Fourteenth Day, January 17, 1829

Fourteenth day. At daybreak I started, following the stream with much difficulty, and made a halt at 11 in Rongos, on the banks of the Aringay River. I started again at 2, following the river, and after having forded it four times I arrived at 5 at the town of Aringay.

This expedition, though short, served me well for those I made later, as the Igorot of Benguet shortly afterwards asked me for peace and have since been my friends. On different expeditions I have passed eight or ten times through their valley, and, far from attacking me, they have treated me with kindness, providing me with rice, cows, and other food. Still, as a consequence of this expedition and of smallpox, this town has been reduced to about a hundred houses. I am, however, doing everything possible to make it flourish again, and my highroad reaches there.

Thirteenth Day, January 16, 1829

Thirteenth day. After some ups and downs, and after having cut down some tobacco, we reached, at half past 10, the village of Talex, where I had been already. The inhabitants received me. In the afternoon I went on descending toward the west, and at 4 camped on flat ground by a small stream.

Twelfth Day, January 15, 1829

Twelfth day. After following the brook from 4 to 6, AVC passed through a village of twelve houses called * * *. The Igorot fled with much shouting; at 11 we halted in a wood. We marched at 2 in the afternoon toward the southwest and halted at 5.

Eleventh Day, January 14, 1829

Eleventh day. We broke camp at dawn, descending a very steep and stony slope with deep precipices on both sides. At 11 we halted and in order to make a camp had to cut the cogon and rattan with which we were surrounded. At 2 o’clock in the afternoon we started again and descended continually until 5, when we halted at a brook to pass the night.

Ninth Day, January 12, 1829

Ninth day. At daybreak I found myself again surrounded by the pagans, who were more furious than the night before. I resolved to give them a lesson. I started with all my troops and carriers, firing and making for the largest group of houses. On the way we caught fifteen prisoners, of whom we left one who had his leg pierced by a ball. Arriving at the houses, I set fire to them, burning down some hundred and eighty, and returned to the camp followed by the Igorot and firing upon them while retiring. After eating I prepared to take up my return march to the towns. My two guides, Pingui and Pipiuan, had escaped during the heat of the fight, but as I had twenty-eight Igorot prisoners I had them put in front with orders to guide us till we should arrive at Aringay, warning them if they did not do this I would shoot them, but that if they proved good guides I would set them free. We started at 2 in the afternoon, going southwest and climbing one of the hills. The Igorot on seeing us leave followed our rear guard, but I kept them back by firing a few shots at them from time to time. At 5 I camped on a level place on a ridge called “Vaiara,” where I passed the night quietly.

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.

Seventh Day, January 10, 1829

Seventh day. I started at daylight. After crossing a small valley we began descending through very dense cogon. We advanced very slowly, as we found the trail blocked up with trees laid across it, and a number of other obstructions. At 9 o’clock we heard wild shouts and perceived a crowd of armed Igorot on the opposite range. At the same it became impossible to advance. The path was beset with small, very sharp-pointed pieces of bamboo, and some of palma brava* driven into the ground, and with deep pitfalls covered with grass and furnished with bamboo spears in the center. There was also another kind of trap, called “balitil” by the pagans, which is made by placing two drawn bows with arrows ready to let fly, concealed in the high cogon grass, one at each side of the trail. From these hows a small and well-concealed string leads to the path, and when this string is trodden on the two arrows fly off with such force as to pass easily through a carabao. 1 Of these arrows, some are aimed so as to hit the body, others the legs. It was necessary to order ten men to the front who, little by little and with great difficulty and risk, removed the traps one by one, but not before these had wounded and disabled in less than an hour a sergeant and fourteen men, who afterwards had to be carried. Finally at 1 in the afternoon we reached the bottom of a ravine, where we found a river called the “Cagaling,” which is the same stream that flows past Aringay and has its source on Mount Tonglo. We took our rations in all haste, as the Igorot were in a commanding position and our situation was critical. For this reason I wished to gain the height in order to pass the night in greater safety. At 3 in the afternoon I commenced the ascent toward the southeast. Halfway up the slope, which was very steep, rocky, and slippery, the Igorot attacked us with a shower of stones, but a volley from our side put the enemy to flight, with the loss of one man killed, whom they carried off. At half past 5 we arrived at a small level place on the flank of a mountain. We built our camp here and passed a miserable night, during which it did not cease to rain. This spot is very picturesque. At a short distance in front we had Mount Tonglo, round which we had walked and upon which we discerned a village; a big waterfall rushed down into the Cagaling River at our feet; toward the east were graceful hills covered with green, and toward the south immense pine forests with here and there a hut.


A tract of tall, sharp grass, often as a high as a man on horseback. [TRANSLATOR.]

2 Coripha minor. [TRANSLATOR.]

Sixth Day, January 9, 1829

Sixth day. We started at dawn after many difficulties. I obliged Pipiuan to go in front, promising to set him free in the first village to which he should lead me. We marched toward the northeast. At 6 o’clock we saw upon a height a village which Pipiuan told me was Munglan; we went on and reached it at 8. We found it deserted. We continued our march across fields of sweet potatoes, and going down hill passed a well in which we found a bow and arrow, the ground being sprinkled with blood. My guides told me that this was a very bad sign, since it signified that the Igorot wanted to fight us. I reassured them, and, walking on for an hour and a half, we arrived at a small plain called “Tabao,” where I halted to give time to eat. My intention was to continue the march in the afternoon, but Pingui advised me to pass the night here because the road ahead of us we would meet with many difficulties, in the midst of which it would not be well to be surprised by the night. I therefore resolved to remain, and posted sentinels around the camp to guard against a surprise.