In a bid to foster camaraderie and closer ties, it’s become an annual tradition for leaders of APEC member economies to wear informal attire or traditional costumes of the host country. This year, they’re wearing the Philippines’ “barong Tagalog.”
CCTV’s Barnaby Lo reports:
APEC family photo features pineapple fiber barong TagalogsIn a bid to foster camaraderie and closer ties, it’s become an annual tradition for leaders of APEC member economies to wear informal attire or traditional costumes of the host country. This year, they’re wearing the Philippines’ “barong Tagalog.”
Filipino fashion designer Paul Cabral, who happens to dress Philippine President Benigno Aquino, was commissioned to create 32 barong Tagalogs for world leaders and their spouses. The shirts are sheer and made from pineapple fiber and silk.
“Every design was adopted according to the art, culture, and craft of each country. Because I want their barongs to be very Filipino but at the same time, the different economic leaders be able to identify with their barongs,” Cabral said.
Since U.S. President Bill Clinton started the tradition at the 1993 summit, leaders of the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation have gathered for a group photo in the host country’s traditional garb. [flagallery gid=41]
A barong to Filipinos is what a suit or a tuxedo is to the Western world. And it’s versatile. The more casual ones can be worn to the office; the more formal ones can be worn to special occasions like weddings and yes, the APEC Summit.
Cabral says the barong was an easy and obvious choice.
“Since the barong tagalog is our national costume, I guess it’s just fitting and appropriate for the economic leaders to wear the barong tagalog. I couldn’t think of anything else that they could wear.”
Fashion designer Jean Goulbourn, who made the barongs for the finance ministers this year and the economic leaders when the Philippines first hosted the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in 1996, couldn’t agree more.
“I feel that’s the only way somebody – a leader – can take home something that belongs to us. And the message is global. I always want a global message but a Filipino message coming from our hearts and the tradition is kept.”