OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
TIMBER CARTS, CENTRAL, LUZON.
Showing primitive method of conveying timber from the forests to the market, or to the nearest harbor, where it is
shipped to foreign countries.
it was so unlike what he had been accustomed to in his dealings with the Spaniards.
The pearl divers are usually native Moros or Tagalogs. The latter generally wear diving suits, but the Moros plunge into the water naked and dive down to the astonishing depth of fifty or seventy-five feet, where they frequently remain as long as five minutes, finally coming to the surface exhausted and sometimes insensible. The men stand upon the gunwales of the boats, ready for the dive. Attached to one wrist is a corded basket for the shells, while tightly grasped in the other hand is a barong or kris for defense against sharks and the dreaded devil-fish, both of which haunt the precincts of the pearl fisheries. At the signal the men leap up and plunge feet first into the water, where they are hid for a moment by the waves and bubbles; but as these subside their black figures become visible far below the boats, now swimming rapidly, head down, toward the bottom of the sea. Soon they disappear again from sight, hidden by the depth of the water, and then the anxious watch for their reappearance begins. One minute is gone; it seems five. Two minutes are past, and your heart throbs with the intensity of your excitement, as you conjure up mental pictures of desperate struggles with
unknown monsters in those dark and silent depths. The watching Moros grin at your excitement, for your anxiety amuses them, and finally, when the suspense has become almost unbearable, they point with extended fingers toward a dark object rising slowly through the water. It is a man, not coming up rapidly, as you would expect, but swimming hard, as if it were a difficult task to gain fresh air once more. The men reach out and help him into the boat, where he lies panting for breath and his eyeballs starting from their sockets by the crushing weight of the water. Before making the plunge, the ears and nostrils are plugged tight with cotton or other substance, to prevent the breaking of the eardrums and to keep the water out of the lungs. The sufferings endured by these men are almost indescribable, and the wages paid thema usually $30 per montha are wholly inadequate to the amount and character of the work they perform. In addition to the dangers of the occupation itself, it is no uncommon thing for them to be attacked by sharks or squids. A recent instance is related of a Tagalog diver who, having gone down in very deep water, touched bottom immediately in front of an immense devil-fish. The reptile rushed at him with open mouth, seizing his thigh and perforating his diving suit, thus destroying the life-giving current of air that was being pumped to him from above. a Oh, yes,a said the diver who related the incident, a he went dead.a Another man, a friend of this one, had his air tube broken in a fight with a shark, at a depth of 120 feet. A thrust from the deadly barong ended the life of the sea monster, but as his body floated to the surface it was followed by the blackened corpse of the man. a I had bad trouble once,a said the Tagalog from whom these incidents were obtained. a I never had bad trouble with rock-fish but once. He grab my head in his mouth, but no can bite hard for strong helmet; and pretty soon I fix him with my barong.a Such adventures are by no means rare among the pearl divers of the Sulu Islands.
AMERICAN MORTAR BATTERY, AT CALOOCAN, LUZON.