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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 10.6: 19th Century French Artist Illustrations of Life in the Philippines

François-Edmond Pâris was a French naval officer that circumnavigated the world multiple times and documented what he saw in his travels. He was also an illustrator, lithographer and author recognized as the founding father of modern maritime ethnography. Pâris achieved the rank of admiral, and he had expertise in naval architecture that allowed him to produce hundreds of drawings and lithographic plates of ships and other watercraft.

In 1841, Pâris published his “Essai sur la construction navale des peuples extra-européens ou Collection des navires et pirogues construits par les habitants de l'Asie...” which documented non-European sea vessels he saw while in Asia and other places. Included in this work were illustrations of watercraft he saw in the Philippines.

“Bilalo, bateau de passage de Manille à Cavite”, 1841, by François-Edmond Pâris. There's a variety of local Filipinos in barongs and other clothing

The drawing in the image above is titled “Bilalo, bateau de passage de Manille à Cavite” [Manila-Cavite Ferry, called a “Bilalo”], 1841. Pâris’ caption reads:

The “bilalo”, or “guilala”, is used as a passenger ferry between Manila and Cavite, a former arsenal of the Spanish navy. Passengers are a most diverse and picturesque bunch. There are Tagals [Tagalog people], with lovely embroidered shirts [Barong Tagalog] worn outside the trousers, and their wives in sarongs twisted around their hips and short blouses [baro’t saya]; then there are the mountain folk, with large conical hats [salakot] and a type of collar made from leaves [esclavina], worn from the shoulders and around the waist to protect them from the rain; then there are the Chinese, dressed in all the variety of their strange yet practical costumes; lastly there are the monks and secular priests, greatly respected in the Philippines.

Left side of “Bilalo, bateau de passage de Manille à Cavite”, 1841, by François-Edmond Pâris. There's a variety of local Filipinos in barongs and other clothing

This is a closeup of the left side of the drawing. It shows the stern (rear) of the vessel and the passengers described above boarding and already on board.

Right side of “Bilalo, bateau de passage de Manille à Cavite”, 1841, by François-Edmond Pâris. There's a variety of local Filipinos in barongs and other clothing

A closer look at the right side of the illustration. Included are the passengers and crew on the starboard (right) side of the vessel.

There are multiple men in barongs or camisa de chino in this illustration.