April 22, 1936

Quezon returned on Visayas having left the Arayat on account of a small typhoon in the Bicols. Unson met him at the steamer and said he was in excellent health and spirits. He gave the President the result of the work of the Survey Board and Quezon at once appointed Assemblyman Marabut of Leyte as Under Secretary of Finance vice Carmona now President of the Philippine National Bank. The President accepted the Survey Board’s resolution creating a Budget Office directly under the President, consisting of Under Secretary Marabut, Auditor General Hernandez and Director of Civil Service Gil–transferring to this Board all accounting divisions of the Bureaus. Unson and Hernandez wanted property divisions also transferred to the Budget Office, but Trinidad, Paez and Dizon thought this would make too much friction–however, it is “now or never”!

Quezon spent 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Malacañan signing papers etc–then went off to Baguio for some days where he is busy with such Government officials as are now up there on “summer” vacation.

Babbitt and Rockwell have left the Philippines for a long vacation–“everybody” is supposed to be gone from Manila, but gaieties still keep up. Doria is preparing to depart on the 27th on Empress of Japan en route to Peking.

A San Francisco (Cal.) judge writes to Paredes concerning the “repatriation” scheme for Filipinos in the United States that: “the Filipino community in his city, in proportion to its numbers, affords the courts more criminal business than any other, and most of this is due to the fact that nearly all of them have white mistresses of a type not likely to do them much good–but still they are happy.” (This is all the more notable because such relations have always been very rare in the Philippines itself–and incidents arising therefrom are most unusual out here.)

April 8, 1936

At sea, playing bridge en route to Zamboanga, where on arrival went that evening to dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Joe Cooley. Very pleasant. Quezon had a little dinner dance on board the Arayat for the Karagdags and Alanos. At 1:30 that night I was driven out of bed by mosquitoes and met Quezon walking restlessly around the deck. We talked for an hour or so; and discussed his advantages as Chief Executive over all of his predecessors, because he is the only one of us who has really known his own people. He laughed and said he always prefaced his interviews with Filipinos by saying “Now, I’m not an American Governor General–I’m a Filipino so tell me the truth!” He said he was not indispensible as many told him; that he knew at least four Filipinos who were capable of carrying on.

He then gave his impressions of American Presidents he had known in the past; T. Roosevelt impressed him by his vigour and likeableness; Taft by his sympathy and amiability; Coolidge was a small and dull man, and even his questions about the Philippines were foolish. As soon as Quezon read of the Lincolnian scene of Coolidge taking the oath of office before his father in the simple home under the lamp, he saw the beginning of a great and probably successful press campaign by “the interests”; Governor Forbes told him then that Coolidge would be a second Lincoln; “but (said Quezon) I never did think much of Forbes’ brains.” Told me more of Stimson and remarked how rough he was, but honest; they quarreled nearly every day, but never let the public know of it. Quezon felt respect and affection for him.

April 7, 1936

At sea nearing Jolo. At breakfast I had a talk with Quezon over the Government Survey Board. He said the government had become a mere bureaucracy; I told him the Survey Board was puzzled to know how to decrease the expenses of government in accord with his wishes–was it by lowering salaries? He said no–but by abolishing useless places and duplications.

The President then told me how, long ago, he had agreed with Governor General Wood to sign the contract for the sale of the government’s Portland Cement Co. in Cebu for 200,000 pesos; though he never intended to do so, but wanted Wood to keep quiet during his (Quezon’s) current political campaign then under way. The day after the election, Wood sent for him and presented him with the contract which he (Wood) had already signed, and then Quezon refused. Wood went purple in the face and rose as if to strike him. Quezon told him he had changed his mind, and that he took that privilege because Governor General Wood did it so often himself! The government cement co. now has a surplus of two million pesos, and is worth about four! Wood wanted to give the Manila Railroad away to J. G. White and Co.; also to sell all the government-controlled sugar centrals for a song. Quezon says Wood would have lost one hundred million pesos for the Philippines in his rage to “get the government out of business.” (I was the one who had originally put them in!)

Quezon is going later to Davao with three members of his cabinet: Rodriguez, Yulo and Quirino, to settle the ticklish international situation there; wish I could be there, but am going back to Manila.

Arrival at Jolo. Visits to provincial and municipal buildings. Quezon made a fine speech to the Constabulary at their quarters. He told them that the primary duty of soldiers was to ensure peace and order for their fellow men, and this should be sufficient reward for them. He said that the duty of the soldier in time of peace was to be courteous and just, but in time of war it was to kill; their rifles were not given to them as ornaments, but to kill when ordered to do so. Since several of the leading Moros were present, this firm attitude will be understood all over Jolo in forty-eight hours. The Constabulary can handle the situation of allowed to do so, and now they have been assured of the proper backing by the highest authority. The Moros are bullies, and understand only force.

Quezon told me he was going to break the power of the Datus (there are 6 or 7 of them in Jolo) and to stop the “babying” of them by the Government.

He received telegraphic news that the registration for the new Philippine Army had been 100% successful, and very happy he was over this–showing again how much better he understands his own people than do so many of the Filipinos.

A terrific rainstorm arose which prevented our trip across the island of Jolo by motor.

[Mrs. Rogers, the Moro wife of the former Governor of Jolo (and an old sweetheart of Quezon)] came to lunch. I asked her, before the President, how long it had been since the last disorder occurred here? She replied that order had been more disturbed during the past three years than for a long time past. She told the story of the killing last night of a boy of twelve who ran away from a provincial policeman–i.e., one of the “police” attached to the Deputy Governor, the Datu of Indanan. Quezon rose at once–sent for the municipal President, the Chief of Constabulary (Major Gallardo) and Governor James Fugate. I advised Quezon to abolish the “deputy governors” and their gangsters. I also advised him never to make a Moro the Governor of Jolo–he said he never intended to do so, but would appoint a Christian Filipino (Major Gallardo) as Governor in the place of Fugate, who was originally a “missionary” and “should have remained so.”

Quezon, when he had inspected the jail, reported that there was one young man in there who claimed to have killed his man in a fight. Quezon said he did not always object to that sort of killing, and would look into the case. He said there were also two Moro women in jail on the charge of adultery; he told Judge Labrador to try the two cases this morning, and if convicted, he would pardon the women, “since it is absurd to allow a man to have thirty wives and to put a woman in jail for adultery.”

Graft and tyranny are rampant among the Joloanos, and Quezon is glad he came down here to learn the situation.

Opium smuggling, which used to be rife here, is uncommon now, and this must mean that the British Government at Sandakan is at last helping to stop it. I couldn’t get them to do so in my day and this was the subject of an acrimonious exchange of views between myself and Lord Curzon when he was British Foreign Secretary. [Met Hadji Butu, former Prime Minister of the Sultan here, whom I made Senator, and later discharged as such for taking part in the opium traffic. I asked Mrs. Rogers what he lives on now–she replied: “graft–mostly religious.”]

Quezon is a most erratic bridge player–always doubling and bidding slams. He plays his hands wonderfully, and if he makes an original bid, it is sure to be very sound. I am losing heavily here, as I did on the Negros trip.

The President has apparently been completely cured of his stomach ulcer by a series of injections–he now eats copiously, and even drinks beer and cocktails. I must go to see his doctor as soon as I can get back to Manila.

The contrast here between the neat homes of the Christian Filipinos and the reeking quarters of Chinese and Moros is striking.

Mrs. Rogers told me that none of the teak forests of Jolo, the only ones in the Philippines–are being cut and sold. Main exports are copra and hemp. They grow some upland rice, but the Moro diet consists chiefly of tapioca and fish. They are marvellous sailors.

Quezon gave me to read “The Secret War for Oil” after I had gone through it I told him he ought to go down on his knees and thank God that oil had not been discovered in paying quantities in the Philippines. He said he had been first told that twenty years ago by Representative William Atkinson Jones of Virginia. If oil is found here, it should be in the hands of one company only–either American or English, and not divided up between various rival oil companies.

In the afternoon, trip around the island of Jolo on the new roads, and saw the sites of various battles fought by Generals Wood and Pershing. We visited all the Constabulary posts. I had been to Camp Romandier in 1915 when we had that thrilling deer hunt with spears, and on horseback. The agricultural development of the island is now simply wonderful–they are, perhaps, the best farmers in the Philippines; also they have fine stock; horses, cattle and carabaos. I told Quezon that this had changed my whole opinion of the Jolo Moros. It is an eye-opener; and he said it had had the same effect on him. That he was going to bring some money here, and help break the power of those who are exploiting the poor farmers of this paradise on earth–whether they are Vinta Moros, Chinos or the Datus. If necessary, he would have the National Development Company undertake the marketing of the crops, so as to cut out the extortioners. He repeated what Governor Fugate had told him: there are three kinds of Moros–the aristocrats, the farmers and the Vinta Moros, who own no land and live at sea.

The President is now receiving on the Arayat a delegation of the Datus who are not officially favoured by Governor Fugate. “Probably they are full of complaints.”

Quezon says he will provide appropriations for more water for Jolo. He is very enthusiastic over what he has seen. I told him he must be prepared for explosions if he broke the power of the exploiters–resistance on some feigned issue–he said he was prepared to handle that.

Altogether, I think this afternoon will have an important bearing on a fair settlement of the “Moro problem,” at least so far as Jolo is concerned.

The teak forests are very badly managed–but crops of hemp, maize, tapioca, coconuts and upland rice are excellently farmed; so are papayas, mangoes, kapok and other useful trees.

The President received a telegram stating that the Japanese had landed on Turtle Island, taken all the eggs and the female turtles and killed all the males–an incident full of disagreeable possibilities.

We received a statement in the town of Jolo from a local resident (Mrs. De Leon) that the magnificent farms we saw were the work of Scout and Constabulary soldiers who had settled there–the more backward farms were the work of the stay-at-home Moros.

Arrived in Siasi at 11 p.m.; a small crowd of local officials had gathered on the pier. Quezon is the first chief executive, I believe, to visit this island except General Wood. We stumbled about in the moonlight, visiting the old Spanish fort and the barracks built by the American soldiers in 1901. The main street was faintly lighted by electric light owned by a Chinese–there are one hundred Chinese here in a total population on the island of only some four thousand–one road has been built, four kilometers long, half way across the island. The racial stock here is Samal (the sea gypsies–there are three types of them, those who live entirely on their vintas with no house on land, those who live entirely on land and those who use both). Industries are pearls and copra. Evidently the Chinese get all the profits.

Quezon asked the locals whether they had any questions or complaints–one leader stepped up and advocated the retention of Governor Fugate (Siasi is a part of the province of Jolo). Quezon asked him: “are you the agent of the Governor?” and he replied “Yes, Sir,” and probably didn’t find out until the next morning the irony of it.

On our return to the steamer, Quezon talked for an hour with Peters, Wolff and myself. I lamented that the courts had overthrown our attempt to force by law the keeping of books by the Chinese businessmen in either English, Spanish or a native dialect of the Philippines. Quezon said the adverse decision in the Philippine Supreme Court, had been written by Justice Johnson, and that in the United States Supreme Court by Chief Justice Taft–but it was purely a political decision. Said that the new constitution of the Commonwealth had provided for that; that the rice marketing of the Philippines was entirely in Chinese hands, and they could, if they wished, starve the islands–“an intolerable situation,” he added.

Talking of the necessity of the Constabulary being supported by the head of the state, Quezon described the recent Sakdalista uprising in Laguna Province. The local chief of Constabulary received some rumours of a gathering and sent a patrol of one officer and ten men in the jitney to make a survey. Approaching Cabuyao (near Biñan) they found the town in the possession of a large party of Sakdalistas who had seized the Presidencia, on nearing which they were fired on and the officer and five men were wounded. The officer leapt from the jitney and cried out “come on and fight them, men”–they began firing and killed fifty of the Sakdalistas, after which the rest fled; but instead of commendation, the Constabulary were given repeated investigations! (Quezon was in Washington at the time.)

The President then passed to the subject of communism, and said that the Filipinos were easily drawn to these theories. Governor General Murphy he felt made a mistake when he released the communists from Bilibid prison–even though he was himself opposed to keeping men in prison for their political opinions. He made it as a condition to their release that they be exiled from Manila to various points such as Ifugao and Batangas. When Quezon assumed the presidency of the Commonwealth, he found that the people of the localities to which those men had been deported had built them houses and were supporting them! In Spanish days, all the Filipino patriots had been similarly deported! Quezon pardoned these exiles from home immediately in order to destroy their influence in politics. He then had an interview with [Evangelista, one of them who is an educated man and is a convinced believer in communism, and had been one of Quezon’s former leaders.] The President told Evangelista that it was folly to think the Philippines could be converted to communism. Evangelista replied that the communist leaders were building for the future; they were working for their grandchildren and were willing to die for their belief. Quezon retorted: “it’s no more use talking to you–you look out you don’t get into the clutches of the law again. There is one difference between you and me–you are willing to die for it and I am willing to kill you for it.”

Then we talked about health. Quezon said he thought my trouble was nervous indigestion and that I could be cured by having some work to do which really interested me: that as soon as I was through with the Government Survey Board he wanted me to work with him on a history of the Philippines during the fifteen years since my administration. The accepted belief in the United States, he said, was that I had wrecked the Philippines and Wood had restored it; while the exact contrary was the truth. We would get the figures, and he would give me the incidents from his own recollections. Told me how he was flat on his back in Baguio a few years ago when Osmeña opened his attack on him in connection with his opposition to the Hare-Hawes-Cutting law, saying Quezon should be driven from the Philippines. Quezon was at once carried from his bed to the train, and at Tondo station was carried from the train to a platform which had been erected there for him. Thousands of his followers were present. He spoke for an hour, and walked down from the platform and was ill in bed no more.

March 30, 1936

Made the commencement address at the School of Surveying of the University of the Philippines, talking on the subjects of the Friar Land Estates in Luzon and the development of Mindanao. Largest commencement the school has ever had.

Later, I interviewed H. C. Anderson at the Manila Hotel on the reorganization of the Bureau of Customs. He said that Collector Aldanese is o.k., and what is needed is to raise the salaries of the appraisers and also to send a Filipino appraiser to be on the staff of the United States Commercial attaches in Kobe, Shanghai and Hong Kong to check invoices; also we need a Customs Judge here.

At Malacañan, I learned that Quezon goes off tomorrow on his trip to the Bicols and to his birthplace: Baler. Hope I don’t have to go up the Pacific coast in the little Arayat in this gale of wind. Expect not, as he has said nothing further to me about the trip.

We attended the “Commencement” of the University of the Philippines’ Conservatory of Music–Bocobo, Mrs. Quezon and Roxas were there. About 15 graduating students performed and a like number of the Philippine Army band handled the “heavies.” This was a classical concert which began with Handel and tapered down to Puccini. The orchestral pieces were all right; and they had one good woman pianist.

March 23, 1936

We arrived at Marinduque at 9 a.m. on Arayat worn out by the voyage. We went off first and after fiddling about to get a chauffer, drove up to Boac to get photographic films for Doria. Chatted in the shop for half an hour until Quezon arrived–fire-crackers–constabulary–police–local officials of Marinduque. Secretary Quirino went on across the island to investigate some case. In the President’s stead he spoke at a town on the other side of Marinduque. Quezon went to the town plaza of Boac and addressed a large crowd. He seemed very happy to be among his own people in Tagalog for about forty minutes. He had not been there for twenty years. He used many homely witticisms, which took well with the crowd. Made polite reference to my having signed in 1920 the law which made a separate province of Marinduque, until then a part of Tayabas (Quezon’s own province)–very evident was his relief at getting away from the Moros whom he distrusts and dislikes.

Various inspections–visit to a home, where I asked questions about the local gold deposits (apparently “a dud”) and about their copra, coffee etc. Then to luncheon where I sat beside Quezon. The next move was to drive across the island, but the President said his stomach ulcer was giving him another hemorrhage, so I advised him to go back to the Arayat, which he agreed to do. We talked again about the Moros; he said he had instructed Colonel Stevens to act first and report later; that those Moros who wished to become civilized members of the Commonwealth would be welcomed, and the others would gradually disappear (like the American Indians). He added that there were 160,000 Moros in Cotobato who could be made useful citizens–they could be taught agriculture. He must have noticed that when we entered the town of Cotobato, some Moros standing by the sign: “We want a Civilian Governor” (local politics) had spat as we passed by in the motor!

The President was enthusiastic over Lt. Johnson, one of his submachine gun bodyguard on the Cotobato trip and said that he was going to promote him. Same as to the big American policeman from Malacañan who accompanied us on the journey and hung on the step of the motor car. (N.B. what a big grip those employees have who get into personal contact with N° 1.) He said Johnson was the only one of General Wood’s appointees as young Constabulary officers who had made good. Quezon had noticed him in the anti-bandit campaign last October.

So we left Boac and crossed the channel to the beach opposite Lucena, where Doria, Felicia, “Baby” Quezon, Miss Labrador, Nieto and I disembarked in a launch; from that to a banca, thence to a chair. A big crowd of provincial officials waited on the beach to meet Quezon who, however, did not land. We went off in our own motor at 5:30 and arrived at home at 8 p.m. having done 159 kilometers in two and a half hours through romantic scenery, over fine roads.

On this trip it was painfully evident that the Arayat was too small, the sea was very rough, (as usual) the boat was crowded; the servants from Malacañan were insolent and lazy; the whole thing lacked direction and management, and was about as badly done as is conceivable. This extraordinary inefficiency could easily be corrected by Quezon giving an a.d.c. authority over the servants–but he himself, prefers to be free from regulations of any kind.

March 21, 1936

Back in Zamboanga. About 11 o’c off for Basilan, which was “non-Christian territory” in my time. Rough crossing to Isabela. I had visited there 20 years ago when the only plantation was that of Menzi (Behn, Meyer & Co.)–the pioneer rubber plantation in the Philippines. Then we went only 300 yards from the harbour to see the old Spanish fort and the Spanish naval hospital built on stilts over the sea. Today we motored on a first-class road 9 kilometers to the United States Rubber Co. plantation managed by Dr. Strong. Magnificent coconut groves and miles of splendid rubber trees. The market for their rubber is entirely in the Philippines–in Japanese owned factories for making rubber-soled shoes etc. The plantations are now cramped by the lumber concession of Künzle and Streiff. Arthur Fischer, Director of Forestry, will not allow more plantation land to be taken from the forest. Clearings that have been made were done by raising a platform twenty feet from the ground and then sawing off the tree; gigantic trunks were left standing and then burned, which is a frightful waste of good lumber!

Strong and Menken have 400 laborers–from a Yaktan tribe of Moros, who are now mostly Christians. They are of pure Malay type wearing picturesque costumes. Strong says he has never carried a weapon in his thirty years there. Both men love their present way of life and would hate to have spent their years indoors in an office. A Yaktan dance was given for us–derived from the Siamese-Bali etc.; the movement is all hands and wrists–hardly any body rhythm–syncopated time is beaten by the feet. They chanted: “Maida–ling a ling da’ling.” No instrumental music. The dancers sang.

Doria asked if there were no “beach-combers” on this enchanted isle–none; “well then, where is Robinson Crusoe?” Sure enough, there is such a person on Basilan; a Doctor, retired from the United States Navy who is rich, and goes once a year to the United States to buy four or five boxes of books and then returns to live in the jungle, sans clothes, sans shoes and eating camotes. As is to be expected, alcohol is said to be his recreation in idle moments.

Mangrove swamps–probably alive with crocodiles; astounding groves of coconuts. Alano’s plantation is on the smaller island opposite.

A launch chartered by Dr. Strong came down to meet the Arayat, but the sea was too rough to board the vessel so our steamer went straight up the river. The launch followed flying a big flag with an Arabic inscription–Strong hoped Quezon would not notice this flag: “I told the Moros to decorate the launch and the lousy fellows put up that flag!” Evidently this was the end of an era for them, and they didn’t know it!

Miss Karagdag, with her father and mother, were on this trip.

Back to Zamboanga where more festivities are planned which I hope to duck.

Visit from Admiral Yarnell and return visit of Quezon dressed in riding clothes and flourishing a crop to the American cruiser Augusta–salutes etc. Buffet supper on Augusta given by the wardroom. Admiral very affable; he is a brilliant man. I had a long talk with him about Rossshire and Inverness where the Admiral was stationed during part of the War. Also had a talk with the Chief Signal Officer about fishing. Later there was a dance at the Overseas Club which I managed to escape.

Colonel Stevens of the Zamboanga Constabulary is a fine type of frontiersman, was a Lieutenant in my time, and says that after we removed the Military Government from Mindanao and Sulu, there were for a time, just as many excitements as before, but there was no publicity about it such as the army had always given. Now, all is absolutely tame and settled.

There are few young men among the civilian whites in Zamboanga; mostly these are “Old Timers,” now in business.

I note the predominance of Southerners in our army and navy–this should produce a fine fighting type.

We did not get away from Zamboanga until 4 a.m.