The natives of the Philippine islands already wore different types of clothing and ornaments before the arrival of Spanish colonizers. The men usually wore short-sleeved, collarless jackets that reached just below the waste. The jackets were also symbols of their status in the community. The chief usually wore red, for example.
The bahag was worn for the lower part. It is a strip of cloth wrapped around the waist which passes between the things, leaving the thighs and legs exposed.
A head gear or a putong is a piece of cloth wrapped around the head. This is also important like the color of the jacket. A red putong meant that the wearer has already gone to war and killed an enemy. An embroidered putong meant that the wearer has killed at least seven enemies. Adornments such as necklaces, armlets or kalombiga, anklets, earrings and rings were also worn. These were usually made of gold and other precious stones.
Women also wore sleeved jackets called baro and skirts called saya or patadyong. Women fancied wearing ornaments as well such as gem-studded bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings.
Tattoos played an important part in the appearance of pre-Hispanic Filipinos both for the men and women. Tattoos were considered to be the equivalent of medals, one had to work for and earn it. The more tattoos a person had, the more impressive was his or her war record.
The Visayas was known to be the Islas del Pintados or Islands of the Painted People because it was the there that the early Spanish colonizers observed very tattooed people and Spanish writers referred to them as the pintados, meaning “painted”.
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