Katukong – A Pre-Colonial Royal Parasol

The earliest record of this type of head covering was in 1521 when Antonio Pigafetta of Ferdinand Magellan‘s expedition described a “queen who wore a large hat of palm leaves in the manner of parasol.” This could have very well been the precursor of the symbolic headgear we know know as the Salacot.
This weatherproof hat made from  the bottle gourd ( Upo) is a common symbol for Filipino identity and worn along with the Barong Tagalog. It was often associated with the 18th-century Ilocano revolutionary leader Diego Silang and became part of the Spanish military campaign uniforms in  the Spanish colonial era.
Some salacots were ornate and richly adorned with silver and occasionally gold coins ( from the galleons) pounded and repoussed along the rim and crown. They were worn by the upper class and associated with persons of rank or social status; particularly the Principalia ( Aristocrats)  and those elected as  village heads, governors, or mayors.These colonial-era salacots were made from tortoiseshell and elaborately decorated with gems some even  had ornate spikes tipped with horsehair.
 

The Salacot depending on where it comes from, has different names: Katukong in the Ilocos regions and Abra; Salacot in Tagalog and Pampango dialects; Saruk in  Bohol and Samar;  and Sadok in Sorsogon. They are also made from various materials like bamboorattan, and nito ferns. The tip of the crown has a spiked or knobbed finial made of metal or wood and is held in place by an inner headband and a chinstrap.

 
 In 2012, Teofilo Garcia of Abra province was awarded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts with the “Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan” (National Living Treasures Award) for his dedication to the traditional craft of making gourd salakot, affirming the status of the salakot as an intangible cultural heritage of the Philippines under the traditional craftsmanship category.
 
Herald Suites doormen wear the Salacot as a matter of pride and  acknowledgment of
a rich and storied heritage.
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