EXCLUSIVE: How Francis Libiran’s “Sinag” Barong Symbolizes the Filipino Athletes Joining the Paris 2024 Olympics

EXCLUSIVE: How Francis Libiran’s “Sinag” Barong Symbolizes the Filipino Athletes Joining the Paris 2024 Olympics


Francis Libiran is poised to leave a knockout impression on Filipino athletics with his contemporary barongs at the Paris 2024 Olympics

Francis Libiran is making a statement with Filipino athletes as he crafted contemporary barongs for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Donning the traditional garments are all Filipino Olympic athletes, most especially boxers Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam as they carry the Philippine flag during the Olympics’ opening ceremony on July 26.

This is not the first time Libiran designed unique barongs for athletes. At the SEA Games (South East Asian Games), one of the five subregional Games of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and supervised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) commissioned the designer to make their uniforms in 2019, 2022, and 2023. However, creating a barong for the main opening ceremony is a first as he is the official designer of the Philippine Olympic team.

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Francis Libiran

A Design Worth Its Weight in Gold

Named Sinag, Libiran’s process for these barongs is an accomplishment of reverence and excellence through domination: leading as flag-bearers in the opening and fighting it out in the arena. He explains, “The Pintados-inspired details symbolize bravery and fierceness in battle, an homage to the rich culture, history, and heritage of the Philippines.”

The Sinag barong for all Filipino Olympic athletes

“The sunrays showcase the beauty of the Philippine islands—wherever you go it is the sunrise and the sunset that never changes, it is always scenic,” Libiran continues. These aspects capture the athletes’ spirit, demonstrating their perseverance and drive, thus becoming motivators on the Olympic stage.

A Technical Knockout

Elevating the traditional barong, Libiran ensures it packs a punch with contemporary style. “I combined the French tricolor motif with the sun rays of the Philippine flag, pairing the traditional barong with a modern sling.”

Nesthy Petecio

“This combination showcases a contrast in materials: the light and airy piña-jusi fabric from Kalibo, Aklan, against the crisp, paper-like silk organdy, which is selected to give the appearance and feel of armor when worn,” he elaborates. This fine craftsmanship demonstrates the designer’s pride in cultural history while pushing contemporary aesthetics to the forefront.

A Message of Pride

As Petecio, Paalam, and other Filipino Olympic athletes represent their athletic ability, they also show their tenacious passion for the Filipino people. “Just like the Pintados, our athletes are heroes who are brave and fierce enough to bring our flag to the global arena. Just like the sun, we Filipinos are resilient, we will rise and shine no matter how hard life is,” Libiran asserts.

Carlo Paalam

Libiran’s involvement in the Paris 2024 Olympics is a win for Filipino fashion as it further oversees global ascension. “As a designer whose goal is to bring Filipino craftsmanship and artistry to the global stage, this is an opportunity to showcase to the world that Filipino fashion is dynamic, we are brave enough to change the norm and innovate further.”

At the opening ceremony, Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam will proudly carry our flag, adorned in golden attire as they strive for gold. These athletes in their distinctly Filipino uniforms embody the enduring spirit of our nation. Thanks to Francis Libiran’s designs, the world will see that Filipino strength is as beautiful as it is formidable. Truly, Libiran further establishes the Philippines as a contender in the ring of fashion and sports.

Photos and Featured Image: FRANCIS LIBIRAN (via Instagram)

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