Mar 3, 2009


The Balintawak dress is the less sophisticated version of the traje de mestiza. It was a popular rural costume starting the 1920's. It has the same bell-shaped sleeves. The skirt is usually shorter and simpler (without a train). The cloth used is usually brightly colored. It still has the four components: baro (blouse), saya (skirt), tapis (skirt wrap), and panuelo (scarf). The major difference is that the panuelo is not wrapped around the shoulders but was left to hang on one shoulder.

Other versions of the Balintawak have sleeves that are stiff and flat similar to the modern* terno. The modern terno is similar to the Balintawak except that the modern terno is a one piece dress (connecting the blouse and skirt) without the panuelo and tapis. The modern terno is also usually made from more expensive textiles adorned with embroderies, beads etc.

When I was a kid, I saw a painting of National Artist Fernando Amorsolo depicting Filipino maidens with the beautiful country-side as the background. (I remember liking it so much, I tied to copy it with my limited drawing skills.) He captured the nostalgic imaged of a romanticized Filipino woman and rural lifestyle. Amorsolo's work was the inspiration for these series of photos.

A Filipino folk song goes (rough translation)

Sa kabukiran, walang kalungkutan

(In the country-side, there is no sorrow)

Lahat ng araw ay kaligayahan

(All days are joyful)

It's filled with nostalgia of a very ideal rural life style. Of course, the real rural life is far from the blissful image in the song. Although highly romanticized, one cannot deny the simple pleasures of a simpler life.

The carabao or the water buffalo is a popular symbol of the Philippines. It has been an important animal in Filipino farm life. Carabaos are used to pull the plow or to haul farm products.

When I was a kid I remember riding on the back of a carabao. The backbones were a literal pain on the butt but it was a fun ride. A kid who grew up in the city, I consider myself lucky to have been able to experience these simple pleasures.

*The original terno is a traje de mestiza with the skirt and blouse made from the same material.


Mr. Scheez said...

Asteeeg! Ganda! =)

the geek said...

ang ganda ng dilag mo niel..kung ganyan sana kaganda ang mga babae sa "rural" areas...hehehe

gentle said...

para lang si ruffa for mikaela! :) naglilipgloss na ba ang mga dalagang bukid noon? :) hehehehe.

Mr. Scheez said...

@Kuya Gentle - Achuete ang gamit nila noon. Hehehe =)

Niel Camhalla said...

Thanks guys!

@gentle, I have no idea if they already had lipgloss back then but I noticed that Filipino women in Amorsolo paintings have luscious red/pink lips.

But like I said those are romanticized images. Not real.

katcarneo said...

I'll add that in my life's to-do list :Ride a carabao.

The dress is beautiful. You are so talented,Niel.

Scribbler said...

haha atsuete, i used to do that when I was a kid.. anyway, i enjoyed visiting this site. very interesting history lessons using dolls.

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