ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang aims to represent the Philippines not just in martial arts, but also with how he suits up in front of a large audience.
Folayang, touted as the face of Philippine mixed martial arts, is often seen wearing a traditional Barong Tagalog for outside-the-cage festivities.
The 35-year-old Baguio City native would dress to impress in pre-bout events such as press conferences and public face-offs, wearing the embroidered formal shirt.
According to Folayang, dressing locally-made garments happens to be his own simple way of telling the world that he is proud to be Filipino.
“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,” he 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 is fresh from his unanimous decision victory over Singapore’s Amir Khan last November, copping the vacant ONE Lightweight World Title in the co-main event of ONE: CONQUEST OF CHAMPIONS.
Throughout the promotion of his last bout, Folayang was frequently glanced upon walking around in a Barong Tagalog, which he usually picks up from Easter Weaving, a store in Baguio City that offers an expansive range of products made from indigenous materials to highlight Philippine heritage and contemporary culture.
Folayang stressed that he has nothing against his fellow athletes wearing a suit or tuxedo during pre-bout pageantries, but he simply finds a distinct uniqueness when wearing a Barong Tagalog.
“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’s proud representation of his heritage had become so apparent in his professional career that he even managed to catch the attention of Victor Cui, ONE Championship’s CEO International.
According to the renowned Team Lakay member, Cui liked his attire so much that he simply had to drive out and get one for the company executive.
“Victor Cui likes my formal attire so much,” Folayang recalled with a smile. “In fact he likes it so much, I had to buy one for him. He was very happy when he got it.”