OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
AT REST BEFORE THE BATTLE.
of water on her head. This is known as the comitan. When Europeans are present, the bride usually retires into the kitchen or a back room, and only puts in an appearance after repeated requests. The conversation rarely turns upon the event of the meeting; there is not the slightest outward manifestation of affection between the newly united couple, who, during the feast, are only seen together by mere accident. If there are European guests, the repast is served three timesa firstly, for the Europeans and head men; secondly, for the males of less social dignity, and lastly, for the women.
a Neither at the table, nor in the drawing-room, do the men and women mingle, except, perhaps, the first quarter of an hour after the arrival, or whilst dancing continues.
a About an hour after the midday meal, those who are not lodging at the house return to their respective residences to sleep the siesta. On an occasion like thisa at a catapusan given for any reasona native outsiders, from anywhere, always invade the kitchen in a mob, hang around doorways, fill up corners, and drop in for the feed uninvited, and it is usual to be liberally complaisant to all comers.
a As a rule, the married couple live with the parents of one or the other, at least until the family inconveniently increases. In old age, the elder members of the families come under the protection of the younger ones quite as a matter of course. In any case, a newly married pair seldom reside alone. Relations from all parts flock in. Cousins, uncles and aunts, of more or less distant grade, hang on to the recently established household, if it be not extremely poor. Even when an European marries a native woman, she is certain to introduce some vagabond relationa a drone to hive with the beesa a condition quite inevitable
unless the husband be a man of specially determined character.
a Among the lowest classes, whilst a woman is lying-in, the husband closes all the windows to prevent the evil spirit (asuan) entering; sometimes he will wave about a stick or bohie knife at the door, or on top of the roof, for the same purpose. Even among the most enlightened, at the present day, the custom of shutting the windows is inherited from their superstitious forefathers.a
The term catapusan signifies, in the native dialect, the gathering of friends which terminates the festival connected with any event or ceremony. This may apply to a wedding, a funeral, a baptism, or an election of local authorities. Funeral festivities last nine days, and the meeting on the last day for wailing, praying, drinking and eating, is called catapusan.
Pork is the chief meat of the people. Every family in the country has its pigs. They are the scavengers, the vultures, the buzzards of the country, living on food so vile that it cannot be described. In some of the camps the soldiers have been forbidden to eat native pork. The natives, however, use this meat in all sorts of ways, a favorite method of cooking being to roast a pig whole on a spit over a fire. The spit is a pole, which is thrust lengthwise through the carcass, the animal being turned round and round in order that it may be evenly cooked, just as we roast meat at our country barbecuesa and sweeter, better meat was never eaten.
Even the wealthy and well-to-do natives are strangers to the comforts which are so common in American homes as to be regarded in the light of necessities. If you go by invitation to the home of a Filipino merchant in Manila, for instance, you will enter through a door that stands flush with the street, and find yourself, not in a room or hallway, but in a a patio,a or court, usually about twelve to fifteen feet wide by eighteen to twenty-five feet in length. This space is occupied as a house garden, in which flowers, bananas and other shrubs grow. Rustic seats are placed along the sides of the walks, and the roof is covered with thatch, through which the banana plants protrude and spread their broad leaves out over the
BUILDING A NEW HOUSE IN THE- PHILIPPINES.
Usually the roof is made first, on the ground, and then raised to its proper position.