As alluded to in previous installments, Spain wasn’t the only country interested in the Philippines. As much as Spain wanted to keep the Philippine archipelago a secret from the rest of the world, they could not keep everyone away.
France was one of the most prolific exploring countries in the 19th century. While they put exploration on hold through the French Revolution of 1789 and the Napoleonic Wars, the French resumed exploratory voyages for political influence and scientific research purposes after 1815. Several of their numerous 19th century voyages included stops in the Philippines. France produced the most foreign illustrations of subjects from the Philippines in this century, and theirs were considered the most stunning.
Hyacinthe de Bougainville was the commander of a voyage to the Philippines that landed in Manila in 1824. Artist Vicomte M.E.B. de la Touanne produced many drawings of what they encountered on this voyage.
The de la Touanne drawing we present here is titled “Village Tagal de Bacor, sur la route de Cavite à Manille”, 1828. The town of Bacoor is by the sea, and its town wharf serves as a dock and travel hub for foreign ships and travelers. Many foreign sailors explore the town or travel up to Manila from this town road. There are many pick-ups and drop-offs of travelers from this point.
A closeup of the people appearing on the left 1/3 portion of the illustration. From the group of four in the foreground, the man on the far left is a local municipal government leader of the principalia class evidenced by his fancily decorated salakot (native helmet-like hat), his red jacket worn over his long untucked pleated Barong Tagalog (which is how principalia men distinguished themselves), matching red pants and the cane or staff he has in his left hand. The second man from the left wears an off-white Barong Tagalog, dark pants and western hat. The two women to the right wear striped patterned baro’t saya and mantillas (veils). The man in the background appears to wear a long barong and dark pants.