As Taal town has survived many historical turn of events, so has the Barong Tagalog survived imposing fashions and evolving trends! Although its style has evolved several times throughout the centuries, the beautifully embroidered traditional male attire remains uniquely Filipino. The Barong Tagalog evolved from the baro, the Filipino male shirt worn prior to the coming of the Spaniards. Barong Tagalog remains to be a lifeline to Taal and has become internationally embraced. As the Barong Tagalog Capital of the Philippines, Taal is most famous for these classic, sheer, lightweight tops worn by gentlemen. Most of the barongs sold in the shopping meccas of the country such as, Central Market, Divisoria, and other stores in Manila, are made in Taal.
Different provinces are known for different styles and fabrics of the Barong Tagalog. Taal is famous for the piña cloth (see Burdang Taal), a soft diaphanous fabric made from the leaves of the pineapple plant. It is the most expensive of the Barong Tagalog.
In 1975, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued a decree proclaiming Barong Tagalog Week (June 5 – 11) and designated the Barong Tagalog as “the national attire.” The presidential act was meant to focus nation-wide attention on the national dress to wider use and enhance its export potential. Many of the barongs of President Marcos were embroidered in Taal.
The Barong Tagalog signifies class and dignity for Filipino males. Formal barongs are seen worn at Filipino debuts, weddings, baptisms, and other special occasions. Semi-formal and informal barongs are usually machine made with short sleeves and cheaper material, such as cotton or linen. Variations come in polo barong, gusot-mayaman, and shirt-jack barong. They can be seen worn in the office. Piña Pichera is a piña barong with a front U shape hand embroidery.