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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 11.10: 19th Century English Artist Illustrations of Life in the Philippines

Las Bancas by C. W. Andrews - 2 canoes on the Pasig River operated and occupied by men in barongs  

The full illustration in the image above is called Las Bancas (1859 or 1860) by English artist C. W. Andrews. It was published in the Philippine periodical Ilustracion Filipina. Our descriptions of Andrews and Ilustracion Filipina are in our previous installment 11.7.

Las bancas, or canoes, were an important means of transportation in this period. According to Andrews, they were also the only and most effective way to communicate between points and towns along the Pasig River. These vessels travel the entire length of this river, competing with and maneuvering around much larger vessels, all the way down to Laguna de Bay at its southernmost point.

Las Bancas by C. W. Andrews - closeup of left canoe on the Pasig River operated by man in barong

In the second image above, we see a closeup of the left side of the drawing featuring two men poling their canoes from the stern. The man on the right is shirtless and wears a salakot (wide-brimmed helmet-like headwear) on his head. The man on the left wears a long sleeve work Barong Tagalog with the sleeves rolled up. It is most likely made of a comfortable, soft, breathable and durable fabric, like cotton, ramie or abaca. He also wears rolled up work pants or breeches and a straw hat.

Las Bancas by C. W. Andrews - closeup of middle - back canoe on the Pasig River occupied by men in barongs

The third image above shows the middle of the piece featuring the passengers of the canoe in the background. The two male passengers to the left also wear long sleeve work barongs, and on the canoe roof is the ubiquitous rooster.