1 Mitaxe

Saron Barong Descriptive Essay

The Barong Tagalog, more commonly known as simply Barong (and occasionally called Baro), is an embroidered formal shirt and considered the national dress of the Philippines. It is lightweight and worn untucked over an undershirt. The Barong Tagalog was popularized as formal wear by President Ramón Magsaysay, who wore it to most private and state functions, including his own inauguration.

In Filipino culture it is a common formal attire, especially at weddings. Less formal variants are used in schools, universities and offices. Occasionally a feminized version is worn by women, either as an egalitarian or haute couture fashion statement, or as a form of power dressing when worn by female politicians such as Corazon Aquino during her presidency.[1]Baro't saya is the feminine equivalent of Barong with Maria Clara gown being the most popular variant of Baro't saya.[2] Barong and Baro't Saya are traditionally made up of piña, although some experimental styles also exist


The term "Barong Tagalog" is usually shortened in modern Filipino as "Barong", though grammatically, barong is not a word that can stand alone. It contains the suffix -ng which indicates that it is an adjective or an adjective must directly follow.

The root word of barong is the Tagalog word baro meaning "outfit" or "clothing". "Barong Tagalog" literally means "Tagalog outfit". The term was originally used to describe what people, both men and women, typically wore in the Tagalog region during the Spanish era. In time, the term caught on for the shirt alone, and other styles of dresses got their own names (e.g. Maria Clara, baro't saya, magsasaka, kamisa de chino, and terno).


Pre-Colonial Era[edit]

Even before the Spanish Era, the Tagalogs of Luzon wore a forerunner of the Barong Tagalog - the Baro.[3] Earliest reference to the Baro was in the Historical account of Ma-i a Pre-Colonial ancient sovereign state in Philippines believed to have been on the island of Mindoro. (But recent scholarship suggest that historical descriptions better match Bay, Laguna.) that the Filipinos wore a sleeve-doublet of rough cotton cloth called kanga, reaching slightly below the waist. It was collarless and had an opening in front. The doublets indicated the social status and badge of courage of a man, red was for the Chiefs and the Bravest, Black and White for the Ordinary Citizen.

Spanish Colonial Era[edit]

Like other traditional clothes, the style of the Barong Tagalog and the accessories worn with it spoke of the status of the person wearing it. Men of middle or upper class would wear it with their leather shoes and bowler hat. The Ilustrados wore abaca-made Baro with plain collar, half open chest and pleated back design. Some wore it with ordinary shoes, trousers and a hat.

The Baro was originally worn alone. Later it became customary to wear it over a Camisa de Chino, a plain, short-sleeved white shirt. The lower class wore coloured Camisa de Chino with loose pants and slippers which is still a practice in the countryside.[4]

There is an unsubstantiated legend that the Spanish colonizers forced the natives to wear their baro with the shirt tails hanging out to distinguish them from the ruling class; its translucent fabric allegedly showing that the wearer was not concealing a weapon underneath,[5] though there is no historical basis for this. Historians have noted the absence of any specific law or decree which banned the tucking in of men's shirts. They also note that Pre-Hispanic Filipinos already wore untucked shirts, something common in tropical climates where temperatures and humidity are high. An untucked style of shirt was very common in South- and Southeast Asian countries, and the use of thin, translucent fabric developed naturally given the heat and humidity of the Philippines. Also, native Filipinos during the colonial era wore their shirts tucked at times, for example José Rizal and his contemporaries were often photographed in Western clothing with their shirts naturally tucked in.

Types of cloth used[edit]

The finest shirts are made from a variety of indigenous fabrics. They have a sheer appearance and the best are custom embroidered in delicate folk patterns :

  • Piña fabric is hand-loomed from pineapple leaf fibers. Traditional piña weavers in the country, however, are dwindling, making the delicate piña cloth expensive and highly prized. They are used only for very formal events.
  • Jusi fabric is mechanically woven and was once made from abacá or banana silk.
  • Organza fabric is a synthetic fabric for more affordable barongs.
  • Jusilyn fabric is another synthetic fabric for more affordable barongs.
  • Banana fabric is another sheer fabric used in formal occasions. Hand-woven from banana fibre, the embroidery on this type is usually of a geometric design.


The term Barong Tagalog is almost exclusively used to refer to the formal version of the barong; however, less formal versions also exist.

  • Polo barong refers to a short-sleeved version of the barong, often made with linen, ramie or cotton. This is the least formal version of the barong and is frequently used as men's office wear (akin to the Western suit and tie).
  • Gusót-Mayaman (Tagalog, "wrinkle-wealthy") and Linen barong are any barong not made of piña, jusi, or similarly delicate fabrics. These are generally considered less formal than the barong Tagalog, and are also reserved for everyday office wear.
  • Shirt-jack barong are cut in shirt-jack style usually made of polyester-cotton, linen-cotton and the typical gusót-mayaman fabrics. Popularised by politicians wearing it during campaigns or field assignments, this style gives the wearer a look between casual and dressed-up. This type is however considered inappropriate for very formal occasions such as weddings.

Decorative details[edit]

Barong are commonly embroidered along the front in a u-shape pattern, with small spots placed everywhere else. This is usually produced by any of the following methods:

  • Hand-embroidered barong
  • Machine-embroidered barong
  • Computerised-embroidered barong
  • Hand-painted barong
  • Calado Barong ("pierced", a type of drawn thread embroidery.)
  • Pinpricks (alforza)
  • Lace-inserts/appliqué

Relation to the guayabera[edit]

Another disputed theory is whether the Barong Tagalog was a local adaptation or a precursor to the guayabera, a shirt popular in Latin American communities. According to those who claim that the baro is the precursor of the guayabera, the guayabera shirt was originally called the "Filipina" since Manila-Acapulco Galleons brought the shirt to Mexico from the Philippines.


At the 2007 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Sydney, Australia, a press release from the organising committee described the Barong Tagalog, as a "peasant shirt". The Government of the Philippines called for clarifications regarding the description, considering the potentially derogatory connotations of the term "peasant" or Magararu.


  • The barong Tagalog with a "Mandarin" collar.

  • Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, wearing a barong, with his wife Imelda, wearing a Filipiniana dress, commonly worn to complement the barong. The U.S. Ambassador Stephen W. Bosworth and aides in the background are also in barongs. (Leyte Landing anniversary, 1984)

  • All participants but one are wearing barong Tagalog at the swearing in of Judge Florentino Floro by President Joseph Estrada, on December 8, 1998, at Malacañang Palace.

See also[edit]


Filipino dressed in "Barong Tagalog", in a sepia photo. Eleuterio Dominador Lantocan. Circa 1870
A barong Tagalog placed against the light, showing the translucency of the fabric.

To write a narrative essay, you’ll need to tell a story (usually about something that happened to you) in such a way that he audience learns a lesson or gains insight.

To write a descriptive essay, you’ll need to describe a person, object, or event so vividly that the reader feels like he/she could reach out and touch it.

Tips for writing effective narrative and descriptive essays:

  • Tell a story about a moment or event that means a lot to you--it will make it easier for you to tell the story in an interesting way!
  • Get right to the action!  Avoid long introductions and lengthy descriptions--especially at the beginning of your narrative.
  • Make sure your story has a point! Describe what you learned from this experience.
  • Use all five of your senses to describe the setting, characters, and the plot of your story. Don't be afraid to tell the story in your own voice.  Nobody wants to read a story that sounds like a textbook!

How to Write Vivid Descriptions

Having trouble describing a person, object, or event for your narrative or descriptive essay?  Try filling out this chart:

What do you smell?

What do you taste?

What do you see?

What do you hear?

What might you touch or feel?






Remember:  Avoid simply telling us what something looks like--tell us how it tastes, smells, sounds, or feels!

Consider this…

  • Virginia rain smells different from a California drizzle.
  • A mountain breeze feels different from a sea breeze.
  • We hear different things in one spot, depending on the time of day.
  • You can “taste” things you’ve never eaten: how would sunscreen taste?

Using Concrete Details for Narratives

Effective narrative essays allow readers to visualize everything that's happening, in their minds.  One way to make sure that this occurs is to use concrete, rather than abstract, details. 

Concrete Language

Abstract Language

…makes the story or image seem clearer and more real to us.

...makes the story or image difficult to visualize.

…gives us information that we can easily grasp and perhaps empathize with.

…leaves your reader feeling empty, disconnected, and possibly confused.

The word “abstract” might remind you of modern art.  An abstract painting, for example, does not normally contain recognizable objects.  In other words, we can't look at the painting and immediately say "that's a house" or "that's a bowl of fruit."  To the untrained eye, abstract art looks a bit like a child's finger-painting--just brightly colored splotches on a canvas.
Avoid abstract language—it won’t help the reader understand what you're trying to say!


Abstract:  It was a nice day. 
Concrete:  The sun was shining and a slight breeze blew across my face. 

Abstract:  I liked writing poems, not essays. 
Concrete:  I liked writing short, rhythmic poems and hated rambling on about my thoughts in those four-page essays. 

Abstract:  Mr. Smith was a great teacher.
Concrete:  Mr. Smith really knew how to help us turn our thoughts into good stories and essays.

Sample Papers - Narration

Sample Papers - Descriptive

Leave a Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *