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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 15.2: 19th Century German Artist Illustrations of Life in the Philippines

Spiess - Strassenszene in Manila - Women in baro't saya and men in work barong and camisa around store hut

The image above is called Strassenszene in Manila [Street Scene in Manila] published in 1864 from Gustav Spiess, the Merchant Delegate of Saxony. He published this illustration with his account of the Prussian Expedition of East Asia, which took place from 1859 to 1861. Our descriptions of this expedition and Spiess are in our previous installment 15.1.

At the center of this piece is a local town store selling drinks. A woman pours a beverage for another woman standing outside her hut’s window as another woman leans on a table and looks on. All the women wear baro or camisa (shirt or blouse) with wide sleeves. The two women outside wear long saya (skirt) with tapis (overskirt).

On either side of this hut are two men. The man on the left leaning on the hut wears a work Barong Tagalog with the sleeves rolled up, rolled up work knickers and a straw western hat. The man to the right walks by carrying vegetables for sale. He wears a camisa, work knickers, slippers and a straw salakot on his head.

C W Andrews - Untitled (Street Scene in Manila) - Women in baro't saya and men in work barong and camisa around store hut

As we have mentioned previously, Spiess’ illustrations closely resembled illustrations of the Philippines by English artist Charles W. Andrews. The second image above is the Andrews piece from 1861 that Spiess copied. They are practically mirror images of one another.