OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
mentioned completely at command. This enabled them to give a trend to their conversation that served at least to indicate their aspirations. O11 the other hand, their ignorance of modern history and politics, and particularly of current events, was astonishing. What they knew of the United States had been learned, like the Latin, from Spanish teachers, but was not equally reliable. Not only in the backward province of Nueva Icija, but elsewhere throughout our journey, we found the same fund of misinformation on the subject. This related in great measure to the attitude of our Government toward the two races of people that have come under its jurisdiction with an inferior political status, namely
the negroes and the Indians. Of the condition of the negroes since the war, the Filipinos seem not to be aware. They express great curiosity on the subject of the Indian question, and have evidently been taught to see in the unhappy condition of that race the result of deliberate oppression, and a warning of what they may expect from our Government if they submit themselves to its legislation. Of ourselves, the citizens of the United States, they have been told that we possess neither patriotism, honor, religion, nor any other restraining or refining influence. A character has been given us consistent with the acts attributed to our nation. The natives are now undoubtedly becoming enlightened as to our
true character, but it will probably be a long time before their last suspicions are removed. In the meantime, we cannot but hope that the good faith of our Government in any proposition it may make to the Filipino people will be accepted in advance. When it becomes a question of our fairness and our honest intentions toward them, the burden of proof must rest on us.
a The towns of Nueva Icija are small and unimposing. They are composed principally of a nipaa huts, built on a stiltsa to evade the vapors that arise from the marshy ground.
a The a stiltsa and the frame of the hut are composed of bamboo poles, and an excellent floor is made from long, thin strips of the
same wood laid together with their curved surfaces upward. The roof is thatched with grass, and the sides of the hut are formed of leaves of the a nipaa plant plaited together. Screens made of the same material serve in place of windows, sliding back and forth on bamboo guides in front of apertures cut in the walls. A short bamboo ladder gives entrance to the hut, which consists of two rooms, one forward of the other. The front room is raised a step higher than the rear one and is provided with as smooth a floor as possible, to be used principally for sleeping purposes. The back room contains the native stove, the only piece of furniture in the hut. This consists of a section of the trunk of a large tree, hollowed out into the form of a bowl and lined with mortar. Many a nipaa huts are far more elaborate, but the one described is of the commonest type and frequently forms the home of a large family.
a It will be noticed what an important part the bamboo forms in the construction of these huts. The value of the bamboo tree to the natives of all tropical countries has been too often dilated upon to bear further repetition; but I cannot refrain from mentioning one use to which I have seen it put in this province. In the outskirts of one town through which we passed we noticed a number of huts whose owners, having made some attempt at cultivating the land in their immediate vicinity, had built a fence of bamboo to separate their fields from the road. There was nothing particularly remarkable about the fence, except that fences of any kind are not numerous in that country; but we were struck with astonishment on noticing a gate, through which a native had passed, close forcibly behind him without any effort on his part. We proceeded at once to investigate the phenomenon, and discovered that the result which had so surprised us had been accomplished by the following unique arrangement: A long bamboo cord had been made fast to the gate and to a point near the top of a bamboo sapling growing in the yard, so that the cord was taut when the gate was shut. The gate opened outward, and could be passed through only by bringing sufficient pressure to bear to bend the sapling. When
HIGH-CLASS TAGALOG GIRLS.
Women of this class understand the art of entertaining perfectly, and converse as fluently as the educated women of civilized countries. The mantles shown in the photograph are made of the elegant pina choth, richly embroidered by hand, this work being done by the ladies themselves.