Francis Libiran designs national team’s barong for SEA Games opening

Francis Libiran’s ‘Araw’ barong. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

WORLD-renowned Filipino fashion designer Francis Libiran has been tapped to create the Barong Tagalog for members of the Philippine national team who will be wearing it during the official opening ceremonies of the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Phnom Penh in Cambodia on May 5.

Named “Araw” (Sun), Libiran's intricately designed barong is made out of Philippine jusi fabric with embroidery using fine threads and materials.

Featuring the art of the Philippine flag, there are hues of blue that overlap a small bed of red. The focal point of the entire Barong Tagalog is the intricately embroidered sun or araw and its rays stretching over the sash and collar.

This is not the first time Libiran was appointed by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to design the parade outfit of the Philippines SEA Games team. In 2019, he was commissioned to design the official parade uniforms for more than 2,000 athletes and officials at the 30th SEA Games held in the Philippines. He created the iconic “Flag” barong for the event, which received critical acclaim.

Two years later, he was also commissioned to be the official designer for the parade uniforms of Team Philippines at the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in May 2022. He created the “Agila” barong which featured intricate art deco embroidery of the Philippine eagle.

Being in the fashion industry for more than two decades, Libiran is considered one of the most sought-after fashion designers in the Philippines and has also become a favorite among celebrities in Hollywood and the Middle East. He is famous for his signature art deco design details which is a staple in all his artistic works.

This year's SEA Games will be represented by an all-women delegation in the parade with professional volleyball player Alyssa Valdez as the Philippines' flag bearer. A total of 804 Filipino athletes are joining the Games.

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