More misery! The tail-end of a typhoon was still stirring up the inter-island waters when we left Manila and sea-sickness was general during the first twenty-four hours out. Too many passengers were taken aboard and a number of us had no suitable place to sleep, much less to wash, shave, or bathe. I spent the first night, which was chilly enough, on top of a large table with no covering over me except my rain-coat. The food furnished us was in the main vile First breakfast came at 6.30 –a banana, some cheese, some guava jelly, a bun, and a small cup of chocolate. That was not so bed; but the second breakfast at 10.30 and the dinner at 4.30 were deluged with grease, and grease that was none too fresh at that –rancid olive oil it must have been.
Yesterday forenoon we made a short stop at the little port of Romblon, in a most beautiful idyllic setting. Upon a little eminence to the left of the entry to the harbor are the ruins of an old-time Spanish fortress built some two-hundred fifty years ago for protection against the Moros; while on all sides thick-set groves of coco- nut palms extend from the mountain tops right down to the water’s edge. It is said that Romblon exports 500,000 dollars’ worth of coco-nuts every year.
Last night we ran into a ‘narrow mud channel, where we lay to until daylight. Mid-forenoon, we reached Iloilo and stored our scanty baggage in the quartermaster’s depot at the wharf. As we came ashore, we. heard the news of the assassination of President McKinley. We unmarried men are quartered in the room used for holding sessions of the Court of First Instance in the Provincial Government Building, but we still have no place where we may wash, shave, or bathe. -I haven’t had a chance to indulge in any of those luxuries since Saturday morning. We take our meals et a place near the Custom House called “La Dulce Alianza” (The Sweet Alliance), owned and run by a pursy. American and a very red-nosed Spaniard –a bar in the rear and a restaurant (Heaven save the mark!) in front. The principal article of fare mentioned on the greasy menu cards is bistek or sometimes biftek, or rosbif, a brave effort to hispeniolize the English terms “beefsteak”” and “roast beef.” To put it mildly, the cuisine leaves much to be desired.
Of all Heaven-forsaken places I have ever seen, Iloilo takes first rank. The town hes a past, and possibly a future, but no present to speak of. It seems to have gotten in the way of a considerable number of solid shot once upon a time in the course of the recent unpleasantness, so that the ruins of its former fairly pretentious buildings are about the most conspicuous thing one notices in going about the city.