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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 14.2: 19th Century Austrian Artist Illustrations of Life in the Philippines

Eigeborene Luzons by Joseph Selleny - 3 women in baro't saya, 2 men in barongs and child in front of houses

The piece featured here is called Eingeborene Luzons [Natives of Luzon] (1861) from Dr. Karl Ritter von Scherzer and Austrian artist Joseph Selleny. This illustration was published in the official account of the Novara Expedition of 1857-59. Our descriptions of the Novara Expedition, Dr. von Scherzer and Joseph Selleny are in our previous installment 14.1.

The piece here depicts three women, two men and one child in front of some houses in their usual attire.

The women wear baro’t saya (blouse and skirt) with tapis (overskirt) covering the saya and slippers on their feet. The woman sitting on the left wears a mantilla (veil) on her head.

The men both wear Barong Tagalog and white slacks. The man facing us wears black leather shoes, a top hat, and he holds a cigarillo in his left hand and an umbrella with his right. His barong has a standing mandarin collar. The man with his back to us in the background wears a putong (head wrap) on his head and carries a container in his left hand.

The young child on the right wears just a white shirt.

Judging by how they are dressed, the people here appear to be of the middle to upper class. They seem to be dressed more for aesthetics and less for functionality and practicality.