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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Addendum Part 7: Early 20th Century Cockfighting in Pictures

After the Philippine-American War, which ended in 1902, Filipinos carried on with their pastimes and activities, often alongside Americans and now with photo documentation. The cockfighting culture that was documented and interpreted in art in the previous century was now preserved and brought to life in pictures, giving viewers a realistic glimpse into those times.

The mode of dress for common Filipino men in the early 20th century was either white camisa de chino or Barong Tagalog, white pants, and white western hats or putong (head wraps). The wardrobe of men in these photos showed their prioritizing of comfort and practicality in the tropical climate. The barongs worn in these photos are everyday work barongs, and not the formal fancy barongs we usually think of today.

A multilevel cockfighting arena or cockpit in San Roque, Northern Samar early 1900's. The men wear white barongs or camisa de chino

A multilevel cockfighting arena or cockpit in San Roque, Northern Samar. The all-male audience and participants uniformly wear white camisa de chino or barongs, white pants and white hats. This photo is likely from the early 1900’s.

 A town cockfighting event centered around a fighting pen or ring in early 1900's. The men wear white barongs, camisa de chino or white suits

A town cockfighting event centered around a fighting pen or ring. It appears the whole town has gathered to watch the fights. The mostly male crowd wear all white barongs or camisa de chino with white pants or all white suits. There are American soldiers mixed in with their dark tops and khaki pants. Pic is likely from the early 1900’s.

“Men at a cockfight in Manila” circa 1910 from the Donald Hiram Stillwell Photograph Collection. The men wear white camisa de chino or barongs

“Men at a cockfight in Manila” circa 1910 from the Donald Hiram Stillwell Photograph Collection. It appears to be an all Filipino crowd of participants and spectators all in white camisa de chino or barongs, white pants and white hats.

A town cockfight in front of homes shows local Filipino men (in camisa de chino or barongs), women and children with one American soldier

A town cockfight in front of homes shows local Filipino men, women and children with one American soldier (far right) watching four men and their roosters squaring off. The men and boys wear white or off-white barongs or camisa de chino and pants. Photo is circa early 1900’s.