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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 18.1: Damián Domingo

Damián Domingo y Gabor (1796-1834) was a Filipino artist and art professor considered by many to be the father of Philippine painting.

He was a prolific painter that specialized in miniature portraits, religious images and native costumes of the Philippines. Domingo was one of the most famous and sought-after artists of his time in the country.

Domingo established the first Philippine art academy at his home in Tondo, Manila in 1821. It is possibly the first of its kind in Asia to teach western and other foreign art techniques. Domingo is credited with pioneering and developing academic art courses in the Philippines. He later became the professor and director of the Academia de Dibujo (Academy of Drawing) in 1827, which was also operated at his home.

Domingo also started a new style of painting: tipos del pais (types of the country). He painted various inhabitants of the Philippines in their native clothing. These paintings were sold in collections to ilustrados and foreign tourists in the Philippines that wanted souvenirs.

Damian Domingo - Baboom Album Cover - Pantless man in Barong Tagalog holding jacket

The first image above shows the title page of one of Domingo’s tipos del pais albums. This was commissioned by Rafael Daniel Baboom, an Indian textile trader in Manila, and dated January 1833. The writing on this page says in English:

A collection of Manila costumes and provincial styles by Don Rafael Daniel Baboom and drawn by Don Damian Domingo, Director of the Academy of Drawing of the Royal Economic Society of these Philippine Islands. No. 3.

Damian Domingo - Baboom Album Cover - Pantless man in Barong Tagalog holding jacket close up

The second image above is a closer look at the pantless man in the image on top of the title page. He wears a striped Barong Tagalog, and he holds his short blue jacket with scattered prints on it. Laid down at either side of this man are his other clothing and accessories. To the left of the man are two pairs of patterned wide leg saya saya pants and a folded up umbrella above them. To the right are another folded up umbrella, a top hat, a pair of dark saya saya pants with gold embroidery at the bottom and a salakot (native wide-brimmed hat) at the far right side.

The fine and fancy clothing indicates this is a man of the upper class. The short jacket suggests he is of the principalia ruling class, that worked in cooperation and in conjunction with the Spanish government, since Spanish edict provided that only principales (individual members of this class) were given the special privilege of wearing jackets on top of their barongs.

Damian Domingo - Self Portrait

The third image above is a self-portrait of Damián Domingo.