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A Dive into the Fabrics of Barong Tagalog and TERNO

Updated: Jul 2

In the heart of the Philippines, the Barong Tagalog and Terno Baro't Saya stands as our cultural emblem, embodying elegance, tradition, and craftsmanship. Beyond its intricate embroidery and timeless design, the fabric choices play a crucial role in shaping the character of these iconic Filipino attire.

1. Piña cloth

The piña fabric is the finest of all fabrics handwoven in the Philippines. It is a delicate sheer fabric crafted from the fibers of the pineapple leaf. Known for its fine texture and natural sheen with naturally light champagne-gold color, piña cloth reflects the tropical essence of the Philippines. The intricate process of extracting fibers, hand-weaving, and finishing gives the Barong Tagalog a distinctively luxurious touch and makes it the most expensive choice of fabric for Barong or TERNO.

2. Piña-silk blend

Combining the best of both worlds, piña-silk blends offer a harmonious balance between the richness of silk and the uniqueness of piña. This blend enhances the fabric's durability while preserving the exquisite qualities that make the Barong Tagalog a symbol of Filipino heritage.

3. Jusi fabric

Jusi, made from a combination of silk and abaca (a type of banana plant), adds a touch of opulence to our Barong Tagalog and offers a lustrous and lightweight alternative to piña fabric. Jusi fabric enhances the garment's visual appeal with its smooth texture and subtle luster. Jusi Barong and TERNO are popular choices for formal occasions, striking a balance between sophistication and practicality.

Piña-jusi is jusi fabric that is handpainted with fine piña-like streaks that give it a distinct color mimicking the looks of an original piña cloth - this process is referred to as "pa-pinya" in the local dialect of Lumban artisans. TERNO by TCG works with the best local artisans known for their high-quality craftsmanship of the piña-paint application techniques.

4. Abaca-cotton

Derived from the abaca plant fibers (known as Manila hemp) handwoven with cotton strands, the abaca-cotton fabric is durable, thicker and less transparent than piña fabric. This fabric still used in some Barong Tagalogs, especially for everyday wear due to its durability.

5. Cocoon Fabric

Using raw silk threads, cocoon Barongs boast a distinct texture and a natural, earthy off-white tone. It is a woven fabric from silk with transparency somewhat similar to the transparency of piña but without the sheen. The irregularities in the fabric lend a unique charm, making each Barong a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. This fabric choice highlights the significance of embracing imperfections as part of the cultural narrative.

When a Barong is made with piña-cocoon fabric, this means that the fabric used is cocoon which is handpainted with fine piña-like streaks giving it the looks of an original piña cloth.

6. Organza

Organza, a lightweight and sheer fabric, brings an ethereal quality to the Barong Tagalog. Often used for the barong or terno, its lining and overlays, organza adds a touch of delicacy to the garment, creating a beautiful contrast with the sturdier base fabric. This choice of fabric is also popular as it is the most practical option for Barong or TERNO. Organza fabric are made more luxurious and distinct by our local artisans in Lumban by adding elaborate details of embroidery. Due to its delicacy, organza fabric can only embroidered with the use of modern computerised embroidery machineries.

The fabrics used in crafting the Barong Tagalog reflect the intricate artistry and cultural pride of the Philippines. Local artisans in Lumban, Laguna are second to none when it comes to adding elaborate charm and design to each piece of fabric with their hand embroidery skills and handfinished tailoring. These traditional fabrics have their own unique characteristics but they become outstandingly Filipino when combined with the rich talent of our craft masters.

Whether it's the timeless elegance of Piña, the subtle sophistication of Jusi, the rustic charm of Cocoon, or the modern twist of Organza, each fabric choice contributes to the story of Filipino identity and tradition. As the Barong Tagalog and TERNO continues to evolve, these fabrics ensure that it remains a symbol of pride, connecting the past with the present and the future.


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