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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 18.14: Un Indio Natural de la Provincia de Ilocos by Damián Domingo

Damián Domingo - Un Indio Natural de la Provincia de Ilocos - Native Ilocano man in barong carrying inabel shawls

The Damián Domingo painting here is titled Un Indio Natural de la Provincia de Ilocos [A Native Inhabitant of an Ilocos Province]. This piece is from Domingo’s 1833 Baboom collection of tipos del pais (types of the country, native dress) paintings, No. 3. Our description of Domingo and the Baboom collection is in our previous installment 18.1.

According to Nick Joaquin, as written in his 1990 book Nineteenth Century Manila: the World of Damián Domingo, the subject is an Ilocano man that is a manufacturer of native cloth. This entrepreneur stands and carries his wares under his left arm and points with his right hand. Those wares are likely shawls made of inabel fabric, the soft and durable hand woven cotton material that the Ilocos region is known for producing.

The man wears the Ilocano equivalent of a Barong Tagalog, which has the same features of work barongs appearing in other Domingo paintings - a front top quarter opening, pointed fold-down collar, side vents or slits at the bottom, and made of durable and breathable fabric suitable for activity and folding at the sleeves. This could very well be made of the same inabel fabric he carries.

This subject also wears wide leg indigo knickers, which are great for air flow; a necklace with square pendant; and a small salakot (domed, helmet-like native headwear), possibly made of wood or rattan.