Garment of Honor, Garment of Identity

Manila, 12/02/2008 – The beguiling melody of Filipino music played in harmony with the flowing curves and captivating colors of the barong pieces on display. The bright, Filipiniana setting in the atrium of the SM Mall of Asia provided the backdrop to the much-awaited unveiling of barong garment manufacturer EN Barong Filipino's coffee table book, "Garment of Honor, Garment of Identity." 

Culminating over four years of research by respected authors Dr. Corazon Hila, Mitzi Reyes, and Anita Feleo, "Garment of Honor, Garment of Identity" is also a visual masterpiece from acclaimed photographer Neal Oshima, who produced images that reflected EN Barong Filipino's vision of paying tribute to the barong as the garment that truly represents the national identity. Photographs evoke the rich culture and history behind the fabric that every Filipino regards as his national costume, while the layout design by Felix Mago Miguel enhances their visual magic. 

Venturing into the small but significant weaving and embroidery communities in the country, "Garment of Honor, Garment of Identity" showcases many of the key provinces and hardworking individuals who bring the barong to light in all its delicate beauty. The book takes a journey to Batangas, Laguna, Bulacan, Bacolod, Iloilo, Palawan, and Aklan, where exquisite embroidery and piña creations take shape. EN Barong Filipino, who has been in the barong manufacturing industry since the company was founded by Felicidad Eguia Nadres in 1961, regards these artisans as unsung heroes of Philippine art, who must be celebrated for their unique offering to a well-loved tradition.

Aklan Governor Carlito Marquez, who attended as guest of honor during the book launch, said,

"I come here as head of a small province that has found the weaving industry a way by which a poor sector of our community, the planters and the weavers of abaca and piña, can rise above poverty and live better lives."

Rev. Fr. Ramon Nadres, the eldest of the Nadres children, also revealed a deeply personal story behind the making of the book. In his tribute to their mother, he said, "This book is not only about the barong. Behind it, as its foundation, is a story of love, honor and sacrifice. It is a beautiful story, and it is the story of so many other "little" Filipinos just like us. We are not rich, but we consider ourselves blessed. And we continue to ask God Almighty to take care of us." He thanked the creative team behind the book as well as the employees who persevered with EN Barong Filipino through the hard times that the company weathered and survived. He also voiced the children's tribute to Mrs. Felicidad Eguia Nadres, "for the continuous gift of a shared life, the loving care and concern, the lessons in life imparted so that we be who we are today."

"Garment of Honor, Garment of Identity" kickstarts Philippine contributions to the Food and Agriculture Organization's celebration of 2009 as International Year of Natural Fibers. The coffee table book is available in National Bookstore, Powerbooks, Fully Booked, and Kultura Filipino, and via direct orders to EN Barong Filipino at garmentofhonor@gmail.com or tel. nos. 455-0430 and 920-4952. More details about the book and other products can be viewed online at http://enbarongfilipino.com.