This is what my morning usually looks like. Me journaling with a tea latte, big glass of water dressed in my malong. A #malong is a #Filipino “tube dress” very similar to a sarong. If I’m home, this is what I’m wearing.
To me, this is normal. This is not a costume. This is my lounge around the house clothing. I have them in several different patterns and I’ve never considered them. I just never thought about the malong as anything different from wearing yoga pants and tees.
I’m thinking about this because all over my social feeds, I see and follow all types of accounts but I’m particularly thinking of those of Filipinas and groups. I noticed the only time I see a malong, it is in reference to a festival or performance where this is a “costume”. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not about to go on some rant about the loss of culture or demonize anyone. It just got me thinking.
My mother is 100% Filipina or #pinay and most of our family is from the southern region of #Mindinao. The countryside is beautiful and also has the largest percentage of Muslims in the #Philippines. Unfortunately, in most recent history (2 yrs. ago), Mindinao was in the news for ISIS fighting in the mountain regions, making the beautiful area only known tot he general population for this reason.
Growing up in LA/ Ventura, my mother always wore a malong around the house too. I wasn’t surrounded by family but rather aunties and uncles who were Kagayanons, people from my mother’s hometown.
During weekend potlucks, I would see my aunties in malongs as the long days wore on. The food always kept coming. The San Miguel beers were plentiful. The men would rereat to a smoke-filled room to play cards. The small children usually were hoarded together in a bedroom in front of a television and demanded to stay there by one of the older cousins. The teen cousins would be off in the yard blaring the hip hop and doing dance routines while the aunties would be milling around cleaning up the day of festivities or singing on the karaoke machine.
This was my norm growing up in America. I’m headed to Philippines next week and I think of their norm and how different it was. I see a few people in the streets in Cagayan de Oro wearing traditional dress out and about but I never really took too much notice.
I WILL NOW.
The malong for me is my uneventful reminder of my childhood. It is a part of my heritage, my history + life. It is a simple, multi- purpose piece of cloth. It is my comfort.
Do any of you pinays use a malong?