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Illustration of Wikipe-tan wearing the baro't saya
featuring the layered blouse (baro
) around the torso and
the long skirt (saya
) on the lower half of the body.
Baro't saya is the unofficial national dress of the Philippines and is worn
by women. The name is a contraction of the Tagalog words
baro at saya, meaning "dress (blouse) and skirt".
Pre-Hispanic clothing of Tagalog
nobility in the 16th century Boxer Codex
a woman dressed in a prototype to the Baro't saya.
This indigenous mode of dressing of the natives of the Philippines was
influenced during the Spanish
Colonization of the archipelago. The half-naked style
consisting of only the saya (long wrap-around) or
tapis (knee-length wrap-around) covering the lower half of
the body with bare upper torso, was gradually covered with a
short-sleeved, collarless blouse called "baro", the Philippine cognate of the Malay
"baju". Early Pre-colonial clothing of groups such as the
included both baro and saya in matching colors, which was
exclusively worn by the women of upper-caste families.
Under the Spanish colonization, the basic outfit had evolved
into a many-layered ensemble of the: kimona or inner
shirt; the baro outershirt with its usually gauzy
materials, fine embroidery and wide sleeves; the pañuelo
or piano shawl, starched to
achieve a raised look; the naguas or petticoat (in the song "Paruparong Bukid,"
for example, naguas de ojetes refers to petticoats
decorated with eyelet patterns which are visible underneath the
saya); the saya proper, laid over the starched petticoat
and bunched at the back to mirror the polonaise which was in
fashion during that period, sometimes fashionably as de
cola or with a finely embroidered train; and the
tapis, a wrap covering the upper half of the
Some variations of the baro't saya are the Maria
Clara, the ensemble having the addition of the
alampay or pañuelo, a large kerchief or shawl
wrapped around the shoulders, and the more daring ternó
(which sometimes disposed of the pañuelo altogether),
having the butterfly sleeves and streamlined look which mirrored
the then current tastes and influences of the American colonists.
This design was especially popularized by the former First