EIU Celebrated Asian Heritage: Philippine Native Dress

Let me take you on a trip back to ancient Philippines. But for now, our travel won’t go beyond my memory as a child exposed to the different costumes worn during dance festivities showcasing folk dances from different provinces.

Yesterday [Sunday], Eastern Illinois University joined in the celebration of the Asian Heritage, and students were encouraged to dress in their native dresses. My niece, of course, had an array of choices, considering that this fragmented archipelago has rich cultural differences reflected in the day-to-day lives of its people in more ways than one, especially in their manner of dressing. Having said that, which one should she represent–the Christians, the Muslims, or the other ‘religio-ethno-linguistic’ groups? This was yesterday’s question, today it is answered below.

The Maria Clara’s popularity made me wish we’re not separated by distance to facilitate the fittings. She wouldn’t have known how to make any alterations, and without her measurement, that would be a tricky proposition. I decided to rely on whatever material was available and the least complex cut I could recreate. I believe this native dress was simply worn by the ladies in most Christian areas before the Spaniards had influenced everything that was Filipino [maybe, not really]. But then I’m only relying on my fuzzy memory more than 3 decades away from my historical facts to say the least. [This is something I plan to revisit in my future website.] 


Skirt with adjustable waistline and blouse could cover the elastic.


Blouse could be tucked in and elastic in skirt hidden with the sash.


Another possibility of adding color to show your own creativity.



My niece just emailed [pictures later when I learn to use Feed Footer plugin] me that during the celebration yesterday, they let her wore the Maria Clara instead, and a kid wore this ‘baro’t saya’ as the color suits the youger one better. Isn’t it wonderful, I didn’t try to sweat it out with the Maria Clara? [The fitting was alright; she has the kid’s size.] I think that’s what it is–‘baro‘ technically means dress and ‘saya‘ is long skirt. This was the ancient Filipina’s day to day attire. Its simplicity may have suited the tropical climate and the poor Filipina’s lifestyle [or status] under the Spanish regime.


*Originally Posted @ https://zylla3.wordpress.com


12 responses to “EIU Celebrated Asian Heritage: Philippine Native Dress

  1. Hello Zylla, looks like you have a double entry or did I get less sleep today?
    Anyways.. was your apartment in QC? I might be based in QC during our trip because I will visit family there.. I will probably take a look at your palace there 🙂

  2. hehehe…the two hours I was fixing my blog, whoever was reading at that time may had been wondering if it was some kind of hallucination … or too much alcohol.

    When are you really going to be in the Philippines? I thought I read it somewhere in your blog–August? I’d be glad to see you if you’re there earlier. July would be good but we’ll be there by June 23 till early Aug.(6th or earlier)–depending on the actual ticket date I can get.

  3. hi i am glad that isee the Dress that i want 2 knoW…….

  4. Hi T6…I’m glad it worked for you!

  5. Phat article, good looking weblog, added it to my favorites!

  6. Thanks whedsifierise…I appreciate your kind comment.

  7. hello. im part of a tinikling dance club at my high school in elk grove, ca. would u happen to know where i can buy a dress like that around my area or where i can buy it online. people hav been telling me to just get them sown but i dont know where i can get that done. if u could please direct me on how i can get these i would highly appreciate it!

  8. @tog: sorry I’d been so busy didn’t get your post right away. I’m not sure if you found one already. Here’s a link where somebody could have an idea how to make the dress for you– http://www.likha.org/galleries/tinikling.asp
    Also if you want an easy one, take a look at this http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tinikling-Dance-Club/226052923048?ref=mf and get a checkered cloth and make an elastic skirt. Then find any loose top that would resemble the ones in the picture, and get a colorful scarf to put over one shoulder. It should look like another variaton.
    Or you can google if you have any Pilipino store close to your place. It could get expensive probably on line.

  9. its ok i got our costume problem solved. funny how u mentioned that facebook page because thats the tinikling dance club im a part of haha. we borrowed those costumes last year but i wanted to get costumes of our own so we wouldn’t have to borrow all the time. but the problems solved so thanks for your help!

    • I don’t know that I’ve helped at all, but I’m glad that you have your problem solved. I just googled tinikling dance costume and your FB came up. I’m just curious if you bought your costumes or you decided to have it made?

  10. well i appreciate your effort!
    we had some of them made. the skirts were replicated from the ones we borrowed last year &the tops were bought at flee markets

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