Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Maxime L. Hermanos, 1961
Not on view
The national costume of the Philippines, the baro’t saya, is an elegant hybrid of Filipino and Spanish clothing styles. The term itself comes from the Tagalong words "barot at saya" or "blouse and skirt," still the basic components of the ensemble. Made of pineapple cloth, the indigenous textile of the Philippine Islands, the silhouette of the garment relates to traditional Spanish costume, particularly in the cut of the sleeves, the shawl collar and trailing skirt. During the period of Spanish colonization, the baro't saya was the everyday dress of most Philippine women. Although everyday ensembles were far less ornate, the blouse component was usually more decorative than the skirt. Slight differences in the decoration or style of wearing the baro’t saya provided a means of distinguishing members of various social strata.