Traffic congestion during Carnival intolerable now over, thank God! Besides, cracks are reported in the north pier of the Ayala bridge, so heavy trucks arc banned from there–other people, possibly, are scared away–a great blessing.
The biggest external changes in Manila during my fifteen years of absence are: (1) the sanitation–both Americans and Filipinos are much more healthy–the water is safe to drink now, and food is safe almost everywhere. Only tropic anemia now threatens us; and (2) the lovely flowers now on sale at all the markets. I believed Governor General Davis turned Manila into the garden it now is.
Mrs. Gaches told me at our dinner that her butler had put his high wages into supporting his two brothers through college–signs of a topsy-turvy world–or perhaps rather of the Filipino determination to be ilustrado. As only a Small proportion of these “educated” men can be employed in the Government or in clerical positions elsewhere, this accumulation of young people who won’t work with their hands only increases dangerously the general discontent.
Mrs. Quezon returned from a month’s absence in Java etc. Press photos of attentive loving couple, Quezon in yachting cap. The next day Quezon left with Nieto and his aides for an eight day trip through Balete pass and the Cagayan valley.
Talk with Colonel Vicente Lim, senior Filipino officer in the United States Army and a graduate of the American War College. He said: “Quezon is a very hard man to work with.” I commented on how the President’s calendar was congested, because gave too much time talking with each visitor. He replied, “He understands the psychology of his people.” He stated Quezon “is giving us the best Government we ever had, but God help us if he dies and we get a weak-kneed President.” Lim also said: “even Quezon is only human and can’t be 100% perfect–as evidenced by the appointment of Antonio Torres.” As Lim himself had wished to be Chief of Police of Manila, he may be prejudiced, but he seemed to be trying to be fair in the following estimate of Torres: “integrity unquestioned; has ideas, but is childish and can’t write English, and is a coward.” Lim said that his “thesis” at the Army War College in 1929 was that Japan within five years would take Manchuria; that they would wait until the United States got into great financial difficulties; that England is now also waiting, but to see if the United States will put itself together; otherwise England is prepared to fall back on Singapore. That Japan is planning a canal thru the neck of the Malay peninsula in Siam, and for this purpose is making friends with the Siamese rulers. That this canal would present no more difficulties than had the Panama Isthmus. Lim also said in his thesis (and still believes) that the Philippines is bound to fall under the economic domination of Japan, but the latter will not pay the cost of physical domination. Said the Americans could never defend the Philippines against Japan, but the Filipinos could make the invasion of their country too difficult to make it worthwhile. Lim is a brother-in-law of Vicente Villamin, and thinks highly of him, tho’ Quezon does not like Villamin. Lim told Quezon that he is ready to give up his rank in the United States Army to serve in the Philippines Army if really needed–otherwise not.
Dinner with Jollye–excellent food and civilized service–later to Carnival–poor show, and the loudspeaker has added new resources of horror to the barkers!
P.M. bridge party at Babbitts, which Quezon accepted thru me. As I arrived, Babbitt said Quezon had just telephoned him he was ill in bed and couldn’t come. He was seen at the Carnival later that evening! The resurrection from bed was probably due to the fact that his recent girl friends had been candidates for election as Queen of the Carnival, and probably begged him to come. Don’t blame him. Our bridge went ahead, Jim Rockwell, Anderson, Babbitt, Mrs. Dodge and myself. Doria went to Carr’s cocktail party where she said the guests were mostly English and very agreeable.
Rumour heard by Doria from army officers that a group of American businessmen, of whom Julian Wolfson is said to be one–are trying to buy a yacht for Quezon to give it to him for eight months of the year. Doria replied that she did not know whether Quezon would accept it, but if he did, the businessmen need not expect in return any special favours from the government, for Quezon stood up so straight he leaned over backward; that as their first President, he was trying to establish precedents for absolutely clean and honest Government. Doria and friends went to Billikin Ball at the Carnival–only “pale faces” present–Doria comments on how sadly (decorously?) the Filipinos take their social pleasures. I replied that everything among them seemed on a minor key, but mat might only be their social manner.
P.M. Doria, Mrs. Swift and I to Montalban for tea, and we saw the bats issue at 5:45 from the limestone caves in the cliff far above–long twisting columns which came tumbling out in hugh detachments–must have been a million of them. Two small kites appeared about 10 minutes before them, and when the bats dashed out, each bird secured his supper.