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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 18.15: Un Iatural de la Provincia de Bissaya by Damián Domingo

Damián Domingo - Un Iatural de la Provincia de Bissaya - Visayan male vendor wearing equivalent of Barong Tagalog

The tipos del pais (“types of the country”, native dress) painting here is called Un Iatural de la Provincia de Bissaya [A Native Inhabitant of a Visayan Province] by Damián Domingo. This piece is from his 1833 Baboom collection, No. 3. Our description of Domingo and the Baboom collection is in our previous installment 18.1.

Author Nick Joaquin wrote, in his 1990 book Nineteenth Century Manila: the World of Damián Domingo, that the subject of this piece is a vendor selling tuba (an alcoholic beverage made of palm tree sap) or coconut oil. He carries his liquid in a tapayan, a large wide-mouthed ceramic or stone storage jar. In his right hand, the vendor holds a dipper made of a coconut shell to extract and serve the liquid he sells.

This man wears a Visayan equivalent of a Barong Tagalog made of sinamay, a fabric made from abaca, a banana plant. His top shares the same characteristics as a barong. It is made of a striped translucent fabric. It has a quarter opening at the front neck with a pointed fold-down collar and vents or slits at the sides. He rolls his sleeves for comfort and ease of movement while working. His well-ventilated wide-leg striped knickers are made of cotton. He wears a patterned native head wrap, or putong, and a beaded crucifix necklace, indicating his Christian faith.