Diary of Francis Burton Harrison

March 17, 1936

Long talk at the office with Hartendorp, who is wearing down under his inability to see Quezon, or to do anything except routine matters. Fears he is being blocked by Vargas, whom he has several times criticized in his periodical, the Philippine Magazine. Says an attempt is being made to make us Advisers look useless to the Government. Told him to keep quiet and maintain a stiff upper lip.

Visit from Consul General Blunt who is going on leave–introducing Consul Foulds. Said Quezon had told him he wanted to attend the coronation in May, 1937.

After lunch Vargas called me on phone and said Quezon was off to Zamboanga, and if Doria and I and Mrs. Howell wished to go, the Arayat would leave at 3 p.m. Fierce rush and we all made it, to find Quezon had gone ahead in the Mayon to stop over at Iloilo, and we were to join him at Zamboanga on Tuesday a.m. On the Arayat, we found only Governor Guingona and Perez, the municipal treasurer of some town in Tarlac, off on an inspection trip for Quezon. Perez and I had a talk about the landlord and tenant situation, and he agreed with me in all particulars. He said the Chinos had a complete grip on the marketing of rice. I asked him if the report of the Rice Commission which has just been adopted was not a fight against the Chinos and he assented. He said that labor in the Philippines was now faced with a reduction of wages–these had already fallen from eighty centavos in my time to sixty centavos. Naturally, a good deal of social unrest results. Even so, our sugar could not compete with that of Java, where wages were only about twenty centavos.

Asked him to play bridge, but he said the regulations forbid Treasurers playing any game of cards, and that this executive order had been signed by me!

Guingona is in favour of constructing roads rather than railroads in Mindanao.

Amazing what a lot of apparently waste land there is in the Philippine Islands–in contrast with Japan, for example. The lower coasts of Cavite and Batangas and the coast of Negros, appear uninhabited, though here and there one sees the fires and smoke of caiñgins.

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