OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
a The houses are all some distance back from the street, fenced off by pickets driven into the ground. The pickets have been put in green, and it is an evidence of the richness of the soil that the most of them are sprouting out green branches and leaves. There are no gardens about the houses, no beds of flowers, nothing but grass and trees of various kinds.
a Speaking of the children, they swarm.
The crop of humanity is bigger than any other, every family having from six to a dozen. The inhabitants of the town are Visayans or Christians, and their children are exceedingly bright.
Although the troops have been here only a few days, the little ones have already learned to say a Good morning/
a Good eveninga and a Good day/ They hardly understand the precise meaning of the words, and they will frequently give the three citations of the words at once. They also say a Americano mucho bueno,a and seem very much pleased to have the soldiers here.a
Major Liggett, the officer in command of the post, opened a school for the native children soon after his arrival, and started in with nearly two hundred naked and half-civilized little Visayans. Three teachers are employed, and the intention is to teach the children the rudiments of the English language. Like those of Cuba and Porto Rico, they are eager to learn, and advance rapidly in their studies.
What will become of the savage tribes only the future can determine. They are but little advanced beyond what they were when Magellan discovered the archipelago, nearly four hundred
IN THE WILDS OF CENTRAL MINDANAO.
DOMESTICATED NEGRITOS OF LUZON.
years ago; but the civilizing influences already set in motion by the Americans, and their stimulating effect on the Tagalogs and Visayans, will no doubt lead to a rapid improvement in the condition of the others. There are many tribes of these people in the Southern Philippines who have not been named in this article, but they are so similar to those already described that any effort to relate additional facts concerning them would be merely a repetition of what has been said. Some of their peculiar customs, however, are noted in chapters relating to that subject.
One of the most remarkable features that has developed in connection with the islands that have come under American influence, is the earnest desire of the people, and particularly of the children, to acquire knowledge. It was so in Cuba and Porto Rico, and we see the same manifestation in the Philippine Islands.
Little naked or halfclad savages crowd into the sweltering schoolrooms and pursue their studies with an eager persistence that is truly wonderful. In Hawaii we found a population already educated even above our own high standard, for there are scarcely any of the natives of those islands who cannot read and write; and yet even there we perceive the same earnestness of desire to advance to the higher planes of knowledge. I11 all the islands that had been under Spanish influence, dense ignorance among the masses was the rule, except only in the case of the Tagalogs and Visayans of the Philippines. But it was not the fault of the people, as their present eagerness for knowledge attests.