Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Literary Repitition: The Barong
I started a piece this morning. It was a story that I'd been thinking about for a year. It was inspired from a trip to The Philippines I took in 2004. (Sheesh, that country so inspires me. I wish I could be there more often.) I'm simply "free-writing" about characters in this story and one of the characters is suddenly wearing a "barong." This item of clothing has appeared many times in several of my stories. I don't know why I have a fascination with this shirt and feel the need bring it into my work so often. Think about it: would a writer constantly bring in the same tuxedo to his work? I admit to owning atleast ten barongs in different styles.
I think somewhere deep down inside, I so associate the history of The Philippines with the Barong. For example, the reason the shirt is transparent is because the Spanish, who ruled the country for 4 hundred years, were afraid that their Filipino servants were carrying weapons. Thus, the making of barong required a sheer look, so knives could be detected. I suppose it was the Spanish version of the metal detector.
On another note, I find them absolutely beautiful. I have pictures of my cousin's wedding. All of the men wore barongs. I didn't think much of it at the time, but in photos, there was something aesthically pleasing about seeing all of these Filipino men huddled together wearing this elegant, pristine looking shirt.