OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
rendered it difficult to obtain suitable labor; and, in addition, the same government exactions existed there as in Luzon.
There are so many different varieties of valuable hardwoods in the Philippines that it would require a volume to describe them all. Pine of the finest quality is as plentiful as it is in the Caro-linas. There is also a fine, soft cedar wood cut from logs thirty to forty feet in length and sometimes as much as three feet in diameter. Another wood, so hard that it can be driven through any common timber, and on this account frequently used in place of nails, is called bullet wood. Acle wood is almost impervious to fire, and the oranga, which comes in logs seventy-five feet long and two feet in diameter, withstands the attacks of sea-worms and ants, and is therefore used largely in shipbuilding and for piles and wharfs.
A considerable trade in sapan wood has been carried on for years, principally through Chinese dealers. It is found in most of the islands, but is a small, unattractive tree, and is valued chiefly
dry and liquid measures and receptacles, cups, fencing, canoe fittings, carrying-poles, pitchforks, chairs, beds, and a thousand other things among the common necessities of Filipino life. It floats like cork, and burns readily with a brilliant flame and a loud, crackling noise. Ropes made of bamboo are immensely strong, and bamboo salad of an excellent flavor is made of the young shoots cut as soon as they sprout from the root. It grows in thick clusters in the woods and on the banks of streams, and is one of the most picturesque and useful adornments which nature has bestowed upon these favored islands. Some of the most attractive native houses are constructed throughout of bamboo, even the roofs being composed of long strips of this wood split in halves and laid with the alternate convex and concave sides upward, like tiling. In the framework no joinera s skill is needed, the angles being formed by cutting a notch on the inner side with a knife and bending the piece into a perfect square.
The nipa palm, which, next to the bamboo, is so useful to the
INTERIOR OK HOUSE DESTROYED BY AN EARTHQUAKE-
The simple bamboo houses usually erected by the natives are safer in an earthquake than those composed of heavy timbers or brick and mortar, and this is one of
the principal reasons why bamboo is so generally used for building purposes.
for its coloring matter. The wood is very hard, heavy, crooked and full of knots, but it is susceptible of a very high polish. The portion that enters into commerce is the heart of the branches, from which a dye is taken, known in trade as a false crimson,a to distinguish it from the more permanent cochineal dye.
So far as the native is concerned, bamboo is the most valuable wood that grows in the islands. It is indispensable to the Filipinos. Nearly all the native houses are built of bamboo, and thatched with the leaves of the nipa palm or congon grass. The floors are composed of split bamboo, with the smooth side turned upward. It is always clean and takes on a beautiful polish when rubbed over a few times with plantain leaves. There is hardly any use to which this wood cannot be applied. In a village church near Manila, there is an organ made of bamboo which has an excellent tone. It is used for rafts, furniture of all kinds, scaffolding, carts, baskets, spoons, sledges, fish traps, water pipes, hats,
natives, grows in mangrove swamps and marshy lands. It has the appearance of a gigantic fern, and thrives best in lands that are covered by the sea at high tide. The sap is extracted by incisions made in the fruit-bearing stalk, and is used for distilling a liquor known as nipa wine. The leaves, which are very long, and from three to five inches wide, are of immense value for thatched roofs, being in universal use for that purpose in all the regions where this tree flourishes. I11 other sections, a tall jungle grass, called cogon, is substituted. As the nipa palm grows only in low, marshy places, the grass thatch is much more frequently seen.
The areca palm is another tree valuable for the nut which it produces. This nut, when split into slices about an eighth of an inch thick, constitutes the chewing betel so popular all over the archipelago. The tree is one of the most beautiful of the palm species. The nuts cluster on stalks under the tuft of leaves at the top of the tall and slender stems, and it is said that one tree will