Morning paper discussed whether Roxas’ refusal indicated a split in the coalition; also announced the resignation of “Mike” Elizalde as head of the National Development Co.
Off at 8 a.m. with Doria and Professor H. Otley Beyer for an all-day trip around Laguna de Bay, thru Rizal and Laguna Provinces. Beyer showed us various sites of his archaeological excavations. Bagas is the oldest continuously inhabited village in the Philippines, dating from neolithic times. He showed us various old Spanish churches on the eastern shores of the Laguna, of which the most interesting is at Morong. The priest who built that in 1640 had evidently come from Acapulco in the galleons –the facade of the tower was designed by him– an odd mixture of Renaissance and Rococo, and with designs of windows and cornices of Maya patterns.
The road around the eastern side of Laguna de Bay has been opened only two years. In my time, this region was a mere backwater gone to decay. But the immense old semi-ruled churches in every poblacion show how rich the church was there in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Beyer pointed out to us underground caves still inhabited today and first used as homes in the iron age. Modern history began there in the twelfth century with the invasion of foreign (Javanese, later Moro) conquerors, who drove the lake-dwellers up into the hills behind. Those whom they dispossessed were of the Indonesian type we know today as Ifugaos, and all the surrounding hills are still marked by the ruins of stone-dyked rice terraces, many of which we examined. We saw in Tanay the old ceremonial tree with a surrounding stone platform, just as is found among the Ifugaos today. The platform had been kept up by the villagers without any thought of their animist ancestors. To the east of us –perhaps 50 miles to the Pacific was “unexplored” country, the home of negritoes and remontados –this belt stretches about 400 miles to the north. We passed the country where the recent bandit campaign was conducted. Then to Pagsanjan –the rich coconut country and so to Lillo on the slopes of Banahao. San Pablo with its crater lake –country with bamboo like those, so Beyer says, in Celebes.
Beyer remarked that the Sakdalista movement is only marking time. That during the recent depression, the people in these provinces were lucky if they made twenty-five pesos in cash a year –that a peseta was big money to them; that they were worked upon by agitators, who ased them whether their conditions had improved in the thirty years of American occupation– then they dwelt on the faults of provincial officials, and told them the two peso cedula tax each man paid went to the rich politicians in Manila for their entertainments and automobiles. The bright spot of it all was that the price of copra had risen again now, and even at the very worst, these people never starved –they could live off the country.
We had passed over the high hills on the peninsula of Jala-Jala made famous by La Gironiere; the hinterland is still uninhabited, and the jungle comes right down to the new mountain road.
When, in 1913, I first met Beyer he was stationed among the Ifugaos and has, I am told, an Ifugao wife –so, I asked him questions about what “modern” civilization had done for them in a quarter century. He said that the situation was delicate –that they had three grievances: (1) government interference with their tribal customs; (2) sanitation and (3) schools.
That having a sense of humour, they laughed at themselves over the new sanitary regulations, but that the school question was difficult. The first barrio schools were introduced there by Secretary Denison in my time, say 1915 or 16 –then the elders of the villages were begging for schools– they promised to build the house for the teacher and to feed him. About two years later, they began to balk and to withdraw their children –these formerly had learned at home to play at building rice terraces and Ifugao houses –something useful for every Ifugao to know, but now they were learning to play baseball, or basket ball– things useless for an Ifugao. Besides, they were taught in school to despise some of the immemorial customs of their parents. Finally the only children who were allowed by their parents to go to school were those rounded up by the policeman and marched there. Then came the burning of the teachers’ houses and reprisals of a burnt village by Governor Dosser.
At Morong (or was it at Pillia?) the young parish priest, namely Prince Troubestskoy who recently succeeded the Baron de Steuer, came down from the convento and begged us to enter and “have a whisky” because he had no beer. Then he asked Beyer to give him the dates of his church, and Beyer replied –foundation in 1585, church really started in 1640– fortifications around it in 1696.
Beyer said that in San Pablo there had been 15 couples, rich Filipinos who had married American wives, who made up a society of their own. Only two of these marriages had been conspicuously succesful. He and I agreed that a mixture of races produced the greatest social and mental movement –that a pure race tended to become mentally stagnant.
To diversify the diet and elevate the morale of the mountain peoples, Beyer advocates goats and sheep –the only animals which could live in those mountains– there are no beasts of prey in the Philippines.
Said the problem in Nueva Viscaya was the two thousand square miles inhabited by the Ilongots –among them no Christians cared to settle, and the one thousand square miles now densely inhabited by Christians.
Apparently, Beyer is now writing busily, a task to which I have often nagged him.
Further observations by Beyer were:
Roxas is very ambitious and is unwilling to risk being Secretary of Finance with the prospect of an unbalanced budget –also, the political situation in the United States may influence him.
The Spanish priests under Legaspi (1560-90) brought the remontados, (Ifugao type) down from the mountains on the Pacific coast to settle again in their former homes on the lake-side whence the Moro pirates had driven them out a century or two earlier.
Dean C. Worcester and David P. Barrows fell out in 1904, and the Department of Ethnology was tossed about for years like a baseball.
J.D. Rockefeller, Jr. was taken out for a ride from Pasig towards Montalban in 1922 by the advice of Dr. Heiser –the road was always 6 in. deep in dust, and there was lots of tuberculosis– Rockefeller offered to pay the cost of a new road; Governor Wood declined the offer, but the road was built by the government.
Governor General Stimson took the funds set aside for the new bridge we had planned across the Pasig above Malacañan for some other public works project in which he was interested—hence the traffic jam and dangerous situation of Ayala bridge which is being now, since a year, incompetently and wastefully doubled in width.
When we passed Muntinlupa, where the new “Bilibid” is being established, I told Beyer how Santos had already planted one hundred and fifty prisoners who are picked men, to labor there, without guards. Doria expressed surprise, but Beyer joined me in explaining that the “criminal classes” in the Philippines contained very few of our type of jail birds –that many of them were there for offenses artificially created by Spain or American taboos and entirely at variance with their own traditional standards. That in consequence, in most cases no great stigma attached among them to a prison sentence.
Beyer also said that Paredes was an Indonesian type, not unlike the Hawaiian which is frequently in Ilocos; that Bocobo was probably a negrito type –rather snappy for the President of the University of the Philippines!