By Dan Paulo Errazo
Reigning ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of Baguio City proudly represents the Philippines not only as a World Champion mixed martial artist, but also as a true full-blooded Filipino warrior. And it certainly shows in his choice of attire in front of the cameras.
Folayang is known to don the Barong Tagalog for his media obligations, a traditional Filipino formal garment for men. It is usually made out of Piña fabric (hand-loomed pineapple leaf fibers) or Jusi fabric (mechanically woven abaca or banana silk).
“Landslide” is often seen wearing the Barong Tagalog for press conferences, public face offs, and other formal or informal occasions. It is his way of proudly telling the world of who he is and where he’s from.
“I represent the Philippines and my ethnicity by wearing a Barong. I am proud to wear it each and every time. I also use a Barong for awardings and speaking engagements,” Folayang said.
“I think it sends a message that you do not have to imitate other nation’s style
to look good. We have to be proud of your own identity.”
Folayang recently bagged the ONE Lightweight World Title with a unanimous decision win over Amir Khan last November 23, 2018 at ONE: Conquest of Champions in Manila.
During the promotion of his last match, the Team Lakay veteran wore the Barong Tagalog, which he recently picked up in Easter Weaving Baguio. This store is known for making a wide array of products that highlight the country’s culture and heritage.
While other athletes wore suits, Folayang simply pointed out that he prides himself in standing out by wearing a unique and completely ethnic formal garment.
“Our Barong is unique, which is why I like wearing it so much. I want to show how unique Filipinos are. I am very proud of where I came from,” he explained.
Folayang soon became known as the martial artist who wears a Barong Tagalog, and it even caught the attention of ONE Championship’s CEO International, Victor Cui.
When Folayang found out that Cui admired his formal attire a lot, he went out and got one for the CEO.
“Victor Cui likes my formal attire so much,” Folayang recalled with a smile.
“The fact he likes it so much, I had to buy one for him. He was very happy when he got it.”
Folayang is scheduled to defend his ONE Lightweight World Title against Japanese martial arts legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in the main event of ONE: A New Era, which emanates from the Ryogoku Kokugikan arena in Tokyo, Japan.
Given that he’s stepping on enemy territory to defend his belt, you can be sure that “Landslide” will do everything he can to represent the Philippines, including wear his Barong Tagalog to all the media events.