29 May 1792

(The following sentence was crossed out but legible.) On the 29th I went to Mauban, where I had the pleasure of coming across our chief, Señor Malaspina, who was occupied with various astronomical observations, which task had led him to this place a few days ago. Immediately after my arrival, I reconnoitered the famous mountains that wall-in the pueblo from west to northeast. The astounding height of its trees, their massive size, their unfading verdure, and their luxuriance are capable of surprising the most experienced observer. Each one of them presents as it were a new fertile soil: (crossed out words) a thick layer formed by the humidity and other heterogeneous matter coat their gigantic trunks and sustains and nourishes an infinite number of parasitic plants, whose clear green foliage admirably contrasts with the shading of that coating. [Each of these trees] presents to the amazed traveller a labyrinth of leaves and branches that enhance its grandeur and majesty. The collection of plants that I acquired in these forests met my expectations and no less estimable was what I was able to discover in neighboring valleys where there are excellent mines of surpassing stones used (illegible word) in buildings without expense.

(The following paragraph was crossed out but legible.) The rush-matting or fine petates [mats for sleeping] woven with so much time and effort in Mauban are valued in Manila. The plant from which the strands for its texture are extracted is known by the name of chabutan, and its harvest is immense. Those which they call bejucos [rattan], when newly cut, are distilled in delicious-tasting fresh water in small or great quantity but always wholesome in the dry season or of great use to the natives specially to workers in the field.

On the beaches of Mauban, there are various unusual stones. One comes upon silicon quartz, tabular astrites and some black slags which are believed to be marine in origin [but] which I consider to be volcanic as examined to my satisfaction. The outskirts of the pueblo extend (blotted word) to the very distant mountains (crossed out word). (Illegible word and crossed out words.) The burning rays of the sun, more intense here than in some other part of this coast, never penetrate the natural wall that the brambly undergrowth presents, and the rich soil by the process of evaporation caused by the sun’s rays is always in a condition to foster its growth.

The desire to make my collection more and more plentiful compelled me to cross from here those mountains in spite of the uneven terrain, for the most part swampy and noxious. I actually undertook my journey accompanied by five men for the transport of the herbarium, papers and well prepared food. It was necessary to remove our footwear and proceed two long leagues, for six hours, through a swamp into which we submerged up to half of our thigh. The rest of the way was less arduous, and the addition to my collection completely consoled me.

These mountains abound in rare large snakes, and the number of leeches that fasten themselves by preference to the legs and cause notable discomfort is imponderable. The number of these that are bound to climb every leg in this journey until they detached themselves was no less than dozens. But I am firmly convinced that this profuse bleeding prevented a sunstroke or other inflammatory infirmity which I could not but contract after exposure to strong sunlight for the most part of my travel.

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