Diary of Francis Burton Harrison

March 8-9, 1936

Trip with Doria to Atimonan; stopped en route to see Lukban, where we were greeted by Tolentino who was Presidente there on my last visit (with Quezon) in 1913. Fine old church uninjured during the Revolution. Old stones artistically discoloured by the damp climate. The houses of this region are of bamboo, like those at Lillo on the other side of Banahao. Flowers and running water are everywhere. Unique scenery with rice fields inset among coconut groves. The unrivalled approach to the town was ruined by a large bill-board advertising Chesterfield cigarettes.

Over Quezon hill zig-zig to Atimonan. Unique scenery. Bath in the tumultuous Pacific. Good hotel, former residence of Governor (now Under Secretary) Guinto. Electric light and modern plumbing and a pure water supply. This and the hotel at Pagsanan are the first attempts at modern hotel keeping by Filipinos, and Keyes, the manager here, is doing well. Atimonan township now has 16,000 inhabitants with six million coconut trees. After the trees begin to bear, they need little attention, except to clear away the undergrowth; on some trees the nuts ripen every three months. Locals have no capital nor enterprise to start a dessicated coconut factory, nor to manufacture the by-products.

We stopped on the way back at San Pablo to call on the Stoffords.