OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
arranged that the foot can be turned inward, while the big toe is almost as independent in its movements as that of the ape. Attention has often been called to the wonderful way in which the youngest infants are able to hang from sticks, supporting their own weight for a long time, just as monkeys do in trees. The Australian nativea one of the most primitive of human beings, who climbs as an ape doesa possesses this accomplishment; and the same may be said of the cocoanut tree climbers who are found, not only in the Philippines, but also in Cuba, Porto Rico and the Hawaiian Islands. These people acquire the habit of ascending the tallest trees by simply grasping their surface with their hands and feet, with a facility that would make an ordinary monkey ashamed of himself. In this work there are numerous photographs representing these people in the performance of this re-^ markable acrobatic feat.
of course, there is no telling whether earliest man did actually originate in the Philip-pines, in Java or in Sumatra; but the * birthplace of his kind was somewhere
in that neighborhood, according to the
Indeed, the strata representing these ancient marine beds are now found in the Himalayas at an elevation of sixteen thousand feet. The Philippines shared in this uplift, which formed the land-bridge to Asia already mentioned.
Across this land-bridge from the mainland came all sorts of animals to the archipelago, and in a later age they were cut off from returning by a general subsidence of the islands. The latter sank so much, indeed, that the group was reduced to a mere sprinkling of hilly islets, four of which existed within the present area covered by Luzon, while Cebu was completely submerged. At this time there began a series of volcanic eruptions, mostly submarine, which threw up a great amount of material irom the bowels of the earth, thus adding largely to the land area, and, about ten thousand years ago, there came another uplift, which raised the archipelago to its present status, approximately. It is believed, however, that the islands are still rising gradually, occasional earthquakes being merely jars incidental to the slow process of elevation. The volcanic phenomena have not yet ceased. In 1897 there was a violent eruption of Mayon, in Southern Luzon, which is the most beautifully symmetrical volcanic cone in the world, sharply pointed
AMERICAN AMMUNITION WAGON CROSSING A STREAM ON A PONTOON BRIDGE.
The scene is in the northern part of Luzon, and represents some of the difficulties that our men had to overcome while campaigning in that region.
view of Dr. Becker and Prof. Marsh. The land-bridge of Asia, by way of Borneo, afforded facilities for travel and for the spread of the newly developed species of anthropoid, who, though truly human, wras pure beasta a monkey with a bigger brain. His weapons were stones and branches broken from trees. Living in the tropics, he never felt the need of clothing, and did not understand the use of fire. His descendants, learning by slow degrees the use of tools, were enabled to improve their condition, and developed gradually into creatures of reason.
A million years or so ago, according to Dr. Becker, the Philippines consisted largely of swamps and shallow seas. There was an immense luxuriance of tropical plant growth in the swampy regions, where accumulations of vegetable debris were eventually covered with mud and transformed into a kind of coal called a lignite,a which to-day is probably the most valuable mineral asset of the American India. At length there came a crumpling and upheaval of the eartha s crust, so tremendous as to be felt all the way from Switzerland to the Himalayas, where the bottom of the ocean was uplifted into mountains three miles above sea level.
at the apex, and with sides that seem perfectly smooth at a distance.
Whether the foregoing is all theory or part truth, it is certainly very interesting reading; and it contains enough of fact regarding the origin of the human race and the geological formation of the Philippine Islands, to justify its publication in this work.
A digression at this point will be justifiable in order to describe the historic eruptions of the volcanoes of Mayon and Taal, and to show thereby the manner in which the islands were raised from the bed of the ocean. In stating these facts, we follow the accounts given by Foreman, who is everywhere regarded as a sincere and truthful writer.
Most of the mountains of the Philippine Islands are covered with forests and light undergrowth, whilst the stately trees are gaily festooned with clustering creepers and flowering parasites of the most brilliant hues. But Mayon, which is still an active volcano, is comparatively bare, as will be observed by the photograph in this work. It is located in the province of Albay, near the southeastern point of Luzon Island, and is known as the