We arrived three days out from Hong Kong on the 28th of November. Three years ago, we arrived on the 29th. On entering the harbor I noticed many changes for the better. The breakwater is complete.
I have not investigated the facilities for the rapid handling of freight on the piers. Charges, regulations, etc. will follow. The streets are much improved: all new ones are wide and well constructed and kept perfectly clean. On entering the city, I was at once impressed by the much better appearance of the surroundings, several large buildings being either completed or under construction, notably on the Luneta or water front on made ground. The new hotel, large enough and said to be good enough for any city, will be opened in January. Then the same may be said of the Army and Navy Club and the Elks Club.
On arrival, we received an invitation from Governor Forbes to attend a reception and ball on the opening of the Legislature. It was given in the Old Governor’s Palace, an immense house, the grounds being beautifully illuminated by electricity. One thousand and eighty were present. The dresses of the Philippine ladies were unique and very fine, entirely different from anything we had ever seen. I will not attempt to describe them, as I consider it entirely outside of the ability of any man to do it, so I must leave them to the ladies to describe.
I was surprised to meet so many men whom I knew, or to put it 1t more correctly, to meet so many who knew me. We had a very pleasant evening and seeing we had only arrived at noon, we had our time well occupied from the start.
I forgot to say that on arrival I noticed a very great improvement in the reception of passengers, that is, by the quarantine, immigration and customs officers. On my two previous visits, especially ten years ago, they made it so hard and exacting that before I got ashore I heartily wished that I never had come at that time; they started in at Marivelis at 5:00 a. m. and it was after 7:00 p. m. before we finally got on shore, and it being Sunday, we could not get any of our baggage until next day. This time there was no trouble or delay whatever, and the officers gave one the impression that they were trying to make strangers welcome and make it as easy as possible to comply with the law.
The Governor made an appointment for me to meet him at his office the following day. He had been very sick and although far from well and not seeing visitors, I had difficulty in getting away from him, as he seemed to be very much interested in what I had to say. I told him I felt he was tiring himself out and that on my return from my proposed trip to the Islands, I would be prepared to talk to him more inteligently. He said he would do everything in his power to assist me in developing any trade to or from our country. Neither he nor anyone I have met so far could possibly have done more for me than they did. As soon as I left him, he sent for the Commissioner of Navigation and instructed him to get a government steamer and accompany me around the Islands. I have not met him yet, so the definite arrangements as to where and when we will go has not been made. In fact, I got the information from one who was present. The government officials are certainly alive to increasing the trade. If you look at the great increase in trade 1n three years, it shows to a very great extent how it came about coupled with the reduction in the tariff.
Imports and Exports from and to the United States for
5 0): $15,000,000
For only 9 months each year. < 1910 ……. cc ee ee eee ee 24,500,000
W912… keeles oe eee 29,000,000
The total Exports in three articles, were for 1910
AFL THAT a ret eurayetre ne eeire /airaltelre cue netelteiialic rennet ener 170,788 tons
Ofc) 1) if: ae MEA IIIT. 6 5 4 50540405 ans 116,874 tons
SUBAL oc. eee cc eee cee ete eee ete eeeeeeee 127,717 tons
This shows that there is a great deal of tonnage moving. Of course, the copra nearly all went to France, the hemp mostly went to the eastern seaboard of the United States, while of sugar, seven-eighths of the total was sent to the United States. I will get the statistics of what went to the Pacific Coast as that information will be valuable for us to have; but looking at it superficially, there is no doubt in my mind but the exports to our coast ports can be increased. The question for me to answer is, 1n what commodities, and how can it be done? There are many complaints about the lack of inter-island shipping.
The new coast guard vessels of the government are tied up in a bunch here; there must be a dozen of them. They were built for commerce, but the government lost so much with them running them commercially, they had to be tied up, another striking illustration that the government cannot compete with private ownership.