OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
a The workers made an interesting picture, half a dozen of them perhaps beating in the same mortar, their dark skins glistening in the sunlight, and every firm muscle working as their bodies moved in the graceful action of their labor. These people are musical by nature, and there is undoubtedly harmony in this rhythmical beating of wood on wood. The sound penetrates to the most distant places and seems never to cease. It comes to you like the beating of a muffled drum, and brings before your mind the supple figures of the native girls casting their clubs in that graceful movement, down with the right hand, up with the left, down with the left hand, up with the right. I only once saw the workmen emphasize the musical element that characterizes this labor. On this occasion a party of four natives, twro young men and two young women, were beating at the rice in one long trough, while an old man, sitting near with a musical instrument like a guitar, thrummed the time.
a From Nueva Vizcaya for the next three weeks of travel we passed from one hospitable town to another, and enjoyed a round of novel entertainments. Our route now carried us through the valley of the Rio Grande Cagayana probably the largest area of level country in Luzon Island.
a With the exception of the region in the immediate vicinity of Manila, and of the narrow strip of land along the western coast, this valley, previous to the revolution, was the firmest and most ancient seat of Spanish authority on the island. Its towns throughout give evidence of the labor that has been expended on them. There are comparatively few a nipaa huts, and many substantial frame buildings. Each town, moreover, has an elaborate church and convent, usually built of brick. Many of these churches date back into the 18th century, one which I remember particularly bearing the date 1780 as that of its completion.
a Our entertainment in the different towns varied according to
THE NEW CATHEDRAL AT MANILA.
Showing also a portion of the ruins of the old cathedral, which was destroyed by an earthquake. This is the most fashionable church in Manila.
a In traveling from Nueva Icija into the neighboring province of Nueva Vizcaya, and from there on through the greater part of the latter province, we passed through a rough and mountainous country. Our progress here was deplorably difficult, but the numerous views of magnificent scenery to which we were treated more than repaid us for our labors and hardships. I never before had suspected that Luzon Island contained within its borders such harmonies in landscape as it has been my good fortune to see. There are spots in the mountains of Nueva Vizcaya from which the aspect of the surrounding country overwhelms an observer with all the power of music and thrills his artistic sense into ecstacy. The deep-rooted prejudice that many men possess against all that is tropical, I think, would disappear in every case under the influence of the clear atmosphere and healthful soil of this beautiful province.
the facilities at hand; but in all cases music was a leading feature In the absence of all accessories the village band would be called into the building in which we were received and would play tune after tune, well on into the night, while we conversed at ease with the village fathers. At the little village of Cordon, which has a population of only a few hundred, we passed one of the pleasantest evenings of our journey. In this instance four accomplished little girls gave the entertainment its particular charm. Soon after our arrival the entire village trooped into the large room of the public building that had been turned over to our party. The floor was cleared for a dance, and the band commenced with a waltz. After the waltz was finished, two of the little girls danced a minuet and sang a very pretty dialogue accompaniment. The movement of the minuet was very slow and stately, and the little dancers vent through it with charming effect.
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