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Mindanao's finest collection at Metropolitan Museum

Gayak Mindanao: Fashioning a Rich Heritage” exhibit at Met Museum features over 20 Mindanao-inspired haute couture pieces.

MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Museum of Manila, together with Filipino Heritage Festival, is set to open “Gayak Mindanao: Fashioning a Rich Heritage” exhibit which showcases Mindanao-inspired haute couture pieces.

Two things come to mind when we talk about traditional fashion in the Philippines: the barong tagalog, and the baro’t saya.

Barong tagalog is an embroidered formal garment and is very lightweight and worn untucked over an undershirt. It is a common wedding and formal attire for Filipino men as well as women. Baro’t saya, on the other hand, is an indigenous dress of the natives of the Philippines and was influenced during the Spanish colonization of the archipelago. From the original, half-naked style consisting of only the tapis or wrap-around skirt covering the lower half of the body, the bare upper torso was gradually covered with a short-sleeved, collarless blouse called baro.

The exhibit is top billed by Ben Farrales, former president of the Philippine Couture Association.

Known for highlighting elegant classicism in his designs, Farrales draws inspiration from the malong, which is a popular Mindanao piece of clothing. He was able to evolve the terno and barong tagalog with Muslim touches, enhanced such local fabrics as hablon, piña, and jusi to fit the western mode, and explored chiffon, silk and taffeta with innovative Filipino versions. The exhibit features over 20 fab fashion pieces.

The Metropolitan Museum of Manila is located at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Roxas Blvd., Malate, Manila. For inquiries, visit

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