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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 12.3: 19th Century American Artist Illustrations of Life in the Philippines

Manilla Banca - Charles Wilkes - Naive Filipino Man in Barong Tagalog rows canoe with native Filipina passenger

This illustration is titled Manilla Banca (1844/1845) drawn by Alfred Thomas Agate and W. G. Armstrong and engraved for printing by J. J. Butler. It was included in Charles Wilkes’ Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, published in 1845. Our description of this publication, Wilkes and the US Exploring Expedition is in our previous installment 12.1.

In this drawing, a native Filipino woman and man are sitting in the stern (rear) of a banca (canoe). The woman sits facing the starboard (right) of the banca with her legs crossed. Her hair is tied in a bun, and she wears a matching orange and yellow stripe baro (top) and pañuelo (shawl) with a red saya (skirt). The man rows the banca with both hands. He wears a red and white stripe Barong Tagalog, white pants and a top hat.