Sunday, March 3Not Your Ordinary English-Tagalog Dictionary

What is Ornamental Comb in Tagalog? Brief History and Uses

A decorative or ornamental comb in Tagalog is called “payneta” which was commonly used by Filipino women during the Spanish period in the Philippines. As a hair accessory, payneta is usually worn while attending special events such as traditional dances, religious festivities, and weddings. The name “payneta” comes from the Spanish word “peineta,” which means “comb.” 

ornamental comb in tagalog
Payneta in the Philippines

As expected, this special design of hair comb goes back to the 19th century in Spain. Nevertheless, there are proofs showing that it was also used as early as 500 BCE on the Iberian Peninsula. In the early 1800s, a larger version of this ornamental comb became a popular headpiece among elite women in major cities of Argentina and Uruguay. 

Known for its ornate and elaborate design, the payneta is typically made of various materials such as plastic, tortoiseshell, or wood. It often features intricate carvings, colorful embellishments, or filigree work, making it an eye-catching adornment. The size and design of the payneta can be small and delicate or large and more elaborate. 

To wear a payneta, Filipino women insert it into their hair horizontally at the back of the head, with the teeth facing downward. The oversized decorative portion of the payneta then extends above the hair, resulting in an elegant and fashionable look. During the old days, the payneta adds a touch of grandeur to the overall appearance of the wearer. 

Nonetheless, the peineta has been more than just a hair accessory in the Philippines. During the Spanish colonization, the friars were quick to encourage women to be conservative, making sure that Filipino women church-goers were appropriately covered-up. Consequently, this traditional hair piece also had a religious intent. 

During this period, the payneta is usually worn under a veil (mantilla) and became associated with traditional formal attire, “baro at saya,” a traditional Filipino costume worn by Filipino women. Interestingly, the local artistry of making payneta had its roots even before the Spaniards arrived, and Filipinos used to buy jewelry from Chinese traders. 

But while the payneta are no longer common, it still holds cultural significance among Filipinos. This ornamental comb is occasionally worn during formal events, cultural presentations, or as a part of presenting traditional costumes. Unsurprisingly, the payneta remains highly prized not only because of the design but also because of its rich history. 

Use payneta in a sentence. 


Isuot mo ng maayos ang iyong payneta para lalo kang magmukhang kaaya-aya. 


Wear your ornamental comb properly so you will look more pleasant.

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