Diary of Harriet Low

Saturday, September 12, 1829

Had a charming ride this afternoon with Mr. R. Rode in Spanish style, without my bonnet None of the ladies wear bonnets. Manila abounds in pleasant drives, and on Sundays and feast-days they all ride back and forth on the Calzada till dark; but there are many pleasanter drives than this, I think. This afternoon we met a funeral. They bury their dead here without coffins, and carry them through the streets laid on a square board covered with a purple cloth. At each corner a torch is borne by four men, and then follow the friends, though there is no order in the procession. The mourners wore a sort of purple hood and scarf. The men carried children in their arms. There were several babes a month or two old. The burying-ground is quite picturesque in appearance, and the higher classes are buried in the wall, which is eight feet thick. They are put into small recesses, which are then built up with bricks and lime By paying twenty-five dollars a Spaniard can be buried in the wall, but no foreigner can have a place in this ground. Everything we see here makes us value more our own country and its privileges !

We also met two ladies on horseback. They have curious saddles here, something like a chair. The ladies were dressed in most singular style. They had on red gowns, a white muslin kerchief on the neck, and another thrown loosely over the head, with a broad-brimmed beaver hat over it. They rode very fast. We returned by the beach and the Calzada, and saw a great many sights that would have shocked a young lady in America ; but I have now got quite hardened.