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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 10.4: 19th Century French Artist Illustrations of Life in the Philippines

“Tagals”, Laplace, 1835. Tagalog men in long striped Barong Tagalog and a woman in baro't saya

The French illustration featured here is titled “Tagals”, 1835, and it shows a Tagalog man in the foreground wearing a long striped Barong Tagalog, with a neckerchief tied around the collar, striped wide leg trousers and top hat. He is holding a rooster, which he is likely preparing for a cockfight. Cockfighting was so popular and common in the 19th century, many men were depicted in art holding roosters. The man has a scarf or handkerchief draped on his shoulder probably for wiping perspiration off his face.

There is a Tagalog man and woman interacting in the background. The man wears a long solid natural beige color Barong Tagalog that extends to his knees, striped wide leg trousers, top hat and a scarf draped over his shoulder.

The woman wears a baro’t saya (blouse and skirt), windowpane check tapis (skirt covering) and mantilla (scarf) over her head. Her baro is solid and long sleeve, and her saya is striped and covers her feet. She smokes a cigarillo, which women were commonly shown doing in art of that era.

This drawing is from Captain Cyrille Pierre Théodore Laplace’s visit to the Philippines from September to November 1830, during his trip around the world, and it is included in the historical album “Voyage autour du monde par les mers de l’Inde et de Chine de la Corvette de la Majesté La Favorite” (1835) [Translation: Travel around the world through the seas of India and China on the royal ship “La Favorite”].

The aquatint picture plate image (for printing) of this illustration and others from this voyage were carved by Sigismond Himely based on drawings by artists François-Edmond Pâris, Louis Auguste de Sainson and Barthélémy Lauvergne.