Cascos are flat-bottomed square-ended barges from the Philippines. They were used mostly to carry cargo along lakes and rivers, and as lighters to transport goods to and from moored ships.[1] Though they resemble the Chinese sampan, they are much larger with two detachable masts with junk rigs made of woven fiber. They also possess outrigger-like platforms along the entire length of the sides, which is used by punters with barge poles when traversing shallow water. They were steered by an oar or a central rudder by a helmsman housed in a small raised platform at the stern. The entire deck is covered almost entirely in removable curving or pitched panels.[2][3]

Cascos were most prevalent in southern Luzon, particularly along the Pasig River and Laguna de Bay, as well as in the Manila Bay harbor.[2][3] In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, they were often strung together in a train drawn by a steamship (vapor). They were used as transport ships by American troops in Laguna de Bay during the Philippine–American War.[4] Cascos are still used today in fluvial parades. An example is during the celebrations of Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Naga City, Bicol.[5] [6]

See also


  1. ^ Ricardo E. Galang (1941). "Types of Watercraft in the Philippines". The Philippine Journal of Science. 75 (3): 291–306.
  2. ^ a b John Foreman (1906). The Philippine Islands: A Political, Geographical, Ethnographical, Social and Commercial History of the Philippine Archipelago embracing the Whole Period of Spanish Rule with an Account of the Succeeding American Insular Government. Hazell, Watson and Viney, LD.
  3. ^ a b Campbell Dauncey (1906). An Englishwoman in the Philippines. E.P. Dutton & Company.
  4. ^ Arnaldo Dumindin (2006). "Philippine–American War, 1899–1902". Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  5. ^ Insight Guides Philippines. Rough Guides UK. 2018. ISBN 9781786718563.
  6. ^ Jagor, Fedor (1873). Reisen in den Philippinen. Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung.