How to wear a malong

Someone came upon my webpages while looking for ways to wear a malong, one of the traditional Filipino costumes. It's really simple - just a tube of cloth - but incredibly versatile. Although a number of creative ways to use a malong are featured in a traditional dance called (unsurprisingly) the malong-malong, I haven't been able to find a good Web reference that gives step-by-step instructions on how to wear a malong. I may just build a malong site this summer, after sewing that pretty blue/green batik cloth into a spring/summer malong.

Here are a number of ways to wear a malong as a full-length skirt. The easiest way to wear a malong around your waist would be to flatten the tube and wrap it around your waist, tucking it in at the end. My malong is ankle-length when worn like that, which probably goes to show that I'm exactly the typical Filipino's height.

Alternatively, you can step into the tube and fold the malong inwards until it's the height you want. Then:

  • draw it to one side and wrap that one around tightly, tucking in the other end with or without pleating. To pleat, you wrap part of it tightly and then fold the excess back and forth with a little bit of overlap (like making a paper fan, except with less overlap), then tucking this bulky part into the tight inner part.


  • stand in the middle and use your elbows to keep the front side of the malong close to your waist while you tie the excess ends into a knot (or a double knot), or


  • draw it forward and backward, then use your elbows to keep the inside part of the malong close to your body as you fold the excess ends to one side and tie a knot

Or you can make something up. =)

I tend to like pleating over a tight wrap because pleating gives you some freedom of movement. If I knot the malong, I prefer to knot it at the side so that it has more of a shape, although middle-knotted malongs go nicely with certain tops.

I should post pictures sometime - maybe three weeks from now, when things quiet down a bit (end of term cramming)...

I've also figured out how to wear it as a dress that reminds people of India or togas. It's interestingly cultural and gets a lot of comments (although I'm not sure how many of those are being politically sensitive) although it's probably not kosher (safety pins?!). For that one, you step into the tube and pin it under one arm, then take the excess and drape it over the opposite shoulder, pinning it to the front side and adding a large brooch.

I also experimented with using garters to hold up a tube dress (wrap the tube around you, fold it in front, fold a little bit back, tuck the excess under that fold, fold the top part in a bit to secure, then clip on the garters like dress straps). White garters with metal fasteners looked incongruous. Black or beaded garters with black fasteners might do the trick.

And yes, I know, I should just post pictures so that you know what I'm talking about, but I'm technically not supposed to be up this late documenting part of my cultural heritage... =)

Besides, isn't it just _so_ cool that malongs are one of the acceptable skirt-like garments that guys can wear? ;)

More malong tips would be very much appreciated. If my blue/green malong goes well, I'll probably shift more of my wardrobe to malongs. (I can't sew a balintawak or a Maria Clara!) People can chalk it up to my being charmingly quirky/nationalistic/exotic/weird...

On Technorati: ,

  • KUAN Soo Li

    I hope you don’t mind me leaving messages here. To be frank with you, last year, I desperately needed pictures and videos of “how to wear a malong” or “how to tie a sarong” for my school assignment. I searched my local library literature, called the Philippines Embassy here, and searched the internet like crazy. But nobody could give me good enough information on this. I consider your blog the BEST the internet could offer.

    This appended website can help people on the topic “how to tie a malong” or “how to wear a sarong”. I want to share it with people who have interest in these topics! Take care!

  • anonymous

    where are the pictures??

  • anonymous: On Google ;)

  • Alexis

    Hello Where can i find a place to purchase malongs that will ship to the states for reasonable prices?

  • can u send me pictures of people wearing malong? and pictures of people wearing malong in a unique way..

  • Nope, sorry, you’ll probably need to find someone who can model that for you. Good luck!