Adventures in the Philippine Islands
by Paul P. de La Gironiere
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These reflections took their origin, without doubt, from my having spent almost all my life amidst those grand creations of Nature, from which man continually derives sentiments that elevate him to the Supreme Being. I had studied that Nature—in all her details, her beneficence, and her magnificence—too attentively to allow the productions of man's genius to make upon me the impression which I thought might be expected, when I first formed the wish to see the monuments of Egypt; and, while sailing for Europe, I already anticipated the feeling that a short sojourn in the midst of civilisation would cause me to regret my ancient freedom, my mountains, and my solitudes in the Philippine Islands.

On arriving at Malta I was for eighteen days locked up in Fort Manuel, and then passed the quarantine. I there received news of my family. My mother and sisters wrote to me that they were in the enjoyment of excellent health, and were awaiting with impatience my coming to them. After the quarantine was over, I stopped nearly a week in the city, while waiting for a steamer that was going to France. I embraced the opportunity of seeing every curiosity in the island. I then resumed my voyage to my native land, and the following week I recognised the arid rocks of Provence and France, from which I had been absent for twenty years.

In a few days I reached Nantes, where for some time I enjoyed, in every respect, all the happiness which one feels when those beloved beings from whom one had been long severed, and who formed the last living ties of affection for an unhappy being who had been severely tried by a capricious destiny. But the want of excitement in which I lived soon became irksome; my life had been too active, so that the sudden transition could not fail to prove injurious to my health, and the idea of submitting during the remainder of my existence to a life sterile and monotonous became intolerable. Not knowing how to employ myself, I resolved to travel through Europe, and to study the civilised world, which was then so strange to me. I travelled through France, England, Belgium, Spain, and Italy, and returned to my family, without being able to discover anything that could induce me to forget my Indians, Jala-Jala, and my solitary excursions in the virgin forests. The society of men reared in extreme civilisation could not efface from my memory my past modest life. Notwithstanding all my efforts, I retained in my heart a fund of sadness, which it was not possible to conceal. My kind-hearted mother, who with deep regret observed my repugnance to establish myself in any part of the country, and who entertained fears, perhaps well-founded ones, that I should yet endeavour to go back to the Philippines, used every means to prevent me. She spoke to me of marriage, and in all her letters repeated that she should not be happy until I agreed to enter into the ties of a new union: she said my name would otherwise become extinct, and, as her last consolation, she asked me to allow her to choose a companion for me.

The wish to satisfy her, and also the remembrance of Anna's last words: "Return to thy country, and marry one of thy countrywomen," decided my resolution.

I soon made choice of one, who would have fully rendered a man happy who had not too frequently before him the remembrance of a previous union. Nevertheless, I was as happy as I could be. My new wife possessed every quality necessary for my happiness. By her I became father of two children, and I began to bless the determination which my mother had contributed so much to make me adopt; but, alas! happiness was never for me lasting; the cup of bitterness was not yet exhausted, and I had still to shed many tears.

In the cemetery of Vertoux, a modest tomb for thee, poor mother! is erected, between that of a husband and a son; and soon after another grave was opened at Neuilly. In profound affliction I had the following lines engraved on the latter:

"Veille, du haut des cieux, sur ta triste famille; Conserve-moi ton fils et revis dans ta fille." [26]


[1] Pablo signifies Paul, my Christian name. I was always called thus at Manilla and at Cavite.

[2] The betel is a species of pepper plant, the leaves of which are wrapped round areca nuts and the chunam—the latter is a kind of burnt-lime made of shells, and the areca nut is the fruit of a species of palm. The Indians, Chinese, half-breeds, and a great number of Creoles, continually chew this mixture, which is reputed to sweeten the breath and assist digestion.

[3] During six months the winds blow continually from the north-east, and during the other six months from the north-west: these two periods are termed north-east monsoon and north-west monsoon.

[4] At their head was Don Jose Fuentes, my constant friend.

[5] Don Simon Fernandez, Oidor at the Court Royal.

[6] The most bitter enemies of the Tinguians are a race of cruel, blood-thirsty savages, who inhabit the interior of the mountains. They have also to fear the Igorrots, who live nearer, but who are less savage.

[7] Evil Spirit.

[8] A malicious divinity of the Tagalocs.

[9] It is on account of this cruel custom of beheading their victims that the Spaniards have given to these savages the name of "corta cabesas," "decapitators."

[10] Banditti.

[11] "The nakedness of the poor might be clothed out of the trimmings of the vain."—Dr. Goldsmith's "Vicar of Wakefield."—Tr.

[12] The Igorrots, however, according to the reports of the Indians, are not anthropophagi; perhaps the one in question had received these ragouts from some other savages—the Guinans, for instance.

[13] It would be difficult to establish from what nations the divers species of men who inhabit the interior of Luzon originally came. The Tinguians, from their fine shape, their colour, their eyes, their almost aquiline nose, the value they set upon china vases, their music, and finally from their habits, would appear to be the descendants of the Japanese. It is most likely that at a very distant period some junks from the Japan coasts, hurried along by strong northern winds, may have been wrecked upon the Luzon shores, and that their crews, seeing no possibility of returning to their native country, as well as to avoid the Malayan population that was in possession of the beaches,—it is possible, I say, that the shipwrecked persons withdrew into the interior of the mountains, the difficulty of access to which protected them from all invasion.

The Japanese sailors, who are merely coasters, sail about with their wives, as I had an opportunity of witnessing on board many junks, whither I went through mere curiosity. Those same junks, beaten by the tempest, had steered for shelter to the eastern coast of Luzon, where they anchored for four months, waiting for the return of the monsoon; and had they not met with a protecting government, their crews would have been compelled to fly into the mountains, as I suppose the Tinguians had been obliged to do. The latter having some women with them, must have procured others from among the neighbouring population, and as they inhabit the finest and healthiest country in the world, their number must have considerably increased. They are now spread over sixteen villages: Palan, Jalamey, Mabuantoc, Dalayap, Lanquiden, Baac, Padanquitan y Pangal, Campasan y Danglas, Lagayan, Ganagan, Malaylay, Bucay, Gaddani, Laganguilan y Madalag, Manab, Palog y Amay.

The Igorrots, whom I had less opportunities of studying, seem to be the descendants of the remains of the grand naval army of the Chinese Lima-On, who, after attacking Manilla, on the 30th November, 1574, had taken refuge in the province of Pangasinan, in the gulf of Lingayan, where he was a second time defeated, and his fleet completely destroyed. A part of the crew escaped into the mountains of Pangasinan, where the Spaniards could not pursue them.

The Igorrot has long hair, eyes a la Chinoise, a flat nose, thick lips, high cheek bones, broad shoulders, strong and nervous limbs, and bronze colour; he greatly resembles the Chinese of the southern provinces of the Celestial Empire.

I could obtain no information as to extraction concerning the Guinans, another people of savages, ferocious and cruel, who live in the neighbourhood of the Tinguians.

I keep back for a future period a description of the Ajetas, or Negritos, the aborigines of Luzon.

[14] According to Indian tradition, and to Spanish tradition likewise, the Infant Jesus of Zebou existed before the discovery of the Philippines. After the conquest the Infant was found upon the sea-shore; the Spanish conquerors deposited it in the cathedral, where it performed great miracles.

[15] The Malays.

[16] See Appendix, I.

[17] I experienced two such gales during my residence at Jala-Jala—the one I am now speaking of, and another to which I shall afterwards allude.

[18] Tapuzi is situated in the mountains of Limutan. Limutan is a Tagalese word, signifying "altogether forgotten."

[19] In the eyes of the natives of Tagal all Europeans are Spaniards.

[20] While this work was in the press, Mr. Hamilton Lindsay, who has already published an account of his "Voyage to the Northern Ports of China," kindly furnished the Publishers with confirmatory proofs of M. de la Gironiere's narrative, see Appendix, No. II.

[21] See Appendix III. and IV.

[22] Of the house of Russell and Sturges, a good and true friend, the recollection of whom, often present to my mind, will never be effaced.

[23] Bernard the Hermit is a crab, which lodges in the abandoned shell of the molluscae, and comes at night in search of food, which it finds on the sea beach.

[24] The skeleton is now in the Musee Anatomique of Paris.

[25] Gratitude here requires that I should name some of those to whom I am specially indebted for marks of affection and kindness. It would be indeed ungrateful on my part to forget them, and I beg them to accept this proof of my recollections.

The Governors of the Philippines to whom I owe these remembrances are:—Generals Martines, Ricafort, Torres Enrile, Camba, and Salazar; in the various administrations of the colony, the Judges (Oidorrs) Don Inigo Asaola, Otin-i Doazo, Don Matias Mier, Don Jacobo Varela, administrator-general of the liquors; Don Jose de la Fuente, commissary of the engineers, who rendered me innumerable kindnesses; Colonel Don Thomas de Murieta, corregidor of Tondoc; the colonel of engineers, Don Mariano Goicochea; the Colonel-Commandant Lante Romana; the Governor of the province, Don Jose Atienza; the brothers Ramos, sons of the judge; all the family Calderon; that of Seneris; Don Balthazar Mier, Don Jose Ascaraga; and lastly my friend, Don Domingo Roxas, whose son, Don Mariano Roxas, after having received a solid and brilliant education at Manilla, came to travel in Europe. He has acquired the most extensive information in the sciences and arts, and when he shall have returned to the Philippine Islands, he will most worthily replace his dignified father, whom a premature death has snatched away from the industry, the agriculture, and the advancement of his country. If gratitude has induced me to mention here the Spaniards from whom I experienced many acts of kindness, the same feeling compels me to allude to an English gentleman to whom I was indebted for one of those important services which are never to be forgotten. I allude to Mr. Thomas Dent, with whom I have frequently conversed upon our hunting parties at Jala-Jala, in which he was occasionally one of the principal actors.

[26] "From Heaven's height look down and see The sorrows of thy family; Preserve for me thy only boy, And in thy daughter give me joy."


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