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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 12.4: 19th Century American Artist Illustrations of Life in the Philippines

Manilla Costumes (1844) from Charles Wilkes - a woman in baro't saya and a man in Barong Tagalog stand together in Manila

This illustration is titled Manilla Costumes (1844) 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 we see what appears to be an upper class woman and man from Manila judging by how they are dressed. They are both wearing very colorful, ornate and opulent clothing and accessories likely made of fine materials.

The woman wears a long sleeve striped baro with lace on the cuffs and a pañuelo (shawl) with lace edges on top of that. She also wears a long plaid saya (skirt) with a striped tapis (overskirt) and slippers on her feet. In her left hand she holds an umbrella.

The man wears a long striped Barong Tagalog with all over embroidery and lace on the cuffs and collar, striped loose-fitting pants, slippers and a salakot with precious metals and stones on his head. He carries a rooster, as many men of this time did, likely to train for cockfighting.