This is an example of Filipino formal wear called a "barong taglog" or simply a barong. It is an embroidered shirt typically made from either pineapple or banana leaf fibers and worn on special occasions. I bought this shirt during my family's last visit to the Philippines in 2008 as a souvenir as well as to own at least one article of traditional clothing. The style of the shirt itself is a notably more modern, using a brighter color scheme and accents. To me, it symbolizes the unique stratum that I occupy in relation to my parents. Whereas, they are purposefully traditional, I make every attempt to hold onto these values while navigating the norms and culture of the United States to create a unique sense of identity. I last wore this shirt, proudly, at my college graduation to remind myself of where my family came from, the hardships they overcame, all for the purpose of creating a new and better life for us. I was able to walk at my graduation ceremony, symbolic of my parents' wishes and goals for me to gain a proper education, in a country lauded the world over for its boundless opportunities., all while wearing this shirt. I will continue to keep this shirt, wear it during other milestones in my life, and think back on my family's and my own journey thus far.
– Bryan Lucero