My wife and I are on a trip to the Bicol Provinces as guests of Sr. A. Roces. Sr. Paez, head of the Manila Railroad Co., accompanied us, also Ramon Roces and his wife (Manuelita Barretto), on a private train. Fishing in Ragay Gulf (Doria caught 2, I one); shooting snipe and duck at Pili –at the home of Prieto in Camarines Sur; trip to rest house in Albay on Mt. Mayon driving up through hemp plantations, on the new Paez road.We were given an attractive tea dance at the Mayon Pavilion by Governor Imperial of Albay. Spent a comfortable night there. Sensational scenery, views of the Pacific Ocean; future health resort at altitude of 2500 feet, with a temperature of about 70°. Numerous conversations with Roces, Paez, etc.
A. Roces, Sr. is the proprietor of Vanguardia, Tribune and Tagalog Daily and of the Ideal Cinema. He is a very generous, warm-hearted man, full of ideals, and rather puritanic zeal for the welfare of the poor people; is really an ardent patriot– not a politician, and is thoroughly stubborn and fearless. He wishes well for Commonwealth and is willing to give Quezon full support if a decent honest government is set up –but is rather anti-capitalist. Has always been devoted friend of mine and a supporter of my work here. Would be glad to see me Economic Adviser –and favors low tariffs on the necessaries of life. He advocates also a 25 years period before full independence but accepts the new law. Roces believes it is a waste of time to work for the permanent continuance of the old free trade with the United States, but believes the American people are “sentimental” and can be appealed to for a modification of the present restrictions. I agreed. He advises me to consult with Manuel Roxas about the economic future –thinks him safe in judgment– and considers him sane and studious –believes him to be the coming man, and says that Quezon takes his advice.
Here are some of Alejandro Roces’ opinions on people.
Quezon is impetuous –changes quickly– is not personally concerned over money –has great opportunity now to give a decent government. Roces advised him to go in for a reputation as a good President and not to care about financial benefits; better leave a good name to your children rather than a fortune. He commented that Jim Ross and Jacob Rosenthal are Quezon’s best friends among Americans.
Osmeña, in the opinion of Roces, is too lacking in firmness of character –is always 50-50!
Aguinaldo is entirely ignorant –has no organization and is pitiful.
Wood was a tragedy –was dotty when he came out here; Wood said of Quezon that when surrounded by angels he was an angel –and vice versa.
Davis was nothing.
Governor Cailles is a “100% liar” –that he (Roces) did not believe Cailles’ story of the killing of seven Sakdalistas. He laughed over a photo of Cailles smoking a cigar and pointing a revolver at three dead men.
Don Isauro Gabaldon is an honest man.
Governor Murphy is lacking in firmness —vide the award of Government printing.
Yulo represents capitalists.
Does not advise Roxas to accept the post of Secretary of Finance, nor Paez to accept that of Secretary of Communications.
Sison is the best of the present cabinet –and is absolutely honest.
He then denounced by name several prominent Filipinos whom he believed to have accepted or demanded large sums of money for their influence in public life.
Roces says Quezon is afraid of assassination –that the President had told him that this eventuality was “inherent in his job.” I said that assassination was “not in the Filipino character”; he replied he used to believe that –but not now.
Says Barretto is too old; that Singson is not a reliable man; Sumulong is a good man, he believes, but he cannot understand him at times. Tirona is of no real account.
Agrees with me that there is too much higher education in the Philippines –it makes only for discontent.
Roces, Sr. advocates a National Transportation Corporation to take over all the motor bus lines –capital required now is about three million pesos but they would take shares or installment payments; they can be run as feeders for the Railroad. Paez agrees with him. Roces advocates moving Bilibid prison out of town and making the site a central market and the hub of motor buses –thus cutting out the middleman. This has been tried in Spain –and is a success.
Doria reports a conversation with Mrs. Roces, Jr. and the provincial officials of Albay in which she told them the Philippines was being exploited by American salesmen –with which they rather shamefacedly agreed. Mrs. Roces said to her, “I know why I like you so much because you are English –the Americans treat us like niggers.” Mrs. Roces said where possible she bought only Jap goods. Doria said the Wolfsons and the American hairdressers in the beauty shops talk of Filipinos as if they were imbeciles.
At Pili Prieto talked of his starch factory there –he employs about 100 men– their starch is 80% for the laundry because, it is “more viscose” –20% for food (tapioca). they failed at first because they used camotes –now they make $200,000 gross per annum using cassava plants which he smuggled out of Java in 1933 –they are nearly double the size of the native Philippine cassava.
Talked October 27 with Gov. Imperial of Albay about hemp central and hemp-stripping machines –the latter are made by Int. Harvester Co. and cost about six thousand dollars; too expensive for the small farmer with a plantation averaging about 40 hectares. It would take two to three generations to teach cultivators to cooperate on a central. Said Albay has a 6000-horsepower waterfall –which had been abandoned by Meralco.
At the tea dance in Mayon Pavilion there was a good orchestra from Tabajo –people danced like Americans. Mrs. Imperial said her chief ambition was to go to Hollywood.
Duck and snipe shooting at Pili –duck were teal and mallard– very novel method of screening bankas –men went into water like retrievers after a wounded duck.
Mayon Rest House “the beauty spot of the Philippines.” Volcano erupted last year for the first time in a century, as is still smoking –comfort and modern conveniences at the rest house.
Clouds of locusts in Camarines Sur.