OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
hunters will often climb up an almost perpendicular height of three to four hundred yards.
In the limestone hills flanking the valley of the Rio Aparri, in Southern Luzon, there are still stranger caves, now and then visited by the guano gatherers of the agricultural Creoles. The deposits of fertilizers are often two yards deep, but the responsible cave dwellers are not birds, but batsa bats of the large frugivorous species, that can bite and shriek like monkeys. a Monkey-birds,a the Malays call them, and in an echoing cave their noise, at sight of an intruder, becomes so deafening that the guano hunters often prefer to ply their trade after dark, when the tenants are on the winga miles away, in the fruit plantations of the river valley.
But they must hurry up in such cases. Nursing females may enter the cave at any time, and are very apt to entertain personal misgivings about the motives of a visitor. The glare of the torches adds to their alarm, and a swarm of panic-stricken shriek-ers soon hovers about the entrance, attracting sympathizers at the rate of a dozen a minute, even after the departure of the suspects, till daylight at last adjourns the indignation meeting, and the *
chorus of piercing screams shrinks to a low twitter. Such a scene is weird and lugubrious in the extreme, and does not contain enough of the element of adventure to create any desire for a second view.
There is a general impression that the insurgent army is made up very largely of people without property, and that people who have property desire the Americans to control, so that they can have protection and feel that their property is secured to them.
But I find that there is also a fear or apprehension among some of the wealthy that if Americans control and give universal suffrage, the power of the wealthy people will be taken away and their hold on property very much impaired. I think that if the wealthy people could be assured that they would be protected in their property rights by the United States, it would have a very good effect.
The friars and priests are charged with all sorts of oppressions and misdemeanors; but i't must be remembered that friars and priests are very numerous, and in so large a body there will be found every possible phase of character and disposition. Some of them are, no doubt, oppressors of the people, exacting in the collection of rentals from the land, indulging themselves in many ways and leading lives very different from what should characterize the life
The horses of the Philippine Islands are small, shaggy* unambitious looking animals, but they are very hardy and endure a climate that would
kill an American horse in a few weeks.
The People and Products of the Philippine Islands.
BY GEN. JOSEPH WHEELER.
Santa Reta, Isle of Luzon, Sept. 18th, 1899.
I have now seen much of the country and the people in the part of Luzon for about fifty miles north of Manila. In every town there is a magnificent stone church and a convent or monastery.
The insurgents have a great antipathy to the priesthood or friars, and they have dismantled many of the churches. The value of the church and monastery of a town seems to be equal in many cases to the value of all the other buildings in the town.
The more I talk to the people the more I am convinced that the insurgents are actuated in a measure by a spirit of communism, and in their talks their most serious objection to the church seems to be the fact that ecclesiastical organizations own so much of the property; and one of Aguinaldoa s most earnest demands is that the church property be confiscated.
of a priest. But there are very many good, pious men among them.
The statement I have seen that seventy-five per cent of the people of Luzon can read and write is a great mistake. It may be true of many, but it is not true of the rural districts; and the percentage of illiteracy in the other islands is much greater than in Luzon.
The appearance, mode of life and method of performing work is to-day very much as it is described in the Bible at the time of, and even before, the Christian era. The people dress very much as they did two thousand years ago. To-day I spent some time in watching natives clean shucks from rice. The method of shelling and cleaning is primitive, and no better than it was two thousand years ago.
Nearly everything can be grown here, but the oranges and bananas are not so good as in other localities, the reason, no doubt, being that the natives seem to give them no cultivation whatever. Coffee is grown which is said to be superior to Mocha. Rice is the principal product, and a failure of that crop would