December 23, 1938

Staying with the President alone at the Guest House across the Pasig River from Malacañan Palace.

At luncheon we had Don Alejandro Roces, proprietor of the T.V.T. newspapers and Paez, manager of the Manila Railroad Company. Paez told of the success of the new branch of the railroad in the Bicol Provinces –at last, they have through connection with Manila and it is no longer necessary to cross Ragay Gulf by steamer. Quezon mentioned that he had refused the request of residents of those provinces for a highway parallel with the railroad.

Roces came in excited by the press dispatches giving the exceedingly strong reply of Assistant Secretary of State Sumner Welles to the German Charge d’Affaires in which he refused to apologize for the very strong denunciations of Germany by Secretary Ickes. Parallel and even more aggressive statements had been made by Ickes himself, and by Key Pittman, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, which contained the language: “We do not like the government of Germany and we do not like the government of Japan.” Roces is expecting serious consequences –perhaps war. Quezon remarked: “The way to keep the peace nowadays is to use insults.”

Later Roces told me of his conversation about me with the late Governor General Leonard Wood, who had asked him what he thought of me. Roces replied enthusiastically about me, stating that before my coming here, the Filipinos had felt they were “nobodies.” Wood replied: “What wonderful friendship!” Roces answered him: “That is not merely friendship –it’s justice.”

Roces then went on to relate a conversation he had just after the defeat by the United States of the Philippine insurrection. He said tartly to a friar: “You gave us Heaven and Hell, but kept the earth for yourselves –now we want our earth, and you can take back your Heaven and Hell!”

This started the President talking about the present troubles on the Buenavista estate in Bulacan, belonging to the Church. These difficulties had come to a head this week. Quezon said: “The Archbishop is my friend, or used to be.” The Buenavista through its revenues supports the “San Juan de Dios” hospital in Manila. At the moment, the estate is in the hands of a receiver, who had ordered the new crop to be left untouched while the financial troubles were adjusted; the aperceros (or tenants) are to receive their share –there have been disorders, threats and danger of bloodshed. Secretary of Justice Santos recently called this serious situation to Quezon’s attention in a recent Cabinet meeting, and the President became indignant that he had not been earlier informed. He telephoned at once to Orense, the lawyer for the Church, to the Governor of the Province, to the Constabulary &c. to hold up everything for a week until he can get the situation straightened out. Quezon even threatened Orense with violent resistance from the Constabulary if his agents proceeded. States that he will not be like General Weyler who sent a company of Spanish artillery to the Calamba estate to shoot down the tenants there (vide Rizal). He then sent for the Archbishop and recalled to him the reason for the Filipino insurrection against Spain. The “Friar Estates.” He then offered to lease the estate for the government for an average rental equal to that which the Church had received from this estate for the past five years, plus ten per cent, which would make 115,000 pesos as an annual return for an estate assessed at four million pesos. Quezon said the government would buy the estate for three million pesos. The Archbishop withdrew to consider, and the matter is still pending.

I remarked that when Governor Taft had negotiated the famous Friar Lands purchase, it was a pity he did not buy all the Church estates for the government. Quezon explained that Taft bought only the Friar Estates because he thought that those belonging to the Archbishop would be protected by the Filipinos who are all Catholics.

Quezon then mentioned his last summer’s veto of the bill for religious instruction in the state schools –he said that over two thirds of the Assembly favored this bill.

Finally, he talked of the commencement exercises this year at San Juan Letran, the college he had attended as a boy. They had played during these exercises, not only the Filipino National Anthem, but that of Spain also –then everybody else present gave the Fascist salute but at that point, Quezon sat down. When he made his address, a little later, he slapped them severely for this incident, stressed the need for neutrality in the Spanish Civil War, and commended the attitude of High Commissioner McNutt in avoiding partisanship. Then in order to temper off the severity of his rebuke, he remarked to them: “I am glad to get even with the faculty, these padres did just what they wanted with me for eleven years!”

A little later, when he went to mass in some parish church, the friar organist started the old (Franco) Spanish anthem and immediately switched to the Philippine anthem, and he realized how directly the Filipinos had derived their anthem from the old Spanish one.

At dinner that night, the President developed a theory in favor of representative democracy instead of “mob democratic rule.” “The people care more for good government than they do for self-government,” he asserted, adding that “the fear is that the Head of State may either exceed his powers, or abuse them by improprieties. To keep order is his main purpose.”

As I felt there was more than a dash of unorthodoxy in his present philosophy, I then led him to a discussion of the qualities of those who are candidate to succeed him.

His present choice is Yulo, of whom he thinks so highly as a lawyer, and added that it was most important for an executive not to exceed his powers. He has consulted Yulo at every turn of his administration. Now he will make him speaker to “give him his chance.” At the same time he is bringing Manuel Roxas close to him as Secretary of Finance, to study him as well. I put several questions as to Yulo’s qualifications in handling other men, and in getting the best out of them. Quezon replied that if Yulo succeeded him he could sustain him and put him over. He admitted however that the frequent appearances of Yulo at the glittering social events of the sugar barons did not help him with “the people” adding the view that Joe’s (Yulo’s) only weakness is that his wife runs him: she is very extravagant. The President added that Yulo has no control whatever over Mrs. Yulo’s exhibitions of wealth; she used, moreover, to come to a banquet up to an hour late. He, Quezon, finally gave instructions to his staff at the Palace, that his dinners were to be kept waiting only ten minutes for Mrs. Yulo, and no longer. Shortly after this, she came to a dinner party half an hour late and was told at the door that the dinner was going on, and empty places at the table had been removed. This put a stop to her tardiness.

Roxas, he says, will certainly be President of the Philippines some day –“nothing can stop it” though he does not know whether Roxas will actually succeed him. Roxas has built up a great reputation throughout the Philippines; has matured and improved tremendously in the last three years.

I asked him what would be the position of Roxas if his new tax measures were rejected by the Assembly? He replied: “I will put them over.” Roxas has planned his new taxes on the mines in consultation with the principal representatives of the mining companies, and they have already agreed that the proposed taxes are fair.

Paredes, he says, is a very strong man and is the leader of all the Ilocanos; he has Tinguian blood, but not as much as had the late Ignacio Villamor, whom I had nominated as the first Filipino President of the University.

Paredes, he continued, is a very able man, but violent. Quezon greatly appreciates his support of Yulo for the speakership, and he spoke very highly of the former –but he knows, of course, how warmly I am attached to Paredes. I told Don Quintin the next day that Quezon had spoken so well of him, and he expressed the utmost skepticism then added: “if he wants to extricate me from my difficulties here, why does he not ‘deport’ me on one of those missions to the United States or Europe?” He added that he had no career in the Assembly, and that unless he keeps quiet for the next three years, it will just bring on a row with the administration; that if he does not keep quiet, he will lose his political influence.

This conversation was so confidential that I did not report it to Quezon, and the President made only one further comment at this period upon Quintin Paredes, which was to the effect that Paredes had a big personal following in the Assembly of which he was Speaker –while Roxas, as Speaker had only a dozen personal followers there, and had to be helped by Quezon and Osmeña.

My conversations with the President that night at the “Guest House” concluded early because he was so tired, and as we said “good night” he dwelt for a few minutes upon the subject of the book he wishes to write in collaboration with me. He suggested that I work up my own notes first and he will supply a thread of narrative for the administrations that came between mine and his! It is difficult to see how this would work out –I have no talent as a Boswell and not even an ambition to fill so exacting a role!

February 27, 1936

All day drive with Doria and Professor H. Otley Beyer through Laguna, Batangas and Cavite provinces. At Ft. Mckinley we turned down to the river and took the new road thru Pateros and Taguig to Alabang. Pateros is, of course, the centre of the duck raising industry and Beyer says the people there spread the story of how their men hatched their ducks–the fact was they had a primitive (and perhaps very ancient) incubator of layers of sand on bamboo slats; the top is covered, and the men sit on that and talk and smoke, hence this lurid tale!

The new road to Alabang passes Alcalde Posada’s hacienda--hence the road, according to Beyer! The shores of Lake Laguna are occasionally almost uninhabitable because of the smell of decaying algae, which sometimes even invade Manila via the Pasig River. Beyer said the decaying masses are due to the blackade created by water lilies–that A. D. Williams had installed a fine wire mesh at the outlet into the Pasig River which seems to cure that; there are so few boats on the Pasig River nowadays that this is possible.

We discussed the possibility of help for the Philippines health service from the Rockefeller Institute now that Dr. Victor Heiser was separated from that institution. I told how Quezon had recently thought of bringing Heiser out as Adviser on Health, so that if any epidemic broke out here, the Filipinos would not get all the blame–i.e., to make Heiser the goat. Heiser, who is a shrewd intriguer, “ducked.”

Passed one of Beyer’s archaeological sites on a ridge beyond Taguig.

Beyer mentioned how busy he is nowadays with Dr Geo. Pinkley of the American Museum of Natural History and his companions. Mnbien of Peking, Chinese archaeologist. They had spent 4 months together in Peking, studying the “Peking man”–they had a theory that the “drift” of continents had separated the Philippines and Celebes from the mainland, and that these islands had been the original “rim” of the continent; so that, perhaps the skulls or teeth of the “original” man could be found in the Philippines which they believed to have been formerly the seashore. He had persuaded these two scientists to stay on here to examine with him the brokel lime-stone areas near to and north of Montalban gorge–to search for “filled caves.”

I asked Beyer why the Filipinos used the reverse gestures in beckoning to come, and in nodding (also in using the saw); he said these matters were much disputed, but he believed they came from very early times; said there was a Basque village near Santander where the people also gestured in the reverse way.

He went on Speaking of the mountain people of Luzon, stating that the solution of the problem was their absorption by the Cristianos; said this would improve the Filipino stock and quoted Rizal to sustain his theory. Cited Paredes and Villamor as examples. The former half Tinguian and half Indonesian; the latter pure Tinguian.

Entering the province of Batangas, he said the residents were the most sturdy and independent race of Luzon, and were great fighters. Their horses and cattle are also the best in the Philippines. Their food is maize, dry rice, and poi. All the slopes of Mount Makalut (chief volcano)–5000 feet high, near Lake Taal, were densely inhabited in the neolithic age–a large proportion of his archaeological finds came from there. But there is a gap in their history of nearly 1000 years–positively no iron age relics. He supposes that an eruption of the Taal volcanoes drove out or destroyed all those early settlements–perhaps the survivors migrated to the site of the present Rizal Province. In 1911, the year of the last explosion, Father Algue of the Weather Bureau three days before the eruption came, had begged the Philippine Government to remove all people on the island of Taal. Some 2600 people who were there, and in the surrounding neighborhood, were killed in that explosion. The name of the mountain: Makalut, means “curly-headed” since it was inhabited until within 200 years of now by Negritos. Taal Lake is the crater of the great volcano of former times. Now only four or five small craters are left above the water, and also Mount Makalut of which the whole gigantic cliff to the west is the remaining wall. Thu volcanic ash makes wonderful soil when decayed–hence the better specimens of man and beast. The lake was connected with the sea by a river navigable to former ships, until the 1911 explosion which blocked the former outlet and raised the level of the lake. The water of Lake Taal is still brackish, and the fish are of marine types. The soil cuttings hereabouts show various levels of volcanic ash, marking the periodic eruptions.

Passed thru a barrio which had voted against de las Alas four years ago, so to punish them, he would not complete the 1½ kilometers of road connecting their barrio with the main road for three years!

Visited the town of Taal on the sea–it was moved from the original site on Lake Taal 200 years ago, after being twice destroyed by the volcano. Nice old church, and another well-known church and stairway constructed by Christian Chinese after a massacre of their people by Filipinos. In answer to my question why the Filipinos periodically massacred the Chinese–he replied “various reasons”–the massacre of 1603 was permitted by the Spanish because they thought the Chinese were getting too rich; the attempted massacre of 1922 was due to the arrogance of the Chinese after their own revolution in China.

Mabini came from Batangas–his brother still lives there; so do Conrado and Francisco Benitez, Teodoro and Maximo Kalaw (note how shrewd they are in keeping out of high political office)–Galicano Apacible, de las Alas and the Tironas, and the Lopez family. The Zobel and Roxas families have large haciendas in the southwest of this province.

I asked Beyer why in his “ancestral chart” of Filipinos, he did not mention the Japanese; he replied that the Japanese had only lately begun to settle in the Philippines. The similarity of appearance of many Filipinos to the Japanese is due to Malay ancestry which is in nearly half the Filipinos and in most of the Japanese. Those Malays now here invaded from Java and Celebes, and partly from the mainland. Those Malays who went to Japan, entered partly from the mainland, and others, during the Stone Age, from islands east of Java, via Guam, Marianas, Marshall and Bonin Islands–not via Celebes and the Philippines. This is proved by the oval stone axes of a type found in Japan and in the Pacific Islands mentioned, but never found in Celebes, Borneo, nor the Philippines. (Note: the Japanese are just becoming aware of this kinsmanship and are modifying their former arrogant attitude towards the “Southern Barbarians.”)

Today’s newspapers give an account of a military revolt in Japan led by the army, and the murder of five leading statesmen by the soldiers. Beyer said this is in the Japanese tradition. The samurai were so arrogant and such bullies that the Japanese 80 years ago got rid of them and re-instated their Emperor. In his opinion, the domination of the military caste today in Japan is dangerous, but the Japanese will eventually throw them out as they did the samurai.

Other remarks of Beyer were:

Searchers are finding the teeth of elephant and rhinoceros in the Philippines, but none of the tiger, as yet. Plenty of tamarao teeth, all other Luzon. This central region has been agricultural for so long that the dangerous animals were killed off in prehistoric times.

He is not sure the carabao is not indigenous here; the appearance of the Ifugao cimarron is quite different from the domestic type. I could corroborate that statement.

Chinese carp had been introduced here by the Bureau of Science in the fine fish lake in Camarines. Result: the newcomers had devoured the superior type of fish already there, and the people would not eat the carp. So the Bureau of Science is now trying to eliminate the Chinese carp by some disease fungus.

Coming from Butangas through the western part of Cavite towards Tagaytay ridge, Beyer said this country was not settled as is the adjacent southern Batangas, because it was and always had been a paradise for gangsters, now operating as cattle thieves. Some of them were rich men who were playing cattle rustler where formerly they would have been pirates–for sport. They had “fixed” the municipal officers and the Constabulary. I commented on the great decline in morale of the Constabulary under the amiable General (Dr.) Valdes. He said part of it was due to the building of so many roads–the Constabulary had given up “hiking” patrols, and now seldom got out of their motors. He added that my execution of General Noriel–public enemy N° 1 in Cavite, had put a stop to the gangster business in that province for nearly 20 years. Now it was springing up again.

Beyer said that as a geologist, he believed the gold reef in the Philippines extended straight along the Cordilleras. That the Benguet Igorrotes were “gold conscious” and knew all the surface gold places in their provinces; that he did not believe there would be any new gold “strikes” there except at deep levels; that the Bontocs were opposed to gold prospecting, and that the country to the east–Ifugao–was not geologically suitable. That Abra and Kalinga offered a good field for prospecting, especially since Abra, like Benguet, was not heavily wooded.

He expressed worry over the change of the governorship of the Mt. Province now that Colonel Dosser has resigned. Said Bontocs and Ifugaos were resistant to changes in their social and economic system. They were large, organized and proud nations. But, he added, the Filipino officials generally started with great enthusiasm for “reform” in the Mt. Province and then cautiously let the people alone and went in for personal petty graft. Said the Ifugaos were afraid of Cristianos getting all the public offices in their country and taxing, and changing their customs. Said during Governor General Murphy’s vacation in United States, Vice Governor Hayden had appointed some twenty of the Ifugaos as minor officials in their own country.

I asked him what had become of the lgorrote girls educated in Mrs Kelly’s school–he said some of they had married Americans–some lived with them without marriage–most of them had gone back to their filthy ancestral huts and had become lgorrote wives, forgetting their education.

He said the Kalingas, the handsomest and most warlike of the northern nations, had nevertheless proved less resistant to modern “progress” than any of the others.

When in the barrio of Makalut, town of Cuenca, we visited the home of the local cacique, Caves. I asked Beyer to explain his odd face; Beyer said it was mostly Moro–the Moro pirates governed here when the Spanish first came here 350 years ago.

Later that evening we gave a dinner to Consul General Blunt and Mrs. Blunt, Carr, Sinclair, Mrs. Swift and Miss Masters–the latter was half an hour late, for which there was no excuse, for she is hardly a “mere chit of a thing.” Manners in post-war times are certainly “shot to hell.”