The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes by Fedor Jagor, Tomas de Comyn, Chas. Wilkes, Rudolf Virchow

Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Distributed Proofreaders Team THE FORMER PHILIPPINES THRU FOREIGN EYES Edited by Austin Craig Preface Among the many wrongs done the Filipinos by Spaniards, to be charged against their undeniably large debt to Spain, one of the greatest, if not the most frequently mentioned, was taking from them their good
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Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Distributed Proofreaders Team


Edited by Austin Craig


Among the many wrongs done the Filipinos by Spaniards, to be charged against their undeniably large debt to Spain, one of the greatest, if not the most frequently mentioned, was taking from them their good name.

Spanish writers have never been noted for modesty or historical accuracy. Back in 1589 the printer of the English translation of Padre Juan Gonzalez de Mendoza’s “History of the Great and Mighty Kingdom of China” felt it necessary to prefix this warning: * * * the Spaniards (following their ambitious affections) do usually in all their writings extoll their own actions, even to the setting forth of many untruthes and incredible things, as in their descriptions of the conquistes of the east and west Indies, etc., doth more at large appeare.

Of early Spanish historians Doctor Antonio de Morga seems the single exception, and perhaps even some of his credit comes by contrast, but in later years the rule apparently has proved invariable. As the conditions in the successive periods of Spanish influence were recognized to be indicative of little progress, if not actually retrogressive, the practice grew up of correspondingly lowering the current estimates of the capacity of the Filipinos of the conquest, so that always an apparent advance appeared. This in the closing period, in order to fabricate a sufficient showing for over three centuries of pretended progress, led to the practical denial of human attributes to the Filipinos found here by Legaspi.

Against this denial to his countrymen of virtues as well as rights, Doctor Rizal opposed two briefs whose English titles are “The Philippines A Century Hence” and “The Indolence of the Filipino.” Almost every page therein shows the influence of the young student’s early reading of the hereinafter-printed studies by the German scientist Jagor, friend and counsellor in his maturer years, and the liberal Spaniard Comyn. Even his acquaintance with Morga, which eventually led to Rizal’s republication of the 1609 history long lost to Spaniards, probably was owing to Jagor, although the life-long resolution for that action can be traced to hearing of Sir John Bowring’s visit to his uncle’s home and the proposed Hakluyt Society English translation then mentioned.

The present value and interest of these now rare books has suggested their republication, to make available to Filipino students a course of study which their national hero found profitable as well as to correct the myriad misconceptions of things Philippine in the minds of those who have taken the accepted Spanish accounts as gospel truths.

Dr. L. V. Schweibs, of Berlin, made the hundreds of corrections, many reversing the meanings of former readings, which almost justify calling the revised Jagor translation a new one. Numerous hitherto-untranslated passages likewise appear. There have been left out the illustrations, from crude drawings obsolete since photographic pictures have familiarized the scenes and objects, and also the consequently superfluous references to these. No other omission has been allowed, for if one author leaned far to one side in certain debatable questions the other has been equally partisan for the opposite side, except a cerement on religion in general and discussion of the world-wide social evil were eliminated as having no particular Philippine bearing to excuse their appearance in a popular work.

The early American quotations of course are for comparison with the numerous American comments of today, and the two magazine extracts give English accounts a century apart. Virchow’s matured views have been substituted for the pioneer opinions he furnished Professor Jagor thirty years earlier, and if Rizal’s patron in the scientific world fails at times in his facts his method for research is a safe guide.

Finally, three points should constantly be borne in mind: (1) allowance must be made for the lessening Spanish influence, surely more foreign to this seafaring people than the present modified Anglo-Saxon education, and so more artificial, i.e., less assimilable, as well as for the removal of the unfavorable environment, before attempting to from an opinion of the present-day Filipino from his prototype pictured in those pages; (2) foreign observers are apt to emphasize what is strange to them in describing other lands than their own and to leave unnoted points of resemblance which may be much more numerous; (3) Rizal’s judgment that his countrymen were more like backward Europeans than Orientals was based on scientific studies of Europe’s rural districts and Philippine provincial conditions as well as of oriental country life, so that it is entitled to more weight than the commoner opinion to the contrary which though more popular has been less carefully formed.

University of the Philippines,

Manila, March 11th, 1916.


Jagor’s Travels in the Philippines 1

(The out-of-print 1875 English translation corrected from the original German text)

State of the Philippines in 1810. By Tomas de Comyn 357

(William Walton’s 1821 translation modernized)

Manila and Sulu in 1842. By Com. Chas. Wilkes, U.S.N. 459

(Narrative of U. S. Exploring Expedition 1838-42, Vol. 5)

Manila in 1819. By Lieut. John White, U.S.N. 530

(From the “History of a Voyage to the China Sea”)

The Peopling of the Philippines. By Doctor Rudolf Virchow 536

(O. T. Mason’s translation; Smithsonian Institution 1899 Report)

People and Prospects of the Philippines. By An English Merchant, 1778, and A Consul, 1878 550

(From Blackwood’s and the Cornhill Magazine)

Filipino Merchants of the Early 1890s. By F. Karuth, F.R.G.S. 552

The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes


Jagor’s Travels in the Philippines


[Difference from European time.] When the clock strikes twelve in Madrid, [1] it is 8 hours, 18 minutes, and 41 seconds past eight in the evening at Manila; that is to say, the latter city lies 124 deg. 40′ 15” to the east of the former (7 hours, 54 minutes, 35 seconds from Paris). Some time ago, however, while the new year was being celebrated in Madrid, it was only New Year’s eve at Manila.

[Magellan’s mistake in reckoning.] As Magellan, who discovered the Philippines in his memorable first circumnavigation of the globe, was following the sun in its apparent daily path around the world, every successive degree he compassed on his eastern course added four minutes to the length of his day; and, when he reached the Philippines, the difference amounted to sixteen hours. This, however, apparently escaped his notice, for Elcano, the captain of the only remaining vessel, was quite unaware, on his return to the longitude of his departure, why according to his ship’s log-book, he was a day behind the time of the port which he had reached again by continuously sailing westward. [2] [3]

[Change to the Asian day.] The error remained also unheeded in the Philippines. It was still, over there the last day of the old year, while the rest of the world was commencing the new one; and this state of things continued till the close of 1844, when it was resolved, with the approval of the archbishop, to pass over New Year’s eve for once altogether. [4] Since that time the Philippines are considered to lie no longer in the distant west, but in the far east, and are about eight hours in advance of their mother country. The proper field for their commerce, however, is what is to Europeans the far west; they were colonized thence, and for centuries, till 1811, they had almost no other communication with Europe but the indirect one by the annual voyage of the galleon between Manila and Acapulco. Now, however, when the eastern shores of the Pacific are at last beginning to teem with life, and, with unexampled speed, are pressing forward to grasp their stupendous future, the Philippines will no longer be able to remain in their past seclusion. No tropical Asiatic colony is so favorably situated for communication with the west coast of America, and it is only in a few matters that the Dutch Indies can compete with them for the favors of the Australian market. But, [Future in American and Australian trade.] on the other hand, they will have to abandon their traffic with China, whose principal emporium Manila originally was, as well as that with those westward-looking countries of Asia, Europe’s far east, which lie nearest to the Atlantic ports. [5] [6]

[Commercially in the New World.] When the circumstances mentioned come to be realized, the Philippines, or, at any rate, the principal market for their commerce, will finally fall within the limits of the western hemisphere, to which indeed they were relegated by the illustrious Spanish geographers at Badajoz.

[The Pope’s world-partitive.] The Bull issued by Alexander VI, [7] on May 4, 1493, which divided the earth into two hemispheres, decreed that all heathen lands discovered in the eastern half should belong to the Portuguese; in the western half to the Spaniards. According to this arrangement, the latter could only claim the Philippines under the pretext that they were situated in the western hemisphere. The demarcation line was to run from the north to the south, a hundred leagues to the south-west of all the so-called Azores and Cape de Verde Islands. In accordance with the treaty of Tordesillas, negotiated between Spain and Portugal on June 7, 1494, and approved by Julius II, in 1506, this line was drawn three hundred and seventy leagues west of the Cape de Verde Islands.

[Faulty Spanish and Portuguese geography.] At that time Spanish and Portuguese geographers reckoned seventeen and one-half leagues to a degree on the equator. In the latitude of the Cape de Verde Islands, three hundred and seventy leagues made 21 deg. 55′. If to this we add the longitudinal difference between the westernmost point of the group and Cadiz, a difference of 18 deg. 48′, we get 40 deg. 43′ west, and 139 deg. 17′ east from Cadiz (in round numbers 47 deg. west and 133 deg. east), as the limits of the Spanish hemisphere. At that time, however, the existing means for such calculations were entirely insufficient.

[Extravagant Spanish claims thru ignorance.] The latitude was measured with imperfect astrolabes, or wooden quadrants, and calculated from very deficient tables; the variation of the compass, moreover, was almost unknown, as well as the use of the log. [8] Both method and instruments were wanting for useful longitudinal calculations. It was under these circumstances that the Spaniards attempted, at Badajoz, to prove to the protesting Portuguese that the eastern boundary line intersected the mouths of the Ganges, and proceeded to lay claim to the possession of the Spice Islands.

[Spain’s error in calculation.] The eastern boundary should, in reality, have been drawn 46 1/2 deg. further to the east, that is to say, as much further as it is from Berlin to the coast of Labrador, or to the lesser Altai; for, in the latitude of Calcutta 46 1/2 deg. are equivalent to two thousand five hundred and seventy-five nautical miles. Albo’s log-book gives the difference in longitude between the most eastern islands of the Archipelago and Cape Fermoso (Magellan’s Straits), as 106 deg. 30′, while in reality it amounts to 159 deg. 85′.

[Moluccan rights sold to Portugal.] The disputes between the Spaniards and the Portuguese, occasioned by the uncertainty of the eastern boundary–Portugal had already founded a settlement in the Spice Islands–were set at rest by an agreement made in 1529, in which Charles V. abandoned his pretended rights to the Moluccas in favor of Portugal, for the sum of 350,000 ducats. The Philippines, at that time, were of no value.

* * * * *

[Foreign mail facilities.] The distance from Manila to Hongkong is six hundred fifty nautical miles, and the course is almost exactly south-east. The mail steamer running between the two ports makes the trip in from three to four days. This allows of a fortnightly postal communication between the colony and the rest of the world. [9]

[Slight share in world commerce.] This small steamer is the only thing to remind an observer at Hongkong, a port thronged with the ships of all nations, that an island so specially favored in conditions and fertility lies in such close proximity.

[Little commerce with Spain.] Although the Philippines belong to Spain, there is but little commerce between the two countries. Once the tie which bound them was so close that Manila was wont to celebrate the arrival of the Spanish mail with Te Deums and bell-ringing, in honor of the successful achievement of so stupendous a journey. Until Portugal fell to Spain, the road round Africa to the Philippines was not open to Spanish vessels. The condition of the overland route is sufficiently shown by the fact that two Augustinian monks who, in 1603, were entrusted with an important message for the king, and who chose the direct line through Goa, Turkey, and Italy, needed three years for reaching Madrid. [10]

[Former Spanish ships mainly carried foreign goods.] The trade by Spanish ships, which the merchants were compelled to patronize in order to avoid paying an additional customs tax, in spite of the protective duties for Spanish products, was almost exclusively in foreign goods to the colony and returning the products of the latter for foreign ports. The traffic with Spain was limited to the conveyance of officials, priests, and their usual necessaries, such as provisions, wine and other liquors; and, except a few French novels, some atrociously dull books, histories of saints, and similar works.

[Manila’s fine bay.] The Bay of Manila is large enough to contain the united fleets of Europe; it has the reputation of being one of the finest in the world. The aspect of the coast, however, to a stranger arriving, as did the author, at the close of the dry season, falls short of the lively descriptions of some travellers. The circular bay, one hundred twenty nautical miles in circumference, the waters of which wash the shores of five different provinces, is fringed in the neighborhood of Manila by a level coast, behind which rises an equally flat table land. The scanty vegetation in the foreground, consisting chiefly of bamboos and areca palms, was dried up by the sun; while in the far distance the dull uniformity of the landscape was broken by the blue hills of San Mateo. In the rainy season the numerous unwalled canals overflow their banks and form a series of connected lakes, which soon, however, change into luxuriant and verdant rice-fields.

[City’s appearance mediaeval European.] Manila is situated on both sides of the river Pasig. The town itself, surrounded with walls and ramparts, with its low tiled roofs and a few towers, had, in 1859, the appearance of some ancient European fortress. Four years later the greater part of it was destroyed by an earthquake.

[The 1863 earthquake.] On June 3, 1863, at thirty-one minutes past seven in the evening, after a day of tremendous heat while all Manila was busy in its preparations for the festival of Corpus Christi, the ground suddenly rocked to and fro with great violence. The firmest buildings reeled visibly, walls crumbled, and beams snapped in two. The dreadful shock lasted half a minute; but this little interval was enough to change the whole town into a mass of ruins, and to bury alive hundreds of its inhabitants. [11] A letter of the governor-general, which I have seen, states that the cathedral, the goverment-house, the barracks, and all the public buildings of Manila were entirely destroyed, and that the few private houses which remained standing threatened to fall in. Later accounts speak of four hundred killed and two thousand injured, and estimate the loss at eight millions of dollars. Forty-six public and five hundred and seventy private buildings were thrown down; twenty-eight public and five hundred twenty-eight private buildings were nearly destroyed, and all the houses left standing were more or less injured.

[Damage in Cavite.] At the same time, an earthquake of forty seconds’ duration occurred at Cavite, the naval port of the Philippines, and destroyed many buildings.

[Destruction in walled city.] Three years afterwards, the Duc d’Alencon (Lucon et Mindanao; Paris, 1870, S. 38) found the traces of the catastrophe everywhere. Three sides of the principal square of the city, in which formerly stood the government, or governor’s, palace, the cathedral, and the townhouse, were lying like dust heaps overgrown with weeds. All the large public edifices were “temporarily” constructed of wood; but nobody then seemed to plan anything permanent.

[Former heavy shocks.] Manila is very often subject to earthquakes; the most fatal occurred in 1601; in 1610 (Nov. 30); in 1645 (Nov. 30); in 1658 (Aug. 20); in 1675; in 1699; in 1796; in 1824; in 1852; and in 1863. In 1645, six hundred [12], or, according to some accounts, three thousand [13] persons perished, buried under the ruins of their houses. Their monastery, the church of the Augustinians, and that of the Jesuits, were the only public buildings which remained standing.

[Frequent minor disturbances.] Smaller shocks, which suddenly set the hanging lamps swinging, occur very often and generally remain unnoticed. The houses are on this account generally of but one story, and the loose volcanic soil on which they are built may lessen the violence of the shock. Their heavy tiled roofs, however, appear very inappropriate under such circumstances. Earthquakes are also of frequent occurrence in the provinces, but they, as a rule, cause so little damage, owing to the houses being constructed of timber or bamboo, that they are never mentioned.

[Scanty data available.] M. Alexis Perrey (Mem. de l’Academie de Dijon, 1860) has published a list, collected with much diligence from every accessible source, of the earthquakes which have visited the Philippines, and particularly Manila. But the accounts, even of the most important, are very scanty, and the dates of their occurrence very unreliable. Of the minor shocks, only a few are mentioned, those which were noticed by scientific observers accidentally present at the time.

[The 1610 catastrophe.] Aduarte (I. 141) mentions a tremendous earthquake which occurred in 1610. I briefly quote his version of the details of the catastrophe, as I find them mentioned nowhere else.

“Towards the close of November, 1610, on St. Andrew’s Day, a more violent earthquake than had ever before been witnessed, visited these Islands; its effects extended from Manila to the extreme end of the province of Nueva Segovia (the whole northern part of Luzon), a distance of 200 leagues. It caused great destruction over the entire area; in the province of Ilocos it buried palm trees, so that only the tops of their branches were left above the earth’s surface; through the power of the earthquake mountains were pushed against each other; it threw down many buildings, and killed a great number of people. Its fury was greatest in Nueva Segovia, where it opened the mountains, and created new lake basins. The earth threw up immense fountains of sand, and vibrated so terribly that the people, unable to stand upon it, laid down and fastened themselves to the ground, as if they had been on a ship in a stormy sea. In the range inhabited by the Mendayas a mountain fell in, crushing a village and killing its inhabitants. An immense portion of the cliff sank into the river; and now, where the stream was formerly bordered by a range of hills of considerable altitude, its banks are nearly level with the watercourse. The commotion was so great in the bed of the river that waves arose like those of the ocean, or as if the water had been lashed by a furious wind. Those edifices which were of stone suffered the most damage, our church and the convent fell in, etc., etc.”


[Customhouse red tape.] The customs inspection, and the many formalities which the native minor officials exercised without any consideration appear all the more wearisome to the new arrival when contrasted with the easy routine of the English free ports of the east he has just quitted. The guarantee of a respectable merchant obtained for me, as a particular favor, permission to disembark after a detention of sixteen hours; but even then I was not allowed to take the smallest article of luggage on shore with me.

[Shelter for shipping.] During the south-west monsoon and the stormy season that accompanies the change of monsoons, the roadstead is unsafe. Larger vessels are then obliged to seek protection in the port of Cavite, seven miles further down the coast; but during the north-east monsoons they can safely anchor half a league from the coast. All ships under three hundred tons burden pass the breakwater and enter the Pasig, where, as far as the bridge, they lie in serried rows, extending from the shore to the middle of the stream, and bear witness by their numbers, as well as by the bustle and stir going on amongst them, to the activity of the home trade.

[Silting up of river mouth.] In every rain-monsoon, the Pasig river sweeps such a quantity of sediment against the breakwater that just its removal keeps, as it seems, the dredging machine stationed there entirely occupied.

[Few foreign vessels.] The small number of the vessels in the roadstead, particularly of those of foreign countries, was the more remarkable as Manila was the only port in the Archipelago that had any commerce with foreign countries. It is true that since 1855 three other ports, to which a fourth may now be added, had gotten this privilege; but at the time of my arrival, in March, 1859, not one of them had ever been entered by a foreign vessel, and it was a few weeks after my visit that the first English ship sailed into Iloilo to take in a cargo of sugar for Australia. [14]

[Antiquated restrictions on trade.] The reason of this peculiarity laid partly in the feeble development of agriculture, in spite of the unexampled fertility of the soil, but chiefly in the antiquated and artificially limited conditions of trade. The customs duties were in themselves not very high. They were generally about seven per cent. upon merchandise conveyed under the Spanish flag, and about twice as much for that carried in foreign bottoms. When the cargo was of Spanish production, the duty was three per cent. if carried in national vessels, eight per cent. if in foreign ships. The latter were only allowed, as a rule, to enter the port in ballast. [15]

[Discouragements for foreign ships.] As, however, the principal wants of the colony were imported from England and abroad, these were either kept back till an opportunity occurred of sending them in Spanish vessels, which charged nearly a treble freight (from L4 to L5 instead of from L1 1/2, to L2 per ton), and which only made their appearance in British ports at rare intervals, or they were sent to Singapore and Hongkong, where they were transferred to Spanish ships. Tonnage dues were levied, moreover, upon ships in ballast, and upon others which merely touched at Manila without unloading or taking in fresh cargo; and, if a vessel under such circumstances landed even the smallest parcel, it was no longer rated as a ship in ballast, but charged on the higher scale. Vessels were therefore forced to enter the port entirely devoid of cargo, or carrying sufficient to cover the expense of the increased harbor dues; almost an impossibility for foreign ships, on account of the differential customs rates, which acted almost as a complete prohibition. The result was that foreign vessels came there only in ballast, or when summoned for some particular object.

[Export taxes.] The exports of the colony were almost entirely limited to its raw produce, which was burdened with an export duty of three per cent. Exports leaving under the Spanish flag were only taxed to the amount of one per cent.; but, as scarcely any export trade existed with Spain, and as Spanish vessels, from their high rates of freight, were excluded from the carrying trade of the world, the boon to commerce was a delusive one. [16]

[Laws drove away trade.] These inept excise laws, hampered with a hundred suspicious forms, frightened away the whole carrying trade from the port; and its commission merchants were frequently unable to dispose of the local produce. So trifling was the carrying trade that the total yearly average of the harbor dues, calculated from the returns of ten years, barely reached $10,000.

[Manila’s favorable location.] The position of Manila, a central point betwixt Japan, China, Annam, the English and Dutch ports of the Archipelago and Australia, is in itself extremely favorable to the development of a world-wide trade. [17] At the time of the north-eastern monsoons, during our winter, when vessels for the sake of shelter pass through the Straits of Gilolo on their way from the Indian Archipelago to China, they are obliged to pass close to Manila. They would find it a most convenient station, for the Philippines, as we have already mentioned, are particularly favorably placed for the west coast of America.

[The 1869 reform.] A proof that the Spanish Ultramar minister fully recognizes and appreciates these circumstances appears in his decree, of April 5, 1869, which is of the highest importance for the future of the colony. It probably would have been issued earlier had not the Spanish and colonial shipowners, pampered by the protective system, obstinately struggled against an innovation which impaired their former privileges and forced them to greater activity.

[Bettered conditions.] The most noteworthy points of the decree are the moderation of the differential duties, and their entire extinction at the expiration of two years; the abrogation of all export duties; and the consolidation of the more annoying port dues into one single charge.

[Pre-Spanish foreign commerce.] When the Spaniards landed in the Philippines they found the inhabitants clad in silks and cotton stuffs, which were imported by Chinese ships to exchange for gold-dust, sapan wood, [18] holothurian, edible birds’ nests, and skins. The Islands were also in communication with Japan, Cambodia, Siam, [19] the Moluccas, and the Malay Archipelago. De Barros mentions that vessels from Luzon visited Malacca in 1511. [20]

[Early extension under Spain.] The greater order which reigned in the Philippines after the advent of the Spaniards, and still more the commerce they opened with America and indirectly with Europe, had the effect of greatly increasing the Island trade, and of extending it beyond the Indies to the Persian Gulf. Manila was the great mart for the products of Eastern Asia, with which it loaded the galleons that, as early as 1565, sailed to and from New Spain (at first to Navidad, after 1602 to Acapulco), and brought back silver as their principal return freight. [21]

[Jealousy of Seville monopolists.] The merchants in New Spain and Peru found this commerce so advantageous, that the result was very damaging to the exports from the mother country, whose manufactured goods were unable to compete with the Indian cottons and the Chinese silks. The spoilt monopolists of Seville demanded therefore the abandonment of a colony which required considerable yearly contributions from the home exchequer, which stood in the way of the mother country’s exploiting her American colonies, and which let the silver of His Majesty’s dominions pass into the hands of the heathen. Since the foundation of the colony they had continually thrown impediments in its path. [22] Their demands, however, were vain in face of the ambition of the throne and the influence of the clergy; rather, responding to the views of that time the merchants of Peru and New Spain were forced, in the interests of the mother country, to obtain merchandise from China, either directly, or through Manila. The inhabitants of the Philippines were alone permitted to send Chinese goods to America, but only to the yearly value of $250,000. The return trade was limited to $500,000. [23]

[Prohibition of China trading.] The first amount was afterwards increased to $300,000, with a proportionate augmentation of the return freight; but the Spanish were forbidden to visit China, so that they were obliged to await the arrival of the junks. Finally, in 1720, Chinese goods were strictly prohibited throughout the whole of the Spanish possessions in both hemispheres. A decree of 1734 (amplified in 1769) once more permitted trade with China, and increased the maximum value of the annual freightage to Acapulco to $500,000 (silver) and that of the return trade to twice the amount.

[Higher limit on suspension of galleon voyages.] After the galleons to Acapulco, which had been maintained at the expense of the government treasury, had stopped their voyages, commerce with America was handled by merchants who were permitted in 1820, to export goods up to $750,000 annually from the Philippines and to visit San Blas, Guayaquil and Callao, besides Acapulco.

[ British occupation inspired new wants.] This concession, however, was not sufficient to compensate Philippine commerce for the injuries it suffered through the separation of Mexico from Spain. The possession of Manila by the English, in 1762, made its inhabitants acquainted with many industrial products which the imports from China and India were unable to offer them. To satisfy these new cravings Spanish men-of-war were sent, towards the close of 1764, to the colony with products of Spanish industries, such as wine, provisions, hats, cloth, hardware, and fancy articles.

[Manila oppositions to trade innovations.] The Manila merchants, accustomed to a lucrative trade with Acapulco, strenuously resisted this innovation, although it was a considerable source of profit to them, for the Crown purchased the Indian and Chinese merchandise for its return freights from Manila at double their original value. In 1784, however, the last of these ships arrived.

[Subterfuges of European traders.] After the English invasion, European vessels were strictly forbidden to visit Manila; but as that city did not want to do without Indian merchandise, and could not import it in its own ships, it was brought there in English and French bottoms, which assumed a Turkish name, and were provided with an Indian sham-captain.

[The “Philippine Company” monopoly.] In 1785, the Compania de Filipinas obtained a monopoly of the trade between Spain and the colony, but it was not allowed to interfere with the direct traffic between Acapulco and Manila. The desire was to acquire large quantities of colonial produce, silk, indigo, cinnamon, cotton, pepper, etc., in order to export it somewhat as was done later on by the system of culture in Java; but as it was unable to obtain compulsory labor, it entirely failed in its attempted artificial development of agriculture.

[Losses by bad management.] The Compania suffered great losses through its erroneous system of operation, and the incapacity of its officials (it paid, for example, $13.50 for a picul of pepper which cost from three to four dollars in Sumatra).

[Entrance of foriegn ships and firms.] In 1789 foreign ships were allowed to import Chinese and Indian produce, but none from Europe. In 1809 an English commercial house obtained permission to establish itself in Manila. [24] In 1814, after the conclusion of the peace with France, the same permission, with greater or less restrictions, was granted to all foreigners.

[Trade free but port charges discriminating.] In 1820 the direct trade between the Philippines and Spain was thrown open without any limitations to the exports of colonial produce, on the condition that the value of the Indian and Chinese goods in each expedition should not exceed $50,000. Ever since 1834, when the privileges of the Compania expired, free trade has been permitted in Manila; foreign ships, however, being charged double dues. Four new ports have been thrown open to general trade since 1855; and in 1869 the liberal tariff previously alluded to was issued.

[Port’s importance lessened under Spain.] Today, after three centuries of almost undisturbed Spanish rule, Manila has by no means added to the importance it possessed shortly after the advent of the Spaniards. The isolation of Japan and the Indo-Chinese empires, a direct consequence of the importunities and pretensions of the Catholic missionaries, [25] the secession of the colonies on the west coast of America, above all the long continuance of a distrustful commercial and colonial policy–a policy which exists even at the present day–while important markets, based on large capital and liberal principles, were being established in the most favored spots of the British and Dutch Indies; all these circumstances have contributed to this result and thrown the Chinese trade into other channels. The cause is as clear as the effect, yet it might be erroneous to ascribe the policy so long pursued to short-sightedness. The Spaniards, in their schemes of colonisation, had partly a religious purpose in view, but the government discovered a great source of influence in the disposal of the extremely lucrative colonial appointments. The crown itself, as well as its favorites, thought of nothing but extracting the most it could from the colony, and had neither the intention or the power to develop the natural wealth of the country by agriculture and commerce. Inseparable from this policy, was the persistent exclusion of foreigners. [26] It seemed even more necessary in the isolated Philippines than in America to cut off the natives from all contact with foreigners, if the Spaniards had any desire to remain in undisturbed possession of the colony. In face, however, of the developed trade of today and the claims of the world to the productive powers of such an extraordinarily fruitful soil, the old restrictions can no longer be maintained, and the lately-introduced liberal tariff must be hailed as a thoroughly well-timed measure.

* * * * *

[Galleon story sidelight on colonial history.] The oft-mentioned voyages of the galleons betwixt Manila and Acapulco hold such a prominent position in the history of the Philippines, and afford such an interesting glimpse into the old colonial system, that their principal characteristics deserve some description.

[Chinese part in galleon trade.] In the days of Morga, towards the close of the sixteenth century, from thirty to forty Chinese junks were in the habit of annually visiting Manila (generally in March); towards the end of June a galleon used to sail for Acapulco. The trade with the latter place, the active operations of which were limited to the three central months of the year, was so lucrative, easy, and safe, that the Spaniards scarcely cared to engage in any other undertakings.

[Favoritism in allotment of cargo space.] As the carrying power of the annual galleon was by no means proportioned to the demand for cargo room, the governor divided it as he deemed best; the favorites, however, to whom he assigned shares in the hold, seldom traded themselves, but parted with their concessions to the merchants.

[Division of space and character of cargo.] According to De Guignes, [27] the hold of the vessel was divided into 1,500 parts, of which the majority were allotted to the priests, and the rest to favored persons. As a matter of fact, the value of the cargo, which was officially limited to $600,000, was considerably higher. It chiefly consisted of Indian and Chinese cottons and silk stuffs (amongst others fifty thousand pairs of silk stockings from China), and gold ornaments. The value of the return freight amounted to between two and three millions of dollars.

[Profit in trade.] Everything in this trade was settled beforehand; the number, shape, size, and value of the bales, and even their selling price. As this was usually double the original cost, the permission to ship goods to a certain amount was equivalent, under ordinary circumstances, to the bestowal of a present of a like value. These permissions or licenses (boletas) were, at a later period, usually granted to pensioners and officers’ widows, and to officials, in lieu of an increase of salary; these favorites were forbidden, however, to make a direct use of them, for to trade with Acapulco was the sole right of those members of the Consulado (a kind of chamber of commerce) who could prove a long residence in the country and the possession of a capital of at least $8,000.

[Evasion of regulations.] Legentil, the astronomer, gives a full description of the regulations which prevailed in his day and the manner in which they were disobeyed. The cargo consisted of a thousand bales, each composed of four packets, [28] the maximum value of each packet being fixed at $250. It was impossible to increase the amount of bales, but they pretty generally consisted of more than four packets, and their value so far exceeded the prescribed limits, that a boleta was considered to be worth from $200 to $225. The officials took good care that no goods should be smuggled on board without a boleta. These were in such demand, that, at a later period, Comyn [29] saw people pay $500 for the right to ship goods, the value of which scarcely amounted to $1,000. The merchants usually borrowed the money for these undertakings from the obras pias, charitable foundations, which, up to our own time, fulfil in the Islands the purposes of banks. [30] In the early days of the trade, the galleon used to leave Cavite in July and sail with a south-westerly wind beyond the tropics, until it met with a west wind at the thirty-eighth or [Route outward.] fortieth parallel. [31] Later on the vessels were ordered to leave Cavite with the first south-westerly winds to sail along the south coast of Luzon, through San Bernardino straits, and to continue along the thirteenth parallel of north latitude [32] as far to the east as possible, until the north-easterly trade wind compelled them to seek a north-west breeze in higher latitudes. They were then obliged to try the thirtieth parallel as long as possible, instead of, as formerly, the thirty-seventh. The captain of the galleon was not permitted to sail immediately northward, although to have done so would have procured him a much quicker and safer passage, and would have enabled him to reach the rainy zone more rapidly. To effect the last, indeed, was a matter of the greatest importance to him, for his vessel, overladen [Water-supply crowded out by cargo.] with merchandise, had but little room crowded out for water; and although he had a crew of from four hundred to six hundred hands to provide for, he was instructed to depend upon the rain he caught on the voyage; for which purpose, the galleon was provided with suitable mats and bamboo pails. [33]

[Length of voyage.] Voyages in these low latitudes were, owing to the inconstancy of the winds, extremely troublesome, and often lasted five months and upwards. The fear of exposing the costly, cumbrous vessel to the powerful and sometimes stormy winds of the higher latitudes, appears to have been the cause of these sailing orders.

[California landfall.] As soon as the galleon had passed the great Sargasso shoal, it took a southerly course, and touched at the southern point of the Californian peninsula (San Lucas), where news and provisions awaited it. [34] In their earlier voyages, however, they must have sailed much further to the north, somewhere in the neighborhood of Cape Mendocino, and have been driven southward in sight of the coast; for Vizcaino, in the voyage of discovery he undertook in 1603, from Mexico to California, found the principal mountains and capes, although no European had ever set his foot upon them, already christened by the galleons, to which they had served as landmarks. [35]

[Speedy return voyage.] The return voyage to the Philippines was an easy one, and only occupied from forty to sixty days. [36] The galleon left Acapulco in February or March, sailed southwards till it fell in with the trade wind (generally in from 10 deg. to 11 deg. of north latitude), which carried it easily to the Ladrone Islands, and thence reached Manila by way of Samar. [37]

[Galleon’s size and armament.] A galleon was usually of from twelve hundred to fifteen hundred tons burden, and carried fifty or sixty guns. The latter, however, were pretty generally banished to the hold during the eastward voyage. When the ship’s bows were turned towards home, and there was no longer any press of space, the guns were remounted.

[Capture of “Santa Anna”.] San Augustin says of the Santa Anna, which Thomas Candish captured and burnt in 1586 off the Californian coast: “Our people sailed so carelessly that they used their guns for ballast; …. the pirate’s venture was such a fortunate one that he returned to London with sails of Chinese damask and silken rigging.” The cargo was sold in Acapulco at a profit of 100 per cent., and was paid for in silver, cochineal, quicksilver, etc. [Value of return freight] The total value of the return freight amounted perhaps to between two and three million dollars, [38] of which a quarter of a million, at least, fell to the king.

[Gambling rather than commerce] The return of a galleon to Manila, laden with silver dollars and new arrivals, was a great holiday for the colony. A considerable portion of the riches they had won as easily as at the gaming table, was soon spent by the crew; when matters again returned to their usual lethargic state. It was no unfrequent event, however, for vessels to be lost. They were too often laden with a total disregard to seaworthiness, and wretchedly handled. It was favor, not capacity, that determined the patronage of these lucrative appointments. [39] Many galleons fell into the hands of English and Dutch cruisers. [40] [“Philippine Company” and smugglers cause change.] But these tremendous profits gradually decreased as the Compania obtained the right to import Indian cottons, one of the principal articles of trade, into New Spain by way of Vera Cruz, subject to a customs duty of 6 per cent; and when English and American adventurers began to smuggle these and other goods into the country. [41] [Spanish coins in circulation on China coast.] Finally, it may be mentioned that Spanish dollars found their way in the galleons to China and the further Indies, where they are in circulation to this day.


[The walled city of Manila.] The city proper of Manila, inhabited by Spaniards, Creoles, the Filipinos directly connected with them, and Chinese, lies, surrounded by walls and wide ditches, on the left or southern bank of the Pasig, looking towards the sea. [42] It is a hot, dried-up place, full of monasteries, convents, barracks, and government buildings. Safety, not appearance, was the object of its builders. It reminds the beholder of a Spanish provincial town, and is, next to Goa, the oldest city in the Indies. Foreigners reside on the northern bank of the river; in Binondo, the headquarters of wholesale and retail commerce, or in the pleasant suburban villages, which blend into a considerable whole. [Population.] The total population of city and suburbs has been estimated, perhaps with some exaggeration, at 200,000. [Bridges.] A handsome old stone bridge of ten arches serves as the communication between the two banks of the Pasig, which, more recently, has also been spanned by an iron suspension bridge. [43] Very little intercourse exists between the inhabitants of Manila and Binondo. [Friction between classes.] Life in the city proper cannot be very pleasant; pride, envy, place-hunting, and caste hatred, are the order of the day; the Spaniards consider themselves superior to the creoles, who, in their turn, reproach the former with the taunt that they have only come to the colony to save themselves from starvation. A similar hatred and envy exists between the whites and the mestizos. This state of things is to be found in all Spanish colonies, and is chiefly caused by the colonial policy of Madrid, which always does its best to sow discord between the different races and classes of its foreign possessions, under the idea that their union would imperil the sway of the mother country. [44]

[Few large landowners.] In Manila, moreover, this state of things was rendered worse by the fact that the planter class, whose large landed possessions always give it a strong interest in the country of its inhabitance, was entirely wanting. At the present day, however, the increasing demand for the produce of the colony seems to be bringing about a pleasant change in this respect. [Spaniards transient.] The manner in which the Spanish population of the Islands was affected by the gambling ventures of the galleons, at one time the only source of commercial wealth, is thus described by Murillo Velarde (page 272):–“The Spaniards who settle here look upon these Islands as a tavern rather than a permanent home. If they marry, it is by the merest chance; where can a family be found that has been settled here for several generations? The father amasses wealth, the son spends it, the grandson is a beggar. The largest capitals are not more stable than the waves of the ocean, across the crests of which they were gathered.”

[Discomforts and the high cost of living.] There is nothing like the same amount of sociability amongst the foreigners in Binondo as prevails in English and Dutch colonies; and scarcely any intercourse at all with the Spaniards, who envy the strangers and almost seem to look upon the gains the latter make in the country as so many robberies committed upon themselves, its owners. Besides all this, living is very expensive, much more so than in Singapore and Batavia. To many, the mere cost of existence seems greatly out of proportion to their official salaries. The (European style) houses, which are generally spacious, are gloomy and ugly, and not well ventilated for such a climate. Instead of light jalousies, they are fitted with heavy sash windows, which admit the light through thin oyster shells, forming small panes scarcely two square inches in area, and held together by laths an inch thick. The ground floors of the houses are, on account of the great damp, sensibly enough, generally uninhabited; and are used as cellars, stables, and servant’s offices.

[Native houses comfortable and unchanged.] The unassuming, but for their purposes very practical houses, of boards, bamboos, and (nipa) palm leaves, are supported on account of the damp on isolated beams or props; and the space beneath, which is generally fenced in with a railing, is used as a stable or a warehouse; such was the case as early as the days of Magellan. These dwellings [45] are very lightly put together. La Perouse estimates the weight of some of them, furniture and all, at something less than two hundred pounds. Nearly all these houses, as well as the huts of the natives, are furnished with an azotea, that is, an uncovered space, on the same level as the dwelling, which takes the place of yard and balcony. The Spaniards appear to have copied this useful contrivance from the Moors, but the natives were acquainted with them before the arrival of the Europeans, for Morga mentions similar batalanes.

[Neglected river and canals offensive.] In the suburbs nearly every hut stands in its own garden. The river is often quite covered with green scum; and dead cats and dogs surrounded with weeds, which look like cabbage-lettuce, frequently adorn its waters. In the dry season, the numerous canals of the suburbs are so many stagnant drains, and at each ebb of the tide the ditches around the town exhibit a similar spectacle.

[Dreary and unprogressive life.] Manila offers very few opportunities for amusement. There was no Spanish theatre open during my stay there, but Tagalog plays (translations) were sometimes represented. The town possessed no club, and contained no readable books. Never once did the least excitement enliven its feeble newspapers, for the items of intelligence, forwarded fortnightly from Hongkong, were sifted by priestly censors, who left little but the chronicles of the Spanish and French courts to feed the barren columns of the local sheets. [46] The pompously celebrated religious festivals were the only events that sometimes chequered the wearisome monotony.

[Cock-fighting.] The chief amusement of the Filipinos is cock-fighting, which is carried on with a passionate eagerness that must strike every stranger. Nearly every man keeps a fighting cock. Many are never seen out of doors without their favorite in their arms; they pay as much as $50 and upwards for these pets, and heap the tenderest caresses on them. The passion for cock-fighting can well be termed a national vice; but the practice may have been introduced by the Spaniards, or the Mexicans who accompanied them, as, in a like manner, the habit of smoking opium among the Chinese, which has become a national curse, was first introduced by the English. [Probably Malay Custom.] It is, however, more probable that the Malays brought the custom into the country. In the eastern portion of the Philippines, cock-fighting was unknown in the days of Pigafetta. The first cock-fight he met with was at Palawan. “They keep large cocks, which from a species of superstition, they never eat, but keep for fighting purposes. Heavy bets are made on the upshot of the contest, which are paid to the owner of the winning bird.” [47] The sight is one extremely repulsive to Europeans. [The cockpit.] The ring around the cockpit is crowded with men, perspiring at every pore, while their countenances bear the imprint of the ugliest passions. Each bird is armed with a sharp curved spur, three inches long capable of making deep wounds, and which always causes the death of one or both birds by the serious injuries it inflicts. If a cock shows symptoms of fear and declines the encounter, it is plucked alive. Incredibly large sums, in proportion to the means of the gamblers, are wagered on the result. [Its bad influence.] It is very evident that these cock-fights must have a most demoralising effect upon a people so addicted to idleness and dissipation, and so accustomed to give way to the impulse of the moment. Their effect is to make them little able to resist the temptation of procuring money without working for it. The passion for the game leads many to borrow at usury, to embezzlement, to theft, and even to highway robbery. The land and sea pirates, of whom I shall speak presently, are principally composed of ruined gamesters. [48]

[Feminine attractiveness.] In the comeliness of the women who lend animation to its streets Manila surpasses all other towns in the Indian Archipelago. Mallat describes them in glowing colors. A charming picture of Manila street life, full of local color, is given in the very amusing Aventures d’un Gentilhomme Breton. [49]

[Mestizas.] How many of the prettiest Filipinas are of perfectly unmixed blood, it is, I confess, difficult to decide. Many of them are very fair and of quite an European type, and are thereby easily distinguished from their sisters in the outlying provinces. The immediate environs of Manila can boast many beautiful spots, but they are not the resort of the local rank and fashion, the object of whose daily promenade is the display of their toilettes, and not the enjoyment of nature. In the hot season, all who can afford it are driven every evening along the [The Luneta.] dusty streets to a promenade on the beach, which was built a short time back, where several times a week the band of a native regiment plays fairly good music, and there walk formally up and down. All the Spaniards [The Angelas.] are in uniform or in black frock coats. When the bells ring out for evening prayer, carriages, horsemen, pedestrians, all suddenly stand motionless; the men take off their hats, and everybody appears momentarily absorbed in prayer.

[Botanical gardens.] The same governor who laid out the promenade established a botanical garden. It is true that everything he planted in it, exposed on a marshy soil to the full heat of a powerful sun, soon faded away; but its ground was enclosed and laid out, and though it was overgrown with weeds, it had at least received a name. At present it is said to be in better condition. [50]

[Pretty girls in gay garments.] The religious festivals in the neighborhood of Manila are well worth a visit, if only for the sake of the numerous pretty Filipinas and mestizas in their best clothes who make their appearance in the evening and promenade up and down the streets, which are illuminated and profusely decked with flowers and bright colors. They offer a charming spectacle, particularly to a stranger lately arrived from Malaysia. The Filipinas are very beautifully formed. They have luxuriant black hair, and large dark eyes; the upper part of their bodies is clad in a homespun but often costly material of transparent fineness and snow-white purity; and, from their waist downwards, they are wrapped in a brightly-striped cloth (saya), which falls in broad folds, and which, as far as the knee, is so tightly compressed with a dark shawl (lapis), closely drawn around the figure, that the rich variegated folds of the saya burst out beneath it like the blossoms of a pomegranate. This swathing only allows the young girls to take very short steps, and this timidity of gait, in unison with their downcast eyes, gives them a very modest appearance. On their naked feet they wear embroidered slippers of such a small size that their little toes protrude for want of room, and grasp the outside of the sandal. [51]

[Dress of the poorer women.] The poorer women clothe themselves in a saya and in a so-called chemise, which is so extremely short that it frequently does not even reach the first fold of the former. In the more eastern islands grown-up girls and women wear, with the exception of a Catholic amulet, nothing but these two garments, which are, particularly after bathing, and before they get dried by the sun, nearly transparent.

[Men’s clothing.] A hat, trousers, and a shirt worn outside them, both made of coarse Guinara cloth, compose the dress of the men of the poorer classes. The shirts worn by the wealthy are often made of an extremely expensive home-made material, woven from the fibers of the pineapple or the banana. Some of them are ornamented with silk stripes, some are plain. They are also frequently manufactured entirely of jusi (Chinese floret silk), in which case they will not stand washing, and can only be worn once. The hat (salacot), a round piece of home-made plaiting, is used as both umbrella and sunshade, and is often adorned with silver ornaments of considerable value. [The “Principales”.] The principalia class enjoy the special privilege of wearing short jackets above their shirts, and are usually easily recognizable by their amusing assumption of dignity, and by the faded cylindrical hats, yellow with age, family heirlooms, constantly worn. [The dandies.] The native dandies wear patent leather shoes on their naked feet, tight-fitting trousers of some material striped with black and white or with some other glaringly-contrasted colors, a starched plaited shirt of European make, a chimney-pot silk hat, and carry a cane in their hands. [The servants.] The servants waiting at dinner in their white starched shirts and trousers are by no means an agreeable spectacle, and I never realised the full ludicrousness of European male costume till my eye fell upon its caricature, exemplified in the person of a “Manila dandy.”

[Mestiza costume.] The mestizas dress like the Filipinas, but do not wear the tapis, and those of them who are married to Europeans are generally clad in both shoes and stockings. Many of the mestizas are extremely pretty, but their gait drags a little, from their habit of wearing slippers. As a rule they are prudent, thrifty, and [Clever business women.] clever business women, but their conversation is often awkward and tedious. Their want of education is, however, not the cause of this latter failing, for Andalusian women who never learn anything but the elementary doctrines of Christianity, are among the most charming creatures in the world, in their youth. [Ill at ease in society.] Its cause lies rather in this equivocal position; they are haughtily repelled by their white sisters, whilst they themselves disown their mother’s kin. They are wanting in the ease, in the tact, that the women of Spain show in every relation of existence.

[Mestizos.] The mestizos, particularly those born of Chinese and Tagal mothers, constitute the richest and the most enterprising portion of the native population. They are well acquainted with all the good and bad qualities of the Filipino inhabitants, and use them unscrupulously for their own purposes.


[Native distrust of Europeans.] A Scotch merchant to whom I brought a letter of introduction invited me with such cordiality to come and stay with him, that I found myself unable to refuse. While thus living under the roof and protection of one of the wealthiest and most respected men in the city, the cabmen I employed insisted on being paid beforehand every time I rode in their vehicles. This distrust was occasioned by the scanty feeling of respect most of the Europeans in Manila inspired in the minds of the natives. Many later observations confirmed this impression. What a different state of things exists in Java and Singapore! The reason, however, is easily explained.

[Dutch and English stand well in their colonies.] The Dutch are as little able as the English to acclimatize themselves in tropical countries. They get all they can out of countries in which they are only temporary sojourners, the former by forced service and monopoly, the latter by commerce. In both cases, however, the end is accomplished by comparatively few individuals, whose official position and the largeness of whose undertakings place them far above the mass of the population. In Java, moreover, the Europeans constitute the governing classes, the natives the governed; and even in Singapore where both races are equal before the law the few white men understand how to mark the difference of race so distinctively that the natives without demur surrender to them, though not by means of the law, the privileges of a higher caste. The difference of religion does but widen the gap; and, finally, every European there speaks the language of the country, while the natives are totally ignorant of that spoken by the foreigners.

[Dutch colonials well educated.] The Dutch officials are educated at home in schools specially devoted to the East Indian service. The art of managing the natives, the upholding of prestige, which is considered the secret of the Dutch power over the numerous native populations, forms an essential particular in their education. The Dutch, therefore, manage their intercourse with the natives, no matter how much they intend to get out of them, in strict accordance with customary usage (adat); they never wound the natives’ amor propio and never expose themselves in their own mutual intercourse, which remains a sealed book to the inhabitants.

[Spanish officials undesirables.] Things are different in the Philippines. With the exception of those officials whose stay is limited by the rules of the service, or by the place-hunting that ensues at every change in the Spanish ministry, few Spaniards who have once settled in the colony ever return home. It is forbidden to the priests, and most of the rest have no means of doing so. A considerable portion of them consist of subaltern officers, soldiers, sailors, political delinquents and refugees whom the mother-country has got rid of; and not seldom of adventurers deficient both in means and desire for the journey back, for their life in the colony is far pleasanter than that they were forced to lead in Spain. These latter arrive without the slightest knowledge of the country and without being in the least prepared for a sojourn there. Many of them are so lazy that they won’t take the trouble to learn the language even if they marry a daughter of the soil. Their servants understand Spanish, and clandestinely watch the conversation and the actions, and become acquainted with all the secrets, of their indiscreet masters, to whom the Filipinos remain an enigma which their conceit prevents them attempting to decipher.

[Spanish lack of prestige deserved.] It is easy to understand how Filipino respect for Europeans must be diminished by the numbers of these uneducated, improvident, and extravagant Spaniards, who, no matter what may have been their position at home, are all determined to play the master in the colony. [Social Standing of Filipinos thus enhanced.] The relative standing of the Filipinos naturally profits by all this and it would be difficult to find a colony in which the natives, taken all in all, feel more comfortable than in the Philippines. They have adopted the religion, the manners, and the customs of their rulers; and though legally not on an equal footing with the latter, they are by no means separated from them by the high barriers with which, not to mention Java, the churlish reserve of the English has surrounded the natives of the other colonies.

[Spanish-Filipino bonds of union.] The same religion, a similar form of worship, an existence intermixed with that of the indigenous population, all tend to bring the Europeans and the Indians together. That they have done so is proved by the existence of the proportionately very numerous band of mestizos who inhabit the Islands.

[Latin races better for colonists in the tropics.] The Spaniards and the Portuguese appear, in fact, to be the only Europeans who take root in tropical countries. They are capable of permanent and fruitful amalgamation [52] with the natives. [53]

[Initiative and individuality missing.] The want of originality, which among the mestizos, appears to arise from their equivocal position, is also to be found among the natives. Distinctly marked national customs, which one would naturally expect to find in such an isolated part of the world, are sought for in vain, and again and again the stranger remarks that everything has been learned and is only a veneer.

[A compromise civilization.] As Spain forcibly expelled the civilization of the Moors, and in Peru that of the Incas, so in the Philippines it has understood how to set aside an equally well-founded one, by appropriating in an incredible manner, in order to take root itself the more quickly, all existing forms and abuses. [54]

[Imitation instilled and self-respect banished.] The uncivilized inhabitants of the Philippines quickly adopted the rites, forms, and ceremonies of the strange religion, and, at the same time, copied the personal externalities of their new masters, learning to despise their own manners and customs as heathenish and barbarian. Nowadays, forsooth, they sing Andalusian songs, and dance Spanish dances; but in what sort of way? They imitate everything that passes before their eyes without using their intelligence to appreciate it. It is this which makes both themselves and their artistic productions wearisome, devoid of character, and, I may add, unnatural, in spite of the skill and patience they devote to them. These two peculiarities, moreover, are invariably to be found amongst nations whose civilization is but little developed; the patience so much admired is often nothing but waste of time and breath, quite out of proportion to the end in view, and the skill is the mere consequence of the backward state of the division of labor.

[Educated Filipino unnatural.] If I entered the house of a well-to-do Filipino, who spoke Spanish, I was received with the same phrases his model, a Spaniard, would employ; but I always had the feeling that it was out of place. In countries where the native population remains true to its ancient customs this is not the case; and whenever I have not been received with proper respect, I have remarked that the apparent fact proceeded from a difference in social forms, not more to be wondered at than a difference in weights and measures. In Java, and particularly in Borneo and the Moluccas, the utensils in daily use are ornamented with so refined a feeling for form and color, that they are praised by our artists as patterns of ornamentation and afford a proof that the labor is one of love, and that it is presided over by an acute intelligence. [Native art-sense spoiled.] Such a sense of beauty is seldom to be met with in the Philippines. Everything there is imitation or careless makeshift. Even the pina embroideries, which are fabricated with such wonderful patience and skill, and are so celebrated for the fineness of the work, are, as a rule, spiritless imitations of Spanish patterns. One is involuntarily led to these conclusions by a comparison of the art products of the Spanish-American communities with those of more barbarous races. The Berlin Ethnographical Museum contains many proofs of the facts I have just mentioned.

[Indolence from absence of incentive.] The oars used in the Philippines are usually made of bamboo poles, with a board tied to their extremities with strips of rattan. If they happen to break, so much the better; for the fatiguing labor of rowing must necessarily be suspended till they are mended again.

[Carelessness from lack of responsibility.] In Java the carabao-carts, which are completely covered in as a protection against the rain, are ornamented with many tasteful patterns. The roofless wagons used in the Philippines are roughly put together at the last moment. When it is necessary to protect their contents from the wet, an old pair of mats is thrown over them, more for the purpose of appeasing the prejudices of the “Castilians” than really to keep off the rain.

[Weakened character and want of dignity.] The English and the Dutch are always looked upon as strangers in the tropics; their influence never touches the ancient native customs which culminate in the religion of the country. But the populations whom the Spaniards have converted to their religion have lost all originality, all sense of nationality; yet the alien religion has never really penetrated into their inmost being, they never feel it to be a source of moral support, and it is no accidental coincidence that they are all more or less stamped with a want of dignity….

[Spanish rule not benevolent, but beneficial.] With the exception of this want of national individuality, and the loss of the distinguishing manners and customs which constitute the chief charm of most eastern peoples, the Filipino is an interesting study of a type of mankind existing in the easiest natural conditions. The arbitrary rule of their chiefs, and the iron shackles of slavery, were abolished by the Spaniards shortly after their arrival; and peace and security reigned in the place of war and rapine. The Spanish rule in these Islands was always a mild one, not because the laws, which treated the natives like children, were wonderfully gentle, but because the causes did not exist which caused such scandalous cruelties in Spanish America and in the colonies of other nations.

[Circumstances have favored the Filipinos.] It was fortunate for the Filipinos that their islands possessed no wealth in the shape of precious metals or valuable spices. In the earlier days of maritime traffic there was little possibility of exporting the numerous agricultural productions of the colony; and it was scarcely worth while, therefore, to make the most of the land. The few Spaniards who resided in the colony found such an easy method of making money in the commerce with China and Mexico, by means of the galleons, that they held themselves aloof from all economical enterprises, which had little attraction for their haughty inclinations, and would have imposed the severest labor on the Filipinos. Taking into consideration the wearisome and dangerous navigation of the time, it was, moreover, impossible for the Spaniards, upon whom their too large possessions in America already imposed an exhausting man-tax, to maintain a strong armed force in the Philippines. The subjection, which had been inaugurated by a dazzling military exploit, was chiefly accomplished by the assistance of the friar orders, whose missionaries were taught to employ extreme prudence and patience. The Philippines were thus principally won by a peaceful conquest.

[Have fared better than the Mexicans.] The taxes laid upon the peoples were so trifling that they did not suffice for the administration of the colony. The difference was covered by yearly contributions from Mexico. The extortions of unconscientious officials were by no means conspicuous by their absence. Cruelties, however, such as were practised in the American mining districts, or in the manufactures of Quito, never occurred in the Philippines.

[A land of opportunity.] Uncultivated land was free, and was at the service of any one willing to make it productive; if, however, it remained untilled for two years, it reverted to the crown. [55]

[Low taxes.] The only tax which the Filipinos pay is the poll-tax, known as the tributo, which originally, three hundred years ago, amounted to one dollar for every pair of adults, and in a country where all marry early, and the sexes are equally divided, really constituted a family-tax. By degrees the tribute has been raised to two and one-sixteenth dollars. An adult, therefore, male or female, pays one and one-thirty-second dollar, and that from his sixteenth to his sixtieth year. Besides this, every man has to give forty days’ labor every year to the State. This vassalage (polos y servicios) is divided into ordinary and extraordinary services: the first consists of the duties appertaining to a watchman or messenger, in cleaning the courts of justice, and in other light labors; the second in road-making, and similar heavier kinds of work, for the benefit of villages and provinces. The little use, however, that is made of these services, is shown by the fact that any one can obtain a release from them for a sum which at most is not more than three dollars. No personal service is required of women. A little further on, important details about the tax from official sources, which were placed at my disposal in the colonial office, appear in a short special chapter.

[Fortunate factors.] In other countries, with an equally mild climate, and an equally fertile soil, the natives, unless they had reached a higher degree of civilization than that of the Philippine Islanders, would have been ground down by native princes, or ruthlessly plundered and destroyed by foreigners. In these isolated Islands, so richly endowed by nature, where pressure from above, impulse from within, and every stimulus from the outside are wanting, the satisfaction of a few trifling wants is sufficient for an existence with ample comfort. Of all countries in the world, the Philippines have the greatest claim to be considered a lotos-eating Utopia. The traveller, whose knowledge of the dolce far niente is derived from Naples, has no real appreciation of it; it only blossoms under the shade of palm-trees. These notes of travel will contain plenty of examples to support this. One trip across the Pasig gives a foretaste of life in the interior of the country. Low wooden cabins and bamboo huts, surmounted with green foliage and blossoming flowers, are picturesquely grouped with areca palms, and tall, feather-headed bamboos, upon its banks. Sometimes the enclosures run down into the stream itself, some of them being duck-grounds, and others bathing-places. The shore is fringed with canoes, nets, rafts, and fishing apparatus. Heavily-laden boats float down the stream, and small canoes ply from bank to bank between the groups of bathers. The most lively traffic is to be seen in the tiendas, large sheds, corresponding to the Javanese harongs, which open upon the river, the great channel for traffic.

[River resorts.] They are a source of great attraction to the passing sailors, who resort to them for eating, drinking, and other convivialities; and while away the time there in gambling, betel chewing, and smoking, with idle companions of both sexes.

[Sleeping pilots.] At times somebody may be seen floating down the stream asleep on a heap of coconuts. If the nuts run ashore, the sleeper rouses himself, pushes off with a long bamboo, and contentedly relapses into slumber, as his eccentric raft regains the current of the river. One cut of his bolo-knife easily detaches sufficient of the husk of the nuts to allow of their being fastened together; in this way a kind of wreath is formed which encircles and holds together the loose nuts piled up in the middle.

[Labor-saving conditions.] The arduous labors of many centuries have left as their legacy a perfect system of transport; but in these Islands man can obtain many of his requirements direct with proportionately trifling labor, and a large amount of comfort for himself.

[Easy food.] Off the Island of Talim, in the great Lagoon of Bay, my boatmen bought for a few cuartos several dozens of fish quite twelve inches long; and those which they couldn’t eat were split open, salted, and dried by a few hours’ exposure to the heat of the sun on the roof of the boat. When the fishermen had parted with their contemplated breakfast, they stooped down and filled their cooking-vessels with sand-mussels (paludina costata, 2.a G.), first throwing away the dead ones from the handfuls they picked up from the bottom of the shallow water.

[River’s importance.] Nearly all the dwellings are built by the water’s edge. The river is a natural self-maintaining highway, on which loads can be carried to the foot of the mountains. The huts of the people, built upon piles, are to be seen thickly scattered about its banks, and particularly about its broad mouths. The appropriateness of their position is evident, for the stream is at once the very center of activity and the most convenient spot for the pursuit of their callings. At each tide the takes of fish are more or less plentiful, and at low-water the women and children may be seen picking up shell-fish with their toes, for practice has enabled them to use their toes as deftly as their fingers, or gathering in the sand-crabs and eatable seaweed.

[Riverside gaiety.] The riverside is a pretty sight when men, women, and children are bathing and frolicking in the shade of the palm-trees; and others are filling their water-vessels, large bamboos, which they carry on their shoulders, or jars, which they bear on their heads; and when the boys are standing upright on the broad backs of the carabaos and riding triumphantly into the water.

[Coco-palms.] It is here too that the coco-palm most flourishes, a tree that supplies not only their food and drink, but also every material necessary for the construction of huts and the manufacture of the various articles which they use. While the greatest care is necessary to make those growing further inland bear even a little fruit, the palm-trees close to the shore, even when planted on wretched soil, grow plentiful crops without the slightest trouble. Has a palm-tree ever been made to blossom in a hothouse? Thomson [56] mentions that coco-trees growing by the sea-side are wont to incline their stems over the ocean, the waters of which bear their fruit to desert shores and islands, and render them habitable for mankind. Thus the coco-tree would seem to play an essential part in the ocean vagabondage of Malaysia and Polynesia.

[Nipa-palms.] Close to the coco-trees grow clumps of the stunted nipa-palms, which only flourish in brackish waters; [57] their leaves furnish the best roof-thatching. Sugar, brandy, and vinegar are manufactured from their sap. Three hundred and fifty years ago Pigafetta found these manufactures in full swing, but nowadays they seem to be limited to the Philippines. Besides these, the pandanus-tree, from the leaves of which the softest mats are woven, is always found in near proximity to the shore.

[Fertile fields.] Towards the interior the landscape is covered with rice-fields, which yearly receive a fresh layer of fertile soil, washed down from the mountains by the river, and spread over their surface by the overflowing of its waters; and which in consequence never require any fertilizer. [The carabao.] The carabao, the favorite domestic animal of the Malays, and which they keep especially for agricultural purposes, prefers these regions to all others. It loves to wallow in the mud, and is not fit for work unless permitted to frequent the water.

[Bamboo.] Bamboos with luxuriant leafy tops grow plentifully by the huts in the rice-fields which fringe the banks of the river. In my former sketches of travel I have endeavored to describe how much this gigantic plant contributes to the comfort and convenience of tropical life. Since then I have become acquainted with many curious purposes to which it is turned, but to describe them here would be out of place. [58] I may be allowed, however, to briefly cite a few examples showing what numerous results are obtained from simple means. Nature has endowed these splendid plants, which perhaps surpass all others in beauty, with so many useful qualities, and delivered them into the hands of mankind so ready for immediate use, that a few sharp cuts suffice to convert them into all kinds of various utensils. [Strength.] The bamboo possesses, in proportion to its lightness, an extraordinary strength; the result of its round shape, and the regularity of the joints in its stem. The parallel position and toughness of its fibers render it easy to split, and, when split, its pieces are of extraordinary pliability and elasticity. To the gravelly soil on which it grows it owes its durability, and its firm, even, and always clean surface, the brilliancy and color of which improve by use. [Convenience.] And finally, it is a great thing for a population with such limited means of conveyance that the bamboo is to be found in such abundance in all kinds of localities and of all dimensions, from a few millimeters to ten or fifteen centimeters in diameter, even sometimes to twice this amount; and that, on account of its unsurpassed floating power, it is pre-eminently fitted for locomotion in a country poor in roads but rich in watercourses. A blow with a bolo is generally enough to cut down a strong stem. [Usefulness.] If the thin joints are taken away, hollow stems of different thicknesses can be slid into one another like the parts of a telescope. From bamboos split in half, gutters, troughs, and roofing tiles can be made. Split into several slats, which can be again divided into small strips and fibers for the manufacture of baskets, ropes, mats, and fine plaiting work, they can be made into frames and stands. Two cuts in the same place make a round hole through which a stem of corresponding diameter can be firmly introduced. If a similar opening is made in a second upright, the horizontal stem can be run through both. Gates, closing perpendicularly or horizontally in frames moving without friction on a perpendicular or horizontal axis, can be made in this way.

Two deep cuts give an angular shape to the stem; and when its two sides are wide enough apart to admit of a cross-stem being placed between them, they can be employed as roof-ridges or for the framework of tables and chairs; a quantity of flat split pieces of bamboo being fastened on top of them with chair-cane. These split pieces then form the seats of the chairs and the tops of the tables, instead of the boards and large bamboo laths used at other times. It is equally easy to make an oblong opening in a large bamboo in which to fit the laths of a stand.

A couple of cuts are almost enough to make a fork, a pair of tongs or a hook.

If one makes a hole as big as the end of one’s finger in a large bamboo close under a joint, one obtains by fastening a small piece of cloth to the open end, a syphon or a filter. If a piece of bamboo is split down to the joint in strips, and the strips be bound together with others horizontally interlaced, it makes a conical basket. If the strips are cut shorter, it makes a peddler’s pack basket. If a long handle is added, and it is filled with tar, it can be used as a signal torch. If shallower baskets of the same dimensions, but with their bottoms cut off or punched out, are placed inside these conical ones, the two together make capital snare baskets for crabs and fish. If a bamboo stem be cut off just below the joint, and its lower edge be split up into a cogged rim, it makes, when the partition of the joint is punched out, an earth-auger, a fountain-pipe, and many things of the kind.

* * * * *

[Pleasures of travel.] Strangers travelling in the interior have daily fresh opportunities of enjoying the hospitality of nature. The atmosphere is so equitably warm that one would gladly dispense with all clothing except a sun-hat and a pair of light shoes. Should one be tempted to pass the night in the open air, the construction of a hut from the leaves of the palm and the fern is the work of a few minutes; [Village rest houses.] but in even the smallest village the traveller finds a “common house” (casa real), in which he can take up his quarters and be supplied with the necessaries of life at the market price. There too he will always meet with semaneros (those who perform menial duties) ready to serve him as messengers or porters for the most trifling remuneration. But long practice has taught me that their services principally consist in doing nothing. On one occasion I wanted to send a man who was playing cards and drinking tuba (fresh or weakly-fermented palm-sap) with his companions, on an errand. [Pleasant prison life.] Without stopping his game the fellow excused himself on the ground of being a prisoner, and one of his guardians proceeded in the midst of the intense heat to carry my troublesome message. Prisoners have certainly little cause to grumble. [Frequent floggings little regarded.] The only inconvenience to which they are exposed are the floggings which the local authorities very liberally dispense by the dozens for the most trifling offences. Except the momentary bodily pain, however, these appear in most cases to make little impression on a people who have been accustomed to corporal punishment from their youth upwards. Their acquaintances stand round the sufferers, while the blows are being inflicted, and mockingly ask them how it tastes.

[Change from Malayan character.] A long residence amongst the earnest, quiet, and dignified Malays, who are most anxious for their honor, while most submissive to their superiors, makes the contrast in character exhibited by the natives of the Philippines, who yet belong to the Malay race, all the more striking. The change in their nature appears to be a natural consequence of the Spanish rule, for the same characteristics may be observed in the natives of Spanish America. The class distinctions and the despotic oppression prevalent under their former chiefs doubtless rendered the Filipinos of the past more like the Malays of today.


[The familiar field for travellers.] The environs of Manila, the Pasig, and the Lagoon of Bay, which are visited by every fresh arrival in the colony, have been so often described that I have restricted myself to a few short notes upon these parts of the country, and intend to relate in detail only my excursions into the south-eastern provinces of Luzon, Camarines, and Albay, and the islands which lie to the east of them, Samar and Leyte. Before doing this, however, it will not be out of place to glance at the map and give some slight description of their geographical conditions.

[Archipelago’s great extent.] The Philippine Archipelago lies between Borneo and Formosa, and separates the northern Pacific Ocean from the China Sea. It covers fourteen and one-half degrees of latitude, and extends from the Sulu Islands in the south, in the fifth parallel of north latitude, to the Babuyans in the north in latitude 19 deg. 30′. If, however, the Bashee or Batanes Islands be included, its area may be said to extend to the twenty-first parallel of north latitude. But neither southwards or northwards does Spanish rule extend to these extreme limits, nor, in fact, does it always reach the far interior of the larger islands. From the eastern to the western extremity of the Philippines the distance is about nine degrees of longitude. Two islands, Luzon, with an area of two thousand, and Mindanao, with one of more than one thousand five hundred square miles, are together larger than all the rest. The seven next largest islands are Palawan, Samar, Panay, Mindoro, Leyte, Negros, and Cebu; of which the first measures about two hundred and fifty, and the last about one hundred square miles. Then come Bohol and Masbate, each about half the size of Cebu; twenty smaller islands, still of some importance; and numerous tiny islets, rocks, and reefs.

[Favored by position and conditions.] The Philippines are extremely favored by their position and conditions. Their extension from north to south, over 16 deg. of latitude, obtains for them a variety of climate which the Dutch Indies, whose largest diameter, their extent in latitude north and south of the equator being but trifling, runs from the east to the west, by no means enjoy. The advantages accruing from their neighborhood to the equator are added to those acquired from the natural variety of their climate; and the produce of both the torrid and temperate zones, the palm-tree and the fir, the pine-apple, the corn ear and the potato, flourish side by side upon their shores.

[Harbors and water highways.] The larger islands contain vast inland seas, considerable navigable rivers, and many creeks running far into the interior; they are rich, too, in safe harbors and countless natural ports of refuge for ships in distress. Another attribute which, though not to be realized by a glance at the map, is yet one of the most fortunate the Islands possess, is the countless number of small streams which pour down from the inland hills, and open out, ere they reach the ocean, into broad estuaries; up these watercourses coasting vessels of shallow draught can sail to the very foot of the mountains and take in their cargo. [Soil and sea alike productive.] The fertility of the soil is unsurpassed; both the sea around the coasts and the inland lakes swarm with fish and shell-fish, while in the whole archipelago there is scarcely a wild beast to be found. It seems that only two civets happen to appear: Miro (paradoxurus philippinensis Tem.) and galong (viverra tangalunga Gray). Luzon surpasses all the other islands, not only in size, but in importance; and its fertility and other natural superiority well entitle it to be called, as it is by Crawfurd, “the most beautiful spot in the tropics.”

[Luzon.] The mainland of the isle of Luzon stretches itself in a compact long quadrangle, twenty-five miles broad, from 18 deg. 40′ north latitude to the Bay of Manila (14 deg. 30′); and then projects, amid large lakes and deep creeks, a rugged promontory to the east, joined to the main continent by but two narrow isthmuses which stretch east and west of the large inland Lagoon of Bay. Many traces of recent upheavals betoken that the two portions were once separated and formed two distinct islands. The large eastern promontory, well-nigh as long as the northern portion, is nearly cut in half by two deep bays, which, starting from opposite points on the south-eastern and north-western coasts, almost merge their waters in the center of the peninsula; the Bay of Ragay, and the Bay of Sogod. In fact, the southern portion of Luzon may be better described as two small peninsulas lying next to one another in parallel positions, and joined together by a narrow neck of land scarcely three miles broad. Two small streams which rise nearly in the same spot and pour themselves into the two opposite gulfs, make the separation almost complete, and form at the same time the boundary between the province of Tayabas on the west, and that of Camarines on the east. The western portion, indeed, consists almost entirely of the first-named district, and the eastern is divided into the provinces of North Camarines, South Camarines, and Albay. The first of these three is divided from Tayabas by the boundary already mentioned, and from South Camarines by a line drawn from the southern shore of the Bay of San Miguel on the north to the opposite coast. The eastern extremity of the peninsula forms the province of Albay; separated from South Camarines by a line which runs from Donzol, on the south coast, northwards across the volcano of Mayon, and which then, inclining to the west, reaches the northern shore. A look at the map will make these explanations clearer.

[The monsoons.] There are two seasons in the Philippines, the wet and the dry. The south-west monsoon brings the rainy season, at the time of our summer, to the provinces which lie exposed to the south and west winds. On the northern and eastern coasts the heaviest downpours take place (in our winter months) during the north-eastern monsoons. The ruggedness of the country and its numerous mountains cause, in certain districts, many variations in these normal meteorological conditions. The dry season lasts in Manila from November till June (duration of the north-east monsoon); rain prevails during the remaining months (duration of the south-west monsoon). The heaviest rainfall occurs in September; March and April are frequently free from rain. From October to February inclusively the weather is cool and dry (prevalence of N.W., N., and N.E. winds); March, April, and May are warm and dry (prevalence of E.N.E., E., and E.S.E. winds); and from June till the end of September it is humid and moderately warm.

There has been an observatory for many years past in Manila under the management of the Jesuits. The following is an epitome of the yearly meteorological report for 1867, for which I am indebted to Professor Dove:

Barometrical readings.–The average height of the mercury was, in 1867, 755.5; in 1865, 754.57; and in 1866, 753.37 millimeters.

In 1867 the difference between the highest and lowest barometrical readings was not more than 13.96 millimetres, and would have been much less if the mercury had not been much depressed by storms in July and September. The hourly variations amounted to very few millimeters.

Daily reading of the barometer.–The mercury rises in the early morning till about 9 a.m., it then falls up to 3 or 4 p.m., from then it rises again till 9 p.m., and then again falls till towards day-break. Both the principal atmospheric currents prevalent in Manila exercise a great influence over the mercury in the barometer; the northern current causes it to rise (to an average height of 756 millimeters), the southern causes it to fall (to about 753 millimeters).

Temperature.–The heat increases from January till the end of May, and then decreases till December. Average yearly temperature, 27.9 deg. C. The highest temperature ever recorded (on the 15th of April at 3 p.m.) was 37.7 deg. C.; the lowest (on the 14th of December and on the 30th of January at 6 a.m.), 19.4 deg. C. Difference, 18.3 deg. C. [59]

Thermometrical variations.–The differences between the highest and lowest readings of the thermometer were, in January, 13.9 deg.; in February, 14.2 deg.; in March, 15 deg.; in April, 14.6 deg.; in May, 11.1 deg.; in June, 9.9 deg.; in July, 9 deg.; in August, 9 deg.; in September, 10 deg.; in October, 11.9 deg.; in November, 11.8 deg.; and in December, 11.7 deg..

Coolest months.–November, December and January, with northerly winds.

Hottest months.–April and May. Their high temperature is caused by the change of monsoon from the north-east to the south-west. The state of the temperature is most normal from June to September; the variations are least marked during this period owing to the uninterrupted rainfall and the clouded atmosphere.

Daily variations of the thermometer.–The coolest portion of the day is from 6 to 7 a.m.; the heat gradually increases, reaches its maximum about 2 or 3 p.m., and then again gradually decreases. During some hours of the night the temperature remains unchanged, but towards morning it falls rapidly.

[Winds.] The direction of the wind is very regular at all seasons of the year, even when local causes make it vary a little. In the course of a twelvemonth the wind goes around the whole compass. In January and February north winds prevail; in March and April they blow from the south-east; and in May, June, July, August, and September, from the south-west. In the beginning of October they vary between south-east and south-west, and settle down towards the close of the month in the north-east, in which quarter they remain tolerably fixed during the two following months. The two changes of monsoon always take place in April and May, and in October. As a rule, the direction of both monsoons preserves its equilibrium; but in Manila, which is protected towards the north by a high range of hills, the north-east monsoon is often diverted to the south-east and north-west. The same cause gives greater force to the south-west wind.

[Sunshine and rain.] The sky is generally partially clouded; entirely sunny days are of rare occurrence, in fact, they only occur from January to April during the north-east monsoons. Number of rainy days in the year, 168. The most continuous and heaviest rain falls from June till the end of October. During this period the rain comes down in torrents; in September alone the rainfall amounted to 1.5 meters, nearly as much as falls in Berlin in the course of the whole year, 3,072.8 millimeters of rain fell in the twelve month; but this is rather more than the average.

The evaporation only amounted to 2,307.3 millimeters; in ordinary years it is generally about equal to the downfall, taking the early averages, not those of single months.

The average daily evaporation was about 6.3 millimeters.

[Storms.] The changes of monsoons are often accompanied with tremendous storms; during one of these, which occurred in September, the velocity of the wind was as much as thirty-seven or thirty-eight meters per second. An official report of the English vice-consul mentions a typhoon which visited the Islands on September 27, 1865, and which did much damage at Manila, driving seventeen vessels ashore.

* * * * *

[Provinces and districts.] The Philippines are divided into provinces (P), and districts (D), each of which is administered by an alcalde of the 1st (A1), 2nd (A2), or 3rd class (A3) (de termino, de ascenso, de entrada); by a political and military governor (G), or by a commandant (C). In some provinces an alcalde of the 3rd class is appointed as coadjutor to the governor. These divisions are frequently changed.

[Population.] The population is estimated approximately at about five millions.

[Language and dialects.] In spite of the long possessions of the Islands by the Spaniards their language has scarcely acquired any footing there. A great diversity of languages and dialects prevails; amongst them the Bisayan, Tagalog, Ilocano, Bicol, Pangasinan, and Pampangan are the most important.

[Luzon Provinces and their languages and populations.]

Island of Luzon

Rank of Rank of Name Prevailing Population Pueblos Official District Dialect

G. P. Abra Ilocano 34,337 5 A1. P. Albay Bicol 330,121 34 A2. P. Bataan Tagalog,
Pampangan 44,794 10 A1. P. Batangas Tagalog 280,100 D. Benguet Igorot,
Pangasinan 8,465 D. Bontoc Suflin,
Igorot 7,052 A1. P. Bulacan Tagalog 240,341 23 A1. P. Cagayan Ibanag,
Malaneg 64,437 16 A2. P. Camarines Norte Tagalog,
Bicol 25,372 7 A2(?) P. Camarines Sur Bicol 81,047 31 A3. P. Cavite Spanish,
Tagalog 109,501 17 A1. P. Ilocos Norte Ilocano,
Tinguian 134,767 12 A1. P. Ilocos Sur Ilocano 105,251 18 C. D. Infanta Tagalog 7,813 2 G. P. Isabela Ibanag,
Tagalog 29,200 9 A1. P. Laguna Tagalog,
Spanish 121,251 25 D. Lepanto Igorot,
Ilocano 8,851 48 3A1. P. Manila Tagalog,
Chinese 323,683 23 C. D. Morong Tagalog 44,239 12 A2. P. Nueva Ecija Tagalog,
Ilocano 84,520 12 A3. P. Nueva Vizcaya Gaddan,
Ilongote 32,961 8 A1. P. Pampanga Pampangan,
Ilocano 193,423 24 A1. P. Pangasinan Pangasinan,
Ilocano 253,472 25 D. Porac Pampangan 6,950 1 C. D. Principe Tagalog,
Ilongote 3,609 3 D. Saltan Gaddan 6,540 A2. P. Tayabas Tagalog,
Bicol 93,918 17 D. Tiagan Different
dialects 5,723 G. P. Union Ilocano 88,024 11 A2. P. Zambales Zambal,
Pangasinan 72,936 16


Islands between Luzon and Mindanao

G a3. P. Antique (Panay) Bisayan 88,874 13 G a3. P. Bohol Bisayan 187,327 26 C. Burias Bicol 1,786 1 G a3. P. Capiz (Panay) Bisayan 206,288 26 G a2. P. Cebu Bisayan 318,715 44 G a3. P. Iloilo (Panay) Bisayan 565,500 35 G a3. P. Leyte Bisayan 170,591 28 D. Masbate, Ticao Bisayan 12,457 9 A2. P. Mindoro Tagalog 23,050 10 G a3. P. Negros Cebuan,
Bisayan 144,923 31 D. Romblon Bisayan 21,579 4 G a3. P. Samar Bisayan 146,539 28


D. Cotabato Spanish,
Manobo 1,103 1 G a3. D. Misamis (J) Bisayan 63,639 14 G a3. D. Surigao (J) 24,104 12 D. Zamboanga (J) Mandaya,
Spanish 9,608 2 G a3. D. Davao Bisayan 1,537

[Outlying Islands.]

Distant Islands

G a3. P. Batanes Ibanag 8,381 6 G a3. P. Calamianes Coyuvo,
Agutaino Calamiano 17,703 5 G. P. Marianas Chamorro, Carolino 5,940 6

[Unreliability of government reports.] The statistics of the above table are taken from a small work, by Sr. [Vicente] Barrantes, the Secretary-General of the Philippines; but I have arranged them differently to render them more easily intelligible to the eye. Although Sr. Barrantes had the best official materials at his disposal, too much value must not be attributed to his figures, for the sources from which he drew them are tainted with errors to an extent that can hardly be realized in Europe. For example, he derives the following contradictory statements from his official sources:–The population of Cavite is set down as 115,300 and 65,225; that of Mindoro as 45,630, and 23,054; that of Manila as 230,443, and 323,683; and that of Capiz as 788,947, and 191,818.


[To Bulacan by steamer.] My first excursion was to the province of Bulacan, on the northern shore of the Bay of Manila. A couple of hours brought the steamer to the bar of Binuanga (not Bincanga as it is called in Coello’s map), and a third to Bulacan, the capital of the province, situated on the flat banks of an influent of the Pampanga delta. I was the only European passenger, the others were composed of Tagalogs, mestizos, and a few Chinese; the first more particularly were represented by women, who are generally charged with the management of all business affairs, for which they are much better fitted than the men. As a consequence, there are usually more women than men seen in the streets, and it appears to be an admitted fact that the female births are more numerous than the male. According, however, to the church-record which I looked through, the reverse was, at any rate in the eastern provinces, formerly the case.

[Carromatas.] At the landing-place a number of carromatas were waiting for us,–brightly painted, shallow, two-wheeled boxes, provided with an awning, and harnessed to a couple of horses, in which strangers with money to spend are quickly driven anywhere they may desire.

[Town of Bulacan.] The town of Bulacan contains from 11,000 to 12,000 inhabitants; but a month before my arrival, the whole of it, with the exception of the church and a few stone houses, had been burnt to the ground. All were therefore occupied in building themselves new houses, which, oddly enough, but very practically, were commenced at the roof, like houses in a drawing. Long rows of roofs composed of palm-leaves and bamboos were laid in readiness on the ground, and in the meantime were used as tents.

[Frequence of fires.] Similar destructive fires are very common. The houses, which with few exceptions are built of bamboo and wood, become perfectly parched in the hot season, dried into so much touchwood by the heat of the sun. Their inhabitants are extremely careless about fire, and there are no means whatever of extinguishing it. If anything catches fire on a windy day, the entire village, as a rule, is utterly done for. During my stay in Bulacan, the whole suburb of San Miguel, in the neighborhood of Manila, was burnt down, with the exception of the house of a Swiss friend of mine, which owed its safety to the vigorous use of a private fire-engine, and the intermediation of a small garden full of bananas, whose stems full of sap stopped the progress of the flames.

[To Calumpit by carriage.] I travelled to Calumpit, a distance of three leagues, in the handsome carriage of an hospitable friend. The roads were good, and were continuously shaded by fruit-trees, coco and areca palms. The aspect of this fruitful province reminded me of the richest districts of Java; but the pueblos here exhibited more comfort than the desas there. The houses were more substantial; numerous roomy constructions of wood, in many cases, even, of stone, denoted in every island the residence of official and local magnates. But while even the poorer Javanese always give their wicker huts a smart appearance, border the roads of their villages with blooming hedges, and display everywhere a sense of neatness and cleanliness, there were here far fewer evidences of taste to be met with. I missed too the alun-alun, that pretty and carefully tended open square, which, shaded by waringa trees, is to be met with in every village in Java. And the quantity and variety of the fruit trees, under whose leaves the desas of Java are almost hidden, were by no means as great in this province, although it is the garden of the Philippines, as in its Dutch prototype.

[Calumpit.] I reached Calumpit towards evening, just as a procession, resplendent with flags and torches, and melodious with song, was marching round the stately church, whose worthy priest, on the strength of a letter of introduction from Madrid, gave me a most hospitable reception. Calumpit, a prosperous place of 12,250 inhabitants, is situated at the junction of the Quingua and Pampanga rivers, in an extremely fruitful plain, fertilized by the frequent overflowing of the two streams.

[Mt. Arayat.] About six leagues to the north-west of Calumpit, Mount Arayat, a lofty, isolated, conical hill, lifts its head. Seen from Calumpit, its western slope meets the horizon at an angle of 20 deg., its eastern at one of 25 deg.; and the profile of its summit has a gentle inclination of from 4 deg. to 5 deg..

[Picking fish.] At Calumpit I saw some Chinese catching fish in a peculiar fashion. Across the lower end of the bed of a brook which was nearly dried up, and in which there were only a few rivulets left running, they had fastened a hurdle of bamboo, and thrown up a shallow dam behind it. The water which collected was thrown over the dam with a long-handled winnowing shovel. The shovel was tied to a bamboo frame work ten feet high, the elasticity of which made the work much easier. As soon as the pool was emptied, the fisherman was easily able to pick out of the mud a quantity of small fish (Ophiocephalus vagus). These fishes, which are provided with peculiar organisms to facilitate respiration, at any rate, enabling them to remain for some considerable time on dry land, are in the wet season so numerous in the ditches, ponds, and rice-fields, that they can be killed with a stick. When the water sinks they also retire, or, according to Professor Semper, bore deeply into the ooze at the bottom of the watercourses, where, protected by a hard crust of earth from the persecutions of mankind, they sleep away the winter. This Chinese method of fishing seems well adapted to the habits of the fish. The circumstances that the dam is only constructed at the lower end of the watercourse, and that it is there that the fish are to be met with in the greatest numbers, seem to indicate that they can travel in the ooze, and that as the brooks and ditches get dried up, they seek the larger water channels.

[To Baliwag.] Following the Quingua in its upward and eastward course as it meandered through a well-cultivated and luxuriantly fertile country, past stone-built churches and chapels which grouped themselves with the surrounding palm-trees and bamboo-bushes into sylvan vignettes, Father Llano’s four-horsed carriage brought me to the important town of Baliwag, the industry of which is celebrated beyond the limits of the province.

[Board houses and their furniture.] I visited several families and received a friendly reception from all of them. The houses were built of boards and were placed upon piles elevated five feet above the ground. Each consisted of a spacious dwelling apartment which opened on one side into the kitchen, and on the other on to an open space, the azotea; a lofty roof of palm-trees spread itself above the dwelling, the entrance to which was through the azotea. The latter was half covered by the roof I have just mentioned. The floor was composed of slats an inch in width, laid half that distance apart. Chairs, tables, benches, a cupboard, a few small ornaments, a mirror, and some lithographs in frames, composed the furniture of the interior. The cleanliness of the house and the arrangement of its contents testified to the existence of order and prosperity.

[Tapis weaving.] I found the women in almost all the houses occupied in weaving tapis, which have a great reputation in the Manila market. They are narrow, thickly-woven silk scarves, six varas in length, with oblique white stripes on a dark-brown ground. They are worn above the sarong.

[Petaca cigar cases.] Baliwag is also especially famous for its petaca [60]cigar-cases, which surpass all others in delicacy of workmanship. They are not made of straw, but of fine strips of Spanish cane, and particularly from the lower ends of the leaf-stalks of the calamusart, which is said to grow only in the province of Nueva Ecija.

[Preparation of material.] A bundle of a hundred selected stalks, a couple of feet long, costs about six reals. When these stalks have been split lengthways into four or five pieces, the inner wood is removed, till nothing but the outer part remains. The thin strips thus obtained are drawn by the hand between a convex block and a knife fixed in a sloping position, and between a couple of steel blades which nearly meet.

[Costly weaving.] It is a task requiring much patience and practice. In the first operation, as a rule, quite one-half of the stems are broken, and in the second more than half, so that scarcely twenty per cent of the stalks survive the final process. In very fine matting the proportionate loss is still greater. The plaiting is done on wooden cylinders. A case of average workmanship, which costs two dollars on the spot, can be manufactured in six days’ uninterrupted labor. Cigar-cases of exceptionally intricate workmanship, made to order for a connoisseur, frequently cost upwards of fifty dollars.

[Volcanic stone quarries.] Following the Quingua from Baliwag up its stream, we passed several quarries, where we saw the thickly-packed strata of volcanic stone which is used as a building material. The banks of the river are thickly studded with prickly bamboos from ten to twelve feet high. The water overflows in the rainy season, and floods the plain for a great distance. Hence the many shells of large freshwater mussels which are to be seen lying on the earth which covers the volcanic deposit. The country begins to get hilly in the neighborhood of Tobog, a small place with no church of its own, and dependent for its services upon the priest of the next parish. The gentle slopes of the hills are, as in Java, cut into terraces and used for the cultivation of rice. Except at Lucban I have never observed similar sawas anywhere else in the Philippines. Several small sugar-fields, which, however, the people do not as yet understand how to manage properly, show that the rudiments of agricultural prosperity are already in existence. The roads are partly covered with awnings, beneath which benches are placed affording repose to the weary traveller. I never saw these out of this province. One might fancy oneself in one of the most fertile and thickly-populated districts of Java.

[A convento and the parish priest.] I passed the night in a convento, as the dwelling of the parish priest is called in the Philippines. It was extremely dirty, and the priest, an Augustinian, was full of proselytish ardor. I had to undergo a long geographical examination about the difference between Prussia and Russia; was asked whether the great city of Nuremberg was the capital of the grand-duchy or of the empire of Russia; learnt that the English were on the point of returning to the bosom of the Catholic Church, and that the “others” would soon follow, and was, in short, in spite of the particular recommendation of Father Llanos, very badly received. Some little time afterwards I fell into the hands of two young Capuchins, who tried to convert me, but who, with the exception of this little impertinence, treated me capitally. They gave me pates de foie gras boiled in water, which I quickly recognized by the truffles swimming about in the grease. To punish them for their importunity I refrained from telling