Alampay: A Cultural Heritage in Costume Design

Over the years, the Philippines has gone through significant events. These have influenced its rich culture and serve as an inspiration for artistic outlets. Many institutions pay homage to the nation’s roots through screenplays, theater, and the performing arts in general. Many of these performances focus on traditional Filipino settings and require costumes like Filipiniana dresses and alampays. To learn more about the cultural heritage of these costumes, keep reading below!


Historical Background of Alampay

Just like the other traditional Filipino clothing, the alampay dates back to pre-colonial periods. While it is commonly worn by women, men also wear this piece. Numerous indigenous Filipinos wove their clothing from abaca and pineapple fibers, including the alampay. Other names for this piece include “pañelo” or “saya,”

The Cultural Significance of Alampays

During the Spanish colonization, Filipinos began to adapt to using pineapple fibers for their clothing. However, before the Spaniards arrived in the country, natives used abaca. Due to its resilience during the colonial period, the alampay and other Filipiniana dresses have had a significant impact on national culture.


Filipiniana dresses

Specifically, the alampay boasts the country’s identity and pride despite being colonized for several centuries. Because of its beauty and practicality, especially in warm weather, former colonizers like the Spanish and Chinese sold these pieces to other colonies. However, these pieces were made of silk with Chinese embroidery.

Despite being colonized, Filipinos still wear alampays. Some wear these as costumes, while others choose this as an accessory to elevate their overall ensemble.

Traditional Alampay Designs and Materials

As mentioned, abaca was primarily used in producing alampays and other traditional Filipino dresses. Although there are rarely any images of the original alampay designs, there are drawings of Filipinos wearing these during the 1590s and later.

During the Spaniard colonization, these were predominantly worn by upper-class mestizas in the Luzon area. On the other hand, common designs worn by indigents involved tribal patterns and symbols. Moreover, the Filipinos’ design of their pieces was based on their social stature and cultural impact.

Alampay in Modern Costume Design

More and more Filipinos recognize the importance of being proud of our local culture. In fact, there are several adaptations of traditional Filipino culture in different mediums, including the performing arts.

While some productions require a more traditional approach, others need a more contemporary take. Moreover, designers are reinterpreting the piece in a more modern manner to better fit today’s trends.



Modern takes on this design include partnering it with bodycon dresses or styling it with flattering tops and jeans.

Styling Tips to Incorporate Alampays

Since alampays are intricate pieces with beautiful embroidered patterns, pairing them with simple garments would be best. Moreover, these traditional Filipino cover-ups come in different colors, so it’s important to maintain a cohesive appearance.

A lot of stylists now style the alampays with tube tops to emphasize the wearer’s features with dress pants or long skirts to maintain elegance.

Where to Get High-Quality Alampays

Filipiniana dresses and alampays are sold in different boutiques and shops. In that regard, every retailer offers its consumers different styles and strengths. So, as a buyer, how do you choose one? Aside from design and quality, you should also consider convenience that doesn’t compromise your alampay needs.

Find traditional Filipino clothing at Barongs R Us. We offer an extensive collection of alampays that you can easily locate online, and your piece will be delivered.

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