The 20 Best Hollywood Style Moments in Barong

The barong has always been cool.

It’s probably the most comfortable formalwear these celebrities have ever worn. It’s not everyday you see an international celebrity in Filipino national costume. Whether it’s a visitor showing his appreciation for our culture or a Filipino-American proudly representing his roots, it’s always a pretty damn cool sight. See photos of the best Hollywood moment in barong.

Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney

Photo by Cyrian Agujo.

Esquire hosted an evening at the Esquire Apartment, in partnership with Anta Philippines, which was attended by NBA players Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney during their brief visit to Manila. Both looked sharp in their barongs.

Eric Nam

Photo by Screenshot.

While in Manila, Eric Nam stopped by GMA's All-Out Sundays! to perform his new song "House On A Hill." He wore an embroidered modern barong by Kelvin Morales featuring raw edges and patched flowers.

Darren Criss

Photo by Instagram.

 For his wedding reception, Glee actor Darren Criss donned a barong tagalog made by Francis Libiran. According to Preview, the change in costume was to honor his Filipino mom, Cerina Criss, as they performed a sweet mother-and-son dance in the middle of the couple's musical celebration.

Bretman Rock

Photo by Instagram.
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To announce his collaboration with ColourPop Cosmetics, Bretman Rock donned a barong in a photo shoot in 2018. It was fitting since the collection was inspired by his Filipino heritage. He said on Instagram: "So excited to announce my new Collaboration with @colourpopcosmetics ???? ???? Available November 9th or Whatevah .. I poured my heart ? and soul ???? into this project and I hope you guys love it as much I do.. I can’t wait to tell you guys more about it !! Collection is totally inspired by my heritage ???? Sometimes I’m #lit sometimes I’m #wet"

Barack Obama

Photo by Edgar Su.

While former President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau aren’t Hollywood celebrities, with their popularity they might as well be.

Justin Trudeau

Photo by Edgar Su.

At the 2015 APEC Summit, they looked just as dapper in barong as they do in their usual suits.

Jeremy Renner

Only Jeremy Renner can get away with pairing a barong with cargo pants, and he pulls it off pretty well.

Photo by Elton Lugay.

This Filipino-American clearly loves the barong. He’s worn it on several occasions, including a 2012 performance at the Hollywood Bowl. Our favorite has got to be the bowler hat-and-boombox-necklace combo.

Quentin Tarantino

Who can forget the time Tarantino rode a pedicab through the flooded streets of Manila and had to show up at Malacañang wearing jogging pants? He obviously liked his barong, since he wore it again when he announced the 65th Golden Globe Award nominees for Best Drama. 

Dave Bautista

Photo by Twitter.

Back in 2007, Filipino wrestling fans were tickled to see Batista wearing a barong during an episode of WWE Smackdown.

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier

Who could ever forget the Thrilla in Manila? At the reception held at Malacañang Palace, reporter Clay Haswell described Muhammad Ali's barong as "sheer linen over rippling muscles." Here he is taunting Joe Frazier. Marcos is clearly amused.

David Bowie

Our personal favorite: David Bowie rocking a barong with bell bottoms at a Hunky Dory photo session with Brian Ward. Where he got the barong is a mystery—if you know anything about it, let us know.

Ronald Reagan

President Reagan attended the inauguration of the CCP in a barong back in 1969, when he was Governor of California.

Richard Nixon


U.S. President Nixon showed his appreciation for Philippine formalwear during his state visit in 1969.

Lyndon B. Johnson

U.S. President Johnson showed his appreciation for Philippine formalwear during his state visit in 1966.

Bobby Fischer and Van Cliburn

Former First Lady Imelda Marcos entertained many cultural icons, including chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer and legendary pianist Van Cliburn.

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando looks pretty damn good in his barong, which he wore while meeting fans and members of the Philippine Bachelor's Club at the Manila Hotel in 1955.

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Angelica Gutierrez
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Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor at Esquire Philippines, where he writes about fashion and grooming. Before joining Esquire Philippines, he was a writer at Town & Country Philippines.
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