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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, 20th Century Philippines Part 6: President Elpidio Quirino

Elpidio Quirino y Rivera was a Filipino lawyer and politician with a long career in public service in the Philippine government. After a brief career in the private practice of law, Quirino served in the House of Representatives from 1919 to 1925. He served as a Senator from 1925 to 1935 and Senate President from 1945 to 1946. Quirino was Vice President under President Manuel Roxas from 1946 until Roxas’ untimely death in 1948. On April 17, 1948, two days after Roxas’ death, Quirino assumed the presidency and became the sixth president of the Philippines. After completing the remainder of Roxas’ presidential term, Quirino was elected for his own term as president from 1949 to 1953. He then retired from politics after an unsuccessful re-election bid.

After reviewing many available photos of President Quirino, it appears he wore suits and ties for the majority of the photographs. Though, there are many photographs of him wearing a Barong Tagalog. We surmise he opted for suits and ties for the more important presidential functions, especially functions with foreign dignitaries. At both of his presidential oath-taking ceremonies, he wore a suit and tie. We also estimate that he chose to wear a barong to the smaller internal functions and appearances amongst local people.

President Quirino (right) wears a barong during an oath-taking ceremony for new officers at Malacañang Palace

President Quirino (right) wears a barong during an oath-taking ceremony for new officers at Malacañang Palace. Exact date is unknown, but probably circa late 1940’s, early 1950’s.

Quirino addresses an audience in a Barong Tagalog while on the campaign trail for re-election as President in 1953

Quirino addresses an audience in a Barong Tagalog while on the campaign trail for re-election as President in 1953.

 Quirino visits the tomb of President Manuel Roxas with his family. He wears a barong

Quirino visits the tomb of President Manuel Roxas with his family. He wears a barong. These pictures are likely from 1948.

Quirino dances in a Barong Tagalog at a family birthday party

Quirino dances in a Barong Tagalog at a family birthday party probably circa late 1940’s.

A handshake with President Quirino who is on the right wearing a barong.

A handshake with President Quirino who is on the right wearing a barong. This photo is probably circa 1950’s.

President Quirino’s first oath-taking ceremony as president two days after the death of President Roxas on April 17, 1948

President Quirino’s first oath-taking ceremony as president two days after the death of President Roxas on April 17, 1948. He wears a suit and tie.

President Quirino’s second oath-taking ceremony as president at his inauguration on December 30, 1949

President Quirino’s second oath-taking ceremony as president at his inauguration on December 30, 1949. He wears a suit and tie.