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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, 20th Century Philippines Part 40: President Fidel Ramos

Fidel Valdez Ramos is a Filipino military general, politician and statesman that served as the 12th president of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998.

After receiving his education in the Philippines and the United States, Ramos embarked on a 38-year career in the Philippine military. He fought in the Korean War from 1951 to 1952 and served during the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1968. Ramos rose through the ranks and received numerous military awards, working his way all the way up to Chief of the Philippine Constabulary, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Secretary of National Defense before becoming Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when he was elected President in 1992.

Ramos played a pivotal role in the People Power Revolution of 1986. After the 1986 presidential snap elections, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile broke ranks and withdrew his support from incumbent President Ferdinand Marcos in protest to his alleged election fraud, thus starting the Revolution. Ramos followed suit soon after, and both military leaders threw their support behind challenger Corazon Aquino. Both military leaders were hailed as heroes by many as their actions led to the exile of Marcos, the end of his 20-year rule, the presidency of Aquino and the restoration of democracy.

Ramos is credited with the creation of the Philippine Army’s Special Forces and the Philippine National Police Special Action Force. During his presidency, he was widely credited with revitalizing the Philippine economy and restoring international confidence in it. In retirement, Ramos still remains active in politics and serves as advisor to subsequent presidents. He is currently the oldest living former president, and he turns 93 on March 18, 2021.

Ramos was photographed wearing the Barong Tagalog fairly often during his presidency. Though he is more often photographed in suits and in military garb, Ramos opted to wear the national garment on a substantial amount of occasions.

 Ramos wears a Barong Tagalog with calado hand embroidery in one of his presidential portraits.

Ramos wears a Barong Tagalog with calado hand embroidery in one of his presidential portraits.

 Ramos takes the presidential oath of office at his inauguration on June 30, 1992. He wears a Barong Tagalog

Ramos takes the presidential oath of office at his inauguration on June 30, 1992. He wears a Barong Tagalog

Ramos delivers a speech at his 1992 inauguration. His Barong Tagalog appears to be hand embroidered and made of piña.

Ramos delivers a speech at his 1992 inauguration. His Barong Tagalog appears to be hand embroidered and made of piña.

Ramos walks with out-going President Corazon Aquino at Ramos’ 1992 inauguration

Ramos walks with out-going President Corazon Aquino at Ramos’ 1992 inauguration

Ramos delivers the State of the Nation Address on July 23, 1997 in a Barong Tagalog

Ramos delivers the State of the Nation Address on July 23, 1997 in a Barong Tagalog