Make way for the new, auspicious Barong Tagalog

Guess who’s out to set a new trend in formal men’s wear.

Mr. Washington Sycip, SGV and AIM founder, Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for International Understanding, and social advocate, that’s who.

Wonder no more if you see him in formal functions wearing the Filipino barong tagalog in exciting colors other than the traditional white or off-white. His fashion statement will also bear traces of his Chinese roots. If you look closely, the barongs may be designed with the Eight Auspicious Symbols of feng shui—clearly, an added feature to attract good luck for the wearer.


The business icon’s formal wear are from the creative team of Frigga Charmed Life headed by London-based international feng shui master Marites Allen. Marites has been trained and certified in several feng shui disciplines and is the consultant of choice of popular personalities in media and government. She has parlayed her knowledge of feng shui into her latest venture, the auspicious fashion brand labeled Frigga ( She also completed fashion courses at the University of Arts-London College of Fashion.

The fabrics used in the barongs were designed exclusively for Mr. Sycip by the Frigga creative team composed of award-winning London fabric designers. “Each of the eight auspicious symbols reflected in the barong tagalog represents a specific type of luck,” Marites explains. “The conch shell, for example, is for protection and prosperity during travels. The Double Fish is for abundance, the Wheel for wisdom, and so on. When you combine all these powerful symbols you attract harmony, luck, and prosperity.”

She adds that Mr. Sycip himself chose the colors from a wide array of swatches. At 93, the very fashionable business icon believes in feng shui and the use of auspicious colors in aligning different types of elements to further enhance luck.

But rule out male vanity; his fashion choices are driven by a nobler thought. In a big social affair he was quoted saying: “one should wear a different color of barong every day to give more business to the industry. I wish that the men would be more colorful, even in these big affairs, instead of just wearing black tie.” But then again, Mr. Sycip has always been one for creating new business opportunities to boost the economy.

Now, men can look dapper in barong, help create livelihood, and attract good luck.

Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the three-point advantage?

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