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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 6: Panguingue - the Old Philippine Pastime

In 19th century Philippines, there weren’t too many choices when people were bored, had nothing else better to do and needed to pass the time. A common, everyday scene was of people playing panguingue, a rummy-like gambling card game developed in the western United States where 440 cards are used and two to eight people can play.

Panguingue was so popular, Filipinos sitting at tables playing this card game appeared in the art of the 19th century. The men are often wearing striped or solid Barong Tagalog or camisa de chino, solid or patterned pants, and western hats or putong (head wraps). The women are portrayed in solid or patterned baro’t saya (blouse and skirt). By today’s standards, people may think this was “dressed up” or dressing formally. But, wearing barongs and baro’t saya back then was as everyday as this game.

Ynterior de una casa de tabla y caña y un reunion de Panguingui” by Jose Honorato Lozano circa 1857. A group of seven in barongs

“Ynterior de una casa de tabla y caña y un reunion de Panguingui” by Jose Honorato Lozano circa 1857. A group of seven in barongs, patterned pants and baro’t saya play the card game in an upper class home.

Juegos de villar y panguingue de los indios” by Jose Honorato Lozano circa mid to late 19th century. The men wear barongs

“Juegos de villar y panguingue de los indios” by Jose Honorato Lozano circa mid to late 19th century. A large recreation room with native Filipinos playing billiards in the rear to the right and two simultaneous games of panguingue in the foreground to the left. The men are in their barongs, and the women in baro’t saya.

“Panguingue” by Jose Taviel de Andrade circa late 1800’s. The mean wear white barongs or camisa de chino

“Panguingue” by Jose Taviel de Andrade circa late 1800’s. A very realistic and detailed depiction of a panguingue session at a home. The men are in white barongs or camisa de chino, pants and hats, and the women are in baro’t saya. You can see the details of the clothes of the woman in the foreground - her plaid skirt, striped baro, with pañuelo (kerchief or scarf), tapis (over skirt) and abaniko (fan).

“Panguingui” in Manila in 1857 by Charles Wirgman for the Illustrated London News. The small room of men wear striped and solid barongs

“Panguingui” in Manila in 1857. Illustration by Charles Wirgman for the Illustrated London News. The small room of men wear striped and solid barongs, pants, and hats or putong.