Short chat at Malacañan with Francisco Benitez, in which I expressed pleasure in the new plans for education. I asked him about building school houses–he said that in future they were going to stop building, in expensive and ugly concrete, and construct in “native materials.” After all these years of folly, I am glad to see common sense at last prevail.
Long talk with Dr. Manuel Roxas about the Council of National Research and the importance of research work in general to promote diversification of the products of the country. We seemed to agree about the deplorable paralysis in all economic plans, due principally to the influence of sugar interests and their lobby in Washington. Nevertheless, he wishes to speed up research work to be ready for the time when the National Development Co. does get to work (if ever).
In p.m., went with A. D. Williams, Consulting Engineer of the Metropolitan Water System to inspect their plant. Lovely drive to Ipo–on a road new to me. Otley Beyer, who came along with us, pointed out many of his best archaeological sites in Rizal and Bulacan, where he made the first discoveries in 1926. He was very interesting about the neolithic and Iron Age people. The latter era in the Philippines was from 200 B.C.–700 A.D. He also showed us the streaks of red earth where the “tektites” are found, which he named “Rizalites.” These are, he said, the only meteoric stones of a silicate nature, and also the only ones which contain mineral elements not yet known on this earth. The valley of the Novaliches River is rich in ancient remains–a region now largely unoccupied by man. Beyer says this is probably due to two reasons: (a) malaria (still there) and (b) gold digging and panning by the ancients, which then petered out, so far as their methods went. The earth here is honeycombed with old worm-like tunnels, with ventilation holes every 30 feet. Beyer says this was the mining method of the Chinese who flocked to California, after the ’48, and began working over the sites abandoned by Americans. We saw the spot where gold signs were discovered when the Bureau of Public Works constructed the road to Ipo–which led to the Ipo and Salacot mining industries today.
Old women still pan about 50 centavoes a day worth of gold out of the Santa Maria River near there–just as their ancestors did 2000 years ago.
At Ipo, we saw the coffer-dam being constructed on the Angat River which is to be completed in 1938, thus making a deep and narrow lake ten kilometers back into mountains. The river varies fifty feet in height between lowest and highest levels, and is always swift. The six kilometer tunnel, which took six years to complete, gives a six foot (in diameter) opening down towards the filter plant near Novaliches. When finished, this project will ensure Manila for the next century at least a fine water supply. Visited the new reservoir at Novaliches, and also the recently opened filter plant a few miles below there. All very wonderful engineering.
(Labor Day). Manila quiet; but there are pictures in the press of policemen trying on gas masks, which would naturally work for quiet! I saw a group of police with riot guns in front of the Post Office. Malacañan is deserted; Quezon manages to spend only one day at a time there sandwiched in between his voyages.
Out with Lapointe to visit Geo. Logan in the Spanish Hospital at San Pedro Makati. This is the most modern (3 years old) and apparently the best managed hospital in Manila, and it is run by the Spanish community. Then went to the Manila Hotel to say good-bye to “Andy” Anderson who is going (reluctantly) home on leave. Then to Tommy Wolff’s house where his 28th annual picnic for employes of the Sanitary Steam Laundry Co. was held on the lawn. Julius Rees back from United States, says conditions are improving there–he believes Roosevelt is sure of re-election. Rees approves the adoption of a new United States tax on the undivided profits of corporations. Talked with the United States Shipping Board man: in my day there were 30,000 tons a month shipped out of the Philippines–now nearly 10 times as much. Hence the great show of ships. He said that when independence comes, only the hemp industry could survive–sugar cannot compete with Java. Rees is however, also very pessimistic as to the future of the United States.
Lapointe tells me that in all the years he has spent in the Philippines, he has never known a Filipino to repay money borrowed!
Should have gone this noon to the German Club for their National Day–and was even anxious to do so, though no doubt, some of their older members were among those whom I deported to the United States detention camps during the war–but I could not stomach the thought of drinking Hitler’s health! Believe I should have vomited!
Called at Dr. Sison’s. I must go completely on the waterwagon. Went to the Bureau of Science–then to Malacañan where I talked for half an hour with Dawson (from Shanghai) of the United States Department of Agriculture. He has been here for some weeks studying the agricultural situation: says the Filipinos are the most “agriculturally minded” people he has ever known, and that many alert minds are busy on the problem of diversification of crops. Dawson reports the tobacco crops in the Cagayan valley are almost a failure from drought.
Saw Hartendorp and had a telephone from Dosser in Baguio. Tried to help out troubles for both.
Paulino Santos has been appointed Chief of Staff of the Army and a Major General–best man possible, and he will still be allowed to carry on as Director of Prisons–this will take him from Malacañan. Reyes also is made a Major General and Provost Marshal, Dr. Valdes a Major General, Vicente Lim also a General–all good selections.
Talked with Lapointe who has just come up from Antimonan where he is building a nipa shack in his coconut grove.
Went to the Aquarium which seems rather neglected. Called on Jim Ross to get his opinion concerning Americans becoming Philippine citizens. He agreed with Dewitt that this act does not impair American citizenship.
At Malacañan. A. D. Williams had just come from a conference with Quezon, Paez and Ramon Fernandez; says the President is set on building railways in Mindanao, and “A.D.” and, Fernandez tried to convince him they would not pay. “A.D.” said he thought he had offended Quezon still more by replying to his (Quezon’s) complaints that the roads offered too unfair competition to the Manila Railroad, that the competition from trucks was unfair and when they had finally managed by January 1, 1936 to get the tax on trucks raised from one peso to two pesos per 100 kilos, the rate had at once been reduced again. This was Quezon’s own doing on the advice of Geo. Vargas, and they both looked pretty glum. (This is the first instance I know since his inauguration where private interests had influenced the President contrary to the public interest.)
“A.D.” also inveighed against the taking of the accounting division out of the Bureau of Public Works and putting it with the others in the new budget office.
He also admitted it was a mistake to have put the Bagagab-Echague road over the mountains–it should have followed the Magat River down stream.
3 to 5 p.m. with the Survey Board quizzing the Directors of the Bureau of Lands and of the Land Registration Office. They sat side by side rather like naughty school boys, each covertly watching the other.
Bridge at the Polo Club, Peters, Satterfield and Ale. Went for a short time to Oleagas “cock-tail supper.”
At Malacañan and with the Survey Board. Quezon is to return from the Visayas tonight.
Dosser told me that there were 210,000 mountain people–of whom 100,000 were Ifugaos. He said that when the census of 1918 was taken and only 60,000 Ifugaos were reported, actually there were about 40,000 more of them hiding in the mountains on account of the great influenza epidemic. He believes that the Ifugao nation is diminishing in numbers thru the effects of malaria–they are very prolific but only bring up from two to three children to a family; they have rice to eat only half the year–(my own impression is that the destruction of the forests has diminished the water for irrigation and they cannot grow food enough).
Quezon returned on Visayas having left the Arayat on account of a small typhoon in the Bicols. Unson met him at the steamer and said he was in excellent health and spirits. He gave the President the result of the work of the Survey Board and Quezon at once appointed Assemblyman Marabut of Leyte as Under Secretary of Finance vice Carmona now President of the Philippine National Bank. The President accepted the Survey Board’s resolution creating a Budget Office directly under the President, consisting of Under Secretary Marabut, Auditor General Hernandez and Director of Civil Service Gil–transferring to this Board all accounting divisions of the Bureaus. Unson and Hernandez wanted property divisions also transferred to the Budget Office, but Trinidad, Paez and Dizon thought this would make too much friction–however, it is “now or never”!
Quezon spent 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Malacañan signing papers etc–then went off to Baguio for some days where he is busy with such Government officials as are now up there on “summer” vacation.
Babbitt and Rockwell have left the Philippines for a long vacation–“everybody” is supposed to be gone from Manila, but gaieties still keep up. Doria is preparing to depart on the 27th on Empress of Japan en route to Peking.
A San Francisco (Cal.) judge writes to Paredes concerning the “repatriation” scheme for Filipinos in the United States that: “the Filipino community in his city, in proportion to its numbers, affords the courts more criminal business than any other, and most of this is due to the fact that nearly all of them have white mistresses of a type not likely to do them much good–but still they are happy.” (This is all the more notable because such relations have always been very rare in the Philippines itself–and incidents arising therefrom are most unusual out here.)
Visit from Colin Hoskins–who said he was rather hurt that Quezon did not let him know before accepting his resignation as a director of the Philippine National Bank, but that he thought Quezon was right in Filipinizing it, and in excluding business men from the board, because “the more successful they had been, the more predatory the type.” I asked him about the sugar mill shares–he said all bank’s holdings were being bought up by Filipino interests–that the Jones-Costigan law was apt to continue, and under that, all the companies could liquidate their capital in five years, or even four. He thought very well of de las Alas, who is vigorous and yet prudent.
Luncheon at Malacañan in honor of Isauro Gabaldon who is sailing in Vittoria for six months in Spain and in Germany, where he is going to take the waters for diabetes. I was glad to see him and Quezon reconciled. Spoke of this and of Palma, to Quezon who said he was pleased to “recognize” them after giving them such a licking. Had a nice letter from Palma. He added that Gabaldon was one of the finest characters they have in the Philippines.
There were about thirty guests in the old dining room at Malacañan– the first time I had been there under the Filipino Government. I was the only American present. Former Residents Commissioner Gabaldon, Guevara, Delgado and Osias were there–also Alunan, Nieto, Gil, Montilla, Lacson etc. I sat between Mrs. Quezon and “Baby.” Mrs. Quezon told me that she had not been entertained by the Governor General in Java, and had refused to put herself forward as she was traveling incognito. It is evident that the Dutch are uneasy about the effects that Philippine independence will have on the Javanese.
Mrs. Quezon and I made many arrangements for our trips in April. Quezon and his wife showed great affection for one another.
The President said he wished to attend the coronation of Edward VIII in London, and I said I would like to go with him. Said he would have arrangements made through our State Department for his accommodation in London.
I asked him whether now that he had organized his government it would operate with vigour? He was positive it will.
Asked him when he was going to inaugurate his bridge and poker club for the members of the Assembly in the new basement at Malacañan. He replied that it was not quite finished. I told him the Assemblymen were in a mood when it would be a good gesture–he answered: “Not until I have given them a licking!” I laughed, so he had to join in.
Air of repose in the Executive Building—when Quezon is in Malacañan the whole place is like a beehive.
Visit from Sandiko. An interesting type, apparently of mixed ancestry: Chino and Moro. He reported on his investigation into Friar Land questions in Bulacan: says the purchase by the Government would benefit chiefly the hacendros; somewhat also the tenants who had added from two to four hundred pesos value per hectare to the land–the aparceros also would gain some slight benefit. They now pay 24-40 pesos rent per hectare which goes eventually to the hacenderos but is not entered on the estate books; if they can raise 70-80 gantas of palay per hectare, the aparceros now get only about 20-30 of it for themselves–not enough on which to raise a family. He says usury in one way or another is universal, and that a system like the “Raffeisen” must be introduced here. Says all wealthy Filipinos invest their money in land, not in industries or mines, for they know how to get much more for it thereby. He wants to break the power of landlords and to free the small man who is now a sort of slave under a feudal system. Says our Rural Credit Association under Prautch broke down because the caciques borrowed all the money intended for the aparceros, Sandiko says they may have him killed, but he is not afraid.
Visit from Don Vicente Singson, who came at Quezon’s request, to talk with me over the suggested purchase of silver at 45 cents with part of the “gold” (i.e., United States dollar) credits in the United States. Singson is opposed to this because silver is so uncertain, being now a by-product of other mining. Is in favour of a gold standard for this government. Is also strong for the Philippines having its own currency standard–free from the United States dollar, being suspicious of the latter. Two years ago, when he was Secretary of Finance, Singson went with the mission to the United States, and finally persuaded the War Department to agree to separate the currency system here, but was not informed of their decision for six months and meanwhile had left the post of Finance for private business. Says the change of system must be made while the Philippines are still under American sovereignty, so as not to alarm the public. He wishes to have a central bank here, such as has been introduced in “succession states” in Central Europe–thus making the government able to regulate and prevent raids on the gold supply. Has heretofore been opposed by other bankers here, but they have now come around to his view. Thinks Quezon does not understand these questions, and he admits it. Laughed at the Chinese irony over Kammerer’s regulations. I tols him my story of Yuan Shih Kai in 1915. Singson says he is convinced the United States will give the Philippine independence “whether the Filipinos want it or not,” and that they must prepare for it now.
Golf in p.m. at Caloocan with Fox, Jollye and Sinclair. Bridge 7-2:30 a.m. here with Guevara, Dr. Bangui and the younger Palma. Good game–they are better performers at the Culbertson system than are the English or Americans here. At supper, Guevara launched forth on his favourite subject–the absorption of the Philippines by Japan. Says that altho’ the two raced are related they really have nothing much in common–“but our grandchildren will.” Cited a recent statement by Vice-Admiral Kenkicki Takahashi, Commander in Chief of Japanese combined fleets as follows: “It is likely that Japan’s economic advance in Manchukuo, soon will reach its limits, and, therefore, the Empire’s future commercial expansion must be directed to Southern Seas, with Formosa or the mandated islands of the Equatorial Pacific as bases. In such event, the cruising radius of the Japanese Navy must quickly be expanded so as to reach New Guinea, Borneo and Celebes.”
Just as we were starting for the Stevenson’s party Quezon called me up asking me to explain to Betty how sorry he was he couldn’t come as he was giving a dinner at Malacañan. (It seems he had personally promised her to come.) She would not receive my explanations when we arrived. Had a later chance and told her how Quezon had planned to go to her party with me, and was quite unconscious that this was the evening he was giving a dinner for Romulo. She was still angry and said “Well just let him ask me to dinner!” I asked “You wouldn’t accept?” “I’ll be damned if I would.” There really is considerable disarray in Quezon’s social engagements. An a.d.c. who was not afraid of him could keep him straightened out, but this seems impossible. Certainly there was no mention of his own dinner party on his calendar when I was with him yesterday. Doria tells me she likes Quezon so much personally, but feels he is rude to her about engagements.
Saw Colonel Hodsoll at Stevensons–he was invited to Malacañan and refused because of Stevenson’s party–that will jolt Quezon. The real fault is psychological, Quezon cannot endure to be pinned down–he wants to be free and get away if he feels like it.