Monday, May 26, 2008


One memory that stayed with me as I grew older, was the sight of topless women going about their daily chores. This is because I have spent my first childhood years in the city and I was culture shocked when my parents decided to bring me home to the barrio. I never saw anyone naked before and so I stared unashamedly at them .

In those times, in our barrio Taloctoc, women - after getting married - were allowed not to wear any blouse or upper clothing (Yes, they were topless! and no one placed any malice in it.) I would stare straight up at a mother's bare breast, bouncing back and forth as she went around with her daily chores; and no one noticed. (At present, this is not being practised anymore as people became educated about fashion from the city and neighboring towns. Should we consider this as progress?)

During special occasions and fiestas , the native costume for women is a "tapis" which is a colorful, woven, wrap around material that is usually knotted at the waist or tied at the waist. The upper body is covered with a blouse which is from a woven material too, which is cut very simply to accommodate the arms and the neck.

For the male, the g-string is used and nothing more. It is a piece of long rectangular woven material too, that is tied around the man's waist down to his lower body covering his private parts.

They were simple "clothes" for simple people with simple joys and wants. I was not able to capture the bright colors of the Kalinga costume, but hopefully , in the future I will.


Alexys Fairfield said...

This is so fascinating. I love learning about different cultures. Women in Los Angeles go (almost) topless too - that's because they like showing off their fake breasts.

See, both countries have a lot in common. ;D

Shinade said...

To me I have to ask the same question also. Is it really progress?

Yes I suppose to assimilate into the majority then it is progress.

But, to lose the beauty in the innocence is also sad.

And alexys is so correct. In some way or another we are all truly alike.

I simply love your site. I find it so very interesting. :D

Jena Isle said...

Alexys, I can see your point. Yes, we do have things in common. What you hold dear, we hold dear too.

Shinade, progress is a two edged-sword when it comes to other things, take for example - nature; nature is being "destroyed" all around us in the name of progress. I can see that you feel the same sadness I am feeling with the slowly disappearing beauty and innocence of our culture.

We are now conscious of our "nakedness" because of what "progress" demanded.

One story I would like to share later is that of how the native folk fought hard to stop the development of a big dam in the Chico river.

Thanks to you both for the visit.

Anonymous said...

I really like your site.Photo of the kid is really a nice one.

desperateblogger said...

i am hopelessly addicted to native costumes; especially the ones from the north and far south of the Philippines. My girls almost always won best in costumes during Linggo ng Wika for I really make an effort in getting them wear authentic costumes.

my grandson at 1 yr old wore an igorot costume at a gymboree costume party. right. he won!

Kim said...

I love learning about other places. Thanks for sharing this information.

Jena Isle said...

Anonymous, thanks for dropping by.

Desperate blogger, yes, it is a very colorful and attractive costume. I know I should have captured the color in these pics, but being now in the Urban area has made it difficult for me to get some good pictures. But I will eventually, that's for sure.

Thanks, for appreciating our Kalinga costume and congrats to your grandson for winning. It is unique that is why.

Kim, thanks too for dropping by.

Happy blog hopping to all of you.

ichaninja said...


I would just like to ask if we can use the photo of the child wearing native ifugao costume in our newsletter in the office? :)

Debbie Baliling said...

Hello po :)

May I ask permission to get some sort of details to this site as base lng po sa gagawin kong feature to be showed on our school newspaper? ^^ I'm worried kase bka kasuhan nila ako ng plagiarism or mangongopya without asking permission from the author. hihi. thankyou po

Virginia Gaces said...

You can use the information but please acknowledge this site as the source. Thanks.