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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 11.4: 19th Century English Artist Illustrations of Life in the Philippines

Wirgman-“Soirée Musicale” at Manilla (1857) - Filipino man in Barong Tagalog joins Chinese men in shop

The piece featured here is titled “Soirée Musicale” at Manilla (1857) from Charles Wirgman for the Illustrated London News. A description of Wirgman is in our previous installment 11.3.

Wirgman described the scene here as taking place in the back of a Chinese-owned shop in Manila on a Sunday after closing time. The subjects are four Chinese men, one native Filipino man and various live animals around the room. Two of the Chinese men in the center play musical instruments, and the other two flank them admiring the music and smoking cigars. The native Filipino man in the back joins them in enjoying the music and a cigar. The Chinese men appear to wear traditional Chinese clothing, and the Filipino man wears a striped work Barong Tagalog and a salakot on his head.