Tagbilaran Tuesday Wednesday March 27 28, 1900
I returned an hour or two ago from a charming drive with Dr. Furbush to a little place on the south coast called Baclayon, where half of one company of Major Hale’s command has been placed.
It is a most charming little town dropped down upon the shores of the sea and facing a far away island looking green and romantic across the blue intervening waters, broken into white crests under the whip of the sharp sea breeze, but nearer shore blowing in ripples of clearest crystal over the coral sand, with here and there a patch of beautiful color which makes the shore at times the rival of the feathery background of palms and bananas rising behind the quaint huts and white convent and church of the village itself. It was market day to-day and from all parts of the island had come men and women to sell and buy beneath the overhanging [porch?] of the old stone market place.People had come too from neighboring towns of the coast in canoes and larger boats, and indeed even the wild birds seem[ed] to loiter on the shore to enjoy the scene, for there as the tide ebbed and flowed were blue herons and white [stalking?] amongst the shallows, waders of various kinds and here and there a long nosed curlew feeding well apparently on the abundant marine life. A charming spot on a summer morning with its great stone church, surrounded by gigantic old trees, that run down almost to the sea, and form a natural park, beautiful and stately [illegible]. Here by the church, are the barracks of our men, in a long one story stone building, part of which is also the school house of the boys. Here we found the little fellows under the charge of a pleasant-looking native teacher going through the rudiments of reading or arithmetic at the tops of their voices as the custom is in Spanish schools. Both Spanish and Visayan seemed taught. In the main church building was the school for little girls, and here too a pleasant-faced young woman teacher — a native — came forward to greet us. The priest who at this time was showing us about was a <former priest was> Recollect friar so he said, and seemed quite content with his flock and its surroundings, pointing out the stables cut from the living rock in rear of the church, and where a number of excellent horses stood in the stone stalls <sedan chair>. The church is evidently a rich one and has silver lamps and a beautiful altar piece show[ing] that here as ever it has known how to keep its control of the imaginations of these poor people.
Indeed the magnificence or rather the grandeur of the churches on this little island have [sic] astonished me. Nearly all of stone and of good size they make a strong contrast to the bamboo huts of the people. But these too seem clean and suit them somehow, and the idea of poverty and squalor is never associated with them. But on Bohol the houses are often of wood and of a very good class; the people show every evidence of comfort, and well being; the expression of their faces is open and kindly and for the most part they seem well fed. The women are very modest and wear more and better clothing than the bean poles of Panay, and the men though wearing often a mere [idea?], still manage to appear modest. The better class of men wear coat and trousers like other civilized people.
However, to continue more connectedly, Dr. Furbush and I started about 6:45 A.M. in a Quilis (or [Hudrik?]) drawn by our shaft and our four horses, and beautiful indeed was the morning as we plunged along the rock road by the water leading from this town to the bridges and forking continuing the one branch to Daoiss(?) and the island across the straight [sic], the other along the south coast; a more beautiful drive can hardly be imagined at any time with the green waving forest on one side and the blue ocean on the other of an almost perfect road cut from the living rock itself in places, at others running over the surface or perhaps crossing a quaint little Spanish bridge ancient and time worn. It was the first time I had been out of the hospital since a week from the preceding Monday (except for a few hours at sunset last evening) nine days in all, and so the charm of the morning was heightened. On we went keeping close by the sea, passing an occasional hut, where alas ever we saw the yellow flag indicating small-pox the great curse of this region which Dr. Furbush has so designated by decree of the Presidente. Then after looking at the barracks and school at Baclayon, on we continued a few miles up the coast, always following the same good road running amidst the same picturesque scenes, with a hut or larger house here and there a horse, or group of cattle or caribao and always comfort; now and again a bamboo chapel was placed along the road as if the grand churches of the larger towns were not enough for these religious people. About three miles away at a large barrio where was a church and a large convent or monastery we halted, having gone far enough. Here we found a cuartel of the police or really the native soldiery, and as usual a few spears and bolos, besides some of the little flower pot cannon which are used, I believe, at celebrations and stand upright when fired. In this barracks were a few soldiers and police, but they were very civil and allowed us to examine everything. There was a villainous picture of Aguinaldo on the wall and a copy or two framed and in Spanish and Visayan of Aguinaldo’s Proclamation of Jan’y 8, 1899. All of course highly treasonable but [objects?] they did not make the slightest attempt to conceal, and in which they found no harm. The great building near the church formerly occupied by the Frailes or monks seemed now partly unoccupied, but was in a good state of repair.
I have seen no <few> Spaniards on this island. Evidently all went with the soldiers. The progress these simple people have made in conducting their own affairs since left to themselves is wonderful. Their schools and posts are excellent; their police good, and everywhere are seen [sic] the evidence of comfort, happiness and peace. What more can we give them. Well returning towards Baclayon we passed the country going to market, some on foot others on horse, the women riding a queer kind of side saddle made like a cane chair. On foot nearly every woman carries an umbrella. Market was late, however, and it was nearly eleven o’clock before the shad[y] space under the high porch of the market place, where the sea breeze swept through, was filled. Here were offered fabrics made from island hemp or piña, cotton stuffs and trinkets from Hong Kong, wooden combs, cheap native jewelry, and nearby tobacco, then perhaps cocoa nuts, native coffee; then in another group vegetables onions, egg plant, then rice, native corn, fish, eggs, and so for edibles. Beyond the buildings hats and baskets were sold, but every where the crowd was quiet and orderly but very curious about the strangers. They were a pleasant faced lot polite and clean, not ill smelling like crowds of that nature on Panay and the food offered seemed clean and good. Indeed the Boholanos are an admirable people.
An inspection of the barracks of the civil guard showed the same collection of old spears and bolos as before with the addition of two quaint old pictures on religious subjects doubtless of Spanish execution which the Dr. and I made a feeble attempt to buy but did not. Then a good lunch and quiet smoke looking out over the merrily dancing sea, and the fishing birds inshore, then by a road through the woods home. On this drive I saw my first tree top house, a little bamboo hut like a doll’s house in a low tree (dul-dul or cotton wood.) Now it grows dusk for dinner with the mess the first time since landing a week ago. Hope I may keep free from fever now.
Information concidered [sic] fairly trustworthy <had been received which> indicated that a landing had could best be made at the southern end of the island near the capital: and that no opposition would be met <made>. So in spite of the <obvious> fact that we should thus <the force would> land when it was expected and where the inhabitants if hostile would be prepared to meet it other conciderations determined Major Hale to accept this risk and land on the coast near the capital. At Cebu, therefore, [illegible] interpreter was obtained the capital Tagbilaran and <island of Panglao whence a good road was known to extend to the capital>. The gunboat Panay was sent out some hours before the Elcano sailed to await the arrival <of the latter> off the coast of Bohol.
It was about twelve o’clock of a beautiful night, with a full moon shining over forest and harbor, lightening up the salients of the grey old fort and touching with silver the white walls of church and convent when the Elcano started on her voyage. The distance was short and long before the bugles sang reveille across the quiet of the slumbering sea <in the> silver grey of the following morning, the men were active and preparing to land on the unknown island. Presently as the sun rose we ran in towards the line of a green well wooded coast and following it eastward approached a shallow bay evidently our landing place <for far inland we could see the masts of the gunboat at anchor>. A few canoes were patrolling <here & there> across the [illegible] sea, and a larger craft <sometimes [appeared?] under the [illegible], but everything was as peaceful as a summer’s morning <should be.>
Presently we saw the signal flag of the Panay telling us the depth of water, [which?] her boat sounded here and there in search of a channel. But no one appeared to notice our approach and the fishing canoes at sea, and natives along the shore continued their occupations as if it were nothing unusual <for them> to see of a morning two steamers off their coast <bringing> soldiers from the other side of the world to take possession of this country. Appearances, however, may not be accepted in the Philippines, and as the ship stole quietly into her anchorage about a mile from shore four boats were called away, manned with native rowers and carrying <an officer and> eighteen or nineteen men each were drawn up in line in advance of the ship and preceded by a boat from the Panay in which were Major Hale <commanding>, Lt. [Lubey?] of the navy, Asst. Surgeon Furbush and the writer, proceeded with an interval of some twenty yards [i.e between boats] towards the shore. But nothing occurred to mar the quiet of the scene, the water broke gently over brilliant sands and corals below, the fishermen continued to fish <their occupation>, the canoes rocked gently on the waves, while on shore all was quiet <as the desert> until.
As the water shoaled men and officers leaped overboard and presently a long <skirmish> line of blue <shirted soldiers> was advancing, <muzzles of their guns in the air>, through the shallow waters to the shore. Presently as we approached <nearer> a carriage appeared driving along the beach evidently the Government come to receive us; and as the commanding officer accompanied by the others of his boat stepped dripping upon the sands the <representatives> of Bohol advanced to meet him, three dignitaries, <intelligent looking people, evidently dressed in their Sunday clothes> and a priest; but the President of the Republic was not there. We learned then that word had been sent of our coming the day before; but time and tide had prevented the representatives of the people from going on board the transport. It appeared that the President would receive Major Hale at the Capital, and would there surrender his charge but under protest and because he had no means of resistance. The delegation requested Major Hale to leave his troops and take their carriage to town, <but when> this was declined, and the absence of the President remarked, the conference on the shore ended amidst numerous handshakings and salaams which, however, did not cover [i.e. convey?] any great amount of credibility, and the natives withdrew. It was a strange scene <the [next?] morning> on the sandy shore of this little inlet bending like a scycle [sic ] between the palm covered heights of two almost unknown islands <of the [illegible ] seas>, the long line of <coral beach dotted with> armed men stretching away at intervals <to the trees> and already extended inland to prevent attack, the dark skinned group of natives, deeply moved at the enforced surrender of their pretty land to an alien and stranger <race> the little band of American officers dripping from the sea <but with grave faces [attending?]> the commander <of the expedition> who kindly, but with firm words made clear to all, that he came as the representative of his country to take possession of the land in the name of the United States and humanly speaking forever.
The delegation <Here insert brackets> withdrew, and after a few necessary dispositions of the men, and instructions to begin unloading the stores Major Hale with the three officers I have mentioned and a small escort started for the capital of the island. It was a beautiful walk along a well made road often cut from the living rock and lined with delicate foliage through which on the left a frequent view of the straight [sic] between the islands could be seen with the wooded shores of Panglao(?) beyond. Pretty cottages of bamboo here and there peeped from the cocoanut palms by the wayside, and pleasant faced people <saluted us politely or> peeped at us shyly as we passed. They showed no fear of the strangers, these well looking people, their huts were not deserted, and even the women and children continued quietly <at> their work as if nothing unusual were happening. And so through the hot breathless morning we continued until the huts became more frequent and there appeared before us a bamboo gate which marked the confines of the town.
Here an incident happened. As we approached — the four officers in advance — a carriage drove smartly up to the barrier and a tall man wearing an opera hat, evening dress and with a red sash around his waist and a dandified cane in his hand jumped to the ground approached & stopped. We all stopped halted and saluted, and the [arrival?] standing in the middle of the road in the full blaze of the morning sun, explained <with dignity> that he was the President of the Provisional Republic of Bohol; that in accordance with the decree of the council he had come to surrender the government to the Americans but that he did so under protest and because there was no recourse. The people of Bohol had no guns and could not resist; they were suffering because their ports were closed and food was scarce and dear. He held in his hand the protest of the government, and desired to proceed to the Government House and there read it and make the formal surrender in the presence of the Council and chief men. And so with Major Hale on one side of the Governor, the writer on the other, the two other officers and escort following in rear, we marched up the road towards the great church, thence across the plaza and to the Government House above whose entrance hung the scutcheon of Bohol, an ellipse bearing a sun rising above three mountain peaks and with three stars above, surrounded by the legend “Gobierno Republicano de Bohol,” the whole bordered by the colors white, red, and blue from inside out. No flag was flying from the staff, but a squad of native soldiers or police wearing the blue and white striped uniforms <of the Spaniards> and carrying a lance and long knife or bolo was drawn up in front and saluted as we passed in, our own escort remaining at rest outside. Passing on through the stone sally port with guard room at the side and past the gloomy windows of the prison <cells> where the faces of the native prisoners gazed out at us through the bars, we, still accompanied by the President ascended to a large room looking out upon church and plaza, and found ourselves in the presence of the assembled dignity of Bohol.
Perhaps forty or fifty men were gathered together in this large bare room, ornamented only — if the word may be used — by a wretchedly flat and wooden painting of Aguinaldo done in uniform; all stood expectant and all <were> deeply impressed <by the simple scene and indeed> the gravity of the occasion was evident <[…illegible…] of a quarter of million of people and of a government>, and it would perhaps be difficult to imagine a group in which the actors were more deeply affected than <the natives> here. All were quiet, dignified and grave, and emotion showed not only merely in the voice but in the eye. All were standing <Everybody stood>, the four Americans together and in front of the Presidente, the others grouped in rear, but two or three persons only spoke. <First> The President began by reading in pidgin supposed English the protest <of the council> against surrender of the island; this was <the words were> incomprehensible, but the meaning of all was clear enough. The provisional government surrendered the island which had in a manner been delivered to it in trust by Aguinaldo, not because it wished to do so but because it was forced <by superior power> so to do. They had no arms they could not resist, therefore they <must> yielded. The reply was clear [an arrow here points to the passage on p. 36 that begins “To the Presidente…”] The American troops had have come under the my command of Major Hale as representative of the Government of the United States to take possession of the island and to protect the people; we come as friends and not as enemies; but that all allegiance to Aguinaldo must be renounced, <all contributions cease. Henceforth Bohol become a part of the U.S. forever.> The proceedings were brief, the protest read by the President — who spoke English — was delivered to Major Hale; a few short brief remarks were made by the President of the town of Tagbilaran, the other & by the Councillor [sic] of Justice, a Tagallo [sic] but one who had lived for thirty years in Bohol and an able man. He seemed to fear not that he should become a citizen of the United States but a slave as he expressed it, and so with others who seemed to think that they would be deprived of their liberties and reduced to virtual slavery. They were told that their liberties would be respected, and the words seemed to cheer them. Indeed since then <it was soon evident that> the more the people learned of the strangers & of their new country the more reconciled they became to the soldiers & to the loss of their shadow of independence. And so it is hoped will the feeling of contentment grow.
Evidently the devotion of the people of the island to Aguinaldo was extreme amounting almost to worship. Everywhere his picture was displayed and copies of his celebrated decree of January 8, 1899 exhibited. It was a hard blow to them to be forbidden to honor, or help further, their patriot […illegible…]
To the Presidente — Your protest is of no avail. I have the force to take your island and I have done so. Sat., in Gov’t House on approach.
The president of the town asked if their flag might fly beside our own, the answer was that there was but one flag now in the island that of the United States.
Saturday in Govt House.
Next day Major Hale met the headmen and again recurred to their expression of fear that they would become slaves, and said that after fighting for years to free <her> slaves the United States was the last country of the world to enslave others. Sunday meeting.
The protest against surrender having been read and delivered and the brief speeches ended, the formal meeting dissolved and <presently> the practical questions of the quartering of the men, unloading of the stores and details of occupation arranged with the people. Presently the remainder of the troops <came marching into town &> just behind them <the telegraph which> the Signal Corps detachment which <had> in about <some> fifty minutes after landing had carried the from <the shore> landing place to the capital, a distance of about a mile and a half and placed headquarters in telephonic communication with the shore station and thence with the ships by flag. Probably it was the first application of electricity ever seen on Bohol, and the Presidente inquired with some anxiety about danger to the people from the wire. Then at one o’clock with troops drawn up in line <and presenting arms> the flag was raised above the Government House and the island of Bohol became formally a part of the <territory of> United States of America. Finished above
Practical questions relating to the occupation of the island and on the quartering of the troops, treatment of the people, <and the> landing of the stores now occupied attention, and it soon became evident that the people though uncertain of our [wants?] were friendly, and <that> the President Mr. Bernabi Reyes, a man of very superior ability and education <had> accepted the inevitable and was prepared to do all in his power to assist the new government. The men were quartered temporarily in the school buildings; houses were rented for officers and store rooms, the Government House was taken for offices, <and a hospital established.> Men were prohibited forbidden from entering to enter native houses huts, an order was issued prohibiting the sale of tuba — the fermented juice of the cocoanut, a tarif [sic] schedule was arranged <announced> fixing the prices of certain ordinary commodities; natives were directed to cleanse their premises, and to make certain sanitary dispositions and a rigid inspection and cleansing sanitation of buildings <was> instituted by the surgeon of the command Captain C. L. Furbush. At his desire also native children were sent to him the hospital for vaccination <and on> the day after our arrival and so docile were the people that thirteen little ones presented themselves presented themselves on the occasion, and with puckered faces but without [illegible] wait this the ordeal. All these decrees were promulgated through the Presidente in the native fashion, which is to send out <through the town> about night-fall the public crier <who> accompanied by a man with a sepulchral drum which that he beats at intervals, and <by> another with <bearing> a lantern <&> guarded by three or four spearmen of the native police, this cortege drums its his way through town stopping at street corners to cry out the news or instructions. And as the first steps were taken to nourish cherish and increase the friendly feelings of the kindly simple natives, and to help them in their endless fight against <poverty> fever and small pox, <the latter of> which was indeed very prevalent at the time. With the armed men — police or soldiers — of whom the town contained perhaps thirty of forty carrying knife and lance, but possessing in addition a few old queer flintlocks, fowling pieces, and other worthless weapons, no difficulty was experienced. At first the guards occupied opposite sides of the sally port of Government House in rear of which some eighteen prisoners were confined — and it was [amusing?] to see the two sentinels facing [illegible] each other the big American with rifle and bayonet <looking as if he would> like to step on the little native armed with knife and lance, but keeping a careful eye on him all the same. But presently the police were removed to other quarters, and as most of the prisoners had taken care of themselves Government House was <soon> freed from embarrassment. The taking off of the prisoners was an incident which no one seemed greatly to regret though some of them were thought to be dangerous criminals. Under the native system they were left idle in their prison room which was foul beyond words; but when the demand for labor incident to the unloading of the stores became urgent it was found necessary to work these men with the other hired labor. At first all went well under the eyes and guns of our sentinels and the earnest voice in which the prisoners answered “Si, si” when asked if they understood that they would be shot if they attempted to escape left no doubt <of their [intentions?]> possible. But one day when water must be brought from the forest spring the prisoners were guarded only by the native spearmen, and fifteen of them captured their few guards and vanished <amongst the trees> but <and only> two or three were left to languish at the end of the spears: and so the prison at Tagbilaran was purged and the new regime began. Within a week of the landing all seemed settled at the Capital of Bohol as if no peaceful convulsion had taken place; the government goes <went> on as usual; the people are <seemed> content and soldiers and natives <were> as friendly as if they had lived together always. The festivals go <went> on, and in the nearby towns the schools continued, in fact there has <was> hardly been a break in the ordinary lives of the people, and not one official has lost place or salary. This government, the schools, and the Church go <went> on as before, and the presence of the Americans <is a mere ripple on the surface of island life. So long as this happy state of affairs can continue American occupation will do no harm to the idyllic life of this simple people.>. But perhaps it is worth while in conclusion to consider for a moment what it was we came to replace, and what manner of people and government we have added to the collection of humanity <under our flag>. A glance at the conditions found on the occupation of the island by our troops will shows that we had did not taken over a mere lot of savages, or turbulent insurgents <or ladrones> but a well ordered, peaceful, and self respecting community perfectly capable of working out its own destiny, without aid from without unless to protect it from <indeed it were to fall under> foreign aggression.
It seems that when the Spaniards in December 1898 were withdrawn from Bohol, by steamer from Cebu, the island was left in a state of anarchy; no government remained, no army existed, and Cebullaños always it appears more or less insolent towards the people of Bohol, came over in numbers robbed the people and levied contributions in the name of the great republic of Aguinaldo which still remained to be created.
All manner of impostors were foisted upon the simple Bojolanos. One man <even went so far as to> proclaiming himself the reincarnation of the poet Rizal executed in Manila <&> was <at> first worshipped <as a saint> and then killed, all sorts of outrages were perpetrated by <natives from the other islands> in the name of <liberty & of> the Filipino Republic until finally the people <of Bojol> rose <from their apathy> formed a native army and drove out the invaders and secured quiet. Still there was no central government <and a system remained to be created>. During the earlier disturbances Mr. Bernabe Reyes a resident of Dauis near the present capital Tagbilaran (and by the way a <worthy &> most intelligent man of mixed Spanish, Filipine and Chinese race educated in Hong Kong) had removed to Cebu to attend to his private interests, and seeing the condition of anarchy into which Bojol was drifting passed on to <set out for> Manila and there through the powerful influence of Mr. Florentino Torres succeeded in obtaining from Aguinaldo authority to return to Bohol and there establish a provisional government which should later be merged into the great Filipino Republic. In January 1899 he returned and visited various towns of the island, secured by popular vote the election of local presidents who in their turn were to meet at the capital as representatives of the people of Bohol and there elect a president of the provisional republic and establish a <central> government. A general constitution for all the islands had been drawn up by Aguinaldo, was adopted with suitable modifications for Bohol, and on June 11, 1899 the presidentes of the towns met <at the capital Tagbilaran and> as representatives of the people and elected <Mr.> Bernabe Reyes, President of the Republic of Bohol, with three ministers or councillors [sic], of Justice, Police, and the Treasury to form his Cabinet and execute the laws. A budget was prepared, based upon probable estimates; a system of taxation was established; a police or military force created; a postal service provided; schools and churches [re-opened?]; and road building and internal improvements commenced in short everything was done that should in time convert <the people of> island into a well governed prosperous community, independent and self sustaining. Only one difficulty seems to have arisen in the path of the new government and that was quickly removed in the good old way by killing the disturber, a general of the new army who wanted to be something more and <who> when ordered to the capital resisted arrest and was disposed of by the <spears and knives of the> police in the sally-port of Government House <at Tagbilaran>. This seems to have quieted ambition and peace thereafter reigned <and the new government […illegible…] of its way without incident, meeting the requirements of the people, and securing peace and prosperity to the island. But one thing seems […illegible…]. Besides the three counsellors [sic] forming the cabinet there were other officers of government but as a glance at the budget shows salaries and expenses are were modest; and with open ports and [renewed?] commerce with the neighboring islands there seems no reason why Bohol should not be have been comfortable and prosperous <under her new government>. Such is an outline of the simple <beginnings of the system> government that was found <in existence> on our arrival and which has remained <thus far> undisturbed. But which has served to control a population <secure the welfare of> about two hundred and fifty thousand people. It is of course an oligarchy but perhaps better suited to these people than a more liberal form of government.
But the Spanish priest and monk has gone, & the new clergy Filipino to a man appear to be anxious to improve upon the ways of their predecessors <and to do what he can [sic] to secure the [corporal?] welfare of his people.>
and Soon after our arrival at Tagbilaran <this disposition was shown by the local priest in whom the able> surgeon of the command found an interested coadjutor in the parish priest, who. <This churchman> showed himself anxious to assist in the sanitation of the houses <& aided the movement> the <to> establishment of civil hospitals of which none had before existed in the island <and seemed anxious to follow out all suggestions of improvement offered>. The school work of the priests <on Bohol also> seemed creditable and <if not all that could be desired is yet an excellent beginning> in the larger towns amongst the conspicuous buildings frequently of stone is the <sure to be a> school for boys and [illegible] for girls. On entering the visitor sees a collection of neatly dressed <little> boys going through their lessons <aloud> in Visayan or in Spanish; or <a group> of chubby faced girls under the care of a <neat looking> native woman who gather together like a flock of young quail on the approach of the stranger. but
The school rooms are clean and airy, and if the scholars do not learn much of practical use, their minds at least are brightened and improved. Teachers are paid from the public treasury as are the priests of certain towns. The salary <sueldo> A[t] Tagbilaran <this salary [amounts?] to> 60 per month.
Bohol contains about <practically> two hundred and forty seven fifty thousand people; it is not rich and probably never can become so for the scanty soil hardly more than covers the coral rock below. Nevertheless it is a pretty island covered with palms and bananas and producing hemp, a little sugar, coffee, cocoa and probably valuable [dye?] woods. The people <of Bohol> seem wholesome and prosperous, they appear <larger &> better [nurtured?] than natives of the other islands and of a lighter skin. <The men are sturdy if lazy fellows &> the women are appear pretty and always very modest and <and better clad than those of other islands; they are very> religious, and certainly the churches show considerable wealth. They <There> are often magnificent churches of stone cut from the soft coral rock, large and architecturally <good> & the silver lamps and interior decorations are <often> surprisingly good <fine even magnificent> for this little lost island but as an intelligent man vis
but probably its greatest wealth is in the cocoanut which grows everywhere in abundance, and converted into copra is a principal article of export. A little cloth is made from native fibers <chiefly one variety of hemp by simple hand looms seen in many of the native huts>
various hempen fabrics often pretty colored by native dyes [sic]. Cattle and horses are raised in the north and east and fish of course form a large part of the food of the people. Fish traps abound every where along the coast, and at night the sea in the neighborhood of coast villages is [illegible] dotted <for miles> with the lights of boats carrying natives armed with fish spears
The church processions too are interesting. They often take place in the early evening, when the darkness is sufficient to bring out the lights of candles or cocoa nut oil placed at the windows of houses along the way. First come the men bareheaded & clad mostly in black walking in a file on either side of the street and with lighted candles in their hands. Then the women in two similar rows and all walking <moving slowly> in utter silence, a priest seated in a chair <between the [rows of candles?]> beneath a canopy surrounded by lights. A peculiarly [impressive?] if somewhat ghostly procession <it is> of shadowed figures, twinkling lights and silence. A more devout people would be hard to find. [A partly obliterated note, from the margins, is meant to be inserted here: “…the modesty and self respect of the women, who seem to [resent?] the blandishments of the soldiers and thus far at least are never seen coquetting with them and to shun the primrose path of dalliance thus far.”] So far no doubt the power of priesthood and church <has been well used> but <See page 49> as an intelligent man amongst them remarked, the <people are not yet ready to govern themselves for though the> priesthood has instructed the people about heaven it has taught them nothing about earth. That no doubt is part of the American’s burden.
A mere glance at the comparative grandeur and riches of the churches and convents of this little island is enough to show the power wealth and power [sic] of the church. <They are very religious> and on Sundays and feast days it is a remarkable sight to see them going to and from the church in a great crowd their heads and shoulders covered with a long white headdress <garment> often delicately embroidered and resembling somewhat the picturesque <headdress> of the [Breton?] peasants. On such occasions the [shirt?] is usually black, the feet naked or thrust into heeless [sic] slippers, and <usually> no man is permitted <[presents?] himself to walk> amongst <the group of> the women who at the outgoing from the church fill the plaza like a great flock of black and white pigeons, and soberly and solemly [illegible ] their way home.
<But> the viscious [sic] diseases of civilization have not yet obtained a foot hold amongst these people. Phithis [sic] is perhaps the greatest evil but next stands small pox which is but probably perhaps its greatest wealth is in the cocoanut which grows everywhere in abundance and converted into copra forms a principal article of export. <Most of the fabrics worn by the [women?] comes [sic] from Hong Kong but> a little cloth is made from native fibers chiefly from <piña and> varieties of hemp, by simple hand looms seen <found> in many of the native huts; and <also> from a kind of cotton <from the [gapas?] bush: there is another cotton [extracted?] from the> pods of the duldul tree and but of too short fiber to answer for cloth making <it is used as stuffing for pillows>. Their fabrics are often prettily colored by native dyes. <Hats and> basket work are made <and sold in the markets> and a really beautiful mat highly and often artistically colored <and such as I have not seen the equal of elsewhere. These mats are made in the north of Bohol and are quite celebrated for their [beauty?].> Cattle and horses <too> are raised in the northern and eastern parts of the island and exported, but water is scarce in many locations <in other parts of the island> and no great number of domestic animals are seen on the farms of south and west. The people though doubtless poor seem to live in comfort and plenty; houses are exceptionally well built often of stone and commonly of hewn lumber <covered> with nipa thatched roofs or corrugated iron perhaps and the churches often tiled. Their places <houses> have an air of cleanliness and thrift like the people <who live in them which is> very refreshing to see amidst the frequent <[illegible] & dirt &> squalor of villages in the Visayas.* [See the starred “footnote” on p. 50 above.] Of course bananas, chickens, rice and fish are main articles of food & the latter especially abound <are very plentiful>. Every where along the coast great areas covered by <bamboo> fish traps are seen for which a tax is payed to government and at night in the neighborhood of coast villages the sea is often frequently dotted for miles with the lights of fishing boats carrying spearmen whose catch forms a principal article of food for the people. Fevers and other tropical diseases are of course prevalent but next to phithis [sic] perhaps the greatest evil is the small pox which the people dread in a way and yet suffer with apathy. Here at Tagbilaran there are now many cases, marked under the new dispensation by a white or yellow flag, which seems to have called the attention of the people to the prevalence of the disease and set [fire?] to burning lighting bonfires and creating [illegible] <much as was done in> the old days of the plague in Europe. The poor people fight the scourge in their feeble way and one of the offices of government is the office vaccinator whose position is not <by no means> a sinecure.
Such is an outline of a simple people inhabiting one of the thousands of the islands of our new possessions. We found them self sustaining, <quiet>, and content in their lives, asking only to continue as they were <living> and to have their ports be opened <by the great power that had taken possession of their land in order> that they might trade again <with> their neighbors.
Except to those in favor political systems meant little nothing to them independence was hardly a name, <and> the simple government <established> was all they their <wants> required. <Judged by a higher standard than their own, they are perhaps unfit to> they govern themselves, and if attacked from without must no doubt <surely fall> but unmolested they might for generations continue a peaceful and contented existence <and meantime their lot is far easier than that of the very poor of civilized countries>. Of money they have little but their wants are few and a man <who> is content to work for wages of 12 1/2 cents per day needs little <for his support> and his country <offers no place for the civilized worker>. Until the new order of things creates higher aspirations and new wants the native of Bohol will go his easy way way earning little <&> working less but <blessed with> a full stomach and <a> contented mind that wholly fails to grasp the [modern?] fact that he and his modest wife, his pretty bright eyed children and pleasant house on the shores of the sunlit sea are part of the white man’s burden, and <that he> must be improved even at the cost of his existence and that in the opinion of the world he must be improved even to extinction.
But no doubt the spread of contagion is increased by the custom of sitting up with the dead, <when> All the friends of a family gather for a night around the corpse of the diseceased [sic] no matter what the cause of death.
But of the viscious diseases of civil Another ill is the snake some of which are very poisonous; the people have a trick of carrying at night a stick rubbed with garlic which they say frightens snakes away. It seems probable that <the hooded cobra is found on some of the islands.>
Called the vaccinador who receives 40 dollars per month from government.
At Tagbilaran shortly after our arrival there were 38 cases of small pox reported in the town of about seven thousand.
Insert after occupation
Tagbilaran is a pleasant town with broad clean streets, a large and imposing stone church and many good buildings of stone or hewn wood. It lies on a bluff overlooking the pretty strait between Bohol and Panglao, and is buried for the most part in foliage. In front of the church is a large plaza lined on two sides with well built dwellings on the third by Government House a heavy stone building with long facade and heavy stone portico, flanked by low stone buildings which are the primary schools for children. The church is flanked by the priests house, and at one end is a seminary for larger girls. A well made road <or ramp> cut from the surface stone leads from the plateau of the village to a little pier and a group of houses collected along the water front very picturesque and pleasant. Beyond the strait is the well wood[ed] island of [illegible] and to the left [illegible] village of [illegible].
The towns and villages of Bohol are pretty in the extreme with broad white streets [often?] of dazzling white and very clean.
The houses usually fenced with a neat wattling of bamboo are buried in foliage and above the neat thatch waves the feathery leaf of the cocoanut. Often these houses are of stone, whitewashed and perhaps rudely frescoed, sometimes heavy stone pillars and portales [sic] line the front as is so common in Mexico, but more frequently they are of wood with overhanging upper story and even more overhanging roof that reminds one pleasantly of a Swiss chalet. Often the façade is carved and ornamented in a rude but pleasant fashion. To see one of their village streets with its neat well ordered houses and <neat> bamboo fences, its bordering lines of deep green <foliage & blue ocean> contrasting with the white coral rock of the road, the pretty bamboo huts that look like a child’s play house <alternating with the wooden houses>, and then to see the street <fill> with groups of cleanly dressed men and women <going demurely to mass> as the neighboring church bell tolls the hour of a bright <Sunday morning is> to look upon as quaint a picture as can well be seen which has in it somehow a blending of [illegible] village life and the atmosphere of puritan New England. (Such a scene I witnessed this morning, Sunday April 1, 1900 at the village of Blacyon [i.e. Baclayon] where I drove about daybreak with Dr. Furbush — a most charming morning cool and delightful with the fresh green of the foliage on one side and the blue grey of the quiet sea on the other.) The people on the whole show confidence in the changes but in the smaller villages women and children are sometimes a bit timid, and disappear if they conveniently can do so. This, however, was only noticeable when a mounted officer appeared on one of the big American horses which really seem monstrosities on these islands. Women, children and even men are afraid of them and vanish into the brush when they approach.