In December of 2007, Gerry and I visited the Philippines. Like many vacations, it seemed short with frantic hops from one airport, pier and terminal to another. We did cover enough places to add to our shared memory pile, celebrated our first anniversary, and shared wonderful time with friends old and new at Marj and Den’s wedding. As Gerry continues to share with me his places on one side of the Pacific, it was wonderful to be able to share with him more of my places, too, on the other side. More importantly, this trip included a stop to have Gerry’s wedding wear done.
We started with Manila, where he was born and lived ’til he was five. I also spent my college years there. We stayed at Maita’s place, which was my happy place during those years. It still is. It was like traveling back in time in a strangely quiet way — being in the same space but now intersected with Gerry’s.
We decided it would be an appropriate touch to have Gerry wear the traditional Filipino Barong on our wedding day. We went to a special shop — Tesoro’s of Manila — in the Ermita district, known since 1945 for fine barong materials that represent well the garment’s cultural history. After browsing the many different fabrics, the resident tailor-craftsman, Mr. Saturnino Calumba, crafted one just for Gerry.
The barong comes in many forms and styles. It is usually worn in special and more formal, dressier occasions in the Philippines. Many Filipino men continue to wear the barong on occasions abroad. Certain styles can be as formal as the tuxedo, which in the Philippines’ warm climate is not practical. It offers a more physically relaxed feel without taking the value off of an occasion as a more casual linen shirt might.
Mexico’s tropical climate and the beachside breezes where we will be celebrating will certainly make the barong feel at home.
We will very soon post links here or in The Wedding page to sites on barongs for whomever wants to explore this practical wear further. You’ll never know — you might just fall in love with it. 😉
I’ll continue sharing more about this trip sometime in Our Story.