Diary of Guillermo Galvey

Eighth Day, January 11, 1829

Eighth day. We left the camp at 6 in the morning, marching southeastward. After crossing a small brook we climbed the hill called “Tamon.” On top we saw a group of Igorot without arms who were shouting that they wished to speak to me. I ordered my men to tell them, in reply, to approach without fear; but they were unwilling to come near until I sent them two men as hostages. Thereupon four Igorot came forward and presented themselves to me tremblingly: they were from Benguet. They asked me whither we were going; I answered them that we were going to their town. “And what do you want to do in Benguet?” they asked. “See your country and make friends with the Igorot.” They told me thereupon that they were sent by their headman, Dansalit. I presented each one with a handkerchief and told them to go back to Benguet and assure Dansalit and their other countrymen that they had nothing to fear, as I intended no harm to them. They went back to the others and all disappeared through the cogon, taking their way eastward through a ravine. In a moment they were out of sight and I took up the march again. At 5 I came upon the first pine trees: the road became quite open no cogon, no underbrush. This fact reassured me considerably, as I feared a surprise. I halted at 11 at a brook and had the rations distributed. At 1.30 I continued the march, turning toward the east. The country here is magnificent and, though it is hilly, one may go on horseback without difficulty. On all sides we found small valleys, some of them well under cultivation and all susceptible of producing whatever might be wished.

We saw large herds of carabaos, cows, and horses. The soil was red and sticky in some places. At 4 in the afternoon we discovered from the heights the beautiful valley of Benguet, the lovely sight of which surprised us all, so that even the soldiers gave vent to their admiration by joyful shouts. On coming nearer we saw a great many people running in all directions and shouting wildly. I commanded my men to load the guns, and hoisted a white blanket on a pole as a sign of peace. But it was all of no effect. I went down hill and on arriving at the bottom of the valley we found ourselves before a river of considerable size and of crystalline water. This we forded and shortly afterwards came upon the beautiful fields of Benguet. We had scarcely advanced a few paces when two Igorot planted themselves before us, spear in hand and shouting furiously. I ordered six men to run up to them and capture them if possible, without doing them any harm. These men were attacked by the Igorot, who hurled their spears at them, one of which knocked off the sun helmet of a soldier, but by dint of blows with the butt ends of the guns the Igorot were at last disarmed and bound. They were drunk, and nothing was to be got out of them but menaces and insults. I directed my steps toward a group of houses at one side of the valley and there halted. Soon afterwards four Igorot were brought before me, one of them the son of Dansalit. They had been caught armed, hidden in a well. To the son of Dansalit I expressed my surprise at the reception they were giving us. I told him to go back and tell the headmen to come to see me on the following day and to assure them that no harm would be done them, but that if they attacked me I would burn down their village.

I put out my sentries and an advance post was on the alert all night. Benguet is a valley of a league and a half or more in circumference; it is surrounded with springs, and forms a basin. The soil was very well cultivated, with immense fields of sweet potatoes, gabe, 1 and sugar cane, but I saw no paddy in this tract of land. All was well irrigated and fenced in by dividing lines of earth after the manner of Spain, and provided with wells. The houses, which numbered some 500, were of broad pine boards but very dirty. It is in this valley that I have proposed to establish the capital of the district.*

The night was very quiet, hut the bottom of the valley was covered with fog. It was very cold, and at 11 o’clock the thermometer stood at 7 above zero (Reaumur). We saw many fires on the height*, and at daybreak all the surrounding hills were covered with armed Igorot. I perceived at once that their intentions were not the best, I had two rations served out. At 8 the valley was full of pagans, who little by little approached our camp with shouts. I detached an officer with twelve men with orders to keep them back. Shortly afterwards he opened fire, but without thereby putting the Igorot to flight; and seeing the officer entirely surrounded by them, I started with twenty men to his rescue, leaving the rest of my troops drawn up in charge of the other officer. I also commenced firing together with the first officer, and we killed a number of people and captured twelve Igorot. We also had six wounded on our side. The Igorot retired little by little and were pursued by me as far as the hills after the firing had lasted four hours. It was already 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I returned to the camp, which I reached at 3:15, carrying with me my wounded, and the prisoners, who were all drunk. The pagans, on seeing me retire, came down the valley again and took up a position at a distance of a gunshot and a half. During the night half of us slept at a time while the rest watched, and we were alarmed only a few times by the shouts of the savages.