Philippines Boys Clothing: Chronological Trends--Spanish Era


Figure 1.--Here is an illustration of an old beggar. He is chaperoned by a boy during the Spanish colonial times. Whether the natives were well-off or not, the Spanish encouraged them to wear barongs to distinguish themselves by class. The drawing is undated, but we would guess dates to the mid-19th century.

The Spanish goverened the Philippines for three centuries. They thus had a major influence on Philippines culture and clothing. Traditional clothing was baro and saya. The baro is the top (blouse) and the bottom is the saya or skirt. The Spaniards made the native Filipinos who they called indios (Indians) to wear barongs untucked to distinguish them from the ruling class. An advantage for the Spanish was that when the natives wore baros, it could be easily determinefd whether the wearer was bearing a weapon or not. The baro evolved into the barong tagalog, commonly called just barong or even just baro. It became a formal shirt, but only since the 1940s an independence, the national dress of the Philippines. In Spanish times, dress for the elite was much more formal. The barong is a light-weight shirt and worn untucked over an undershirt. It is similar to the Guayabera worn in the Spanish cultural areas of the Caribbean, Central America and the northern Andes. There were some Filipinos, mostly villagers, who wore shirts that buttoned at the collar. They were called camisa de chino (Chinese shirts) which of course was adopted from Chinese clothing. The everyday clothing worn by Filipino boys into the early-20th century was very similar to compesino (peon) clothing of Latin America, again reflecting their common Hispanic heritage. We have very little chronological informtion about the Spanish colonial era. We are not sure just when compesino-style clothing became widespread, but believe it negan in the 19th century. We do nothink it could have been before the IndustriaL Revolution made possible the manufcture of low-cost cotton textiles. The one decade we know about is the 1890s. This is because of tghe Spanish-American War and the arrival of the Americans (1898-99). Suddenly with the arrival of the Americans we have a very substantial photographic record.

The 1890s

The everyday clothing worn by Filipino boys into the early-20th century was very similar to compesino (peon) clothing of Latin America, again reflecting their common Hispanic heritage. This meant straw hats, white shirts, white pants, barefeet or sandals. Hat styles seem a little more varied than in Latin America. In remote areas there were indigenous tribal people wearing traditional clothing. momg the Hispanizied population, especilly the rut=ral and village people this capesino clothing was very common. And while most of the decade was under Spanish rule. We have very little chronological informtion about the Spanish colonial era. The one decade we know about is the 1890s. This is because of the Spanish-American War and the arrival of the Americans (1898-99). Suddenly with the arrival of the Americans we have a very substantial photographic record. We believe photographic images from the Americans during the late 1890s and early-1900s are a good reflection of clothing styles during the 1890s. These early images before America had any substantial impact on the Philppines give us a good historical view of Filipino fashion trends during the late-Spanish era.








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Created: 1:50 AM 6/11/2007
Last updated: 2:48 PM 6/4/2016