OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
WHARF AND BAY AT MANILA.
This photograph affords a good idea of the busy scene in the shipping quarters at Manila since that place became the headquarters for
American operations in the Philippine Islands.
a I have seen two bearers shifting their load from one shoulder to another, while the a padre/ sitting in a chair by the side of a second corpse, devoted his time equally to fanning himself and saying prayers in the mechanical manner of a woman weaving a mat. I have looked many a time for a mourner, but always unsuccessfully/a
With the better classes, however, the funeral ceremonies are more elaborate, and there is perhaps not a more unique street scene to be observed anywhere than a native funeral. The hearse is an ordinary wagon drawn by white horses. The driver plays his part well, so that one not accustomed to such scenes would take him for the chief mourner. He sits aloft in sorrowful dignity, clad in black, with a high beaver hat, and is a most melancholy-looking person. The hearse is usually preceded by a brass band, playing lively airs, for these people do not recognize the propriety of suiting their music to the occasion. They are just as apt to play a Johnny, Get Your Gun/a or a There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town To-night,a at a funeral, as anything of a solemn or religious character. If the deceased was a person of influence, or the family is able to bear the expense, long lines of hired carriages follow the hearse, filled with friends and mourners. This is one of the bad customs they have borrowed from civilized nations. Owing to the heat of the climate, funerals usually take place on the day of the death. Bodies of the well-to-do are
a The marriage is always arranged by the parents of the two young persons, who go through an established etiquette of advance and refusal before the dowery terms are agreed to, just as they do in their business transactions and the purchase and sale of goods. If the parents of the young man are poor and he can offer no dowery, he often enters the household of his intended on probation, as Jacob did to win Rachael.
a The wedding feast is given by the father of the groom, who also furnishes the dowery for the bride. The young married couple then live with the parents of one of the parties. The wife remains mistress of her own property, and the husband can in no event inherit it. The children often add the surname of the mother to that of the father, thus making the woman of greater prominence.
a A marriage feast is entered into with pomp and ceremony. It is a not unimportant occasion for the priest also, who usually sets the day, and expects a large feea dependent upon the wealth of the contracting parties. The evening before the ceremony, both bride and groom go to confession. About five o'clock the following morning they leave the house of the bride:.
deposited in vaults either within the church or connected with it, where they remain as long as the relatives continue to pay the rent, after which the bones are thrown into the common bone-yard. Every town or village in Spanish countries has one of these hideous receptacles, which are a fruitful source of pestilence and disease. One of the first acts of the Americans has been in every instance to cover up the boneyards and require all bodies to be properly buried or placed in permanent sealed vaults; but so strong are the prejudices of the people that this requirement sometimes had to be enforced by an armed guard, as represented in one or more of our illustrations.
Quite naturally, marriage ceremonies are more interesting than those relating to funerals. The natives marry early, brides frequently being not more than eleven or twelve years of age; and among some of the wTild tribes engagements are made before birth, dependent, of course, upon the sex of the expected child. The customs we are now describing, however, relate to the Tagalogs and Visayans; and we follow the accounts given by Senor Lala, who is well qualified as an authority on this subject, being himself a high-caste Tagalog:
joined by a long procession of relatives. After mass has been said, the bride and groom stand before the priest, who places over their shoulders a thick mantle, which is to typify the bodily union. He then recites his formula and asks the usual questions. To these both respond in the same low voice characteristic of such replies the world over. As the wedded pair are leaving the church, a bowl of coin is passed to them. The new husband stops, takes a handful and gives it to his wife, who receives it and returns it to the bowl. This is a token that he gives to her his worldly goods. All then solemnly return to the paternal residence, where, meanwhile, a banquet has been prepared.
a This feast is called Catapusan, which means a gathering of friends. All the notables of the village, as well as all the relatives on both sides, are invited to it. The table is loaded with the good things of the season. Light liquors, chocolate and sweetmeats are then offered to the guests, with betel nuts and cigars and cigarettes.
a The dancing now begins. A youth and a maiden stand facing each other, both singing a sentimental song. Then follows a musical dialogue, while both dance round each other, keeping step