The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes
by Fedor Jagor; Tomas de Comyn; Chas. Wilkes; Rudolf Virchow.
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[Fishing.] A few small fishes were obtained with much difficulty; and amongst them was a new and interesting species, viviparous. [183] An allied species (H. fluviatilis, Bleeker) which I had two years previously found in a limestone cavern on Nusa Kambangan, in Java, likewise contained living young ones. The net employed in fishing appears to be suited to the locality, which is a shallow river, full of transparent blocks. It is a fine-meshed, longish, four-cornered net, having its ample sides fastened to two poles of bamboo, which at the bottom were provided with a kind of wooden shoes, which curve upwards towards the stems when pushed forwards. The fisherman, taking hold of the upper ends of the poles, pushes the net, which is held obliquely before him, and the wooden shoes cause it to slide over the stones, while another person drives the fish towards him.

[Fossil beds.] On the right bank, below the cavern, and twenty feet above the surface of the water, there are beds of fossils, pectunculus, tapes, and placuna, some of which, from the fact of their barely adhering by the tip, must be of very recent date. I passed the night in a small hut, which was quickly erected for me, and on the following day attempted to pass up the river as far as the limits of the crystalline rock, but in vain. In the afternoon we set out on our return to Basey, which we reached at night.

[Recent elevation of coast.] Basey is situated on a bank of clay, about fifty feet above the sea, which towards the west elevates itself into a hill several hundred feet in height, and with steep sides. At twenty-five to thirty feet above the sea I found the same recent beds of mussels as in the stalactitic cavern of Sogoton. From the statements of the parish priest and of other persons, a rapid elevation of the coasts seems to be taking place in this country. Thirty years ago ships could lie alongside the land in three fathoms of water at the flood, whereas the depth at the same place now is not much more than one fathom. Immediately opposite to Basey lie two small islands, Genamok and Tapontonan, which, at the present time, appear to be surrounded by a sandbank at the lowest ebb-tide. Twenty years ago nothing of the kind was to be seen. Supposing these particulars to be correct, we must next ascertain what proportion of these changes of level is due to the floods, and how much to volcanic elevation; which, if we may judge by the neighboring active solfatara at Leyte, must always be of considerable amount.

[Crocodiles.] As the priest assured us, there are crocodiles in the river Basey over thirty feet in length, those in excess of twenty feet being numerous. The obliging father promised me one of at least twenty-four feet, whose skeleton I would gladly have secured; and he sent out some men who are so practised in the capture of these animals that they are dispatched to distant places for the purpose. Their contrivance for capturing them, which I, however, never personally witnessed, consists of a light raft of bamboo, with a stage, on which, several feet above the water, a dog or a cat is bound. Alongside the animal is placed a strong iron hook, which is fastened to the swimming bamboo by means of fibers of abaca. The crocodile, when it has swallowed the bait and the hook at the same time, endeavors in vain to get away, for the pliability of the raft prevents its being torn to pieces, and the peculiar elasticity of the bundle of fibers prevents its being bitten through. The raft serves likewise as a buoy for the captured animal. According to the statements of the hunters, the large crocodiles live far from human habitations, generally selecting the close vegetation in an oozy swamp, in which their bellies, dragging heavily along, leave trails behind them which betray them to the initiated. After a week the priest mentioned that his party had sent in three crocodiles, the largest of which, however, measured only eighteen feet, but that he had not kept one for me, as he hoped to obtain one of thirty feet. His expectation, however, was not fulfilled.

[Ignatius bean.] In the environs of Basey the Ignatius bean grows in remarkable abundance, as it also does in the south of Samar and in some other of the Bisayan islands. It is not met with in Luzon, but it is very likely that I have introduced it there unwittingly. Its sphere of propagation is very limited; and my attempts to transplant it to the Botanical Garden of Buitenzorg were fruitless. Some large plants intended for that purpose, which during my absence arrived for me at Daraga, were incorporated by one of my patrons into his own garden; and some, which were collected by himself and brought to Manila, were afterwards lost. Every effort to get these seeds (kernels), which are used over the whole of Eastern Asia as medicine, to germinate miscarried, they having been boiled before transmission, ostensibly for their preservation, but most probably to secure the monopoly of them.

[Strychnine.] According to Flueckinger, [184] the gourd-shaped berry of the climbing shrub (Ignatia amara, L. Strychnos Ignatii, Berg. Ignatiana Philippinica. Lour.) contains twenty-four irregular egg-shaped seeds of the size of an inch which, however, are not so poisonous as the Ignatius beans, which taste like crack-nuts. In these seeds strychnine was found by Pelletier and Caventou in 1818, as it subsequently was in crack-nuts. The former contained twice as much of it as the latter, viz. one and a half per cent; but, as they are four times as dear, it is only produced from the latter.

[Cholera and snake-bite cure.] In many households in the Philippines the dangerous drug is to be found as a highly prized remedy, under the name of Pepita de Catbalonga. Gemelli Careri mentions it, and quotes thirteen different uses of it. Dr. Rosenthal ("Synopsis Plantarum Diaphor." p. 363) says:—"In India it has been employed as a remedy against cholera under the name of Papecta." Papecta is probably a clerical error. In K. Lall Dey's "Indigenous Drugs of India," it is called Papeeta, which is pronounced Pepita in English; and Pepita is the Spanish word for the kernel of a fruit. It is also held in high estimation as an antidote for the bite of serpents. Father Blanco ("Flora of the Philippines," 61), states that he has more than once proved its efficacy in this respect in his own person; but he cautions against its employment internally, as it had been fatal in very many cases. It should not be taken into the mouth, for should the spittle be swallowed, and vomiting not ensue, death would be inevitable. The parish priest of Tabaco, however, almost always carried a pepita in his mouth. From 1842 he began occasionally to take an Ignatius bean into his mouth as a protection against cholera, and so gradually accustomed himself to it. When I met him in 1860 he was quite well, and ascribed his health and vigor expressly to that habit. According to his communication, in cases of cholera the decoction was successfully administered in small doses introduced into tea; but it was most efficacious when, mixed with brandy, it was applied as a liniment.

[Superstitions regarding the "Bisayan" bean.] Huc also ("Thibet," I. 252) commends the expressed juice of the kouo-kouo (Faba Ign. amar.) both for internal and external use, and remarks that it plays a great part in Chinese medicine, no apothecary's shop being without it. Formerly the poisonous drug was considered a charm, as it is still by many. Father Camel [185] states that the Catbalogan or Bisayan-bean, which the Indians call Igasur or Mananaog (the victorious), was generally worn as an amulet round the neck, being a preservative against poison, contagion, magic, and philtres, so potent, indeed, that the Devil in propia persona could not harm the wearer. Especially efficacious is it against a poison communicated by breathing upon one, for not only does it protect the wearer, but it kills the individual who wishes to poison him. Camel further mentions a series of miracles which superstition ascribed to the Ignatius bean.

[Coconuts.] On the southern half of the eastern border, on the shore from Borongan by Lauang as far as Guiuan, there are considerable plantations of cocos, which are most imperfectly applied to the production of oil. From Borongan and its visitas twelve thousand pitchers of coconut oil are yearly exported to Manila, and the nuts consumed by men and pigs would suffice for at least eight thousand pitchers. As a thousand nuts yield eight pitchers and a half, the vicinity of Borongan alone yields annually six million nuts; for which, assuming the average produce at fifty nuts, one hundred-twenty thousand fullbearing palms are required. The statement that their number in the above-mentioned district amounts to several millions must be an exaggeration.

[Getting coco oil.] The oil is obtained in a very rude manner. The kernel is rasped out of the woody shell of the nut on rough boards, and left to rot; and a few boats in a state of decay, elevated on posts in the open air, serve as reservoirs, the oil dropping through their crevices into pitchers placed underneath; and finally the boards are subjected to pressure. This operation, which requires several months for its completion, yields such a bad, dark-brown, and viscid product that the pitcher fetches only two dollars and a quarter in Manila, while a superior oil costs six dollars. [186]

[Oil factory.] Recently a young Spaniard has erected a factory in Borongan for the better preparation of oil. A winch, turned by two carabaos, sets a number of rasps in motion by means of toothed wheels and leather straps. They are somewhat like a gimlet in form, and consist of five iron plates, with dentated edges, which are placed radiating on the end of an iron rod, and close together, forming a blunt point towards the front. The other end of the rod passes through the center of a disk, which communicates the rotary motion to it, and projects beyond it. The workman, taking a divided coconut in his two hands, holds its interior arch, which contains the oil-bearing nut, with a firm pressure against the revolving rasp, at the same time urging with his breast, which is protected by a padded board, against the projecting end of the rod. The fine shreds of the nut remain for twelve hours in flat pans, in order that they may be partially decomposed. They are then lightly pressed in hand-presses; and the liquor, which consists of one-third oil and two-thirds water, is caught in tubs, from which, at the end of six hours, the oil, floating on the surface, is skimmed off. It is then heated in iron pans, containing 100 liters, until the whole of the water in it has evaporated, which takes from two to three hours. In order that the oil may cool rapidly, and not become dark in color, two pailfuls of cold oil, freed from water, are poured into it, and the fire quickly removed to a distance. The compressed shreds are once more exposed to the atmosphere, and then subjected to a powerful pressure. After these two operations have been twice repeated, the rasped substance is suspended in sacks between two strong vertical boards and crushed to the utmost by means of clamp screws, and repeatedly shaken up. The refuse serves as food for pigs. The oil which runs from the sacks is free from water, and is consequently very clear, and is employed in the cooling of that which is obtained in the first instance. [187]

[Limited output.] The factory produces fifteen hundred tinajas of oil. It is in operation only nine months in the year; from December to February the transport of nuts being prevented by the tempestuous seas, there being no land communication. The manufacturer was not successful in procuring nuts from the immediate vicinity in sufficient quantity to enable him to carry on his operations without interruption, nor, during the favorable season of the year, could he lay up a store for the winter months, although he paid the comparatively high price of three dollars per thousand.

[Illogical business.] While the natives manufactured oil in the manner just described, they obtained from a thousand nuts three and a half pots, which, at six reals each, fetched twenty-one reals; that is three reals less than was offered them for the raw nuts. These data, which are obtained from the manufacturers, are probably exaggerated, but they are in the main well founded; and the traveller in the Philippines often has the opportunity of observing similar anomalies. For example, in Daet, North Camarines, I bought six coconuts for one cuarto, at the rate of nine hundred and sixty for one dollar, the common price there. On my asking why no oil-factory had been erected, I received for answer that the nuts were cheaper singly than in quantities. In the first place, the native sells only when he wants money; but he knows that the manufacturer cannot well afford to have his business suspended; so, careless of the result, he makes a temporary profit, and never thinks of ensuring for himself a permanent source of income.

[Sugar venders.] In the province of Laguna, where the natives prepare coarse brown sugar from sugar-cane, the women carry it for leagues to the market, or expose it for sale on the country roads, in small loaves (panoche), generally along with buyo. Every passenger chats with the seller, weighs the loaf in the hand, eats a bit, and probably passes on without buying any. In the evening the woman returns to her home with her wares, and the next day repeats the same process.

[Disproportionate prices.] I have lost my special notes, but I remember that in two cases at least the price of the sugar in these loaves was cheaper than by the picul. Moreover, the Government of the day anticipated the people in setting the example, by selling cigars cheaper singly than in quantities.

[Uncertain trading.] In Europe a speculator generally can calculate beforehand, with the greatest certainty, the cost of production of any article; but in the Philippines it is not always so easy. Independently of the uncertainty of labor, the regularity of the supply of raw material is disturbed, not only by laziness and caprice, but also by jealousy and distrust. The natives, as a rule, do not willingly see Europeans settle amongst them and engage successfully in local operations which they themselves do not understand how to execute; and in like manner the creoles are reserved with foreigners, who generally are superior to them in capital, skill, and activity. Besides jealousy, suspicion also plays a great part, and this influences the native as well against the mestizo as against the Castilian. Enough takes place to the present day to justify this feeling; but formerly, when the most thrifty subjects could buy governorships, and shamelessly fleece their provinces, such outrageous abuses are said to have been permitted until, in process of time, suspicion has become a kind of instinct amongst the Filipinos.


[Leyte.] The island of Leyte, between 9 deg. 49' and 11 deg. 34' N., and 124 deg. 7' and 125 deg. 9' E. Gr., is above twenty-five miles in length, and almost twelve miles broad, and contains one hundred seventy square miles. As I have already remarked, it is divided from Samar only by the small strait of San Juanico. The chief town, Tacloban or Taclobang, lies at the eastern entrance of this strait, with a very good harbor and uninterrupted communication with Manila, and has consequently become the chief emporium of trade to Leyte, Biliran, and South and East Samar. [188]

[Obliging Spanish officials.] The local governor likewise showed me much obliging attention; indeed, almost without exception I have, since my return, retained the most agreeable remembrances of the Spanish officials; and, therefore, if fitting opportunity occurred, I could treat of the improprieties of the Administration with greater impartiality.

[Locusts.] In the afternoon of the day after my arrival at Tacloban, on a sudden there came a sound like the rush of a furious torrent; the air became dark, and a large cloud of locusts swept over the place. [189] I will not again recount that phenomenon, which has been so often described, and is essentially the same in all quarters of the globe, but will simply remark that the swarm, which was more than five hundred feet in width, and about fifty feet in depth, its extremity being lost in the forest, was not thought a very considerable one. It caused vigilance, but not consternation. Old and young eagerly endeavored to catch as many of the delicate creatures as they could, with cloths, nets, and flags, in order, as Dampier relates, "to roast them in an earthen pan over fire until their legs and wings drop off, and their heads and backs assume the color of boiled crabs;" after which process he says they had a pleasant taste. In Burma at the present day, they are considered as delicacies at the royal court. [190]

[Plan for their extermination.] The locusts are one of the greatest plagues of the Philippines, and sometimes destroy the harvest of entire provinces. The Legislacion Ultramarina (iv. 504) contains a special edict respecting the extirpation of these devastating pests. As soon as they appear, the population of the invaded localities are to be drawn out in the greatest possible numbers, under the conduct of the authorities, in order to effect their destruction. The most approved means for the attainment of this object are set forth in an official document referring to the adoption of extraordinary measures in cases of public emergency; and in this the locusts are placed midway between sea-pirates and conflagrations. Of the various means that have been contrived against the destructive creatures, that, at times, appear in incredible numbers, but have been as frequently ineffectual as otherwise, only a few will be now mentioned. On April 27, 1824, the Sociedad Economica determined to import the bird, the martin (Gracula sp.), "which feeds by instinct on locusts." In the autumn of the following year the first consignment arrived from China; in 1829 a second; and in 1852 again occurs the item of $1,311 for martins.

[Tacloban to Tanauan.] On the following day I proceeded with the priest of Dagami (there are roads in Leyte) from Tacloban southwards to Palos and Tanauan, two flourishing places on the east coast. Hardly half a league from the latter place, and close to the sea, a cliff of crystal lime rock rises up out of the sandy plain, which was level up to this point. It is of a greyish-green quartzose chlorite schist, from which the enterprising Father had endeavored, with a perseverance worthy of better success, to procure lime by burning. After an ample breakfast in the convent, we proceeded in the afternoon to Dagami, and, on the next day, to Burauen. [191]

[A pleasing people.] The country was still flat. Coco-groves and rice-fields here and there interrupted the thick forest; but the country is thinly inhabited, and the people appear more cheerful, handsomer, and cleaner than those of Samar. South of Burauen rises the mountain ridge of Manacagan, on the further slope of which is a large solfatara, which yields sulphur for the powder manufactory in Manila, and for commerce. A Spanish sailor accompanied me. Where the road passed through swamp we rode on carabaos. The pace of the animals is not unpleasant, but the stretching across the broad backs of the gigantic carabaos of the Philippines is very fatiguing. A quarter of an hour beyond Burauen we crossed the Daguitan, which flows south-west to north-east, and is a hundred feet broad, its bed being full of large volcanic blocks; and, soon after, a small river in a broad bed; and, some hundred paces farther, one of a hundred and fifty feet in breadth; the two latter being arms of the Burauen. They flow from west to east, and enter the sea at Dulag. The second arm was originated only the preceding year, during a flood.

[The height of hospitality.] We passed the night in a hut on the northern slope of the Manacagan, which the owner, on seeing us approach, had voluntarily quitted, and with his wife and child sought other lodgings. The customs of the country require this when the accommodation does not suffice for both parties; and payment for the same is neither demanded nor, except very rarely, tendered.

[Up the Manacagan.] About six o'clock on the following morning we started; and about half-past six climbed, by a pleasant path through the forest, to the ridge of the Manacagan, which consists of trachytic hornblende; and about seven o'clock we crossed two small rivers flowing north-west, and then, by a curve, reached the coast at Dulag. From the ridge we caught sight, towards the south, of the great white heaps of debris of the mountain Danan glimmering through the trees. About nine o'clock we came through the thickly-wooded crater of the Kasiboi, and, further south, to some sheds in which the sulphur is smelted.

[Sulphur.] The raw material obtained from the solfatara is bought in three classes: firstly, sulphur already melted to crusts; secondly, sublimated, which contains much condensed water in its interstices; and thirdly, in the clay, which is divided into the more or less rich, from which the greatest quantity is obtained. Coconut oil, which is thrown into flat iron pans holding six arrobas, is added to the sulphurous clay, in the proportion of six quarts to four arrobas, and it is melted and continually stirred. The clay which floats on the surface, now freed from the sulphur, being skimmed off, fresh sulphurous clay is thrown into the cauldron, and so on. In two or three hours six arrobas of sulphur, on an average, may be obtained in this manner from twenty-four arrobas of sulphurous clay, and, poured into wooden chests, it is moulded into blocks of about four arrobas. Half the oil employed is recovered by throwing the clay which has been saturated with it into a frame formed by two narrow bamboo hurdles, placed at a sharp angle. The oil drops into a sloping gutter of bamboo which is placed underneath, and from that flows into a pot. The price of the sulphur at Manila varies between [Prices.] $1.25 and $4.50 per picul. I saw the frames, full of clay, from which the oil exuded; but the operation itself I did not, unfortunately, then witness, and I cannot explain in what manner the oil is added. From some experiments made on a small scale, therefore under essentially different conditions, and never with the same material, it appeared that the oil accelerates the separation of the sulphur, and retards the access of the air to the sulphur. In these experiments, the sulphur contained in the bottom of the crucible was always colored black by the separation of charcoal from the oil, and it was necessary to purify it by distillation beforehand. Of this, however, the smelters at Leyte made no mention, and they even had no apparatus for the purpose, while their sulphur was of a pure yellow color.

[Hot spring.] Some hundreds of paces further south, a hot spring (50 deg. R.), [192] twelve feet broad, flows from the east, depositing silicious sinter at its edges.

[A solfatara.] As we followed a ravine stretching from north to south, with sides one hundred to two hundred feet in height, the vegetation gradually ceased, the rock being of a dazzling white, or colored by sublimated sulphur. In numerous places thick clouds of vapor burst from the ground, with a strong smell of sulphurated water. At some thousand paces further, the ravine bends round to the left (east), and expands itself to the bay; and here numerous silicious springs break through the loose clay-earth, which is permeated with sulphur. This solfatara must formerly have been much more active than it is now. The ravine, which has been formed by its destruction of the rock, and is full of lofty heaps of debris, may be one thousand feet in breadth, and quite five times as long. At the east end there are a number of small, boiling quagmires, which, on forcing a stick into the matted ground, send forth water and steam. In some deep spots further west, grey, white, red, and yellow clays have been deposited in small beds over each other, giving them the appearance of variegated marls.

[Petrifying water] To the south, right opposite to the ridge which leads to Burauen, may be seen a basin twenty-five feet broad, in a cavern in the white decomposed rock, from which a petrifying water containing silicious acid flows abundantly. The roof of the cavern is hung with stalactites, which either are covered with solid sulphur, or consist entirely of that substance.

[Danan solfatara.] On the upper slope of the Danan mountain, near to the summit, so much sulphur is deposited by the vapors from the sulphurated water that it may be collected with coconut shells. In some crevices, which are protected against the cooling effects of the atmospheric air, it melts together in thick, brown crusts. The solfatara of Danan is situated exactly south of that below, at the end of the ravine of the Kasiboi. The clay earth, from which the silicic acid has been washed out by the rains, is carried into the valley, where it forms a plain, the greater part of which is occupied by a small lake, Malaksan (sour), slightly impregnated with sulphuric acid. Its surface, which, by reason of the very flat banks, is protected against the weather, I found to be about five hundred paces long and one hundred broad. From the elevation of the solfatara, a rather large fresh-water lake, surrounded by wooded mountains, is seen through a gap, exactly south, which is named Jaruanan. The night was passed in a ruined shed at the south-east of the lake Malaksan; and on the following morning we climbed the south side of the mountain ridge and, skirting the solfatara of the Danan, arrived in an hour and a half at lake Jaruanan.

[Jaruanan Lake.] This lake, as well as the Malaksan, inspires the natives with superstitious fear on account of the suspicious neighborhood of the solfatara, and therefore has not been profaned by either mariner, fisher, or swimmer, and was very full of fish. For the purpose of measuring its depth, I had a raft of bamboos constructed; and when my companions saw me floating safely on the lake, they all, without exception, sprang into it, and tumbled about in the water with infinite delight and loud outcries, as if they wished to indemnify themselves for their long abstinence; so that the raft was not ready before three o'clock. The soundings at the centre of the basin, which was, at the southern edge, steeper than on the north, gave thirteen brazas, or over twenty-one meters of depth; the greatest length of the lake amounted to nearly eight hundred varas (six hundred and sixty-eight meters), and the breadth to about half as much. As we returned in the evening, by torchlight, over the crest of the mountain to our night-quarters at the lake, we passed by the very modest dwelling-place of a married pair. Three branches, projecting outwards from the principal trunk of a tree, and lopped at equal points, sustained a hut of bamboos and palm-leaves of eight feet square. A hole in the floor formed the entrance, and it was divided into a chamber and ante-chamber, and four bamboo poles supported, above and below, two layers of bamboos, one of which furnished a balcony, and the other a shop in which betel was sold.

[To Dulag.] The day after my return to Burauen an obliging Spanish merchant drove me through the fertile plain of volcanic sand, on which rice, maize, and sugar-cane were cultivated, to Dulag, which lies directly to the west, on the shore of the tranquil sea. The distance (according to Coello three leagues) hardly amounts to two leagues. From this place, Point Guiuan, the south point of Samar, appears like an island separated from the mainland, and further south (N. 102 deg. 4' to 103 deg. 65 deg. S.) Jomonjol is seen, the first island of the Archipelago sighted by Magellan on April 16, 1521. At Dulag, my former companion joined us in order to accompany us on the journey to the Bito Lake. The arrangement of transportation and of provisions, and, still more, the due consideration of all the propositions of three individuals, each of whose claims were entitled to equal respect, occupied much time and required some address. We at length sailed in a large casco (barge) southwards along the coast to the mouth of the river [Up Mayo River.] Mayo, which, according to the map and the information there given, is said to come from the Bito Lake. We proceeded upwards in a boat, but were informed at the first hut that the lake could be reached only by making a long circuit through swampy forest; when most of our party proposed to return. Various reasons besides the want of unanimity in the conduct of our adventure, which had proceeded thus far, delayed our arrival at Abuyog until eleven o'clock at night. In the first place, on our way, we had to cross a small branch of the Mayo, and after that the Bito River. The distance of the latter from Abuyog (extravagantly set down on Coello's map) amounts to fourteen hundred brazas, according to the measurement of the gobernadorcillo, which is probably correct. [193]

[An unpromising road.] The following day, as it rained heavily, was employed in making inquiries respecting the road to the Bito Lake. We received very varied statements as to the distance, but all agreed in painting the road thither in a discouraging light. A troublesome journey of at least ten hours appeared to us to be what most probably awaited us.

[Bito Lake.] On the morrow, through a pleasant forest road, we reached in an hour the Bito River, and proceeded in boats, which we met there, up the river between flat sandy banks covered with tall cane and reeds. In about ten minutes, some trees fallen right across the stream compelled us to make a circuit on land, which in half an hour brought us again to the river, above the obstacles. Here we constructed rafts of bamboo, upon which, immersed to the depth of half a foot, the material being very loosely adjusted, we reached the lake in ten minutes. We found it covered with green confervae; a double border of pistia and broad-leaved reed grasses, six to seven feet high, enclosing it all round. On the south and west some low hillocks rose up, while from the middle it appeared to be almost circular, with a girdle of forest. Coello makes the lake much too large (four instead of one square mile), and its distance from Abuyog can be only a little over a league. With the assistance of a cord of lianas tied together, and rods placed in a line, we found its breadth five hundred and eighty-five brazas or nine hundred and seventy-seven meters, (in the broadest part it might be a little over one thousand meters); and the length, as computed from some imperfect observations, one thousand and seven brazas (sixteen hundred and eighty meters), consequently less than one square mile. Soundings showed a gently inclined basin, eight brazas, or over thirteen meters, deep in the middle. I would gladly have determined the proportions with more accuracy; but want of time, the inaccessibility of the edge of the bank, and the miserable condition of our raft, allowed of only a few rough measurements.

[A forest home.] Not a trace of human habitations was observable on the shore; but a quarter of an hour's distance from the northern edge we found a comfortable hut, surrounded by deep mud and prickly calamus, the tenants of which, however, were living in plenty, and with greater conveniences than many dwellers in the villages. We were very well received and had fish in abundance, as well as tomatoes, and capsicum to season them with, and dishes of English earthenware out of which to eat them.

[Snaring swine.] The abundance of wild swine had led the settlers to invent a peculiar contrivance, by which they are apprised of their approach even when asleep, and guided to their trail in the darkness. A rope made of strips of banana tied together, and upwards of a thousand feet in length, is extended along the ground, one end of which is attached to a coconut shell, full of water, which is suspended immediately over the sleeping-place of the hunter. When a pig comes in contact with the rope, the water is overturned by the jerk upon the sleeper, who, seizing the rope in his hand, is thereby conducted to his prey. The principal employment of our hosts appeared to be fishing, which is so productive that the roughest apparatus is sufficient. There was not a single boat, but only loosely-bound rafts of bamboo, on which the fishers, sinking, as we ourselves did on our raft, half a foot deep, moved about amongst the crocodiles, which I never beheld in such numbers and of so large a size as in this lake. Some swam about on the surface with their backs projecting out of the water. It was striking to see the complete indifference with which even two little girls waded in the water in the face of the great monsters. Fortunately the latter appeared to be satisfied with their ample rations of fish. Four kinds of fish are said to be found in the lake, amongst them an eel; but we got only one. [194]

[A secret still.] Early on the following morning our native attendants were already intoxicated. This led to the discovery of another occupation of the settlers, which I do not hesitate to disclose now that the Government monopoly has been abolished. They secretly distilled palm-brandy and carried on a considerable trade in it; and this also explained to me why the horrors of the road to the Mayo River and to Abuyog had been painted in such warm colors. [195] We returned on our rafts to the place where we had found them, a distance of about fifteen hundred feet; and onwards, through wild cane with large clusters of flowers (Saccharum sp.), sixteen feet high, east by north, we got to our boats, and then to the bar, whence, after a march of an hour and a half, we reached Abuyog. From Abuyog we returned by water to Dulag, and by land to Burauen, where we arrived at night, sooner than our hostlers had expected, for we caught them sleeping in our beds.

[Tobacco prohibition.] Not long ago much tobacco was cultivated in this country, and was allowed to be sold to the peasantry under certain conditions; but recently it was forbidden to be sold, except by the Government, who themselves determined its value at so very low a rate that the culture of tobacco has almost entirely ceased. As the tobacco company, however, had already erected stores and appointed collectors, the knowing ones rightly foresaw that these steps would be followed by compulsory labor, even as it occurred in other places. The east coast of Leyte is said to be rising while the west is being destroyed by the sea, and at Ormog the sea is said to have advanced about fifty ells [196] in six years.


[The Bisayans.] The Bisayans—at least the inhabitants of the Islands of Samar and Leyte (I have not become closely acquainted with any others)—belong to one race. [197] They are, physically and intellectually, in character, dress, manners and customs, so similar that my notes, which were originally made at different points of the two Islands, have, after removal of the numerous repetitions, fused into one, which affords a more complete picture, and affords, at the same time, opportunity for the small differences, where they do occur, to stand out more conspicuously.

[Mountaineers.] There are no Negritos either in Samar or Leyte, but Cimarronese, who pay no tribute, and who do not live in villages, but independently in the forests. Unfortunately I have had no personal intercourse with them, and what I have learned respecting them from the Christian inhabitants of Samar is too uncertain to be repeated. But it does seem certain that all these Cimarronese or their ancestors have traded with the Spaniards, and that their religion has appropriated many Catholic forms. Thus, when planting rice, and, according to ancient practices, setting apart some of the seed to be offered in the four corners of the field as sacrifice, they are accustomed to repeat some mutilated Catholic prayers, which they appear to consider as efficacious as their old heathenish ones. Some have their children baptized as well, as it costs nothing; but, save in these respects, they perform no other Christian or civil obligations. They are very peaceable, neither making war with one another, nor having poisoned arrows. Instances of Cimarronese, who go over to Christianity and village life, together with tribute and servitude, are very rare; and the number of the civilized, who return to the forests in order to become Cimarronese, is, on the other hand, very inconsiderable indeed—still smaller than in Luzon, as the natives, from the dull, almost vegetating life which they lead, are not easily brought into such straitened circumstances as to be compelled to leave their village, which, still more than in Luzon, is all the world to them.

[Rice-farming.] The culture of rice follows the seasons of the year. In some places where there are large fields the plough (arado) and the sod-sod (here called surod) are employed; but, almost universally, the rice-field is only trodden over by carabaos in the rainy season. Sowing is done on the west coast in May and June, planting in July and August, and reaping from November to January. One ganta of seed-corn gives two, sometimes from three to four, cabanes (i.e., fifty, seventy-five, and a hundred fold). In the chief town, Catbalogan, there are but very few irrigated fields (tubigan, from tubig, water), the produce of which does not suffice for the requirements, and the deficiency is made up from other places on the coasts of the Island. On the other hand, Catbalogan produces abaca, coconut oil, wax, balate (edible holothuria, sea cucumber), dried fish, and woven stuffs. On the north and east coasts sowing takes place from November to January, and reaping six months later. During the remaining six months the field serves as pasture for the cattle; but in many places rice culture goes on even during these months, but on other fields. A large portion of this rice is frequently lost on account of the bad weather.

[Land tenure.] Purchases of land are seldom made, it being generally acquired by cultivation, by inheritance, or forfeiture. In Catbalogan the best rice land was paid for at the rate of one dollar for a ganta of seed-corn, and, on the north coast of Lauang, a field producing yearly one hundred cabanes was purchased for thirty dollars. Reckoning, as in Naga, one ganta of seed-corn at four loanes, and seventy-five cabanes of produce at one quinon, the eastern rice land costs, in the first instance, three thalers and a third, in the second three thalers. The owner lets the bare property out on leases, and receives one-half the harvest as rent. [198] The cultivation of rice in Leyte is conducted as in Samar, but it has given way to the cultivation of abaca; the governors, while they were allowed to trade, compelled the natives to devote a part of their fields and of their labor to it. Should a peasant be in arrears, it is the prevalent custom in the country for him to pay to the dealer double the balance remaining due at the next harvest.

[Mountain rice.] Mountain-rice culture, which in Catbalogan is almost the only cultivation, requires no other implement of agriculture than the bolo to loosen the soil somewhat, and a sharp stick for making holes at distances of six inches for the reception of five or six grains of rice. Sowing is done from May to June, weeding twice, and five months later it is cut stalk by stalk; the reaper receiving half a real daily wages and food. The produce is between two and three cabanes per ganta, or fifty to seventy fold. The land costs nothing, and wages amount to nearly five reals per ganta of seed-corn. After a good harvest the caban fetches four reales; but just before the harvest the price rises to one dollar, and often much higher. The ground is used only once for dry rice; camote (batata), abaca, and caladium being planted on it after the harvest. Mountain rice is more remunerative than watered rice about in the proportion of nine to eight.

[Other products.] Next to rice the principal articles of sustenance are camote (convolvulus batatas), ubi (dioscorea), gabi (caladium), palauan (a large arum, with taper leaves and spotted stalk). Camote can be planted all the year around, and ripens in four months; but it takes place generally when the rice culture is over, when little labor is available. When the cultivation of camote is retained, the old plants are allowed to multiply their runners, and only the tubers are taken out of the ground. But larger produce is obtained by cleaning out the ground and planting anew. From eighteen to fifteen gantas may be had for half a real.

[Abaca.] Although there are large plantations of abaca, during my visit it was but little cultivated, the price not being sufficiently remunerative.

[Tobacco.] Tobacco also is cultivated. Formerly it might be sold in the country, but now it has to be delivered to the government.

[Balao oil.] A resinous oil (balao or malapajo) is found in Samar and Albay, probably also in other provinces. It is obtained from a dipterocarpus (apiton), one of the loftiest trees of the forest, by cutting in the trunk a wide hole, half a foot deep, hollowed out into the form of a basin, and from time to time lighting a fire in it, so as to free the channels, through which it flows, of obstructions. The oil thus is collected daily and comes into commerce without any further preparation. Its chief application is in the preservation of iron in shipbuilding. Nails dipped in the oil of the balao, before being driven in, will, as I have been assured by credible individuals, defy the action of rust for ten years; but it is principally used as a varnish for ships, which are painted with it both within and without, and it also protects wood against termites and other insects. The balao is sold in Albay at four reals for the tinaja of ten gantas (the liter at eight pence). A cement formed by the mixture of burnt lime, gum elemi, and coconut oil, in such proportions as to form a thick paste before application, is used for the protection of the bottoms of ships; and the coating is said to last a year. [199] [Wax.] Wax is bartered by the Cimarronese. The whole of Samar annually yields from two hundred to three hundred piculs, whose value ranges between twenty-five and fifty dollars per picul, while in Manila the price is generally five to ten dollars higher; but it fluctuates very much, as the same product is brought from many other localities and at very irregular intervals of time.

[Scarcity of stock.] There is hardly any breeding of cattle, notwithstanding the luxuriant growth of grasses and the absence of destructive animals. Horses and carabao are very rare, and are said to have been introduced late, not before the present century. As in Samar there are hardly any other country roads than the seashore and the shallow beds of rivers (it is better in the north of Leyte), the carabao is used only once every year in treading over the earth of the rice-field. During the year he roams at large on the pastures, in the forest, or on a small island, where such exists, in the neighborhood. Some times in the year one may see several carabaos, attached to the large trunk of a tree, dragging it to the village. Their number, consequently, is extremely small. Carabaos which tread the rice land well are worth as much as ten dollars. The mean price is three dollars for a carabao, and five to six dollars for a caraballa. Horned cattle are only occasionally used as victims at festivals. The property of several owners, they are very limited in number, and live half-wild in the mountains. There is hardly any trade in them, but the average price is three dollars for a heifer, and five or six dollars for a cow. [Swine.] Almost every family possesses a pig; some, three or four of them. A fat pig costs six or seven dollars, even more than a cow. Many Filipino tribes abstain strictly from beef; but pork is essential to their feasts. Grease, too, is so dear that from three to four dollars would, under favorable circumstances, be got on that account for a fat animal. [Sheep and goats.] Sheep and goats thrive well, and propagate easily, but also exist only in small numbers, and are hardly utilized either for their wool or their flesh. Creoles and mestizos are for the most part too idle even to keep sheep, preferring daily to eat chicken. The sheep of Shanghai, imported by the governor of Tacloban, also thrive and propagate famously. [Poultry.] A laying hen costs half a real, a rooster the same, and a game cock as much as three dollars, often considerably more. Six or eight hens, or thirty eggs, may be bought for one real.

[Cost of food.] A family consisting of father, mother, and five children requires daily nearly twenty-four chupas of palay (rice in the husk), which, after winnowing, comes to about twelve chupas. This at the average price of four reals per cavan costs about half a real. The price, however, varies. Sometimes, after the harvest, it is three reals per cavan; before it, ten; and in Albay, even about thirty reals. Then about three cuartos are wanted for extras (as fish, crabs, vegetables, etc.), which, however, are generally collected by the children; and, lastly, for oil two cuartos, buyo one cuarto, tobacco three cuartos (three leaves for one cuarto), the latter being smoked, not chewed. A woman consumes half as much buyo and tobacco as a man. Buyo and tobacco are less used in Leyte than in Samar.

[Clothing cost.] For clothing a man requires yearly—four rough shirts of guinara, costing from one to two reals; three or four pairs of trousers, at one to two and a half reals; two kerchiefs for the head, at one and a half real (hats are not worn on the south and west coasts), and for the church festivals generally one pair of shoes, seven reals; one fine shirt, a dollar or more; and fine pantaloons, at four reals. A woman requires—four to six camisas of guinara, at one real; two to three sayas of guinara, at three to four reals, and one or two sayas of European printed cotton, at five reals; two head-kerchiefs at one and a half to two reals; and one or two pairs of slippers (chinelas) to go to mass in, at two reals and upwards.

[Women's extras.] The women generally have, besides, a fine camisa costing at least six reals; a mantilla for churchgoing, six reals (it lasts four years); and a comb, two cuartos. Many also have under skirts (nabuas), two pieces at four reals, and earrings of brass and a rosary, which last articles are purchased once for all. In the poorer localities, Lauang for instance, only the home-woven guinaras are worn; and there a man requires—three shirts and three pairs of trousers, which are cut out of three pieces of guinara, at two reals, and a salacot (hat), generally home made, worth half a real; while a woman uses yearly—four sayas, value six reals; and a camisa, with a finer one for the festivals, eight reals. Underskirts are not worn; and the clothing of the children may be estimated at about half of the above rates.

[Household furniture.] For household furniture a family has a cooking pot [200] of unglazed burnt clay, imported by ships from Manila, the cost of which is fixed by the value of its contents in rice; a supply of bamboo-canes; seven plates, costing between two and five cuartos; a carahai (iron pan), three to four reals; coconut shells serving for glasses; a few small pots, altogether half a real; a sundang, four to six reals, or a bolo (large forest knife), one dollar; and a pair of scissors (for the women), two reals. The loom, which every household constructs for itself of bamboo of course costs nothing.

[Wages.] The rate of daily wages, in the case of Filipino employers, is half a real, without food; but Europeans always have to give one real and food, unless, by favor of the gobernadorcillo, they get polistas at the former rate, which then regularly goes into the public coffers. An ordinary carpenter earns from one to two reals; a skilful man, three reals daily. The hours of work are from six to noon, and from two to six in the evening.

[Industries.] Almost every village has a rude smith, who understands the making of sundangs and bolos; but the iron and the coal required for the purpose must be supplied with the order. No other work in metal is executed. With the exception of a little ship-building, hardly any other pursuit than weaving is carried on; the loom is rarely wanting in a household. Guinara, i.e., stuff made of the abaca, is manufactured, as well as also some pina, or figured silk stuffs, the silk being brought from Manila, and of Chinese origin. All these fabrics are made in private homes; there are no factories.

[Barter.] In places where rice is scarce the lower class of people catch fish, salt and dry them, and barter them for rice. In the chief towns purchases are made with the current money; but, in the interior, where there is hardly any money, fabrics and dried fish are the most usual means of exchange. Salt is obtained by evaporating the seawater in small iron hand-pans (carahais), without previous evaporation in the sun. The navigation between Catbalogan and Manila continues from December to July, and in the interval between those months the ships lie dismantled under sheds. [Communication.] There also is communication by the coast eastwards to Guian, northwards to Catarman, and sometimes to Lauang. The crews consist partly of natives, and partly of foreigners, as the natives take to the sea with great reluctance; indeed, almost only when compelled to leave their villages. Samar has scarcely any other means of communication besides the navigation of the coast and rivers, the interior being roadless; and burdens have to be conveyed on the shoulders. An able-bodied porter, who receives a real and a half without food, will carry three arrobas (seventy-five pounds at most) six leagues in a day, but he cannot accomplish the same work on the following day, requiring at least one day's rest. A strong man will carry an arroba and a half daily for a distance of six leagues for a whole week.

[No markets.] There are no markets in Samar and Leyte; so that whoever wishes to buy seeks what he requires in the houses, and in like manner the seller offers his goods.

[Debts.] A Filipino seeking to borrow money has to give ample security and pay interest at the rate of one real for every dollar per month (twelve and one-half per cent. monthly); and it is not easy for him to borrow more than five dollars, for which sum only he is legally liable. Trade and credit are less developed in eastern and northern Samar than in the western part of the island, which keeps up a more active communication with the other inhabitants of the Archipelago. There current money is rarely lent, but only its value in goods is advanced at the rate of a real per dollar per mensem. If the debtor fails to pay within the time appointed, he frequently has to part with one of his children, who is obliged to serve the lender for his bare food, without wages, until the debt has been extinguished. I saw a young man who had so served for the term of five years, in liquidation of a debt of five dollars which his father, who had formerly been a gobernadorcillo in Paranas, owed to a mestizo in Catbalogan; and on the east coast a pretty young girl, who, for a debt of three dollars due by her father, had then, for two years, served a native, who had the reputation of being a spendthrift. I was shown in Borongan a coconut plantation of three hundred trees, which was pledged for a debt of ten dollars about twenty years ago, since which period it had been used by the creditor as his own property; and it was only a few years since that, upon the death of the debtor, his children succeeded, with great difficulty, in paying the original debt and redeeming the property. It is no uncommon thing for a native to borrow two dollars and a half from another in order to purchase his exemption from the forty days of annual service, and then, failing to repay the loan punctually, to serve his creditor for a whole year. [201]

[People of Samar and Leyte.] The inhabitants of Samar and Leyte, who are at once idler and filthier than those of Luzon, seem to be as much behind the Bicols as the latter are behind the Tagalogs. In Tacloban, where a more active intercourse with Manila exists, these qualities are less pronounced, and the women, who are agreeable, bathe frequently. For the rest, the inhabitants of the two islands are friendly, obliging, tractable, and peaceable. Abusive language or violence very rarely occurs, and, in case of injury, information is laid against the offender at the tribunal. Great purity of manners seems to prevail on the north and west coasts, but not on the east coast, nor in Leyte. External piety is universally conspicuous, through the training imparted by the priests; the families are very united, and great influence is wielded by the women, who are principally engaged in household employments, and are tolerably skilful in weaving, and to whom only the lighter labors of the field are assigned. The authority of the parents and of the eldest brother is supreme, the younger sisters never venturing to oppose it; women and children are kindly treated.

[Leyte.] The natives of Leyte, clinging as strongly to their native soil as those of Samar, like them, have no partiality for the sea, though their antipathy to it is not quite so manifest as that of the inhabitants of Samar. [202]

[Public charity not accepted.] There are no benevolent institutions in either of the two islands. Each family maintains its own poor and crippled, and treats them tenderly. In Catbalogan, the chief town of the island, with five to six thousand inhabitants, there were only eight recipients of charity; but in Albay mendicants are not wanting. In Lauang, when a Spaniard, on a solemn festival, had caused it to be proclaimed that he would distribute rice to the poor, not a single applicant came forward. The honesty of the inhabitants of Samar is much commended. Obligations are said to be contracted almost always without written documents, and never forsworn, even if they make default in payment. Robberies are of rare occurrence in Samar, and thefts almost unknown. There are schools also here in the pueblos, which accomplish quite as much as they do in Camarines.

[Amusements.] Of the public amusements cock-fighting is the chief, but it is not so eagerly pursued as in Luzon. At the church festivals they perform a drama translated from the Spanish, generally of a religious character; and the expense of the entertainment is defrayed by voluntary contributions of the wealthy. The chief vices of the population are play and drunkenness; in which latter even women and young girls occasionally indulge. The marriage feasts, combining song and dance, often continue for several days and nights together, where they have a sufficient supply of food and drink. [Suitor's service.] The suitor has to serve in the house of the bride's parents two, three, and even five years, before he takes his bride home; and money cannot purchase exemption from this onerous restriction. He boards in the house of the bride's parents who furnish the rice, but he has to supply the vegetables himself. [203] At the expiration of his term of service he builds, with the assistance of his relations and friends, the house for the family which is about to be newly established.

[Morals.] Though adultery is not unknown, jealousy is rare, and never leads to violence. The injured individual generally goes with the culprit to the minister, who, with a severe lecture to one, and words of consolation to the other, sets everything straight again. Married women are more easily accessible than girls, whose prospect of marriage, however, it seems is not greatly diminished by a false step during single life. While under parental authority girls, as a rule, are kept under rigid control, doubtless in order to prolong the time of servitude of the suitor. External appearance is more strictly regarded among the Bisayans than by the Bicols and Tagalogs. Here also the erroneous opinion prevails, that the number of the women exceeds that of the men. Instances occur of girls of twelve being mothers; but they are rare; and though women bear twelve or thirteen children, many of these, however, do not live. [Great infant mortality.] So much so is this the case, that families of more than six or eight children are very rarely met with.

[Superstitions.] Superstition is rife. Besides the little church images of the Virgin, which every Filipina wears by a string round the neck, many also have heathen amulets, of which I had an opportunity of examining one that had been taken from a very daring criminal. It consisted of a small ounce flask, stuffed full of vegetable root fibres, which appeared to have been fried in oil. This flask, which is prepared by the heathen tribes, is accredited with the virtue of making its owner strong and courageous. The capture of this individual was very difficult; but, as soon as the little flask was taken from him, he gave up all resistance, and allowed himself to be bound. In almost every large village there are one or more [Ghouls.] Asuang families who are generally dreaded and avoided, and regarded as outlaws, and who can marry only amongst themselves. They have the reputation of being cannibals. [204] Perhaps they are descended from such tribes? At any rate, the belief is very general and firmly rooted; and intelligent old natives when questioned by me on the subject, answered that they certainly did not believe that the Asuangs ate men at the present time, but that their forefathers had assuredly done so. [205]

[Ancient Literature.] Of ancient legends, traditions, or ballads, it is stated that there are none. It is true they have songs at their dances, but these are spiritless improvisations, and mostly in a high key. They have not preserved any memorials of former civilization. "The ancient Pintados possessed no temples, every one performing his anitos in his own house, without any special solemnity"—(Morga, f. 145 v). Pigafetta (p. 92) certainly mentions that the King of Cebu, after his conversion to Christianity, caused many temples built on the seashore to be destroyed; but these might only have been structures of a very perishable kind. [Festivals and shrines.] On certain occasions the Bisayans celebrated a great festival, called Pandot, at which they worshipped their gods in huts, which were expressly built for the purpose, covered with foliage, and adorned with flowers and lamps. They called these huts simba or simbahan (the churches are so called to the present day), "and this is the only thing which they have similar to a church or a temple"—(Informe, I., i., 17). According to Gemelli Careri they prayed to some particular gods, derived from their forefathers, who are called by the Bisayans Davata (Divata), and by the Tagalogs Anito; one anito being for the sea and another for the house, to watch over the children. [206] [Ancestor worship.] In the number of these anitos they placed their grandfathers and great-grandfathers, whom they invoked in all their necessities, and in whose honor they preserved little statues of stone, wood, gold, and ivory, which they called liche or laravan. Amongst their gods they also reckoned all who perished by the sword, or were killed by lightning, or devoured by crocodiles, believing that their souls ascended to heaven on a bow which they called balangas. Pigafetta thus describes the idols which were seen by him:—"They are of wood, and concave, or hollow, without any hind quarters, with their arms extended, and their legs and feet bent upwards. They have very large faces, with four powerful teeth like boars' tusks, and are painted all over." [207]

In conclusion, let me take a brief account of the religion of the ancient Bisayans from Fr. Gaspar San Agustin (Conquest, 169):

[Old religion.] The daemon, or genius, to whom they sacrificed was called by them Divata, which appears to denote an antithesis to the Deity, and a rebel against him. Hell was called Solad, and Heaven (in the language of the educated people) Ologan * * * The souls of the departed go to a mountain in the province of Oton, [208] called Medias, where they are well entertained and served. The creation of the universe is thus explained. [Creation myth.] A vulture hovering between heaven and earth finds no place to settle himself upon, and the water rises towards heaven; whereupon Heaven, in its wrath, creates islands. The vulture splits a bamboo, out of which spring man and woman, who beget many children, and, when their number becomes too great, drive them out with blows. Some conceal themselves in the chamber, and these become the Datos; others in the kitchen, and these become the slaves. The rest go down the stairs and become the people.


[Ports of entry.] In 1830 seven new ports were opened as an experiment, but, owing to great frauds in the charges, were soon afterwards closed again. In 1831 a custom-house was established at Zamboanga, on the south-west point of Mindanao; and in 1855 Sual, in the Gulf of Lingayen, one of the safest harbors on the west coast of Luzon, and Iloilo in Panay, were thrown open; and in 1863 Cebu, on the island of the same name, for the direct communication with foreign countries.

[Old Zamboanga fort.] Before 1635 the Spaniards had established a fort at Zamboanga, which, although it certainly could not wholly prevent the piratical excursions against the colonies, yet considerably diminished them. [209] Until 1848 from eight hundred to fifteen hundred individuals are stated to have been carried off yearly by the Moros. [210] The establishment of this custom-house has, therefore, been based upon political rather than commercial motives, it being found desirable to open an easily accessible place to the piratical states of the Sulu Sea for the disposal of their products. [Exports.] Trade, up to the present date, is but of very inconsiderable amount, the exports consisting chiefly of a little coffee (in 1871 nearly six thousand piculs), which, from bad management, is worth thirty per cent. less than Manila coffee, and of the collected products of the forest and of the water, such as wax, birds'-nests, tortoise-shell, pearls, mother-of-pearl, and edible holothuria. This trade, as well as that with Sulu, is entirely in the hands of the Chinese, who alone possess the patience, adaptiveness, and adroitness which are required for the purpose.

[Sual's foreign trade.] Sual is specially important for its exports of rice; and its foreign trade is therefore affected by the results of the harvests in Saigon, Burma, and China. In 1868, when the harvests in those countries turned out good, Sual carried on only a coasting trade.

[Cebu.] Cebu (with a population of 34,000) is the chief town of the island of the same name, the seat of Government and of the bishop of the Bisayas, and within forty-eight hours from Manila by steamer. It is as favorably situated with regard to the eatern portion of the Bisayan group as Iloilo is for the western, and is acquiring increased importance as the emporium for its products. Sugar and tobacco are obtained from Bohol; rice from Panay; abaca from Leyte and Mindanao; and coffee, wax, Spanish cane, and mother-of-pearl from Misamis (Mindanao). Its distance from Samar is twenty-six, from Leyte two and a half, from Bohol four, and from Negros eighteen miles.

[Cebu island.] The island of Cebu extends over seventy-five square miles. A lofty mountain range traverses it from north to south, dividing the east from the west side, and its population is estimated at 340,000,—4,533 to the square mile. The inhabitants are peaceable and docile; thefts occur very seldom, and robberies never. Their occupations are agriculture, fishing, and weaving for home consumption. Cebu produces sugar, tobacco, maize, rice, etc., and in the mountains potatoes; but the rice produced does not suffice for their requirements, there being only a little level land, and the deficiency is imported from Panay.

[Land tenure.] The island possesses considerable beds of coal, the full yield of which may now be looked for, as the duty on export was abandoned by a decree of the 5th of May, 1869. [211] While in Luzon and Panay the land is for the most part the property of the peasantry, in Cebu it mostly belongs to the mestizos, and is let out by them, in very small allotments, upon lease. The owners of the soil know how to keep the peasants in a state of dependence by usurious loans; and one of the results of this abuse is that agriculture in this island stands lower than in almost any other part of the archipelago. [212] [Customhouse data.] The entire value of the exports in 1868 amounted to $1,181,050; of which sugar to the value of $481,127, and abaca to the value of $378,256; went to England, abaca amounting to $112,000 to America, and tobacco to $118,260 to Spain. The imports of foreign goods, mostly by the Chinese, come through Manila, where they purchase from the foreign import houses. The value of these imports amounted in 1868 to $182,522; of which $150,000 were for English cotton stuffs. The entire imports of the island were estimated at $1,243,582, and the exports at $226,898. Among the importations were twenty chests of images, a sign of the deeply-rooted worship of the Virgin. Formerly the products for exportation were bought up by the foreign merchants, mostly Chinese mestizos; but now they are bought direct from the producers, who thus obtain better prices in consequence of the abolition of the high brokerages. To this and to the energy of the foreign merchants, under favorable circumstances, is the gradual improvement of agriculture principally to be ascribed.

[Iloilo.] Iloilo is the most important of the newly opened ports, being the central point of the Bisayan group, and situated in one of the most thickly populated and industrious provinces. Nicholas Loney [213] estimates the export of goods woven from the fiber of the pina, from Iloilo, and the neighboring provinces, at about one million dollars annually. The harbor is excellent, being completely protected by an island which lies immediately before it; and at high tide there is about twelve feet of water close in shore for vessels to lie in. On account of the bar, however, ships of a deeper draught than this are obliged to complete their loading outside. Previous to the opening of the new harbors, all the provinces were compelled as well to bring their products intended for exportation to Manila, as to receive from the same place their foreign imports; the cost of which therefore was greatly increased through the extra expenses incurred by the double voyage, reloading, brokerage, and wharfage charges. According to a written account by N. Loney, it is shown how profitable, even after a few years, the opening of Iloilo has been to the provinces immediately adjoining—the islands of Panay and Negros.

[Sugar.] The higher prices which can be obtained for directly exported sugar, combined with the facility and security of the trade as contrasted with the late monopoly enjoyed by Manila, have occasioned a great extension of the cultivation of that article. Not only in Iloilo, but also in Antique and Negros, many new plantations have arisen, and the old ones have been enlarged as much as possible; and not less important has been the progress in the manufacture. In 1857 there was not one iron mill to be found on the island; so that, in working with the wooden mill, about thirty per cent. of the sap remained in the cane, even after it had thrice passed through. The old wooden presses, which were worked by steam or carabaos, have now been supplanted by new ones; and these the native planters have no difficulty in obtaining, as they can get them on credit from the warehouses of the English importers. Instead of the old Chinese cast-iron pans which were in use, far superior articles have been imported from Europe; and many large factories worked by steam-power and with all modern improvements have been established. In agriculture, likewise, creditable progress is noticeable. Improved ploughs, carts, and farming implements generally, are to be had in plenty. These changes naturally show how important it was to establish at different points, extending over two hundred miles of the Archipelago, commercial centers, where it was desirable that foreigners should settle. Without these latter, and the facilities afforded to credit which thereby ensued, the sudden rise and prosperity of Iloilo would not have been possible, inasmuch as the mercantile houses in that capital would have been debarred from trading with unknown planters in distant provinces, otherwise than for ready money. A large number of half-castes, too, who before traded in manufactured goods purchased in Manila, were enabled after this to send their goods direct to the provinces, to the foreign firms settled there; and as, ultimately, neither these latter nor the Chinese retail dealers could successfully compete with them, the result has been that, as much to their own profit as to that of the country, they have betaken themselves to the cultivation of sugar. In this manner important plantations have been established in Negros, which are managed by natives of Iloilo: but there is a scarcity of laborers on the island.

[Land disputes.] Foreigners now can legally acquire property, and possess a marketable title; in which respect the law, until a very recent period, was of an extremely uncertain nature. Land is to be obtained by purchase, or, when not already taken up, by "denuncia" (i.e. priority of claim). In such case, the would-be possessor of the land must enter into an undertaking in the nearest of the native Courts to cultivate and keep the said land in a fit and serviceable condition. Should no other claim be put in, notice is thereupon given of the grant, and the magistrate or alcalde concludes the compact without other cost than the usual stamp duty.

[Lack of capital for large plantations.] Many mestizos and natives, not having the necessary capital to carry on a large plantation successfully, sell the fields which they have already partially cultivated to European capitalists, who are thus relieved of all the preliminary tedious work. Evidently the Colonial Government is now sincerely disposed to favor the laying out of large plantations.

[Lack of roads.] The want of good roads is particularly felt: but, with the increase of agriculture, this defect will naturally be remedied; and, moreover, most of the sugar factories are situated on rivers which are unnavigable even by flat freight boats. The value of land in many parts of the country has doubled within the last ten years. [214]

[Sugar prices.] Up to 1854 the picul of sugar was worth in Iloilo from $1.05 to $1.25 and seldom over $2.00 in Manila; in 1866, $3.25; and in 1868, $4.75 to $5.00 in Iloilo. The business in Iloilo therefore shows an increase of $1.75 per picul. [215]

[Negros.] At the end of 1856 there were as many as twenty Europeans established on the island of Negros as sugar planters, besides a number of mestizos. Some of them were working with steam machinery and vacuum pans. The general rate of pay is from $2.05 to $3.00 per month. On some plantations the principle of acsa, i.e. part share, is in operation. The owner lets out a piece of ground, providing draught cattle and all necessary ploughing implements, to a native, who works it, and supplies the mill with the cut cane, receiving as payment a share, generally a third, of the product. In Negros the violet cane is cultivated, and in Manila the white (Otaheiti). The land does not require manuring. On new ground, or what we may term virgin soil, the cane often grows to a height of thirteen feet. A vast improvement is to be observed in the mode of dress of the people. Pina and silk stuffs are beoming quite common. Advance in luxury is always a favorable sign; according to the increase of requirements, industry flourishes in proportion.

[The future sugar market.] As I have already mentioned, California, Japan, China, and Australia appear designed by nature to be the principal consumers of the products of the Philippine Islands. Certainly at present England is the best customer; but nearly half the account is for sugar, in consequence of their own custom duties. Sometimes it happens that not more than one-fourth of the sugar crop is sufficiently refined to compete in the Australian and Californian markets with the sorts from Bengal, Java, and the Mauritius; the remaining three-fourths, if particularly white, must perforce undertake the long voyage to England, despite the high freight and certain loss on the voyage of from ten to twelve per cent. through the leakage of the molasses. The inferior quality of the Philippine sugar is at once perceived by the English refiners, and is only taxed at 8s. per cwt., while purer sorts pay 10s. to 12s. [216]

[A valuable by-product.] In this manner the English customs favor the inferior qualities of manufactured sugar. The colonial Government did not allow those engaged in the manufacture of sugar to distil rum from the molasses until the year 1862. They had, therefore, little inducement to extract, at a certain expense, a substance the value on which they were not permitted to realize; but under ordinary circumstances the distillation of the rum not only covered the cost of refining, but gave, in addition, a fair margin of profit.


[Manila hemp.] One of the most interesting productions of the island is Manila hemp. The French, who, however, hardly use it, call it "Silk-Plant," because of its silky appearance.

The natives call the fiber bandala, and in commerce (generally speaking) abaca, just as the plant from which it is obtained.

[Abaca.] The latter is a wild species of banana growing in the Philippine Islands, known also as Arbol de Canamo (hemp-tree), Musa textilis, Lin. It does not differ in appearance to any great extent from the edible banana (Musa paradisiaca), one of the most important plants of the torrid zone, and familiar to us as being one of our most beautiful hot-house favorites.

[Undetermined plant relations.] Whether this and the "musae" (M. troglodytarum, M. sylvestris, and others), frequently known, too, as M. textilis, are of the same species, has not yet been determined. The species Musaceae are herbaceous plants only. The outer stem consists of crescent-shaped petioles crossing one another alternately, and encircling the thin main stem. These petioles contain a quantity of bast fiber, which is used as string, but otherwise is of no commercial value. The serviceable hemp fiber has, up to the present time, been exclusively obtained from the southern portion of the Philippines.

[Abaca districts.] The southern Camarines and Albay are favorably adapted for the cultivation of this plant, as are also the islands of Samar and Leyte, and the adjacent islands; and Cebu likewise, although a portion of the so-called "Cebu hemp" comes from Mindanao. In Negros the bast-banana thrives only in the south, not in the north; and Iloilo, which produces most of the hemp cloth (guinara), is obliged to import the raw material from the eastern district, as it does not flourish in the island of Panay. In Capiz, it is true, some abaca may be noticed growing, but it is of trifling value. Hitherto all attempts, strenuous though the efforts were, to acclimatize the growth of hemp in the western and northern provinces have failed. The plants rarely grow as high as two feet, and the trouble and expense are simply unremunerative. This failure may be accounted for by the extreme dryness prevailing during many months of the year, whereas in the eastern provinces plentiful showers fall the whole year round.

[Peculiar to the Philippines.] The great profit which the Manila hemp has yielded in the few years since its production, however, has given encouragement to still further experiments; so that, indeed, it will shortly be shown whether the cultivation of abaca is to be confined to its present limited area, while the edible species of banana has spread itself over the whole surface of the earth within the tropics. On the volcanic mountains of Western Java a species of the Musaceae grows in great luxuriance. The Government has not, however, made any real effort to cultivate it, and what has been done in that respect has been effected, up to the present date, by private enterprise. Various writers have stated that abaca is to be obtained in the north of the Celebes. Bickmore, however, says positively that the inhabitants having made great efforts in attempting its successful cultivation, have abandoned it again in favor of the cultivation of coffee, which is found to be far more profitable. [217] According to previous statements, Guadaloupe appears to be able to produce abaca (fiber of the M. textilis?); [218] and Pondicherry and Guadaloupe have produced fabrics woven from abaca, and French Guiana stuffs from the fiber of the edible banana; [219] all these, however, are only experiments.

[Superiority of fiber.] Royle affirms that the Manila hemp (abaca fiber) excels the Russian in firmness, lightness, and strength in tension, as well as in cheapness, and has only the one disadvantage that ropes made from it become stiff in wet weather. The reason, however, is found in the manner in which it is spun, and may be avoided by proper preparation. [220] Through the better preparation of the raw material in Manila by means of adequate machinery, these difficulties have been overcome; but abaca no longer has the advantage of superior cheapness, as the demand has increased much faster than the supply. During the year 1859 it was worth from L22 to L25 per ton; in 1868, L45 per ton; while Russian hemp fetched L31 per ton. Thus in nine years it rose to double its value.

[Banana varieties.] In Albay there are about twelve varieties of the best banana cultivated, which are particularly favored by the qualities of the soil. The cultivation is extremely simple, and entirely independent of the seasons. The plants thrive best on the slopes of the volcanic mountains (in which Albay and Camarines abound), in open spaces of the woods protected by the trees, which cast their shadows to an extent of about sixty feet. In exposed level ground they do not thrive so well, and in marshy land not at all.

[Cultivation.] In the laying out of a new plantation the young shoots are generally made use of, which sprout so abundantly from the roots that each individual one soon becomes a perfect plant. In favorable ground the custom is to allow a distance of about ten feet between each plant; in poor ground six feet. The only care necessary is the extermination of the weeds, and clearing away the undergrowth during the first season; later on, the plants grow so luxuriantly and strongly that they entirely prevent the growth of anything else in their vicinity. The protection afforded by the shade of the trees at this period is no longer required, the young buds finding sufficient protection against the sun's rays under cover of the fan-like leaves. Only in exceptional cases, contrary to the usual practice, are the plants raised from seed. The fruit, when ready, is cut off and dried, though care must be taken that it is not over ripe; otherwise the kernels will not germinate. These latter are about the size of peppercorns; and the extraction of them in the edible species almost always brings about decay. Two days before sowing, the kernels are taken out of the fruit, and steeped overnight in water; on the following day they are dried in a shady place; and on the third day they are sown in holes an inch deep in fresh, unbroken, and well-shaded forest ground, allowing six inches distance between each plant and row. After a year the seedlings, which are then about two feet high, are planted out, and tended in the same way as the suckers. [Differences with abaca.] While many of the edible bananas bear fruit after one year, and a few varieties even after six months, the abaca plant requires on an average three years to produce its fiber in a proper condition; when raised from suckers four years; and raised from year-old seedlings, even under the most favorable conditions, two years.

[Cutting.] On the first crop, only one stalk is cut from each bush; but later on the new branches grow so quickly that they can be cut every two months. [221] After a few years the plants become so strong and dense that it is scarcely possible to push through them. Bast is in its best condition at the time of blossoming; but, when the price of the fiber happens to stand high in the market, this particular time is not always waited for.

[Prejudice against cutting after blossoming.] Plants which have blossomed cease to be profitable in any way, by reason of the fiber becoming too weak—a matter of too great nicety for the unpractical consumers on the other side of the Atlantic to decide upon, and one in which, despite inquiries and careful inspections, they might be deceived. There really is no perceptible reason why the fiber should become weaker through fructification, which simply consists in the fact of the contents of the vascular cells changing into soluble matter, and gradually oozing away, the consequence of which is that the cells of the fiber are not replenished. These, on the contrary, acquire additional strength with the age of the plant, because the emptied cells cling so firmly together, by means of a certain resinous deposit, that it is impossible to obtain them unbroken without a great deal of trouble. The idea may have erroneously arisen from the circumstance that, previously to drying, as with hemp, the old plants were picked out, and allowed to be thrown away, though not without considerably increasing the rate of pay, which already consumed the greater part of the general expenses. [222]

[Extracting the fiber.] In order to obtain the bast, the stalk above ground is closely pruned and freed from leaves and other encumbrances; each leaf is then singly divided into strips—a cross incision being made through the membrane on the inner or concave side, and connected by means of the pulpy parts (the parenchym) clinging together. In this manner as much as possible of the clear outer skin only remains behind. Another method is to strip the bast from the undivided stem. To effect this the operator makes an oblique incision in the skin of the under part of the stalk, drawing the knife gradually to the tip, and stripping off the whole length as broad a piece as possible; and the operation is repeated as many times as practicable. This method of handling is more productive than the one previously described; but, on the other hand, it takes considerably more time, and for that reason is not often practised. The strips of bast are then drawn under a knife, the blade of which is three inches broad by six long, fastened at one end to the extremity of a flexible stick so that it is suspended perpendicularly over a well-smoothed block, and at the other end to a handle connected by means of a cord to a treadle, which can be pressed firmly down, as occasion requires. The workman draws the bast, without any regard to quality, between the knife and block, commencing in the middle, and then from side to side. The knife must be free from notches, or all indentations, according to the direction of Father Blanco. [223]

[Laborers' work and wages.] Three hired-men usually get twenty-five pounds per day. One worker cuts up the stalks, strips off the leaves, and attends to the supply; the second, frequently a boy, spreads out the strips; and the third draws them under the knife. A single plant has been known to yield as much as two pounds of fiber; but the most favorable average rarely affords more than one pound, and plants grown in indifferent soil scarcely a sixth of that quantity. The plantations are worked either by the owner or by day-laborers, who, when the market prices are very low, take half share of the crop harvested by them. In these cases an industrious workman may obtain as much as one picul in a week. During my stay exceptionally low prices ruled—sixteen and one-half reals per picul undelivered. The workman could, therefore, in six days earn half the amount, viz., eight and a quarter reals at a rate of one and three-eighths reals per day. The day's pay at that time was half a real, and board a quarter of a real, making together three-quarters of a real.


By daily pay. Half share.

The workman therefore earned daily 0.75 r. or 1.375 r. Wages amounted to per picul 12. 6 r. or 8. 25 r. Profit of the planters after deduction of the wages 3. 9 r. or 8. 25 r.

[Lupis and bandala.] The edges of the petioles, which contain much finer fiber than the middle parts, are separately divided into strips an inch wide, and with strong pressure are drawn several times under the knife. This substance, which is called lupis, is in high request, being employed in the native weaving; while is chiefly used for ships' rigging. [224]

[Grades of Lupis.] Lupis, according to the fineness of the fiber, is sorted into four classes—first, Binani; second, Totogna; third, Sogotan; and fourth, Cadaclan. A bundle of these is then taken up in the left hand, and, while with the right the first three sorts are inserted between the fingers, the fourth is held between the thumb and forefinger. This last description is no longer used in fine weaving, and is therefore sold with bandala. After the fine sorts have been pounded in a rice-mortar, in order to render the fiber soft and pliable, they are severally knotted into one another, and converted into web.

[Lupis fabrics.] Generally the first sort is worked as woof with the second as warp, and the third as warp with the second as woof. The fabrics so woven are nearly as fine as pina fabrics (Nipis de Pina), and almost equal the best quality of cambric; and, notwithstanding the many little nodules occasioned by the tangling of the fiber, which may be discerned on close inspection, are clearer and stouter, and possess a warmer yellowish tint. [225] As to these last three qualities—purity, flexibility, and color—they stand in relation to cambric somewhat as cardboard to tissue-paper.

[Weaving.] Weaving such fabrics on very simple looms is exceedingly troublesome as the fibers, which are not spun but twisted, very frequently break. The finest stuffs require so great an amount of dexterity, patience, and time in their preparation, and for that reason are so expensive, that they would find no purchasers in Europe where there is the competition of cheap, machine-made goods. Their fine, warm yellowish color also is objected to by the European women, who are accustomed to linen and calicoes strongly blued in the washing. In the country, however, high prices are paid for them by the rich mestizos, who understand the real goodness of their qualities.

[Bandala fabrics.] The fibers of the inner petioles, which are softer but not so strong as the outer, are called tupus, and sold with bandala, or mixed with tapis and used in the native weaving. Bandala also serves for weaving purposes; and, in that portion of the Archipelago where the native abaca plantations are, the entire dress of both sexes is made of coarse guinara. Still coarser and stronger fabrics are prepared for the European market, such as crinoline and stiff muslin used by dressmakers.

[A Pre-Spanish product.] Before the arrival of the Spaniards the natives wore stuffs from abaca; which became an important article of export only some few decades since. This is in great measure due to the enterprising spirit of two American firms, and would not have been attained without great perseverance and liberal pecuniary assistance.

[Unbusinesslike early methods.] The plants flourish without any care or attention, the only trouble being to collect the fiber; and, the bounteousness of Nature having provided them against want, the natives shirk even this trouble when the market price is not very enticing. In general low prices are scarcely to be reckoned on, because of the utter indifference of the laborers, over whom the traders do not possess enough influence to keep them at work. Advances to them are made both in goods and money, which the creditor must repay either by produce from his own plantation or by giving an equivalent in labor. [226] As long as the produce stands high in price, everything goes on pretty smoothly, although even then, through the dishonesty of the workers and the laziness, extravagance, and mercantile incapacity of the middlemen, considerable loss frequently ensues. If, however, prices experience any considerable fall, then the laborers seek in any and every way to get out of their uncomfortable position, whilst the percentage of profit secured to the middleman is barely sufficient to cover the interest on his outlay. Nevertheless, they must still continue the supplies, inasmuch as they possess no other means of securing payment of their debt in the future. The laborers, in their turn, bring bitter complaints against the agents, to the effect that they are forced to severe labor, unprofitable to themselves, through their acceptance of advances made to them at most exorbitant rates; and the agents (generally mestizos or creoles) blame the crafty, greedy, extortionate foreigners, who shamelessly tempt the lords of the soil with false promises, and bring about their utter ruin. [Change to a safer basis.] As a general rule, the "crafty foreigner" experiences a considerable diminution of his capital. It was just so that one of the most important firms suffered the loss of a very large sum. At length, however, the Americans, who had capital invested in this trade, succeeded in putting an end to the custom of advances, which hitherto had prevailed, erected stores and presses on their own account, and bought through their agents direct from the growers. All earlier efforts tending in this direction had been effectually thwarted by the Spaniards and creoles, who considered the profits derived from the country, and especially the inland retail trade, to be their own by prescriptive right. They are particularly jealous of the foreign intruders, who enrich themselves at their expense; consequently they place every obstacle in their way. If it depended upon the will of these people, all foreigners would be ejected from the country—the Chinese alone, as workmen (coolies), being allowed to remain. [227]

[Anti-Chinese feeling.] The same feeling was exhibited by the natives towards the Chinese, whom they hated for being industrious and trustworthy workers. All attempts to carry out great undertakings by means of Chinese labor were frustrated by the native workmen intimidating them, and driving them away either by open violence or by secret persecution; and the Colonial authorities were reproached for not affording suitable protection against these and similar outrages. That, as a rule, great undertakings did not succeed in the Philippines, or at least did not yield a profit commensurate with the outlay and trouble, is a fact beyond dispute, and is solely to be ascribed to many of the circumstances related above. [Good work for good pay.] There are those, however, who explain these mishaps in other ways, and insist upon the fact that the natives work well enough when they are punctually and sufficiently paid. The Government, at any rate, appears gradually to have come to the conclusion that the resources of the country cannot be properly opened up without the assistance of the capital and enterprise of the [Tardy justice to foreigners.] foreigners; and, therefore, of late years it has not in any way interfered with their establishment. In 1869 their right of establishment was tardily conceded to them by law.

[Abaca production and prospects.] At this period the prospects of the abaca cultivation seemed very promising; and since the close of the American war, which had the effect of causing a considerable fall in the value of this article in America, the prices have been steadily increasing. It is stated (on authority) that, in 1840, 136,034 piculs of abaca, to the value of $397,995 were exported, the value per picul being reckoned at about $2.09. The rate gradually rose and stood between four and five dollars—and, during the civil war, reached the enormous sum of nine dollars per picul—the export of Russian hemp preventing, however, a further rise. This state of affairs occasioned the laying out of many new plantations, the produce of which, when it came on the market, after three years, was valued at $3.50 per picul, in consequence of the prices having returned to their normal condition; and even then it paid to take up an existing plantation, but not to lay out a new one. This rate continued until 1860, since which time it has gradually risen (only during the American civil war was there any stoppage), and it now stands once more as high as during the civil war; and there is no apparent prospect of a fall so long as the Philippines have no competitors in the trade. In 1865 the picul in Manila never cost less than $7 which two years previously was the maximum value; and it rose gradually, until $9.50 was asked for ordinary qualities. The production in many provinces had reached the extreme limit; and a further increase, in the former at least, is impossible, as the work of cultivation occupies the whole of the male population—an evidence surely that a suitable recompense will overcome any natural laziness of the natives. [228]

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