Page images

As early as 1856-'57 two concessions were granted to the Cantabro Philippine Mining Company, and an attempt was made to exploit them and market their product. Rude methods of mining, ruder methods of extracting the metal, and still more rude and primitive methods of transportation, combined with lack of sufficient capital and suitable labor, led to the abandonment of this attempt, and for more than twenty years the property, which in itself is a small claim upon the immense ledge above referred to, has been occupied only to the limited extent required by the Spanish mining laws to prevent the cancellation of the concession. The officer at present in charge of the mining bureau characterizes this deposit as an "undoubted bonanza." The main thing necessary for its exploitation is the opening up of a short line of communication with the coast.

Lignites are known to exist in Luzon, Bataan (the island, not the province), Mindoro, Masbate, Negros, Cebú, Mindanao, and other islands. Some of the deposits are very extensive. As yet they have been worked only at or near the surface.

Testimony is unanimous to the fact that the Philippine coals do not clinker, nor do they soil the boiler tubes to any such extent as do Japanese and Australian coals.

The extensive fields near Bulacacao, in southern Mindoro, are within four to six miles of a harbor which gives safe anchorage throughout the year and which has water deep enough for the largest ocean-going vessels. Some of the Cebú deposits are also conveniently situated with reference to harbor facilities. It is to be confidently expected that the coal will play a very important. part in the future development of the archipelago.

The outlook as to gold mines grows more favorable as the operations of prospectors are extended. Modern gold

mining machinery has never been used in the Philippines. Igorrote miners in the Benguet - Lepanto - Bontoc district discard all rock in which there is not visible a considerable quantity of free gold. Prospectors in this region claim to have located very extensive deposits of low-grade, free-milling ore, which will yield large and certain returns as soon as concessions can be secured and machinery put in place. chinery put in place. Unless the state

ments of those who have been working in this region are utterly false. it is true that very valuable deposits have been located, and that extensive operations will be undertaken as soon as claims can be granted and machinery placed. At all events, it is certain that the men who have located these deposits have sufficient faith in them to camp on them and wait month after month for the time to come when they can establish their claims.

Extensive deposits of high-grade iron ore are known to exist, but it would seem that their development must be preceded by the development of the coal fields.

But before any of the mineral resources of the islands can be developed mining laws must be enacted and existing claims settled.


As may have been expected, centers of population and comparative wealth are to be found at the seaports and territories contiguous thereto, which are more or less accessible to markets by means of water communication; but these favored localities are limited in area and their facilities for doing business are, with few exceptions, inadequate and unsatisfactory.

Although there are numerous harbors dotting the coast line, there are but few that admit vessels of heavy draft. As a rule, they are not landlocked, and are more or less exposed to the pre

vailing typhoons, so that there are frequently days, and even weeks during which ships can neither load nor unload.

Large vessels entering the harbor of Manila, having a draft of more than 16 feet, are now compelled to lie two miles or more offshore. Those of less draft than this find entrance into the Pasig River. The bay is so large that it feels the full effects of the winds. The only method by which large vessels anchoring therein can take on or discharge cargo is by lightering. At best, and when the bay is calm, this is a tedious and very expensive process, and during rough weather becomes impossible. Moreover, during the prevalence of typhoons, which are not infrequent, the safety of vessels thus situated is much endangered.

The cost of doing business in this port is very great and constitutes a very heavy burden upon commerce. Freight rates from Manila to Hongkong, a distance of about 700 miles only, are as much and sometimes more than from San Francisco to Hongkong, a distance of about 8,000 miles.

The Spanish Government, more than twenty years ago, formulated an elaborate scheme for the construction of a thoroughly protected harbor, with sufficient depth of water to accommodate the largest ships, and levied a special tax on imports and exports for the purpose of raising the necessary funds to carry it into effect. Operations were begun pursuant thereto shortly thereafter and continued in a slow and intermittent way up to the time of the native outbreak of 1896, with the result that about 30 per cent of the work contemplated was completed. Work upon these plans, with slight modifications, has been resumed by the Commission, which has appropriated $1,000,000 for the purpose.

There are no navigable rivers, roads, or even permanent trails in the islands.

There are numerous water-courses in the great islands of Luzon and Mindanao which have their sources in the mountains of the interior and flow to the sea in rapid and broken currents. As a general rule, they are inconsiderable in volume and are either not navigable at all or, if navigable, only for a few miles from their mouths, so that they may be eliminated in considering the question of transportation.

The so-called highways are generally merely rude trails, which in the rainy season, lasting half the year, are simply impassable, and during the dry season are rough and only available for travel to a very limited extent. As a result, there are few natives of the interior who have ever been beyond the boundaries of towns in which they live. The Commission has appropriated $1,000,000 to be expended at once in road-building.

The Manila and Dagupan Railroad is at this time the only line in the entire island. It was constructed by English capitalists and has been in operation since 1892. It has a gauge of 3 feet and 6 inches and traverses a rather lowlying, fertile region, densely populated. It was perhaps improperly located in the beginning, and crossing, as it does, quite a number of streams near their mouths, which necessitated much trestle and bridge work, was expensive to construct. This expense, it seems, was increased by unnecessary requirements of the Spanish Government. As a result, it appears to have cost the company about $60,000 in gold per mile. It is an expensive line to maintain by reason of the fact that several of the streams, in seasons of flood, overflow their banks and inflict much damage upon the roadbed. But, whilst it has not earned a fair interest on the extravagant sum which it cost, it has been wonderfully beneficial in increasing the population and wealth of the provinces through which it runs and affords a striking illustration of the enormous benefits which

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

would accrue were railroads built in other sections of these islands.

A line has been projected from Manila eastward and southeastward, running along the shores of Laguna de Bay across the island to a port on Lamon Bay. This port is said to be the best in the islands, landlocked, affording

shelter in any weather, and with a depth sufficient to enable vessels of heavy draft to approach close to shore. With this line built, the distance from Manila to the United States would be shortened by about 700 miles. The line would pass through a number of large towns and a rich and fertile country.




HEN the Pan-American Commission first considered the idea of a Philippine exhibit at the Buffalo Exposition, they were anxious to have on the grounds a typical Filipino village inhabited by genuine natives-men, women, and children. After much conference with the Government at Washington, it was shown that the cost of such an enterprise would be between $150,000 and $175,000, a sum greatly in excess of what would have been necessary in more peaceful times. Accordingly, the plan was declared not feasible. However, the Commission was anxious to have an exhibit of some kind, and declared the sentiment of the people demanded it. Further efforts resulted in the sum of $10,000 being appropriated for the purpose.


was decided that such a sum could only procure purely ethnological specimens, necessitating the barring out of natural history and other subjects. The exhibit thus was made to include what the people of the Philippine Islands make with their own hands or obtain by purchase or exchange.

The management of the money appropriated was placed in the hands of

the Smithsonian Institution, which dispatched the late Col. F. F. Hilder to the Philippines to collect the exhibit. His long residence in the Philippine Islands, together with his acquaintance with many of the tribes and their dialects, and his knowledge of the conditions existing in the islands, coupled with his scientific training, served to fit him in a superior degree for this work.

Colonel Hilder certainly did remarkably well under the circumstances, and gathered an amount of valuable material of great interest and importance to the people of the United States. He collected upward of one thousand pieces, illustrating every phase of native life. Every condition and station, every age and sex, every occupation, pastime, and means of warfare, has a place in the collection.

Apparently hats, swords, and canes. are the objects upon which the Filipinos bestow the most pride, for there are enough pieces of head-gear of various. makes to fill a hatter's shop; enough swords, plain or fancifully carved, to arm a regulation-sized company, and enough canes to stock the stands of a country-fair mountebank.

a razor.

The swords are of different shapes. They are all sharpened to the nicety of The bolo is the prevailing weapon. It is very short, for according to an old edict of the Spanish regime the blade could only extend from the wrist to the elbow in length. It is enough to give one an inspiration of fear. It is used also in cutting sugarcane, etc. The case is of wood and very often merely bound with twine, so that the wielder can strike through if he has not the time to unsheath the sword. The common bolo has a blade of steel, a wooden handle and an iron ferrule, though some have handles of silver and are far richer in appearance and design. One very formidable and beautiful weapon is the Kriss sword. This has a wavy-shaped blade of steel, the handle being of wood wound with native twine.

Passing to articles of more practical use, one of the first to attract attention is the " 'Luzon," a mortar used by the Tagals as a receptacle in which to loosen the husk from rice grain by pounding with a wooden pestle. It was the uni

versal use of this article that caused the Spaniards to give the island of Luzon its name.

Then there are looms and other native contrivances, showing the manner of making their different cloths-husi, jusi, pina, cinamay, etc. These cloths are found in many beautiful colors-pink, violet, orange, yellow, blue, and black

and some are richly embroidered. Every article of domestic use is to be seen— laundry tubs and boards, scrubbing brushes made of half of a cocoanut in the husk, and brooms made of rice straw, and that necessary household article, the back-scratcher, formed of a small piece of cocoanut shell with serrated edge, laced with cotton thread to a long bamboo handle. Very suggestive of the popular song of the day are some samples of goo-goo soap bark. This bark is especially adapted for washing the hair,

leaving it soft and glossy, and produces thick suds the same as soap. Extreme care must be taken not to let it get into the eyes.

The native hearth is merely a rectangular frame of wood raised on four uprights of squared bamboo; the bottom is formed by a mat of woven splints of bamboo, the whole forming a box-like construction in which has been laid a quantity of hardened earth composition, on which the fire is built. Pieces of this substance in the shape of small elongated cones serve for supporting pots. At the back of the hearth and fastened to the two rear uprights is a piece of bamboo with two long slots and two holes cut entirely through, in which spoons and other utensils are placed when not in use. The three cooking pots with this exhibit are of red earthenware and unique in design. The spoons are each made of cocoanut shell laced to a handle by strips of rattan.

Making the fire on cold mornings is the unpleasant lot of many Americans. However, they ought not to grumble after they have seen the set of fire-making instruments used by the Filipinos and have had explained to them the laborious task of merely making a light. A piece of bamboo with a slit through the middle is placed on any convenient spot, with some bamboo shavings beneath. Another piece of bamboo is then rubbed through the slit at right angles until the shavings smoke, when the shavings are fanned into a flame.

A model of a native cocoanut-oil factory forms one of the most interesting exhibits of the industrial section. The operator sits on a cross-beam and with his feet revolves, by means of two pedals, a little metal shredder, which cuts up the cocoanut. The meat of the cocoanut then moves to a second worker, who crushes it by means of a roller which he rolls back and forth with one hand. The meat thus crushed enters a

« PreviousContinue »