Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 18.11: Un Indio Pescador by Damián Domingo
According to author Nick Joaquin in his book Nineteenth Century Manila: the World of Damián Domingo (1990), the wife did the farming, and the husband handled the hunting and fishing in the pre-Hispanic native Filipino family.
Filipino men were natural fishermen from living by the water, and the fishing tools and techniques they developed prior to colonial times were passed on to multiple generations and continued to be used during the Spanish colonial period.
Fishing tools and techniques varied by the region, and they ranged from spearing fish, various fish traps and nets, hooks, using bare hands, baits and poisons.
The Damián Domingo painting here is titled Un Indio Pescador [A Native Fisherman]. This piece is included in Domingo’s Baboom collection of tipos del pais (types of the country, native dress) paintings, No. 3 (1833). Our description of Domingo and the Baboom collection is in our previous installment 18.1.
The subject stands carrying his net over his right shoulder. The net has some small fish in it, and the net is balanced by a wooden container hanging by a string to the net’s handle. The container may contain bait.
The fisherman wears a red Barong Tagalog suitable for work and likely made of durable and breathable material, like cotton, linen, ramie, or abaca. The sleeves on the barong are rolled for comfort and movement.
He wears matching red wide leg knickers or a patyadong (native wrap skirt), also for comfort and air flow while working in the tropical climate. On his head, he wears a straw salakot (wide brimmed native hat) to protect his head from the sun and rain, and this is over a plaid putong (native head wrap).