OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
the beast. The huge creatures seem to like the process, for they quietly submit to this rough handling, so as to obtain what to them must be a great delicacy.
At six years old a buffalo is considered in the prime of life for beginning w^ork, and will continue at hard labor, when well pastured and bathed, for another six years.
At twelve years of age a carefully worked buffalo will serve for light labor for about five years. It is an amphibious animal, and if left to itself would pass quite one-third of its life in water or mud, while it is indispensable to allow it to bathe every day. When grazing near flooded land, it will roam into the wrater up to its neck, and immerse its head for two minutes at a time searching for vegetable food below the surface. While undisturbed in the field it is usually accompanied by five or six white herons, which follow in its trail in perfect security, and feed on the worms and insects brought to the surface by its footprints. It seems
also to enjoy the attentions of a small blackbird, which hops about on its back and head to cleanse its skin and ears of vermin. The buffalo appreciates these attentions of its little feathered friend, and on the approach of the bird will raise its head and remain perfectly still to receive it.
Wild buffaloes are numerous in portions of Luzon, Mindoro, Negros, Mindanao, and other islands of the group, and the sport of hunting them is an exciting but dangerous diversion. The nativea s usual course is to stalk them on moonlight nights, creeping up behind tame animals which have been trained for the purpose; and when within reach of his game, he springs out and hamstrings it with a blow of his a bohiea or machete. If the stroke should fail, the hunter is apt to pay for his lack of skill with his life, for the infuriated beast immediately turns upon him and gores him to death. The wild buffalo is a vindictive beast, and a full match for the tiger or any other animal of the jungles. It is easily tamed if caught while young, and usually thereafter remains as docile as an ox, when only natives are around, though incidents are cited where, in moments of exasperation, buffaloes have attacked and slain their masters. It has an instinctive prejudice
A STREET SCENE IN MANILA.
against the white man, and it is said that the smell of one of our race has been known to stampede all the caraboas in a village. A good deal, of course, depends on the density of the mana s smell. The writer has known several who could stampede a drove of hogs, to say nothing of a lot of sensitive buffaloes.
The worst feature about the tame buffalo is that he will not work in the middle of the day when the sun is hot, and if you attempt to urge him against his inclination he will most likely give you a mud bath in the first swamp or slough that comes within his reach. However, the buffalo goes where the horse cannot, and he is therefore indispensable to the traveler, as well as to the native.
Practice and some degree of skill is required in riding these animals. Their girth of body is so great that the strain on the thighs is painful, and at every stride the whole skin seems to slide about as if it were detached from the flesh. The huge, round body affords no opportunity for a hand-grip, and the only way in which the rider can maintain his seat is to balance himself with the motion of the beast. The sensation is peculiar to accustomed to buffalo-riding.
MOUTH OF THE PASIG RIVER AT MANILA.