Exclusive: Filipino Athletes Will Wear Francis Libiran At The Opening of the Paris 2024 Olympics

Courtesy of Francis Libiran

In an exclusive interview with Vogue Philippines, Francis Libiran shares the original sketch and inspiration behind the barong to be worn by our athletes in the opening parade along the River Seine.

The 2024 Paris summer games are fast approaching. Just this month, the Olympic flame had finally crossed over the ports of Marseille, arriving via boat from Greece. It’s passed hand-in-hand in relay across France—today, it’s scheduled to travel from Périgueux to Bordeaux—before culminating in Paris to ignite the opening of the Olympic Games

Just as you would expect, Team Philippines is already set to make an entrance with added flair, wearing no less than celebrated Filipino designer Francis Libiran. He opted to dress the athletes in a traditional barong, affixed with a contemporary sling meant to evoke the feeling of armor, light rays extending over and across.

He unveils the design in an exclusive interview with Vogue Philippines: “The name I gave this unique barong to be worn by Team Philippines at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 is ‘SINAG.’”

Ahead of the grand opening ceremony along the Seine River, Libiran speaks to Vogue about his inspirations in designing the Sinag Barong for our athletes and how it references traditional motifs that stand for bravery and fierceness in battle. 

What was the inspiration behind the shape of the sling and the overall design? 

The moment I was commissioned by the Philippine Olympic Committee headed by its President, Hon. Abraham N. Tolentino, I started thinking of how we could stand out among the hundreds of other athletes who will be part of the parade. I immediately thought of the vibrant colors of our very own Philippine Flag! I was briefed that the opening parade will be held at the River Seine. There will be at least 80 boats carrying the athletes. Just like the other teams, the Philippine Team will have its own boat. The boats will be drifting slowly from east to west, bridge to bridge, snaking six kilometers from Pont d’Austerlitz to Pont d’léna. Once the athletes have disembarked from their boats, the final part of the ceremony will be held at the Trocadero plaza overlooking the iconic Eiffel Tower.

To make a visual impact for the Philippine Team, I created a wearable and detachable sling-style armor with a fully embroidered design of the yellow sun rays of the Philippine Flag bursting on a background of red and blue. The colors of the strap that is attached to the detachable and wearable sling armor pay tribute to the colors of the national flag of France—the host country of the Olympic Games. The sun rays also feature the Pintados-inspired warrior pattern which symbolizes bravery and fierceness in battle. 

Can you please tell us about the other materials or techniques you used to finish the design?

For the Barong, I used piña-jusi fabric from Kalibo, Aklan. The detachable sling armor is fully embroidered and made of silk organdy fabric. There is also fine embroidery on the collar of each barong for added style.

Why did you decide on a barong for the opening ceremony? 

What better way to represent the Philippines in an international gathering of world athletes than to present our very own Barong Pilipino? The year 2024 marks the 100th year of the Philippines participating in the Olympic Games. I consider our Filipino athletes as heroes, and that’s why it was crucial for me to make sure that they shine and stand out on the opening day of the Olympic Games.

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