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The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes
by Fedor Jagor; Tomas de Comyn; Chas. Wilkes; Rudolf Virchow.
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[Servant subterfuges.] The idle existence we spent in Daraga was so agreeable to my servants and their numerous friends that they were anxious I should stay there as long as possible; and they adopted some very ingenious means to persuade me to do so. Twice, when everything was prepared for a start the next morning, my shoes were stolen in the night; and on another occasion they kidnapped my horse. When a native has a particularly heavy load to carry, or a long journey to make, he thinks nothing of coolly appropriating the well-fed beast of some Spaniard; which, when he has done with it, he turns loose without attempting to feed it, and it wanders about till somebody catches it and stalls it in the nearest "Tribunal." There it is kept tied up and hungry until its master claims it and pays its expenses. I had a dollar to pay when I recovered mine, although it was nearly starved to death, on the pretence that it had swallowed rice to that value since it had been caught.

[Petty robberies.] Small robberies occur very frequently, but they are committed—as an acquaintance, a man who had spent some time in the country, informed me one evening when I was telling him my troubles—only upon the property of new arrivals; old residents, he said, enjoyed a prescriptive freedom from such little inconveniences. I fancy some waggish native must have overheard our conversation, for early the next morning my friend, the old resident, sent to borrow chocolate, biscuits, and eggs of me, as his larder and his hen-house had been rifled during the night.

[Daraga market.] Monday and Friday evenings were the Daraga market nights, and in fine weather always afforded a pretty sight. The women, neatly and cleanly clad, sat in long rows and offered their provisions for sale by the light of hundreds of torches; and, when the business was over, the slopes of the mountains were studded all over with flickering little points of brightness proceeding from the torches carried by the homeward-bound market women. Besides eatables, many had silks and stuffs woven from the fibers of the pine-apple and the banana for sale. These goods they carried on their heads; and I noticed that all the younger women were accompanied by their sweethearts, who relieved them of their burdens.

CHAPTER XI

[Change of season.] During the whole time I was confined to the house at Daraga, the weather was remarkably fine; but unfortunately the bright days had come to an end by the time I was ready to make a start, for the north-east monsoon, the sure forerunner of rain in this part of the Archipelago, sets in in October. In spite, however, of the weather, I determined to make another attempt to ascend the mountain at Bulusan. I found I could go by boat to Bacon in the Bay of Albay, a distance of seven leagues, whence I could ride to Gubat, on the east coast, three leagues further, and then in a southerly direction along the shore to Bulusan. An experienced old native, who provided a boat and crew, had appointed ten o'clock at night as the best time for my departure. Just as we were about to start, however, we were told that four piratical craft had been seen in the bay. In a twinkling, the crew disappeared, and I was left alone in the darkness; and it took me four hours with the assistance of a Spaniard to find them again, and make a fresh start. About nine o'clock in the morning we reached Bacon, whence I rode across a very flat country to San Roque, where the road leading to Gubat took a sharp turn to the south-east, and presently became an extremely bad one. After I had passed Gubat, my way lay along the shore; and I saw several ruined square towers, made of blocks of coral, and built by the Jesuits as a protection against the [Moro pirates.] Moros, or "Moors"—a term here applied to the pirates, because, like the Moors who were formerly in Spain, they are Mahometans. They come from Mindanao and from the north-west coast of Borneo. At the time of my visit, this part of the Archipelago was greatly infested with them; and a few days before my arrival they had carried off some fishermen, who were busy pulling their fish-stakes, close to Gubat. A little distance from the shore, and parallel to it, ran a coral reef, which during the south-west monsoon was here and there bare at low tide; but, when the north-east wind blew, the waves of the Pacific Ocean entirely concealed it. Upon this reef the storms had cast up many remains of marine animals, and a quantity of fungi, amongst which I noticed some exactly resembling the common sponge of the Mediterranean. They were just as soft to the touch, of a dark brown tint, as large as the fist, and of a conical shape. They absorbed water with great readiness, and might doubtless be made a profitable article of commerce. Samples of them are to be seen in the Zoological Museum at Berlin. As I went further on, I found the road excellent; and wooden bridges, all of which were in good repair, led me across the mouths of the numerous small rivers. But almost all the arches of the stone bridges I came to had fallen in, and I had to cross the streams they were supposed to span in a small boat, and make my horse swim after me. Just before I reached Bulusan, I had to cross a ravine several hundred feet deep, composed almost entirely of white pumice stone.

[Bulusan.] Bulusan is so seldom visited by strangers that the "tribunal" where I put up was soon full of curiosity-mongers, who came to stare at me. The women, taking the places of honor, squatted round me in concentric rows, while the men peered over their shoulders. One morning when I was taking a shower-bath in a shed made of open bamboo work, I suddenly noticed several pairs of inquisitive eyes staring at me through the interstices. The eyes belonged exclusively to the gentler sex; and their owners examined me with the greatest curiosity, making remarks upon my appearance to one another, and seeming by no means inclined to be disturbed. Upon another occasion, when bathing in the open air in the province of Laguna, I was surrounded by a number of women, old, middle-aged, and young, who crowded round me while I was dressing, carefully inspected me, and pointed out with their fingers every little detail which seemed to them to call for special remark.

[Storm damage.] I had travelled the last part of the road to Bulusan in wind and rain; and the storm lasted with little intermission during the whole night. When I got up in the morning I found that part of the roof of the tribunal had been carried away, that the slighter houses in the hamlet were all blown down, and that almost every dwelling in the place had lost its roof. This pleasant weather lasted during the three days of my stay. The air was so thick that I found it impossible to distinguish the volcano, though I was actually standing at its foot; and, as the weather-wise of the neighborhood could hold out no promise of a favorable change at that time of the year, I put off my intended ascent till a better opportunity, and resolved to return. A former alcalde, Peneranda, was reported to have succeeded in reaching the top fifteen years before, after sixty men had spent a couple of months in building a road to the summit; and the ascent was said to have taken him two whole days. But an experienced native told me that in the dry season he thought four men were quite sufficient to open a narrow path to the plateau, just under the peak, in a couple of days; but that ladders were required to get on to the actual summit.

[Arrival of assistance.] The day after my arrival the inspector of highways and another man walked into the tribunal, both of them wet to the skin and nearly blown to pieces. My friend the alcalde had sent them to my assistance; and, as none of us could attempt the ascent, they returned with me. As we were entering Bacon on our way back, we heard the report of cannon and the sound of music. Our servants cried out "Here comes the alcalde," and in a few moments he drove up in an open carriage, accompanied by an irregular escort of horsemen, Spaniards and natives, the latter prancing about in silk hats and shirts fluttering in the wind. The alcalde politely offered me a seat, and an hour's drive took us into Sorsogon.

[Albay roads and bridges.] The roads of the province of Albay are good, but they are by no means kept in good repair: a state of things that will never be remedied so long as the indolence of the authorities continues. Most of the stone bridges in the district are in ruins, and the traveller is obliged to content himself with wading through a ford, or get himself ferried across upon a raft or in a small canoe, while his horse swims behind him. The roads were first laid down in the days of Alcalde Penaranda, a retired officer of the engineer corps, whom we have already mentioned, and who deserves considerable praise for having largely contributed to the welfare of his province, and for having accomplished so much from such small resources. He took care that all socage service should be duly rendered, or that money, which went towards paying for tools and materials, should be paid in lieu of it. Many abuses existed before his rule; no real services were performed by anybody who could trace the slightest relationship to any of the authorities; and, when by chance any redemption money was paid, it went, often with the connivance of the alcalde of the period, into the pockets of the gobernadorcillos, instead of into the provincial treasury. Similar abuses still prevail all over the country, where they are not prevented by the vigilance of the authorities. The numerous population, and the prosperity which the province now enjoys, would make it an easy matter to maintain and complete the existing highways. The admirable officials of the district are certainly not wanting in good-will, but their hands are tied. Nowadays the alcaldes remain only three years in one province (in Penaranda's time, they remained six); their time is entirely taken up with the current official and judicial business; and, just as they are beginning to become acquainted with the capabilities and requirements of their district, they are obliged to leave it. [Handicapped officials.] This shows the government's want of confidence in its own servants. No alcalde could now possibly undertake what Penaranda accomplished. The money paid in lieu of socage service, which ought to be applied to the wants of the province in which the socage is due, is forwarded to Manila. If an alcalde proposes some urgent and necessary improvement, he has to send in so many tedious estimates and reports, which frequently remain unnoticed, that he soon loses all desire to attempt any innovation. Estimates for large works, to carry out which would require a considerable outlay, are invariably returned from headquarters marked "not urgent." [Funds diverted to Spain.] The fact is not that the colonial government is wanting in good-will, but that the Caja de Comunidad (General Treasury) in Manila is almost always empty, as the Spanish government, in its chronic state of bankruptcy, borrows the money and is never in a position to return it.

[Sorsogon earthquake.] In 1840 Sorsogon suffered severely from an earthquake, which lasted almost continuously for thirty-five days. It raged with the greatest fury on the 21st of March. The churches, both of Sorsogon and of Casiguran, as well as the smallest stone houses, were destroyed; seventeen persons lost their lives, and two hundred were injured; and the whole neighborhood sank five feet below its former level.

[Casiguran.] The next morning I accompanied the alcalde in a falua (felucca), manned by fourteen rowers, to Casiguran, which lies directly south of Sorsogon, on the other side of a small bay, of two leagues in breadth, which it took us an hour and a half to cross. The bay was as calm as an inland lake. It is almost entirely surrounded by hills, and its western side, which is open to the sea, is protected by the Island of Bagalao, which lies in front of it. As soon as we landed, we were received with salutes of cannon and music, and flags and shirts streamed in the wind. I declined the friendly invitation of the alcalde to accompany him any further; as to me, who had no official business to transact, the journey seemed nothing but a continually recurring panorama of dinners, lunches, cups of chocolate, music, and detonations of gunpowder.

[Quicksilver.] In 1850 quicksilver was discovered on a part of the coast now covered by the sea. I examined the reported bed of the deposit, and it appeared to me to consist of a stratum of clay six feet in depth, superimposed over a layer of volcanic sand and fragments of pumice stone. An Englishman who was wrecked in this part of the Archipelago, the same individual I met at the iron works at Angat, had begun to collect it, and by washing the sand had obtained something like a couple of ounces. Somebody, however, told the priest of the district that quicksilver was a poison; and, as he himself told me, so forcibly did he depict the dangerous nature of the new discovery to his parishioners that they abandoned the attempt to collect it. Since then none of them have ever seen a vestige of mercury, unless it might be from some broken old barometer. Towards evening Mount Bulusan in the south-east, and Mount Mayon in the north-west, were visible for a short time. They are both in a straight line with Casiguran.

[Sea's encroachments.] Every year the sea makes great inroads upon the coast at Casiguran; as far as I could decide from its appearance and from the accounts given me, about a yard of the shore is annually destroyed. The bay of Sorsogon is protected towards the north by a ridge of hills, which suddenly terminate, however, at its north-eastern angle; and through this opening the wind sometimes blows with great fury, and causes considerable havoc in the bay, the more particularly as its coast is principally formed of clay and sand.

[Pirate rumors and robberies.] When I reached Legaspi again in the evening I learnt that the alarm about the pirates which had interrupted my departure had not been an idle one. Moros they certainly could not have been, for at that season none of the Mahometan corsairs could reach that part of the coast; but they were a band of deserters and vagabonds from the surrounding country, who in this part of the world find it more agreeable to pursue their freebooting career on sea than on land. During my absence they had committed many robberies and carried off several people. [88]

[Real pirates.] The beginning of November is the season of storms; when water communication between Albay and Manila entirely ceases, no vessel daring to put out to sea, even from the south coast. On the 9th of the month, however, a vessel that had been given up for lost entered the port, after having incurred great perils and being obliged to throw overboard the greater part of its cargo. Within twelve days of its leaving the straits of San Bernardino behind it, a sudden storm compelled it to anchor amongst the Islands of Balicuatro. One of the passengers, a newly-arrived Spaniard, put off in a boat with seven sailors, and made for four small vessels which were riding at anchor off the coast; taking them for fishermen, whereas they were pirates. They fired at him as soon as he was some distance from his ship, and his crew threw themselves into the water; but both he and they were taken prisoners. The captain of the trading brig, fearing that his vessel would fall into their clutches, slipped anchor and put out to sea again, escaping shipwreck with the greatest difficulty. The pirates, as a rule, do not kill their prisoners, but employ them as rowers. But Europeans seldom survive their captivity: the tremendous labor and the scanty food are too much for them. Their clothes always being stripped off their back, they are exposed naked to all sorts of weather, and their sole daily support is a handful of rice.

CHAPTER XII

[Camarines.] No favorable change in the weather was expected in Albay before the month of January. It stormed and rained all day. I therefore determined to change my quarters to South Camarines, which, protected from the monsoon by the high range of hills running along its north-eastern boundary, enjoyed more decent weather. The two provinces of Camarines form a long continent, with its principal frontage of shore facing to the north-east and to the south-west; which is about ten leagues broad in its middle, and has its shores indented by many bays. From about the center of its north-eastern shore there boldly projects the Peninsula of Caramuan, connected with the mainland of Camarines by the isthmus of Isarog. The north-eastern portion of the two provinces contains a long range of volcanic hills; the south-western principally consisted, as far as my investigations permitted me to discover, of chalk, and coral reefs; in the midst of the hills extends a winding and fertile valley, which collects the waters descending from the slopes of the mountain ranges, and blends them into a navigable river, on the banks of which several flourishing hamlets have established themselves. This river is called the Bicol. The streams which give it birth are so abundant, and the slope of the sides of the valley, which is turned into one gigantic rice-field, is so gentle that in many places the lazy waters linger and form small lakes.

[A chain of volcanoes.] Beginning at the south-eastern extremity, the volcanoes of Bulusan, Albay, Mazaraga, Iriga, Isarog, and Colasi—the last on the northern side of San Miguel bay—are situated in a straight line, extending from the south-east to the north-west. Besides these, there is the volcano of Buhi, or Malinao, a little to the north-east of the line. The hamlets in the valley I have mentioned are situated in a second line parallel to that of the volcanoes. The southern portion of the province is sparsely inhabited, and but few streams find their way from its plateau into the central valley. The range of volcanoes shuts out, as I have said, the north-east winds, and condenses their moisture in the little lakes scattered on its slopes. The south-west portion of Camarines, therefore, is dry during the north-east monsoon, and enjoys its rainy season during the prevalence of the winds that blow from the south-west. The so-called dry season which, so far as South Camarines is concerned, begins in November, is interrupted, however, by frequent showers; but from January to May scarcely a drop of rain falls. The change of monsoon takes place in May and June; and its arrival is announced by violent thunderstorms and hurricanes, which frequently last without cessation for a couple of weeks, and are accompanied by heavy rains. These last are the beginning of the wet season proper, which lasts till October. The road passes the hamlets of Camalig, Guinobatan, Ligao, Oas and Polangui, situated in a straight line on the banks of the river Quinali, which, after receiving numerous tributary streams, becomes navigable soon after passing Polangui. Here I observed a small settlement of huts, which is called after the river. Each of the hamlets I have mentioned, with the exception of the last, has a population of about fourteen thousand souls, although they are situated not more than half a league apart.

[Priestly assistance.] The convents in this part of the country are large, imposing buildings, and their incumbents, who were mostly old men, were most hospitable and kind to me. Every one of them insisted upon my staying with him, and, after doing all he could for me, passed me on to his next colleague with the best recommendations. I wished to hire a boat at Polangui to cross the lake of Batu, but the only craft I could find were a couple of barotos about eight feet long, hollowed out of the trunks of trees and laden with rice. To prevent my meeting with any delay, the padre purchased the cargo of one of the boats, on the condition of its being immediately unladen; and this kindness enabled me to continue my journey in the afternoon.

[The priests' importance.] If a traveller gets on good terms with the priests he seldom meets with any annoyances. Upon one occasion I wished to make a little excursion directly after lunch, and at a quarter past eleven everything was ready for a start; when I happened to say that it was a pity to have to wait three-quarters of an hour for the meal. In a minute or two twelve o'clock struck; all work in the village ceased, and we sat down to table: it was noon. A message had been sent to the village bell-ringer that the Senor Padre thought he must be asleep, and that it must be long past twelve as the Senor Padre was hungry. Il est l'heure que votre Majeste desire.

[Franciscan friars.] Most of the priests in the eastern provinces of Luzon and Samar are Franciscan monks (The barefooted friars of the orthodox and strictest rule of Our Holy Father St. Francis, in the Philippine Islands, of the Holy and Apostolic Province of St. Gregory the Great), brought up in seminaries in Spain specially devoted to the colonial missions. Formerly they were at liberty, after ten years' residence in the Philippines, to return to their own country; but, since the abolition of the monasteries in Spain, they can do this no longer, for they are compelled in the colonies to abandon all obedience to the rule of their order, and to live as laymen. They are aware that they must end their days in the colony, and regulate their lives accordingly. On their first arrival they are generally sent to some priest in the province to make themselves acquainted with the language of the country; then they are installed into a small parish, and afterwards into a more lucrative one, in which they generally remain till their death. Most of them spring from the very lowest class of Spaniards. A number of pious trusts and foundations in Spain enable a very poor man, who cannot afford to send his son to school, to put him into a religious seminary, where, beyond the duties of his future avocation, the boy learns nothing. If the monks were of a higher social grade, as are some of the English missionaries, they would have less inclination to mix with the common people, and would fail to exercise over them the influence they wield at present. The early habits of the Spanish monks, and their narrow knowledge of the world, peculiarly fit them for an existence among the natives. This mental equality, or rather, this want of mental disparity, has enabled them to acquire the influence they undoubtedly possess.

[Young men developed by responsibility.] When these young men first come from their seminaries they are narrow-brained, ignorant, frequently almost devoid of education, and full of conceit, hatred of heretics, and proselytish ardor. These failings, however, gradually disappear; the consideration and the comfortable incomes they enjoy developing their benevolence. The insight into mankind and the confidence in themselves which distinguish the lower classes of the Spaniards, and which are so amusingly exemplified in Sancho Panza, have plenty of occasions to display themselves in the responsible and influential positions which the priests occupy. The padre is frequently the only white man in his village, probably the only European for miles around. He becomes the representative not only of religion, but of the government; he is the oracle of the natives, and his decisions in everything that concerns Europe and civilization are without appeal. His advice is asked in all important emergencies, and he has no one whom he in his turn can consult. Such a state of things naturally develops his brain. The same individuals who in Spain would have followed the plough, in the colonies carry out great undertakings. Without any technical education, and without any scientific knowledge, they build churches and bridges, and construct roads. [Poor architects.] The circumstances therefore are greatly in favor of the development of priestly ability; but it would probably be better for the buildings if they were erected by more experienced men, for the bridges are remarkably prone to fall in, the churches look like sheep-pens, and the roads soon go to rack and ruin. I had much intercourse in Camarines and Albay with the priests, and conceived a great liking for them all. As a rule, they are the most unpretending of men; and a visit gives them so much pleasure that they do all in their power to make their guest's stay as agreeable as possible. Life in a large convent has much resemblance to that of a lord of the manor in Eastern Europe. Nothing can be more unconstrained, more unconventional. A visitor lives as independently as in an hotel, and many of the visitors behave themselves as if it were one. I have seen a subaltern official arrive, summon the head servant, move into a room, order his meal, and then inquire casually whether the padre, who was an utter stranger to him, was at home.

The priests of the Philippines have often been reproached with gross immorality. They are said to keep their convents full of bevies of pretty girls, and to lead somewhat the same sort of life as the Grand Turk. This may be true of the native padres; but I myself never saw, in any of the households of the numerous Spanish priests I visited, anything that could possibly cause the least breath of scandal. Their servants were exclusively men, though perhaps I may have noticed here and there an old woman or two. Ribadeneyra says:—"The natives, who observe how careful the Franciscan monks are of their chastity, have arrived at the conclusion that they are not really men, and that, though the devil had often attempted to lead these holy men astray, using the charms of some pretty Indian girl as a bait, yet, to the confusion of both damsel and devil, the monks had always come scathless out of the struggle." Ribadeneyra, however, is a very unreliable author; and, if his physiological mistakes are as gross as his geographical ones (he says somewhere that Luzon is another name for the island of Cebu!), the monks are not perhaps as fireproof as he supposes. At any rate, his description does not universally apply nowadays. The younger priests pass their existence like the lords of the soil of old; the young girls consider it an honor to be allowed to associate with them; and the padres in their turn find many convenient opportunities. They have no jealous wives to pry into their secrets, and their position as confessors and spiritual advisers affords them plenty of pretexts for being alone with the women. The confessional, in particular, must be a perilous rock-a-head for most of them. In an appendix to the "Tagal Grammar" (which, by-the-bye, is not added to the editions sold for general use) a list of questions is given for the convenience of young priests not yet conversant with the Tagal language. These questions are to be asked in the confessional, and several pages of them relate exclusively to the relations between the sexes.

[Superiority over government officials.] As the alcaldes remain only three years in any one province, they never understand much of its language; and, being much occupied with their official business, they have neither the time nor the desire to become acquainted with the peculiarities of the districts over which they rule. The priest, on the other hand, resides continually in the midst of his parishioners, is perfectly acquainted with each of them, and even, on occasion, protects them against the authorities; his, therefore, is the real jurisdiction in the district. The position of the priests, in contradistinction to that of the government officials, is well expressed by their respective dwellings. The casas reales, generally small, ugly, and frequently half-ruined habitations, are not suited to the dignity of the chief authority of the province. The convento, on the contrary, is almost always a roomy, imposing, and well-arranged building. In former days, when governorships were sold to adventurers whose only care was to enrich themselves, the influence of the minister of religion was even greater than it is now. [89]

[Former legal status.] The following extract from the General Orders, given by Le Gentil, will convey a clear idea of their former position:—

"Whereas the tenth chapter of the ordinances, wherein the governor of Arandia ordained that the alcaldes and the justices should communicate with the missionary priests only by letter, and that they should never hold any interview with them except in the presence of a witness, has been frequently disobeyed, it is now commanded that these disobediences shall no longer be allowed; and that the alcaldes shall make it their business to see that the priests and ministers of religion treat the gobernadorcillos and the subaltern officers of justice with proper respect, and that the aforesaid priests be not allowed either to beat, chastise, or ill-treat the latter, or make them wait at table."

[Alcaldes formerly in trade.] The former alcaldes who, without experience in official business, without either education or knowledge, and without either the brains or the moral qualifications for such responsible and influential posts, purchased their appointments from the State, or received them in consequence of successful intrigues, received a nominal salary from the government, and paid it tribute for the right to carry on trade. Arenas considered this tribute paid by the alcaldes as a fine imposed upon them for an infringement of the law; "for several ordinances were in existence, strenuously forbidding them to dabble in any kind of commerce, until it pleased his Catholic Majesty to grant them a dispensation." The latter sources of mischief were, however, abolished by royal decree in September and October, 1844.

[Their borrowed capital.] The alcaldes were at the same time governors, magistrates, commanders of the troops, and, in reality, the only traders in their province. [90] They purchased with the resources of the obras pias the articles required in the province; and they were entirely dependent for their capital upon these endowments, as they almost always arrived in the Philippines without any means of their own. The natives were forced to sell their produce to the alcaldes and, besides, to purchase their goods at the prices fixed by the latter. [91] In this corrupt state of things the priests were the only protectors of the unfortunate Filipinos; though occasionally they also threw in their lot with the alcaldes, and shared in the spoil wrung from their unfortunate flocks.

[Improvement in present appointees.] Nowadays men with some knowledge of the law are sent out to the Philippines as alcaldes; the government pays them a small salary, and they are not allowed to trade. The authorities also attempt to diminish the influence of the priests by improving the position of the civil tribunals; a state of things they will not find easy of accomplishment unless they lengthen the period of service of the alcaldes, and place them in a pecuniary position that will put them beyond the temptation of pocketing perquisites. [92]

In Huc's work on China I find the following passage, relating to the effects of the frequent official changes in China, from which many hints may be gathered:—

[Similarity with Chinese conditions.] "The magisterial offices are no longer bestowed upon upright and just individuals and, as a consequence, this once flourishing and well-governed kingdom is day by day falling into decay, and is rapidly gliding down the path that leads to a terrible and, perhaps, speedy dissolution. When we seek to discover the cause of the general ruin, the universal corruption which too surely is undermining all classes of Chinese society, we are convinced that it is to be found in the complete abandonment of the old system of government effected by the Manchu dynasty. It issued a decree forbidding any mandarin to hold any post longer than three years in the same province, and prohibiting any one from possessing any official appointment in his native province. One does not form a particularly high idea of the brain which conceived this law; but, when the Manchu Tartars found that they were the lords of the empire, they began to be alarmed at their small numbers, which were trifling in comparison with the countless swarms of the Chinese; and they dreaded lest the influence which the higher officials would acquire in their districts might enable them to excite the populace against their foreign rulers.

[Unidentified with country.] "The magistrates, being allowed to remain only a year or two in the same province, lived there like strangers, without acquainting themselves with the wants of the people they governed; there was no tie between them. The only care of the mandarins was to amass as much wealth as possible before they quitted their posts; and they then began the same game in a fresh locality, until finally they returned home in possession of a handsome fortune gradually collected in their different appointments. They were only birds of passage. What did it matter? The morrow would find them at the other end of the kingdom, where the cries of their plundered victims would be unable to reach them. In this manner the governmental policy rendered the mandarins selfish and indifferent. The basis of the monarchy is destroyed, for the magistrate is no longer a paternal ruler residing amongst and mildly swaying his children, but a marauder, who arrives no man knows whence, and who departs no one knows whither. The consequence is universal stagnation; no great undertakings are accomplished; and the works and labors of former dynasties are allowed to fall into decay. The mandarins say to themselves: 'Why should we undertake what we can never accomplish? Why should we sow that others may reap?'... They take no interest in the affairs of the district; as a rule, they are suddenly transplanted into the midst of a population whose dialect even they do not understand. [Dependence on interpreters.] When they arrive in their mandarinates they usually find interpreters, who, being permanent officieals and interested in the affairs of the place, know how to make their services indispensable; and these in reality are the absolute rulers of the district."

[Importance of interpreters in Philippines.] Interpreters are especially indispensable in the Philippines, where the alcaldes never by any chance understand any of the local dialects. In important matters the native writers have generally to deal with the priest, who in many cases becomes the virtual administrator of authority. He is familiar with the characters of the inhabitants and all their affairs, in the settlement of which his intimate acquaintance with the female sex stands him in good stead. An eminent official in Madrid told me in 1867 that the then minister was considering a proposal to abolish the restriction of office in the colonies to three years. [93]

[Fear of officials' popularity.] The dread which caused this restriction, viz., that an official might become too powerful in some distant province, and that his influence might prove a source of danger to the mother country, is no longer entertained. Increased traffic and easier means of communication have destroyed the former isolation of the more distant provinces. The customs laws, the increasing demand for colonial produce, and the right conceded to foreigners of settling in the country, will give a great stimulus to agriculture and commerce, and largely increase the number of Chinese and European residents. Then at last, perhaps, the authorities will see the necessity of improving the social position of their officials by decreasing their number, by a careful selection of persons, by promoting them according to their abilities and conduct, and by increasing their salaries, and allowing them to make a longer stay in one post. The commercial relations of the Philippines with California and Australia are likely to become very active, and liberal ideas will be introduced from those free countries. Then, indeed, the mother country will have earnestly to consider whether it is advisable to continue its exploitation of the colony by its monopolies, its withdrawal of gold, and its constant satisfaction of the unfounded claims of a swarm of hungry place-hunters. [94]

[Different English and Dutch policy.] English and Dutch colonial officials are carefully and expressly educated for their difficult and responsible positions. They obtain their appointments after passing a stringent examination at home, and are promoted to the higher colonial offices only after giving proofs of fitness and ability. What a different state of things prevails in Spain! When a Spaniard succeeds in getting an appointment, it is difficult to say whether it is due to his personal capacity and merit or to a series of successful political intrigues. [95]

CHAPTER XIII

[Batu.] In an hour and a half after leaving Polangui we reached Batu, a village on the north-western shore of the lake of the same name. The inhabitants, particularly the women, struck me by their ugliness and want of cleanliness. Although they lived close to the lake, and drew their daily drinking water from it, they never appeared to use it for the purpose of washing. The streets of the village also were dirty and neglected; a circumstance explained, perhaps, by the fact of the priest being a native.

[The lake.] Towards the end of the rainy season, in November, the lake extends far more widely than it does in the dry, and overflows its shallow banks, especially to the south-west. A great number of water-plants grow on its borders; amongst which I particularly noticed a delicate seaweed [96], as fine as horse hair, but intertwined in such close and endless ramifications that it forms a flooring strong enough to support the largest waterfowl. I saw hundreds of them hopping about and eating the shell fish and prawns, which swarmed amidst the meshes of the net-like seaweed and fell an easy prey to their feathered enemies. The natives, too, were in the habit of catching immense quantities of the prawns with nets made for the purpose. Some they ate fresh; and some they kept till they were putrid, like old cheese, and then used them as a relish to swallow with their rice. These small shell-fish are not limited to the Lake of Batu. They are caught in shoals in both the salt and the fresh waters of the Philippine and Indian archipelagos, and, when salted and dried by the natives, form an important article of food, eaten either in soup or as a kind of potted paste. They are found in every market, and are largely exported to China. I was unable to shoot any of the waterfowl, for the tangles of the seaweed prevented my boat from getting near them.

[A neglected product.] When I revisited the same lake in February, I found its waters so greatly fallen that they had left a circular belt of shore extending all around the lake, in most places nearly a hundred feet broad. The withdrawal of the waters had compressed the tangled seaweed into a kind of matting, which, bleached by the sun, and nearly an inch thick, covered the whole of the shore, and hung suspended over the stunted bushes which, on my first visit, had been under water. I have never either seen elsewhere, or heard any one mention, a similar phenomenon. This stuff, which could be had for nothing, was excellent for rifle-stoppers and for the stuffing of birds, so I took a great quantity of it with me. This time the bird-hunting went well, too.

The native priest of Batu was full of complaints about his parishioners, who gave him no opportunities of gaining an honest penny. "I am never asked for a mass, sir; in fact, this is such a miserable hole that it is shunned by Death itself. In D., where I was for a long time coadjutor, we had our couple of burials regularly every day at three dollars a head, and as many masses at a dollar apiece as we had time to say, besides christenings and weddings, which always brought a little more grist to the mill. But here nothing takes place, and I scarcely make anything." This stagnant state of things had induced him to turn his attention to commerce. The average native priest, of those I saw, could hardly be called a credit to his profession. Generally ignorant, often dissipated, and only superficially acquainted with his duties, the greater part of his time was given over to gambling, drinking, and other objectionable amusements. Little care was taken to preserve a properly decorous behavior, except when officiating in the church, when they read with an absurd assumption of dignity, without understanding a single word. The conventos are often full of girls and children, all of whom help themselves with their fingers out of a common dish. The worthy padre of Batu introduced a couple of pretty girls to me as his two poor sisters, whom, in spite of his poverty, he supported; but the servants about the place openly spoke of these young ladies' babies as being the children of the priest.

[The native clergy.] The guiding principle of Spanish colonial policy—to set one class against another, and to prevent either from becoming too powerful—seems to be the motive for placing so many native incumbents in the parsonages of the Archipelago. The prudence of this proceeding, however, seems doubtful. A Spanish priest has a great deal of influence in his own immediate circle, and forms, perhaps, the only enduring link between the colony and the mother-country. The native priest is far from affording any compensation for the lack of either of these advantages. He generally is but little respected by his flock, and certainly does nothing to attach them to Spain; for he hates and envies his Spanish brethren, who leave him only the very worst appointments, and treat him with contempt.

[Nabua.] I rode from Batu to Nabua over a good road in half an hour. The country was flat, with rice-fields on both sides of the road; but, while in Batu the rice was only just planted, in Nabua it already was almost ripe. I was unable to obtain any explanation of this incongruity, and know not how to account for such a difference of climate between two hamlets situated in such close proximity to one another, and separated by no range of hills. The inhabitants of both were ugly and dirty, and were different in these respects from the Tagalogs. Nabua, a place of 10,875 inhabitants, is intersected by several small streams, whose waters, pouring down from the eastern hills, form a small lake, which empties itself into the river Bicol. Just after passing the second bridge beyond Nabua the road, inclining eastwards, wends in a straight line to Iriga, a place lying to the south-west of the volcano of the same name.

[Remontados.] I visited a small settlement of pagans situated on the slope of the volcano. The people of the plains call them indifferently Igorots, Cimarrons, Remontados, Infieles, or Montesinos. None of these names, however, with the exception of the two last, are appropriate ones. The first is derived from the term applied in the north of the Island to the mixed descendants of Chinese and Filipino parents. The word Cimarron (French, marrow) is borrowed from the American slave colonies, where it denoted negroes who escaped from slavery and lived in a state of freedom; but here it is applied to natives who prefer a wild existence to the comforts of village life, which they consider are overbalanced by the servitude and bondage which accompany them. The term Remontado explains itself, and has the same signification as Cimarron. As the difference between the two states—on account of the mildness of the climate, and the ease with which the wants of the natives are supplied—is far less than it would be in Europe, these self-constituted exiles are more frequently to be met with than might be supposed; the cause of their separation from their fellowmen sometimes being some offence against the laws, sometimes annoying debts, and sometimes a mere aversion to the duties and labors of village life. Every Filipino has an innate inclination to abandon the hamlets and retire into the solitude of the woods, or live isolated in the midst of his own fields; and it is only the village prisons and the priests—the salaries of the latter are proportionate to the number of their parishioners—that prevent him from gradually turning the pueblos into visitas, [97] and the latter into ranchos. Until a visit to other ranchos in the neighborhood corrected my first impression, I took the inhabitants of the slopes of the Iriga for cross-breeds between the low-landers and negritos. The color of their skin was not black, but a dark brown, scarcely any darker than that of Filipinos who have been much exposed to the sun; and only a few of them had woolly hair. The negritos whom I saw at Angat and Mariveles knew nothing whatever about agriculture, lived in the open air, and supported themselves upon the spontaneous products of nature; but the half-savages of the Iriga dwell in decent huts, and cultivate several vegetables and a little sugar-cane. No pure negritos, as far as I could ascertain, are to be met with in Camarines. A thickly-populated province, only sparsely dotted with lofty hills, would be ill-suited for the residence of a nomadic hunting race ignorant of agriculture.

[Iriga settlements.] The ranchos on the Iriga are very accessible, and their inhabitants carry on a friendly intercourse with the lowlanders; indeed, if they didn't, they would have been long ago exterminated. In spite of these neighborly communications, however, they have preserved many of their own primitive manners and customs. The men go about naked with the exception of a cloth about the loins; and the women are equally unclad, some of them perhaps wearing an apron reaching from the hip to the knee. [98] In the larger ranchos the women were decently clad in the usual Filipino fashion. Their household belongings consisted of a few articles made of bamboo, a few calabashes of coconut-shell, and an earthen cooking-pot, and bows and arrows. [Poison arrows.] These latter are made very carefully, the shaft from reeds, the point from a sharp-cut bamboo, or from a palm-tree, with one to three sharp points. In pig-hunting iron-pointed poison arrows are used. [Crucifixes.] Although the Igorots are not Christians, they decorate their huts with crucifixes, which they use as talismans. If they were of no virtue, an old man remarked to me, the Spaniards would not employ them so numerously. [99] The largest rancho I visited was nominally under the charge of a captain, who, however, had little real power. At my desire he called to some naked boys idly squatting about on the trees, who required considerable persuasion before they obeyed his summons; but a few small presents—brazen earrings and combs for the women, and cigars for the men—soon put me on capital terms with them.

[Mt. Iriga.] After a vain attempt to reach the top of the Iriga volcano I started for Buhi, a place situated on the southern shore of the lake of that name. Ten minutes after leaving Iriga I reached a spot where the ground sounded hollow beneath my horse's feet. A succession of small hillocks, about fifty feet high, bordered each side of the road; and towards the north I could perceive the huge crater of the Iriga, which, in the distance, appeared like a truncated cone. I had the curiosity to ascend one of the hillocks, which, seen from its summit, looked like the remains of some former crater, which had probably been destroyed by an earthquake and split up into these small mounds.

[Advertising.] When I got to Buhi the friendly priest had it proclaimed by sound of drum that the newly-arrived strangers wished to obtain all kinds of animals, whether of earth, of air, or of water; and that each and all would be paid for in cash. The natives, however, only brought us moths, centipedes, and other vermin, which, besides enabling them to have a good stare at the strangers, they hoped to turn into cash as extraordinary curiosities.

[A church procession.] The following day I was the spectator of a gorgeous procession. First came the Spanish flag, then the village kettle-drums, and a small troop of horsemen in short jackets and shirts flying in the wind, next a dozen musicians, and finally, as the principal figure, a man carrying a crimson silk standard. The latter individual evidently was deeply conscious of his dignified position, and his countenance eloquently expressed the quantity of palm wine he had consumed in honor of the occasion. He sat on his horse dressed out in the most absurd manner in a large cocked hat trimmed with colored paper instead of gold lace, with a woman's cape made of paper outside his coat, and with short, tight-fitting yellow breeches and immense white stockings and shoes. Both his coat and his breeches were liberally ornamented with paper trimmings. His steed, led by a couple of cabezas, was appointed with similar trappings. After marching through all the streets of the village the procession came to a halt in front of the church.

[Papal concessions to Spain.] This festival is celebrated every year in commemoration of the concession made by the Pope to the King of Spain permitting the latter to appropriate to his own use certain revenues of the Church. The Spanish Throne consequently enjoys the right of conferring different indulgences, even for serious crimes, in the name of the Holy See. This right, which, so to speak, it acquired wholesale, it sells by retail to its customers (it formerly disposed of it to the priests) in the estanco, and together with its other monopolies, such as tobacco, brandy, lottery tickets, stamped paper, etc., all through the agency of the priests; without the assistance of whom very little business would be done. The receipts from the sale of these indulgences have always been very fluctuating. In 1819 they amounted to $15,930; in 1839 to $36,390; and in 1860 they were estimated at $58,954. In the year 1844-5 they rose to $292,115. The cause of this large increase was that indulgences were then rendered compulsory; so many being alloted to each family, with the assistance and under the superintendence of the priests and tax-collectors who received a commission of five and eight per cent on the gross amount collected. [100]

[Lake Buhi.] The Lake of Buhi (300 feet above the sea-level) presents an extremely picturesque appearance, surrounded as it is on all sides by hills fully a thousand feet high; and its western shore is formed by what still remains of the Iriga volcano. I was informed by the priests of the neighboring hamlets that the volcano, until the commencement of the seventeenth century, had been a closed cone, and that the lake did not come into existence till half of the mountain fell in, at the time of its great eruption. This statement I found confirmed in the pages of the Estado Geografico:—"On the fourth of January, 1641—a memorable day, for on that date all the known volcanoes of the Archipelago began to erupt at the same hour—a lofty hill in Camarines, inhabited by heathens, fell in, and a fine lake sprang into existence upon its site. The then inhabitants of the village of Buhi migrated to the shores of the new lake, which, on this account, was henceforward called the Lake of Buhi."

[1628 Camarines earthquake.] Perrey, in the Memoires de l'Academie de Dijon, mentions another outbreak which took place in Camarines in 1628: "In 1628, according to trustworthy reports, fourteen different shocks of earthquake occurred on the same day in the province of Camarines. Many buildings were thrown down, and from one large mountain which the earthquake rent asunder there issued such an immense quantity of water that the whole neighborhood was flooded, trees were torn up by the roots, and, in one hour, from the seashore all plains were covered with water (the direct distance to the shore is two and one-half leagues). [101]

[A mistranslation.] It is very strange that the text given in the footnote does not agree with A. Perrey's translation. The former does not mention that water came out of the mountains and says just the contrary, that trees, which were torn up by the roots, took the place of the sea for one hour on the shore, so that no water could be seen.

[Unreliable authorities.] The data of the Estado Geografico are apt to create distrust as the official report on the great earthquake of 1641 describes in detail the eruptions of three volcanoes, which happened at the same time (of these two were in the South of the Archipelago and one in Northern Luzon) while Camarines is not mentioned at all. This suspicion is further strengthened by the fact that the same author (Nierembergius) whose remarks on the eruptions of 1628 in Camarines are quoted, gives in another book of his a detailed report on the events of 1641 without mentioning this province. If one considers the indifference of the friars toward such events in Nature, it is not improbable that the eruptions of 1641 when a mountain fell in in Northern Luzon and a lake took its place, has been transferred on the Iriga. To illustrate the indifference it may be mentioned that even the padres living at the foot of the Albay could not agree upon the dates of its very last eruptions.

[Another attempt at mountain climbing.] When I was at Tambong, a small hamlet on the shore of the lake belonging to the parochial district of Buhi, I made a second unsuccessful attempt to reach the highest point of the Iriga. We arrived in the evening at the southern point of the crater's edge (1,041 meters above the level of the sea by my barometrical observation), where a deep defile prevented our further progress. Here the Igorots abandoned me, and the low-landers refused to bivouac in order to pursue the journey on the following day; so I was obliged to return. Late in the evening, after passing through a coco plantation, we reached the foot of the mountain and found shelter from a tempest with a kind old woman; to whom my servants lied so shamelessly that, when the rain had abated, we were, in spite of our failure, conducted with torches to Tambong, where we found the palm-grove round the little hamlet magically illuminated with bright bonfires of dry coconut-leaves in honor of the Conquistadores del Iriga; and where I was obliged to remain for the night, as the people were too timorous or too lazy to cross the rough water of the lake.

[Pineapple fiber preparations.] Here I saw them preparing the fiber of the pine-apple for weaving. The fruit of the plants selected for this purpose is generally removed early; a process which causes the leaves to increase considerably both in length and in breadth. A woman places a board on the ground, and upon it a pine-apple-leaf with the hollow side upwards. Sitting at one end of the board, she holds the leaf firmly with her toes, and scrapes its outer surface with a potsherd; not with the sharp fractured edge but with the blunt side of the rim; and thus the leaf is reduced to rags. In this manner a stratum of coarse longitudinal fiber is disclosed, and the operator, placing her thumb-nail beneath it, lifts it up, and draws it away in a compact strip; after which she scrapes again until a second fine layer of fiber is laid bare. Then, turning the leaf round, she scrapes its back, which now lies upwards, down to the layer of fiber, which she seizes with her hand and draws at once, to its full length, away from the back of the leaf. When the fiber has been washed, it is dried in the sun. It is afterwards combed, with a suitable comb, like women's hair, sorted into four classes, tied together, and treated like the fiber of the lupi. In this crude manner are obtained the threads for the celebrated web nipis de [Pina.] Pina, which is considered by experts the finest in the world. Two shirts of this kind are in the Berlin Ethnographical Museum (Nos. 291 and 292). Better woven samples are in the Gewerbe Museum of Trade and Commerce. In the Philippines, where the fineness of the work is best understood and appreciated, richly-embroidered costumes of this description have fetched more than $1,400 each. [102]

[Rain prevents another ascent.] At Buhi, which is not sufficiently sheltered towards the north-east, it rained almost as much as at Daraga. I had found out from the Igorots that a path could be forced through the tall canes up to the summit; but the continual rain prevented me; so I resolved to cross the Malinao, returning along the coast to my quarters, and then, freshly equipped, descend the river Bicol as far as Naga.

[Mountaineers' arrow poison.] Before we parted the Igorots prepared for me some arrow poison from the bark of two trees. I happened to see neither the leaves nor the blossoms, but only the bark. A piece of bark was beaten to pieces, pressed dry, wetted, and again pressed. This was done with the bare hand, which, however, sustained no injury. The juice thus extracted looked like pea-soup, and was warmed in an earthen vessel over a slow fire. During the process it coagulated at the edges; and the coagulated mass was again dissolved, by stirring it into the boiling fluid mass. When this had reached the consistency of syrup, a small quantity was scraped off the inner surface of a second piece of bark, and its juice squeezed into the vessel. This juice was a dark brown color. When the mass had attained the consistency of a thin jelly, it was scraped out of the pot with a chip and preserved on a leaf sprinkled with ashes. For poisoning an arrow they use a piece of the size of a hazel-nut, which, after being warmed, is distributed uniformly over the broad iron point; and the poisoned arrow serves for repeated use.

[Sapa river.] At the end of November I left the beautiful lake of Buhi, and proceeded from its eastern angle for a short distance up the little river Sapa [103], the alluvial deposits of which form a considerable feature in the configuration of the lake. Across a marshy meadow we reached the base of the Malinao or Buhi mountain, the slippery clay of the lower slope merging higher up into volcanic sand. [Leeches.] The damp undergrowth swarmed with small leeches; I never before met with them in such numbers. These little animals, no stouter when streched out than a linen thread, are extraordinarily active. They attach themselves firmly to every part of the body, penetrating even into the nose, the ears, and the eyelids, where, if, they remain unobserved, they gorge themselves to such excess that they become as round as balls and look like small cherries. While they are sucking no pain is felt; but afterwards the spots attacked often itch the whole day long. [104] [Fig-trees.] In one place the wood consisted for the most part of fig-trees, with bunches of fruit quite six feet in length hanging from the stems and the thicker branches; and between the trees grew ferns, aroids, and orchids. After nearly six hours' toil we reached the pass (841 meters above the sea level), and descended the eastern slope. The forest on the eastern side of the mountain is still more magnificent than that on the west. From a clearing we obtained a fine view of the sea, the Island of Catanduanes, and the plain of Tabaco. [Prison as hotel.] At sunset we reached Tibi, where I quartered myself in the prison. This, a tolerably clean place, enclosed with strong bamboos, was the most habitable part of a long shed which supplied the place of the tribunal destroyed in a storm two years before. At Tibi I had an opportunity of sketching Mount Malinao (called also Buhi and Takit), which from this side has the appearance of a large volcano with a distinct crater. From the lake of Buhi it is not so clearly distinguishable.

[Igabo hot spring.] Not far from Tibi, exactly north-east of Malinao, we found a small hot spring called Igabo. In the middle of a plot of turf encircled by trees was a bare spot of oval form, nearly a hundred paces long and seventy wide. The whole space was covered with stones, rounded by attrition, as large as a man's head and larger. Here and there hot water bubbled out of the ground and discharged into a little brook; beside it some women were engaged in cooking their food, which they suspended in nets in the hottest parts of the water. On the lower surfaces of some of the stones a little sulphur was sublimated; of alum hardly a trace was perceptible. In a cavity some caolin had accumulated, and was used as a stain.

[Naglegbeng silicious springs.] From here I visited the stalactite springs, not far distant, of Naglegbeng. [105] I had expected to see a calcareous fountain, but found the most magnificent masses of silica of infinite variety of form; shallow cones with cylindrical summits, pyramidal flights of steps, round basins with ribbed margins, and ponds of boiling water. One spot, denuded of trees, from two to three hundred paces in breadth and about five hundred in length, was, with the exception of a few places overgrown with turf, covered with a crust of silicious dross, which here and there formed large connected areas, but was generally broken up into flaky plates by the vertical springs which pierced it. In numerous localities boiling hot mineral water containing silica was forcing itself out of the ground, spreading itself over the surface and depositing a crust, the thickness of which depended on its distance from the center point. In this manner, in the course of time, a very flat cone is formed, with a basin of boiling water in the middle. The continuous deposit of dross contracts the channel, and a less quantity of water overflows, while that close to the edge of the basin evaporates and deposits a quantity of fine silicious earth; whence the upper portion of the cone not only is steeper than its base, but frequently assumes a more cylindrical form, the external surface of which on account of the want of uniformity in the overflow, is ribbed in the form of stalactites. When the channel becomes so much obstructed that the efflux is less than the evaporation, the water ceases to flow over the edge, and the mineral dross, during the continual cooling of the water, is then deposited, with the greatest uniformity, over the inner area of the basin. When, however, the surface of the water sinks, this formation ceases at the upper portion of the basin; the interior wall thickens; and, if the channel be completely stopped up and all the water evaporated, there remains a bell-shaped basin as even as if excavated by the hand of man. The water now seeks a fresh outlet, and bursts forth where it meets with the least obstruction, without destroying the beautiful cone it has already erected. Many such examples exist. In the largest cones, however, the vapors generated acquire such power that, when the outlet is completely stopped up, they break up the overlying crust in concentrically radiating flakes; and the water, issuing anew copiously from the center, deposits a fresh crust, which again, by the process we have just described is broken up into a superimposed layer of flakes. In this manner are formed annular layers, which in turn are gradually covered by fresh deposits from the overflowing water. After the pyramid of layers is complete and the outlet stopped up, the water sometimes breaks forth on the slope of the same cone; a second cone is then formed near the first, on the same base. In the vicinity of the silicious springs are seen deposits of white, yellow, red, and bluish-grey clays, overlaying one another in narrow strata-like variegated marl, manifestly the disintegrated produce of volcanic rocks transported hither by rain and stained with oxide of iron. These clays perhaps come from the same rocks from the disintegration of which the silicious earth has been formed. Similar examples occur in Iceland and in New Zealand; but the products of the springs of Tibi are more varied, finer, and more beautiful than those of the Iceland Geysers.

[A world wonder.] The wonderful conformations of the red cone are indeed astonishing, and hardly to be paralleled in any other quarter of the world. [106]

CHAPTER XIV

[Quinali river.] On my second journey in Camarines, which I undertook in February, I went by water from Polangui, past Batu, as far as Naga. The Quinali, which runs into the south-eastern corner of the lake of Batu, runs out again on the north side as the Bicol River, and flows in a north-westerly direction as far as the Bay of San Miguel. It forms the medium of a not inconsiderable trade between Albay and Camarines, particularly in rice; of which the supply grown in the former province does not suffice for the population, who consume the superfluity of Camarines. The rice is conveyed in large boats up the river as far as Quinali, and thence transported further on in carabao carts; and the boats return empty. During the dry season of the year, the breadth of the very tortuous Bicol, at its mouth, is a little over sixty feet, and increases but very gradually. There is considerable variety of vegetation upon its banks, and in animal life it is highly attractive. I was particularly struck with its numerous monkeys and water-fowl. [Plotus water-fowl.] Of the latter the Plotus variety was most abundant, but difficult to shoot. They sit motionless on the trees on the bank, only their thin heads and necks, like those of tree-snakes, overtopping the leaves. On the approach of the boat they precipitate themselves hastily into the water; and it is not until after many minutes that the thin neck is seen rising up again at some distance from the spot where the bird disappeared. The Plotus appears to be as rapid on the wing as it is in swimming and diving.

[Naga.] In Naga, the chief city of South Camarines, I alighted at the tribunal, from which, however, I was immediately invited by the principal official of the district—who is famed for his hospitality far beyond the limits of his province—to his house, where I was loaded with civilities and favors. This universally beloved gentleman put everybody under contribution in order to enrich my collections, and did all in his power to render my stay agreeable and to further my designs.

[Nueva Caceres.] Naga is the seat of a bishopric and of the provincial government. In official documents it is called Nueva Caceres, in honor of the Captain-General, D. Fr. de Sande, a native of Caceres, who about 1578 founded Naga (the Spanish town) close to the Filipino village. At the beginning of the seventeenth century it numbered nearly one hundred Spanish inhabitants; at the present time it hardly boasts a dozen. Murillo Velarde remarks (xiii, 272), in contrast to the state of things in America, that of all the towns founded in the Philippines, with the exception of Manila, only the skeletons, the names without the substance, have been preserved. The reason is, as has been frequently shown, that up to the present time plantations, and consequently proper settlers, have been wanting. Formerly Naga was the principal town of the whole of that district of Luzon lying to the east of Tayabas, which, on account of the increased population, was divided into the three provinces of North and South Camarines and Albay. The boundaries of these governmental districts, those between Albay and South Camarines more especially, have been drawn very arbitrarily; although, the whole of the territory, as is shown by the map, geographically is very well defined. [Land of the Bicols.] The country is named Camarines; but it might more suitably be called the country of the Bicols, for the whole of it is inhabited by one race, the Bicol-Filipinos, who are distinguished by their speech and many other peculiarities from their neighbors, the Tagals on the west, and the Bisayans on the islands to the south and east.

[The Bicols.] The Bicols are found only in this district and in a few islands lying immediately in front of it. Of their coming hither no information is to be obtained from the comprehensive but confused histories of the Spanish monks. Morga considers them to be natives of the island; on the other hand, it is asserted by tradition that the inhabitants of Manila and its vicinity are descended from Malays who have migrated thither, and from the inhabitants of other islands and more distant provinces. [107] Their speech is midway between that of the Tagalogs and the Bisayans, and they themselves appear, in both their manners and customs, to be a half-breed between these two races. Physically and mentally they are inferior to the Tagalogs, and superior to the inhabitants of the eastern Bisayan Islands. [Bicol language.] Bicol is spoken only in the two Camarines, Albay, Luzon, the Islands of Masbate, Burias, Ticao, and Catanduanes, and in the smaller adjoining islands. The inhabitants of the volcanic mountain Isarog and its immediate neighborhood speak it in the greatest purity. Thence towards the west the Bicol dialect becomes more and more like Tagalog, and towards the east like Bisayan, until by degrees, even before reaching the boundaries of their ethnographical districts, it merges into these two kindred languages.

[Rice cultivation.] In South Camarines the sowing of the rice in beds begins in June or July, always at the commencement of the rainy season; but in fields artificially watered, earlier, because thus the fruit ripens at a time when, the store in the country being small, its price is high. Although the rice fields could very well give two crops yearly, they are tilled only once. It is planted out in August, with intervals of a hand's-breadth between each row and each individual plant; and within four months the rice is ripe. The fields are never fertilized, and but seldom ploughed; the weeds and the stubble being generally trodden into the already soaked ground by a dozen carabaos, and the soil afterwards simply rolled with a cylinder furnished with sharp points, or loosened with the harrow (sorod). Besides the agricultural implements named above, there are the Spanish hatchet (azadon) and a rake of bamboo (kag-kag) in use. The harvest is effected in a peculiar manner. The rice which is soonest ripe is cut for ten per cent, that is, the laborer receives for his toil the tenth bundle for himself. At this time of year rice is very scarce, want is imminent, and labor reasonable. The more fields, however, that ripen, the higher become the reapers' wages, rising to twenty, thirty, forty, even fifty per cent; indeed, the executive sometimes consider it to be necessary to force the people to do harvest by corporal punishment and imprisonment, in order to prevent a large portion of the crop from rotting on the stalk. Nevertheless, in very fruitful years a part of the harvest is lost. The rice is cut halm by halm (as in Java) with a peculiarly-formed knife, or, failing such, with the sharp-edged flap of a mussel [108] found in the ditches of the rice-fields, which one has only to stoop to pick up.

[Rice land production.] A quinon of the best rice land is worth from sixty to one hundred dollars ($5.50 to $9 per acre). Rice fields on rising grounds are dearest, as they are not exposed to devastating floods as are those in the plain, and may be treated so as to insure the ripening of the fruit at the time when the highest price is to be obtained.

[The harvest.] A ganta of rice is sufficient to plant four topones (1 topon = 1 loan); from which 100 manojos (bundles) are gathered, each of which yields half a ganta of rice. The old ganta of Naga, however, being equal to a modern ganta and a half, the produce may be calculated at 75 cavanes per quinon, about 9 3/4 bushels per acre. [109] In books 250 cavanes are usually stated to be the average produce of a quinon; but that is an exaggeration. The fertility of the fields certainly varies very much; but, when it is considered that the land in the Philippines is never fertilized, but depends, for the maintenance of its vitality, exclusively upon the overflowing of the mud which is washed down from the mountains, it may be believed that the first numbers better express the true average. In Java the harvest, in many provinces, amounts to only 50 cavanes per quinon; in some, indeed, to three times this amount; and in China, with the most careful culture and abundant manure, to 180 cabanes. [110] [Sweet potatoes.] Besides rice, they cultivate the camote (sweet potato, Convolvulus batatas). This flourishes like a weed; indeed, it is sometimes planted for the purpose of eradicating the weeds from soil intended for coffee or cacao. It spreads out into a thick carpet, and is an inexhaustible storehouse to its owner, who, the whole year through, can supply his wants from his field. Gabi (Caladium), Ubi (Dioscorea), maize, and other kinds of grain, are likewise cultivated.

[Cattle and horses.] After the rice harvest the carabaos, horses, and bullocks, are allowed to graze in the fields. During the rice culture they remain in the gogonales, cane-fields which arise in places once cultivated for mountain-rice and afterwards abandoned. (Gogo is the name of a cane 7 to 8 feet high, Saccharum sp.). Transport then is almost impossible, because during the rainy season the roads are impassable, and the cattle find nothing to eat. The native does not feed his beast, but allows it to die when it cannot support itself. In the wet season of the year it frequently happens that a carabao falls down from starvation whilst drawing a cart. A carabao costs from $7 to $10; a horse $10 to $20; and a cow $6 to $8. Very fine horses are valued at from $30 to $50, and occasionally as much as $80; but the native horses are not esteemed in Manila, because they have no stamina. The bad water, the bad hay, and the great heat of the place at once point out the reason; otherwise it would be profitable to export horses in favorable seasons to Manila, where they would fetch twice their value. According to Morga, there were neither horses nor asses on the Island until the Spaniards imported them from China and New Spain. [111] They were at first small and vicious. Horses were imported also from Japan, "not swift but powerful, with large heads and thick manes, looking like Friesland horses;" [112] and the breed improved rapidly. Those born in the country, mostly cross-breeds, drive well.

[Black cattle.] Black cattle are generally in the hands of a few individuals; some of whom in Camarines possess from 1000 to 3000 head; but they are hardly saleable in the province, although they have been exported profitably for some years past to Manila. The black cattle of the province are small but make good beef. They are never employed for labor, and the cows are not milked. The Filipinos, who generally feed on fish, crabs, mussels, and wild herbs together with rice, prefer the flesh of the carabao to that of the ox; but they eat it only on feastdays.

[Sheep.] The old race of sheep, imported by the Spaniards previous to this century, still flourishes and is easily propagated. Those occasionally brought from Shanghai and Australia are considered to be deficient in endurance, unfruitful, and generally short-lived. Mutton is procurable every day in Manila; in the interior, however, at least in the eastern provinces, very rarely; although the rearing of sheep might there be carried on without difficulty, and in many places most profitably; the people being too idle to take care of the young lambs, which they complain are torn to pieces by the dogs when they wander about free. The sheep appear to have been acclimatized with difficulty. Morga says that they were brought several times from New Spain, but did not multiply; so that in his time this kind of domestic animal did not exist. [Swine.] Pork is eaten by wealthy Europeans only when the hog has been brought up from the litter at home. In order to prevent its wandering away, it is usually enclosed in a wide meshed cylindrical hamper of bamboo, upon filling which it is slaughtered. The native hogs are too nauseous for food, the animals maintaining themselves almost entirely on ordure.

[Guesses at history from language.] Crawfurd observes that the names of all the domestic animals in the Philippines belong to foreign languages, Those of the dog, swine, goat, carabao, cat, even of the fowl and the duck, are Malay or Javanese; while those of the horse, ox, and sheep, are Spanish. Until these animals were first imported from Malaysia, the aborigines were less fortunate in this respect than the Americans, who at least had the alpaca, llamanda, vicuna. The names likewise of most of the cultivated plants, such as rice, yams, sugar-cane, cacao and indigo, are said to be Malay, as well as those for silver, copper, and tin. Of the words relating to commerce, one-third are Malay; to which belong most of the terms used in trades, as well as the denominations for weights and measures, for the calendar—so far as it exists—and for numbers, besides the words for writing, reading, speaking, and narrative. On the other hand, only a small number of terms which refer to war are borrowed from the Malay.

[Ancient Filipino civilization.] Referring to the degree of civilization which the Philippines possessed previous to their intercourse with the Malays, Crawfurd concludes from the purely domestic words that they cultivated no corn, their vegetable food consisting of batata(?) and banana. They had not a single domestic animal; they were acquainted with iron and gold, but with no other metal, and were clothed in stuffs of cotton and alpaca, woven by themselves. They had invented a peculiar phonetic alphabet; and their religion consisted in the belief in good and evil spirits and witches, in circumcision, and in somewhat of divination by the stars. They therefore were superior to the inhabitants of the South Sea, inasmuch as they possessed gold, iron, and woven fabrics, and inferior to them in that they had neither dog, pig, nor fowl.

[Progress under Spain.] Assuming the truth of the above sketch of pre-Christian culture, which has been put together only with the help of defective linguistic sources, and comparing it with the present, we find, as the result, a considerable progress, for which the Philippines are indebted to the Spaniards. The influence of social relations has been already exhibited in the text. The Spaniards have imported the horse, the bullock, and the sheep; maize, coffee, sugar-cane, cacao, sesame, tobacco, indigo, many fruits, and probably the batata, which they met with in Mexico under the name of camotli. [113] From this circumstance the term camote, universal in the Philippines, appears to have had its origin, Crawfurd, indeed, erroneously considering it a native term. According to a communication from Dr. Witmack, the opinion has lately been conceived that the batata is indigenous not only to America, but also to the East Indies, as it has two names in Sanscrit, sharkarakanda and ruktaloo.

[Slight industrial progress.] With the exception of embroidery, the natives have made but little progress in industries, in the weaving and the plaiting of mats; and the handicrafts are entirely carried on by the Chinese.

[Rice and abaca exported.] The exports consist of rice and abaca. The province exports about twice as much rice as it consumes; a large quantity to Albay, which, less adapted for the cultivation of rice, produces only abaca; and a fair share to North Camarines, which is very mountainous, and little fertile. The rice can hardly be shipped to Manila, as there is no high road to the south side of the province, near to the principal town, and the transport by water from the north side, and from the whole of the eastern portion of Luzon, would immediately enhance the price of the product. [Chinese monopolize trade.] The imports are confined to the little that is imported by Chinese traders. The traders are almost all Chinese who alone possess shops in which clothing materials and woolen stuffs, partly of native and partly of European manufacture, women's embroidered slippers, and imitation jewelry, may be obtained. The whole amount of capital invested in these shops certainly does not exceed $200,000. In the remaining pueblos of Camarines there are no Chinese merchants; and the inhabitants are consequently obliged to get their supplies from Naga.

[Land for everybody.] The land belongs to the State, but is let to any one who will build upon it. The usufruct passes to the children, and ceases only when the land remains unemployed for two whole years; after which it is competent for the executive to dispose of it to another person.

[Homes.] Every family possesses its own house; and the young husband generally builds with the assistance of his friends. In many places it does not cost more than four or five dollars, as he can, if necessary, build it himself free of expense, with the simple aid of the forest-knife (bolo), and of the materials to his hand, bamboo, Spanish cane, and palm-leaves. These houses, which are always built on piles on account of the humidity of the soil, often consist of a single shed, which serves for all the uses of a dwelling, and are the cause of great laxity and of filthy habits, the whole family sleeping therein in common, and every passer-by being a welcome guest. A fine house of boards for the family of a cabeza perhaps costs nearly $100; and the possessions of such a family in stock, furniture, ornaments, etc. (of which they are obliged to furnish an annual inventory), would range in value between $100 and $1,000. Some reach even as much as $10,000, while the richest family of the whole province is assessed at $40,000.

[People not travellers.] In general it may be said that every pueblo supplies travellers, its own necessaries, and produces little more. To the indolent native, especially to him of the eastern provinces, the village in which he was born is the world; and he leaves it only under the most pressing circumstances. Were it otherwise even, the strictness of the poll-tax would place great obstacles in the way of gratifying the desire for travel, generated by that oppressive impost.

[Meals.] The Filipino eats three times a day—about 7 a.m., 12, and at 7 or 8 in the evening. Those engaged in severe labor consume at each meal a chupa of rice; the common people, half a chupa at breakfast, one at mid-day, and half again in the evening, altogether two chupas. Each family reaps its own supply of rice, and preserves it in barns, or buys it winnowed at the market; in the latter case purchasing only the quantity for one day or for the individual meals. The average retail price is 3 cuartos for 2 chupas (14 chupas for 1 real). To free it from the husk, the quantity for each single meal is rubbed in a mortar by the women. This is in accordance with an ancient custom; but it is also due to the fear lest, otherwise, the store should be too quickly consumed. The rice, however, is but half cooked; and it would seem that this occurs in all places where it constitutes an essential part of the sustenance of the people, as may be seen, indeed, in Spain and Italy. Salt and much Spanish pepper (capsicum) are eaten as condiments; the latter, originally imported from America, growing all round the houses. To the common cooking-salt the natives prefer a so-called rock-salt, which they obtain by evaporation from sea-water previously filtered through ashes; and of which one chinanta (12 lbs. German) costs from one and one-half to two reals. The consumption of salt is extremely small.

[Buyo and cigars.] The luxuries of the Filipinos are buyo [114] and cigars—a cigar costing half a centavo, and a buyo much less. Cigars are rarely smoked, but are cut up into pieces, and chewed with the buyo. The women also chew buyo and tobacco, but, as a rule, very moderately; but they do not also stain their teeth black, like the Malays; and the young and pretty adorn themselves assiduously with veils made of the areca-nut tree, whose stiff and closely packed parallel fibers, when cut crosswise, form excellent tooth-brushes. They bathe several times daily, and surpass the majority of Europeans in cleanliness. Every native, above all things, keeps a fighting-cock; even when he has nothing to eat, he finds money for cock-fighting.

[Household affairs.] The details of domestic economy may be summarized as follows:

For cooking purposes an earthen pot is used, costing between 3 and 10 cuartos; which, in cooking rice, is closed firmly with a banana-leaf, so that the steam of a very small quantity of water is sufficient. No other cooking utensils are used by the poorer classes; but those better off have a few cast-iron pans and dishes. In the smaller houses, the hearth consists of a portable earthen pan or a flat chest, frequently of an old cigar-* chest full of sand, with three stones which serve as a tripod. In the larger houses it is in the form of a bedstead, filled with sand or ashes, instead of a mattress. The water in small households is carried and preserved in thick bamboos. In his bolo (forest-knife), moreover, every one has an universal instrument, which he carries in a wooden sheath made by himself, suspended by a cord of loosely-twisted bast fibers tied round his body. This, and the rice-mortar (a block of wood with a suitable cavity), together with pestles and a few baskets, constitute the whole of the household [Furniture.] furniture of a poor family; sometimes a large snail, with a rush wick, is also to be found as a lamp. They sleep on a mat of pandanus (fan-palm, Corypha), when they possess one; if not, on the splittings of bamboo, with which the house is floored. By the poor oil for lighting is rarely used; but torches of resin, which last a couple of days, are bought in the market for half a cuarto.

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