalog  can provide both effective cover or render a certain air of decency and cosmetic distraction to  the eye of the beholders. In other words, this is the Pinoy version of  “dress to impress.” 

Try one and you will see that the finest barong Tagalog is a perfect, albeit stylish match to the tropical heat.


Filed under Dress/Fashion, Icons