This Damián Domingo painting is titled Un Indio Banquero de Manila [A Native Boatman of Manila]. This piece is from his Baboom collection of tipos del pais (types of the country, native dress) paintings, No. 3 from 1833. Our description of Domingo and the Baboom collection is in our previous installment 18.1.
During the time of this painting, most small boats navigating the rivers in Manila were for transportation of people or for vending of goods to residences and people by the shore.
The small boat approaching the male on the shore in the foreground of this piece appears to be a passenger boat since it has no visible goods for sale. It also has no passengers, and the boat may be picking up the second boatman in the foreground, who is holding an oar with his left hand and a fighting rooster with his right.
The banquero (boatman) / sabungero (cock fighting trainer) in the foreground wears a work Barong Tagalog with vertical red stripes, indigo work pants and a straw western style hat to protect his head from the sun and rain. Since the man’s sleeves and pant legs are rolled up, this suggests he is dressed to perform labor. His clothing is likely made of comfortable, breathable and durable materials like cotton, linen, or ramie fabric.
The banquero in the approaching boat also wears a work barong, indigo work pants and a straw hat.