Purong. Street fashion from the Philippines.

This is an ongoing photography project, documenting  Purong, an unusual Asian 'street fashion' that can be seen in the more rural towns and cities of the Philippines.

Motorcycle drivers, construction workers and tradesman  make Purong out of T shirts, tied over their faces to protect themselves from the sun, dust and also to absorb sweat.

The word Purong means head covering in Visayan, the language of the Visayas or Central Philippines.

The wearing of traditional Purong was said to have originated in Mindanao, Southern Philippines. An area of the Philippines where Islam was first introduced in the late 14th Century and where in some places, approx  20 % of the population are Muslim.

How Purong entered the world of street fashion is unknown. Although one popular theory is that the wearing of Purong was influenced by Japanese Ninja and Chinese  Kung Fu TV  shows.

“Street” Purong may eventually die out as the cities of the Philippines become more developed and the use of bike helmets and safety hats is more strictly enforced.

The Purong style has been seen in western culture and is also thought to be influenced by Asian martial arts shows.

Contemporary artists like Die Antwoord, the South African Hip Hop group have been been known to incorporate the Purong / Ninja look. See the Vice Legends animation for references from the appropriately named Nijna .

There are currently around 100 Purong portraits in this photo documentary series.

Using Format