The Philippine Historic Collections 1800-1912



Manila fishermen, early 1800s





The Philippine Historic Collections 1800-1900

 Manila Bay, early 1800s


Bridge of Binondoc in Manila, early 1800s


“Officer and Privates of Infantry-1802-1810


the end of Manila Galleons

Two decades after Cabrillo explored the coast of California, other Spanish ships started appearing off of the California coast. For 250 years, from 1565 until 1815, Spanish galleons laden with the riches of the Orient–silks, porcelain, and spices–sailed annually from Manila in the Philippines bound for Acapulco on the west coast of Mexico.

A map of the Pacific Ocean, circa 1600.  Much of the coastline of the Pacific rim was uncharted.

Following instructions, the sailing masters steered the ships as near to 30 degrees north latitude as possible. They only journeyed further north to find favorable winds. After the long trip across the Pacific, the ships turned south upon seeing the first indications of land. This way, they would avoid the uncharted hazards of the California coast. If all went well, the first land seen by the sailors would be the tip of the Baja peninsula. The ship then sailed on to Acapulco. From this port city, much of the cargo was sent overland across Mexico and loaded at Vera Cruz onto ships bound for Havana, Cuba, where they would join the treasure fleet that sailed every year for Spain.

But, the voyages seldom went well. Galleons often had to sail far above 30 degree latitude to find favorable winds. Very poor conditions plagued the vessels. After the crossing, crews needed to replenish food, water, and other essentials. Many sailors became sick from scurvy and other diseases during the crossing. Leaking and worn out from the long but unfinished voyage, the ships were in danger of sinking. The galleons needed a port of refuge along the California coast where they could restock vital supplies and make repairs after the long trans-Pacific journey.

In 1594, the galleon San Augustin sailed from Manila with treasure. She had a secondary mission to scout good ports of refuge along the California coast. The ship arrived off the California coast near Trinidad Head, just south of the California-Oregon border. The ship continued down the coast to Drakes Bay, just north of San Francisco. While in the bay, the ship wrecked in a storm becoming the first known shipwreck in California. The sailors used one of the galleon’s launches to return to civilization. Today, National Park Service archeologists search for the remains of San Augustin.

Eight years after the loss of San Augustin, Sebastian Vizcaino sailed from Acapulco to explore upper California with three ships: San Diego, Santo Tomas, and Tres Reyes. The three ship flotilla traveled far to the north and one at a time each turned back to Mexico. Santo Tomas was first. After exploring as far north as Monterey, the ship returned with those sailors too sick to continue the journey. San Diego, commanded by Vizcaino reached 43 degrees north latitude before turning back because of sickness among the crew. Tres Reyes returned last. During the voyage up the coast to 43 degrees north latitude, her skipper and pilot died. With her leaders gone, the ship reversed course and headed south for home.

The Vizcaino expedition marked the end of official Spanish explorations of the California coast for almost two centuries. Often talked about expeditions to fortify and settle California did not happen. Yet, vessels continued to visit the coast. Spanish galleons continued to sail down the coast on their annual voyages. Some never made it to the safe harbor at Acapulco. In 1600, the galleon Capitana disappeared without a trace. Nuestro de Senora Aguda reportedly ran aground on a rock west of Catalina in 1641. Another galleon, Francisco Xavier, may have wrecked just south of the Columbia river in Oregon in 1707.

Other dangers lurked for the galleons off the California coast. The riches of the Pacific attracted raiders intent plundering Spanish ships and settlement. The English sea captain, Sir Francis Drake, explored the California coast in 1579 after attacking Spanish settlements in South America. He landed somewhere in California to repair his ship, Golden Hind. The exact location of this landfall is not known. Most historians believe it was near San Francisco. Yet, some believe the ship stopped along the Santa Barbara Channel coast for repairs. Other English sea captains hunted the galleons. Thomas Cavendish looted and burned the Manila galleon Santa Ana off the tip of the Baja peninsula in 1587. George Compton pursued the galleon San Sebastian in 1754. The galleon’s crew purposely ran the ship aground on Catalina Island to escape the raider. Compton captured and killed the surviving crew. Spain finally colonized California because of incidents like this and threats to her claims over the territory. Soldiers established a series of forts or presidios along the coast. With the presidios, came the California missions. Soon, the Spanish required all ships sailing along the California coast, including the Manila galleons, to stop at Monterey. Castle Rock near Point Bennett on San Miguel Island in the Santa Barbara Channel.  Some people believe a Manilia galleon wrecked in this area.

Did any vessels from this era of exploration wreck in the Santa Barbara Channel Islands? Evidence is scare and often unreliable. But, legends of wrecked vessels continue to persist.

Author Charles Hillinger noted that “in the decades following Cabrillo’s discovery, shipwrecks were so frequent off Point Bennett…that it is said if divers were able to search offshore reefs, wrecked vessels from Spanish galleons to early 20th century schooners would be found in the depths of the waiting graveyard. Conflicting currents that continuously pound against the dangerous reefs of the point discourage divers from exploring the area.” Indeed, many ships have come to grief in the waters around Point Bennett.

Rumors of a brass cannon, a ships ballast stone, and a very old anchor off Point Bennett motivated one group to get permission from California to search for a late 16th century galleon in the area. Nothing ever came of the expedition. A newspaper article reported that “investigation indicates that the wreckage is scattered too widely to make exploration and salvage convenient.”

Historian Hubert Bancroft wrote “that an old sailor of Santa Barbara told (me) that in 1872 he opened a grave on Santa Cruz Island, which had a wooden headboard on which could be deciphered the date of about 1660.” Was this the final resting place of an unfortunate who died on a ship while passing the islands or is it the grave of a castaway from a long forgotten shipwreck? We will probably never know.

Perhaps one day you may be the one to solve the Mystery of the Point Bennett Galleon. What do you think would need to be done in order for you to lead the group of explorers who would look for her? Who would you chose to be on the team and what skills would the people in your expedition need? What equipment and supplies would you need in order to lead the search?

Recommended Reading

OCS Study 90-0090. California, Oregon, and Washington Archaeological Study. Volume IV–History. U.S. Department of Interior, Pacific OCS Region. Camarillo, California

Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary: Submerged Cultural Resources Assessment by Don P. Morris and Jim Lima. Channel Islands National Park and Submerged Cultural Resources Unit, National Park Service. Available from on the world wide web at

The California Islands by Charles Hillinger. 1958. Academy Publishers. Los Angeles, Cal

Fort Santiago Gate, Manila, circa late 1800s




 the Arisan Maru left Manila with about 1800


 An 1828 MANILA counterstamped on 8R Zacatecas (Mexico) 1825 AZ






1830 MANILA Counterstamp

Counterstamp MANILA. on Mexico Resello YII coronadas sobre 8 Reales 1830


 A view in Manila in 1830


Faro Project drawn up for a lighthouse on Corregidor Island. Mariano de Goicoechea. 1830. SHM Corregidor Island occupied a position of importance at the entrance to Manila Bay, and for this reason it was equipped with signalling lights from very early on.


Plano Situation plan of the port and arsenal of Cavite. 1832 MN During the 18th century, the port of Cavite, close to Manila, was preferred as an anchorage for ships reaching the city, since it had a greater depth of water.


admiral Parish drew the picture during visit Manila


Domesticated Natives—Origin—Character

The generally-accepted theory regarding the origin of the composite race which may be termed “domesticated natives,” is, that their ancestors migrated to these Islands from Malesia, or the Malay Peninsula. But so many learned dissertations have emanated from distinguished men, propounding conflicting opinions on the descent of the Malays themselves, that we are still left on the field of conjecture.

There is good reason to surmise that, at some remote period, these Islands and the Islands of Formosa and Borneo were united, and possibly also they conjointly formed a part of the Asiatic mainland. Many of the islets are mere coral reefs, and some of the larger islands are so distinctly of coral formation that, regarded together with the numerous volcanic evidences, one is induced to believe that the Philippine Archipelago is the result of a stupendous upheaval by volcanic action.1 At least it seems apparent that no autochthonous population existed on these lands in their island form. The first settlers were probably the Aetas, called also Negritos and Balugas, who may have drifted northwards from New Guinea and have been carried by the strong currents through the San Bernadino Straits and round Punta Santiago until they reached the still waters in the neighbourhood of Corregidor Island, whilst others were carried westwards to the tranquil Sulu Sea, and travelling thence northwards would have settled on the Island of Negros. It is a fact that for over a century after the Spanish conquest, Negros Island had no other inhabitants but these mountaineers and escaped criminals from other islands.

The sturdy races inhabiting the Central Luzon highlands, decidedly superior in physique and mental capacity to the Aetas, may be of Japanese origin, for shortly after the conquest by Legaspi a Spanish galley cruising off the north coast of Luzon fell in with Japanese, who probably [164]penetrated to the interior of that island up the Rio Grande de Cagayán. Tradition tells us how the Japanese used to sail down the east coast of Luzon as far as the neighbourhood of Lamon Bay, where they landed and, descending the little rivers which flowed into the Lake of Bay, settled in that region which was called by the first Spanish conquerors Pagsanján Province, and which included the Laguna Province of to-day, with a portion of the modern Tayabas Province.

Either the Japanese extended their sphere from the Lake of Bay shore, or, as some assert (probably erroneously), shipwrecked Japanese went up the Pansipít River to the Bómbon Lake: the fact remains that Taal, with the Bómbon Lake shore, was a Japanese settlement, and even up to now the Taaleños have characteristics differing from those of the pure Malay immigrant descendants. The Philippine patriot, Dr. José Rizal, was a good Japanese-Malay type.
The Tagálogs, who occupy a small portion of Luzon Island, chiefly the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Rizal, and Bulacan, are believed to be the cross-breed descendants of these Japanese immigrants. At the period of the Spanish conquest the Tao ílog, that is to say, “the man who came by the river,” afterwards corrupted into the more euphonious name of Tagálog, occupied only the lands from the south shore of Laguna de Bay southwards. Some traded with the Malay settlers at Maynila (as the city on the Pasig River was then called) and, little by little, radicated themselves in the Manila suburbs of Quiapo, Sampáloc, and Santa Cruz.2

From the West, long before the Spanish conquest, there was a great influx of Malays, who settled on the shores and the lowlands and drove the first settlers (Aetas) to the mountains. Central Luzon and the Lake environs being already occupied, they spread all over the vacant lands and adjacent islands south of Luzon. These expeditions from Malesia were probably accompanied by Mahometan propagandists, who had imparted to the Malays some notions, more or less crude, of their religion and culture, for at the time of Legaspiʼs arrival in Manila we find he had to deal with two chiefs, or petty kings, both assuming the Indian title of Rajah, whilst one of them had the Mahometan Arabic name of Soliman. Hitherto the Tao ílog, or Tagálog, had not descended the Pasig River so far as Manila, and the religious rites of the Tondo-Manila people must have appeared to Legaspi similar to the Mahometan rites, for in several of his despatches to his royal master he speaks of these people as Moros. All the dialects spoken by the Filipinos of Malay and Japanese descent have their root in the pure Malay language. After the expulsion of all the adult male Japanese Lake settlers in the 17th century, it is feasible to suppose that the language of the males who took their place in the Lake district and intermarried there, should prevail over the idiom of the primitive settlers, and possibly this amalgamation of speech accounts for the difference between the Tagálog dialect and others of these islands peopled by Malays.
The Malay immigration must have taken place several generations prior to the coming of the Spaniards, for at that period the lowland occupants were already divided into peoples speaking different dialects and distinguishing themselves by groups whose names seem to be associated with the districts they inhabited, such as Pampanga, Iloco, and Cagayán; these denominations are probably derived from some natural condition, such as Pámpang, meaning a river embankment, Ilog, a river, Cauáyan, a bamboo, etc.

In a separate chapter (x.) the reputed origin of the Mahometans of the southern islands is alluded to. They are also believed to be immigrants from the West, and at the time of the conquest recent traditions which came to the knowledge of the Spaniards, and were recorded by them, prove that commercial relations existed between Borneo and Manila. There is a tradition4 also of an attempted conquest of Luzon by a Borneo chief named Lacasama, about 250 years before the Spanish advent; but apparently the expedition came to grief near Luzon, off an island supposed by some to be Masbate.

The descendants of the Japanese and Malay immigrants were the people whom the Spanish invaders had to subdue to gain a footing. To the present day they, and the correlative Chinese and Spanish half-castes, are the only races, among the several in these Islands, subjected, in fact, to civilized methods. The expression “Filipino” neither denotes any autochthonous race, nor any nationality, but simply one born in those islands named the Philippines: it is, therefore, open to argument whether the child of a Filipino, born in a foreign country, could be correctly called a Filipino.
The christianized Filipinos, enjoying to-day the benefits of European training, are inclined to repudiate, as compatriots, the descendants of the non-christian tribes, although their concurrent existence, since the time of their immigrant forefathers, makes them all equally Filipinos. Hence many of them who were sent to the St. Louis Exhibition in 1904 were indignant because the United States Government had chosen to exhibit some types of uncivilized natives, representing about one-twelfth of the Philippine population. Without [166]these exhibits, and on seeing only the educated Filipinos who formed the Philippine Commission, the American people at home might well have asked—Is not American civilization a superfluity in those islands?
The inhabitants of these Islands were by no means savages, entirely unreclaimed from barbarism before the Spanish advent in the 16th century. They had a culture of their own, towards which the Malay settlers themselves appear to have contributed very little. In the nascent pre-Spanish civilization, Japanese immigrants were almost the only agriculturists, mine-workers, manufacturers, gold-seekers, goldsmiths, and masters of the industrial arts in general. Pagsanján (Laguna) was their great industrial centre. Malolos (Bulacan) was also an important Japanese trading base. Whilst working the mines of Ilocos their exemplary industry must undoubtedly have influenced the character of the Ilocanos. Away down in the Bicol country of Camarines, the Japanese pushed their trade, and from their great settlement in Taal their traffic must have extended over the whole province, first called by the Spaniards Taal y Balayán, but since named Batangas. From the Japanese, the Malays learnt the manufacture of arms, and the Igorrotes the art of metal-working. Along the coasts of the large inhabited islands the Chinese travelled as traders or middlemen, at great personal risk of attack by individual robbers, bartering the goods of manufacturers for native produce, which chiefly consisted of sinamay cloth, shark-fin, balate (trepang), edible birdsʼ-nests, gold in grain, and siguey-shells, for which there was a demand in Siam for use as money. Every north-east monsoon brought down the junks to barter leisurely until the south-west monsoon should waft them back, and neither Chinese nor Japanese made the least attempt, nor apparently had the least desire, to govern the Islands or to overrule the natives. Without coercion, the Malay settlers would appear to have unconsciously submitted to the influence of the superior talent or astuteness of the sedulous races with whom they became merged and whose customs they adopted, proof of which can be traced to the present day.5 Presumably the busy, industrious immigrants had neither time nor inclination for sanguinary conflicts, for those recorded appear to be confined to the raids of the migratory mountaineers and an occasional attack by some ambitious Borneo buccaneer. The reader who would wish to verify these facts is recommended to make a comparative study of native character in Vigan, Malolos, Taal, and Pagsanján.

In treating of the domesticated nativesʼ character, I wish it to be understood that my observations apply solely to the large majority of the six or seven millions of them who inhabit these Islands.

In the capital and the ports open to foreign trade, where cosmopolitan vices and virtues obtain, and in large towns, where there is a constant number of domiciled Europeans and Americans, the native has become a modified being. It is not in such places that a just estimate of character can be arrived at, even during many yearsʼ sojourn. The native must be studied by often-repeated casual residence in localities where his, or her, domestication is only “by law established,” imposing little restraint upon natural inclinations, and where exotic notions have gained no influence.
Several writers have essayed to depict the Philippine native character, but with only partial success. Dealing with such an enigma, the most eminent physiognomists would surely differ in their speculations regarding the Philippine native of the present day. That Catonian figure, with placid countenance and solemn gravity of feature, would readily deceive any one as to the true mental organism within. The late parish priest of Alaminos (Batangas)—a Franciscan friar, who spent half his life in the Colony—left a brief manuscript essay on the native character. I have read it. In his opinion, the native is an incomprehensible phenomenon, the mainspring of whose line of thought and the guiding motive of whose actions have never yet been, and perhaps never will be, discovered.
The reasoning of a native and a European differs so largely that the mental impulse of the two races is ever clashing. Sometimes a native will serve a master satisfactorily for years, and then suddenly abscond, or commit some such hideous crime as conniving with a brigand band to murder the family and pillage the house.

When the hitherto faithful servant is remonstrated with for having committed a crime, he not unfrequently accounts for the fact by saying, “Señor, my head was hot.” When caught in the act on his first start on highway robbery or murder, his invariable excuse is that he is not a scoundrel himself, but that he was “invited” by a relation or compadre to join the company.
He is fond of gambling, profligate, lavish in his promises, but lâche in the extreme as to their fulfilment. He will never come frankly and openly forward to make a clean breast of a fault committed, or even a pardonable accident, but will hide it, until it is found out. In common with many other non-European races, an act of generosity or a voluntary concession of justice is regarded as a sign of weakness. Hence it is that the experienced European is often compelled to be more harsh than his real nature dictates.
If one pays a native 20 cents for a service performed, and that be exactly the customary remuneration, he will say nothing, but if a feeling of compassion impels one to pay 30 cents, the recipient will loudly protest that he ought to be paid more. In Luzon the native is able to say “Thank you” (salámat-pô) in his mother-tongue, but in Panay and Negros there is no way of expressing thanks in native dialect to a donor (the nearest approach to it is Dios macbáyat); and although this may, at first sight, appear to be an insignificant fact, I think, nevertheless, a great deal may be deduced from it, for the deficiency of the word in the Visaya vernacular denotes a deficiency of the idea which that word should express.

If the native be in want of a trivial thing, which by plain asking he could readily obtain, he will come with a long tale, often begin by telling a lie, and whilst he invariably scratches his head, he will beat about the bush until he comes to the point, with a supplicating tone and a saintly countenance hiding a mass of falsity. But if he has nothing to gain for himself, his reticence is astonishingly inconvenient, for he may let oneʼs horse die and tell one afterwards it was for want of rice-paddy, or, just at the very moment one wants to use something, he will tell one “Uala-pô”—there is not any.
I have known natives whose mothers, according to their statement, have died several times, and each time they have tried to beg the loan of the burial expenses. The mother of my first servant died twice, according to his account.
Even the best class of natives do not appreciate, or feel grateful for, or even seem to understand a spontaneous gift. Apparently, they only comprehend the favour when one yields to their asking. The lowest classes never give to each other, unsolicited, a centʼs worth, outside the customary reciprocal feast-offerings. If a European makes voluntary gratuities to the natives, he is considered a fool—they entertain a contempt for him, which develops into intolerable impertinence. If the native comes to borrow, lend him a little less than he asks for, after a verbose preamble; if one at once lent, or gave, the full value requested, he would continue to invent a host of pressing necessities, until oneʼs patience was exhausted. He seldom restores the loan of anything voluntarily. On being remonstrated with for his remissness, after the date of repayment or return of the article has expired, he will coolly reply, “You did not ask me for it.” An amusing case of native reasoning came within my experience just recently. I lent some articles to an educated Filipino, who had frequently been my guest, and, at the end of three months, I requested their return. Instead of thanking me for their use, he wrote a letter expressing his indignation at my reminder, saying that I “ought to know they were in very good hands!” A native considers it no degradation to borrow money: it gives him no recurrent feeling of humiliation or distress of mind. Thus, he will often give a costly feast to impress his neighbours with his wealth and maintain his local prestige, whilst on all sides he has debts innumerable. At most, with his looseness of morality, he regards debt as an inconvenience, not as a calamity.

Before entering another (middle- or lower-class) nativeʼs house, he is very complimentary, and sometimes three minutesʼ polite excusatory dialogue is exchanged between the visitor and the native visited before the former passes the threshold. When the same class of native enters a Europeanʼs house, he generally satisfies his curiosity by looking all around, and often pokes his head into a private room, asking permission to enter afterwards.
The lower-class native never comes at first call; among themselves it is usual to call five or six times, raising the voice each time. If a native is told to tell another to come, he seldom goes to him to deliver the message, but calls him from a distance. When a native steals (and I must say they are fairly honest), he steals only what he wants. One of the rudest acts, according to their social code, is to step over a person asleep on the floor. Sleeping is, with them, a very solemn matter; they are very averse to waking any one, the idea being, that during sleep the soul is absent from the body, and that if slumber be suddenly arrested the soul might not have time to return. When a person, knowing the habits of the native, calls upon him and is told “He is asleep,” he does not inquire further—the rest is understood: that he may have to wait an indefinite time until the sleeper wakes up—so he may as well depart. To urge a servant to rouse one, one has to give him very imperative orders to that effect: then he stands by oneʼs side and calls “Señor, señor!” repeatedly, and each time louder, until one is half awake; then he returns to the low note, and gradually raises his voice again until one is quite conscious.
In Spanish times, wherever I went in the whole Archipelago—near the capital, or 500 miles from it—I found mothers teaching their offspring to regard the European as a demoniacal being, an evil spirit, or, at least, as an enemy to be feared! If a child cried, it was hushed by the exclamation, “Castila!” (European). If a white man approached a poor hut or a fine native residence, the cry of caution, the watchword for defence was always heard—“Castila!”—and the children hastened their retreat from the dreaded object. But this is now a thing of the past since the native crossed swords with the “Castila” (q.v.) and the American on the battle-field, and, rightly or wrongly, thoroughly believes himself to be a match for either in equal numbers.
The Filipino, like most Orientals, is a good imitator, but having no initiative genius, he is not efficient in anything. He will copy a model any number of times, but one cannot get him to make two copies so much alike that the one is undistinguishable from the other. Yet he has no attachment for any occupation in particular. To-day he will be at the plough; to-morrow a coachman, a collector of accounts, a valet, a sailor, and so on; or he will suddenly renounce social trammels in pursuit of lawless vagabondage. I once travelled with a Colonel Marqués, acting-Governor of Cebú, whose valet was an ex-law student. Still, many are willing to learn, and really become very expert artisans, especially machinists.
The native is indolent in the extreme, and never tires of sitting still, gazing at nothing in particular. He will do no regular work without an advance; his word cannot be depended upon; he is fertile in exculpatory devices; he is momentarily obedient, but is averse to subjection. He feigns friendship, but has no loyalty; he is calm and silent, but can keep no secret; he is daring on the spur of the moment, but fails in resolution if he reflects. He is wantonly unfeeling towards animals; cruel to a fallen foe; tyrannical over his own people when in power; rarely tempers his animosities with compassion or pity, but is devotedly fond of his children. He is shifty, erratic, void of chivalrous feeling; and if familiarity be permitted with the common-class native, he is liable to presume upon it. The Tagálog is docile and pliant, but keenly resents an injustice.

Native superstition and facile credulity are easily imposed upon. A report emitted in jest, or in earnest, travels with alarming rapidity, and the consequences have not unfrequently been serious. The native rarely sees a joke, and still more rarely makes one. He never reveals anger, but he will, with the most profound calmness, avenge himself, awaiting patiently the opportunity to use his bowie-knife with effect. Mutilation of a vanquished enemy is common among these Islanders. If a native recognizes a fault by his own conscience, he will receive a flogging without resentment or complaint; if he is not so convinced of the misdeed, he will await his chance to give vent to his rancour.

He has a profound respect only for the elders of his household, and the lash justly administered. He rarely refers to past generations in his lineage, and the lowest class do not know their own ages. The Filipino, of any class, has no memory for dates. In 1904 not one in a hundred remembered the month and year in which General Aguinaldo surrendered. During the Independence war, an esteemed friend of mine, a Philippine priest, died, presumably of old age. I went to his town to inquire all about it from his son, but neither the son nor another near relation could recollect, after two daysʼ reflection, even the year the old man passed away. Another friend of mine had his brains blown out during the Revolution. His brother was anxious to relate the tragedy to me and how he had lost 20,000 pesos in consequence, but he could not tell me in which month it happened. Families are very united, and claims for help and protection are admitted however distant the relationship may be. Sometimes the connection of a “hanger-on” with his hostʼs family will be so remote and doubtful, that he can only be recognized as “un poco pariente nada mas” (a sort of kinsman). But the house is open to all.
The native is a good father and a good husband, unreasonably jealous of his wife, careless of the honour of his daughter, and will take no heed of the indiscretions of his spouse committed before marriage. Cases have been known of natives having fled from their burning huts, taking care to save their fighting-cocks, but leaving their wives and children to look after themselves.
If a question be suddenly put to a native, he apparently loses his presence of mind, and gives the reply most convenient to save himself from trouble, punishment, or reproach. It is a matter of perfect indifference to him whether the reply be true or not. Then, as the investigation proceeds, he will amend one statement after another, until, finally, he has practically admitted his first explanation to be quite false. One who knows the native character, so far as its mysteries are penetrable, would never attempt to get at the truth of a question by a direct inquiry—he would “beat about the bush,” and extract the truth bit by bit. Nor do the natives, rich or poor, of any class in life, and with very few exceptions in the whole population, appear to regard lying as a sin, but rather as a legitimate, though cunning, convenience, which should be resorted to whenever it will serve a purpose. It is my frank opinion that they do not, in their consciences, hold lying to be a fault in any degree. If the liar be discovered and faced, he rarely appears disconcerted—his countenance rather denotes surprise at the discovery, or disappointment at his being foiled in the object for which he lied. As this is one of the most remarkable characteristics of the Filipino of both sexes in all spheres of life, I have repeatedly discussed it with the priests, several of whom have assured me that the habit prevails even in the confessional.7 In the administration of justice this circumstance is inconvenient, because a witness is always procurable for a few pesos. In a law-case, in which one or both parties belong to the lowest class, it is sometimes difficult to say whether the false or the true witnesses are in majority.

Men and women alike find exaggerated enjoyment in litigation, which many keep up for years. Among themselves they are tyrannical. They have no real sentiment, nor do they practise virtue for virtueʼs sake, and, apart from their hospitality, in which they (especially the Tagálogs) far excel the European, all their actions appear to be only guided by fear, or interest, or both.
The domesticated Tagálogs of Luzon have made greater progress in civilization and good manners than the Visayos of Panay and Negros. The Tagálog differs vastly from his southern brother in his true nature, which is more pliant, whilst he is by instinct cheerfully and disinterestedly hospitable. Invariably a European wayfarer in a Tagálog village is invited by one or another of the principal residents to lodge at his house as a free guest, for to offer payment would give offence. A present of some European article might be made, but it is not at all looked for. The Tagálog host lends his guest horses or vehicles to go about the neighbourhood, takes him round to the houses of his friends, accompanies him to any feast which may be celebrated at the time of his visit, and lends him his sporting-gun, if he has one. The whole time he treats him with the deference due to the superiority which he recognizes. He is remarkably inquisitive, and will ask all sorts of questions about oneʼs private affairs, but that is of no consequence—he is not intrusive, and if he be invited to return the visit in the capital, or wherever one may reside, he accepts the invitation reluctantly, but seldom pays the visit. Speaking of the Tagálog as a host, pure and simple, he is generally the most genial man one could hope to meet.

The Negros and Panay Visayoʼs cold hospitality is much tempered with the prospect of personal gain—quite a contrast to the Tagálog. On the first visit he might admit the white traveller into his house out of mere curiosity to know all about him—whence he comes—why he travels—how much he possesses—and where he is going. The basis of his estimation of a visitor is his worldly means; or, if the visitor be engaged in trade, his power to facilitate his hostʼs schemes would bring him a certain measure of civility and complaisance. He is fond of, and seeks the patronage of Europeans of position. In manners, the Negros and Panay Visayo is uncouth and brusque, and more conceited, arrogant, self-reliant, ostentatious, and unpolished than his northern neighbour. If remonstrated with for any fault, he is quite disposed to assume a tone of impertinent retort or sullen defiance. The Cebuáno is more congenial and hospitable.

The women, too, are less affable in Panay and Negros, and evince an almost incredible avarice. They are excessively fond of ornament, and at feasts they appear adorned with an amount of gaudy French jewellery which, compared with their means, cost them a lot of money to purchase from the swarm of Jew pedlars who, before the Revolution of 1896, periodically invaded the villages.

If a European calls on a well-to-do Negros or Panay Visayo, the women of the family saunter off in one direction or another, to hide themselves in other rooms, unless the visitor be well known to the family. If met by chance, perhaps they will return a salutation, perhaps not. They seldom indulge in a smile before a stranger; have no conversation; no tuition beyond music and the lives of the Saints, and altogether impress the traveller with their insipidity of character, which chimes badly with their manifest air of disdain.

The women of Luzon (and in a slightly less degree the Cebuánas) are more frank, better educated, and decidedly more courteous and sociable. Their manners are comparatively lively, void of arrogance, cheerful, and buoyant in tone. However, all over the Islands the women are more parsimonious than the men; but, as a rule, they are more clever and discerning than the other sex, over whom they exercise great influence. Many of them are very dexterous business women and have made the fortunes of their families. A notable example of this was the late Doña Cornelia Laochanco, of Manila, with whom I was personally acquainted, and who, by her own talent in trading transactions, accumulated considerable wealth. Doña Cornelia (who died in 1899) was the foundress of the system of blending sugar to sample for export, known in Manila as the fardería. In her establishment at San Miguel she had a little tower erected, whence a watchman kept his eye on the weather. When threatening clouds appeared a bell was tolled and the mats were instantly picked up and carried off by her Chinese coolie staff, which she managed with great skill, due, perhaps, to the fact that her three husbands were Chinese.

The Philippine woman makes an excellent general servant in native families; in the same capacity, in European service, she is, as a rule, almost useless, but she is a good nursemaid.
The Filipino has many excellent qualities which go far to make amends for his shortcomings. He is patient and forbearing in the extreme, remarkably sober, plodding, anxious only about providing for his immediate wants, and seldom feels “the canker of ambitious thoughts.” In his person and his dwelling he may serve as a pattern of cleanliness to all other races in the tropical East. He has little thought beyond the morrow, and therefore never racks his brains about events of the far future in the political world, the world to come, or any other sphere. He indifferently leaves everything to happen as it may, with surprising resignation. The native, in general, will go without food for many hours at a time without grumbling; and fish, rice, betel-nut, and tobacco are his chief wants. Inebriety is almost unknown, although strong drink (nipa wine) is plentiful.
In common with other races whose lives are almost exclusively passed amid the ever-varying wonders of land and sea, Filipinos rarely express any spontaneous admiration for the beauties of Nature, and seem little sensible to any aspect thereof not directly associated with the human interest of their calling. Few Asiatics, indeed, go into raptures over lovely scenery as Europeans do, nor does “the gorgeous glamour of the Orient” which we speak of so ecstatically strike them as such.

When a European is travelling, he never needs to trouble about where or when his servant gets his food or where he sleeps—he looks after that. When a native travels, he drops in amongst any group of his fellow-countrymen whom he finds having their meal on the roadside, and wherever he happens to be at nightfall, there he lies down to sleep. He is never long in a great dilemma. If his hut is about to fall, he makes it fast with bamboo and rattan-cane. If a vehicle breaks down, a harness snaps, or his canoe leaks or upsets, he always has his remedy at hand. He stoically bears misfortune of all kinds with the greatest indifference, and without the least apparent emotion. Under the eye of his master he is the most tractable of all beings. He never (like the Chinese) insists upon doing things his own way, but tries to do just as he is told, whether it be right or wrong. A native enters oneʼs service as a coachman, but if he be told to paddle a boat, cook a meal, fix a lock, or do any other kind of labour possible to him, he is quite agreeable. He knows the duties of no occupation with efficiency, and he is perfectly willing to be a “jack-of-all-trades.” Another good feature is that he rarely, if ever, repudiates a debt, although he may never pay it. So long as he gets his food and fair treatment, and his stipulated wages in advance, he is content to act as a general-utility man; lodging he will find for himself. If not pressed too hard, he will follow his superior like a faithful dog. If treated with kindness, according to European notions, he is lost. The native never looks ahead; if left to himself, he will do all sorts of imprudent things, from sheer want of reflection on the consequences, when, as he puts it, “his head is hot” from excitement due to any cause.

On March 15, 1886, I was coming round the coast of Zambales in a small steamer, in which I was the only saloon passenger. The captain, whom I had known for years, found that one of the cabin servants had been systematically pilfering for some time past. He ordered the steward to cane him, and then told him to go to the upper deck and remain there. He at once walked up the ladder and threw himself into the sea; but the vessel stopped, a boat was lowered, and he was soon picked up. Had he been allowed to reach the shore, he would have become what is known as a remontado and perhaps eventually a brigand, for such is the beginning of many of them.

The thorough-bred native has no idea of organization on a large scale, hence a successful revolution is not possible if confined to his own class unaided by others, such as Creoles and foreigners. He is brave, and fears no consequences when with or against his equals, or if led by his superiors; but a conviction of superiority—moral or physical—in the adversary depresses him. An excess of audacity calms and overawes him rather than irritates him.
His admiration for bravery and perilous boldness is only equalled by his contempt for cowardice and puerility, and this is really the secret of the nativeʼs disdain for the Chinese race. Under good European officers he makes an excellent soldier, and would follow a brave leader to death; however, if the leader fell, he would at once become demoralized. [175]There is nothing he delights in more than pillage, destruction, and bloodshed, and when once he becomes master of the situation in an affray, there is no limit to his greed and savage cruelty.

Yet, detesting order of any kind, military discipline is repugnant to him, and, as in other countries where conscription is the law, all kinds of tricks are resorted to to avoid it. On looking over the deeds of an estate which I had purchased, I saw that two brothers, each named Catalino Raymundo, were the owners at one time of a portion of the land. I thought there must have been some mistake, but, on close inquiry, I found that they were so named to dodge the Spanish recruiting officers, who would not readily suppose there were two Catalino Raymundos born of the same parents. As one Catalino Raymundo had served in the army and the other was dead, no further secret was made in the matter, and I was assured that this practice was common among the poorest natives.

In November, 1887, a deserter from the new recruits was pursued to Langca, a ward of Meycauáyan, Bulacan Province, where nearly all the inhabitants rose up in his defence, the result being that the Lieutenant of Cuadrilleros was killed and two of his men were wounded. When the Civil Guard appeared on the spot, the whole ward was abandoned.

According to the Spanish army regulations, a soldier cannot be on sentinel duty for more than two hours at a time under any circumstances. Cases have been known of a native sentinel having been left at his post for a little over that regulation time, and to have become phrenetic, under the impression that the two hours had long since expired, and that he had been forgotten. In one case the man had to be disarmed by force, but in another instance the sentinel simply refused to give up his rifle and bayonet, and defied all who approached him. Finally, an officer went with the colours of the regiment in hand to exhort him to surrender his arms, adding that justice would attend his complaint. The sentinel, however, threatened to kill any one who should draw near, and the officer had no other recourse open to him but to order a European soldier to climb up behind the sentry-box and blow out the insubordinate nativeʼs brains.

In the seventies, a contingent of Philippine troops was sent to assist the French in Tonquin, where they rendered very valuable service. Indeed, some officers are of opinion that they did more to quell the Tuh Duc rising than the French troops themselves. When in the fray, they throw off their boots, and, barefooted, they rarely falter. Even over mud and swamp, a native is almost as sure-footed as a goat on the brink of a quarry. I have frequently been carried for miles in a hammock by four natives and relays, through morassy districts too dangerous to travel on horseback. They are great adepts at climbing wherever it is possible for a human being to scale a height; like monkeys, they hold as much with their feet as with their hands; they ride any horse barebacked without fear; they are utterly careless about jumping into the sea among the sharks, which sometimes they will intentionally attack with knives, and I never knew a native who could not swim. There are natives who dare dive for the caiman and rip it up. If they meet with an accident, they bear it with supreme resignation, simply exclaiming “desgracia pá”—it was a misfortune.

I can record with pleasure my happy recollection of many a light-hearted, genial, and patient native who accompanied me on my journeys in these Islands. Comparatively very few thorough-bred natives travel beyond their own islands, although there is a constant flow of half-castes to and from the adjacent colonies, Europe, etc.

The native is very slowly tempted to abandon the habits and traditional customs of his forefathers, and his ambitionless felicity may be envied by any true philosopher.

No one who has lived in the Colony for years could sketch the real moral portrait of such a remarkable combination of virtues and vices. The domesticated nativeʼs character is a succession of surprises. The experience of each year modifies oneʼs conclusions, and the most exact definition of such an inscrutable being is, after all, hypothetical. However, to a certain degree, the characteristic indolence of these Islanders is less dependent on themselves than on natural law, for the physical conditions surrounding them undoubtedly tend to arrest their vigour of motion, energy of life, and intellectual power.

The organic elements of the European differ widely from those of the Philippine native, and each, for his own durability, requires his own special environment. The half-breed partakes of both organisms, but has the natural environment of the one. Sometimes artificial means—the mode of life into which he is forced by his European parent—will counteract in a measure natural law, but, left to himself, the tendency will ever be towards an assimilation to the native. Original national characteristics disappear in an exotic climate, and, in the course of time, conform to the new laws of nature to which they are exposed.

It is an ascertained fact that the increase of energy introduced into the Philippine native by blood mixture from Europe lasts only to the second generation, whilst the effect remains for several generations when there is a similarity of natural surroundings in the two races crossed. Moreover, the peculiar physique of a Chinese or Japanese progenitor is preserved in succeeding generations, long after the Spanish descendant has merged into the conditions of his environment.

The Spanish Government strove in vain against natural law to counteract physical conditions by favouring mixed marriages,8 but Nature overcomes manʼs law, and climatic influence forces its conditions [177]on the half-breed. Indeed, were it not for new supplies of extraneous blood infusion, European characteristics would, in time, become indiscernible among the masses. Even on Europeans themselves, in defiance of their own volition, the new physical conditions and the influence of climate on their mental and physical organisms are perceptible after two or three decades of yearsʼ residence in the mid-tropics.

All the natives of the domesticated type have distinct Malay, or Malay-Japanese, or Mongol features—prominent cheek-bones, large and lively eyes, and flat noses with dilated nostrils. They are, on the average, of rather low stature, very rarely bearded, and of a copper colour more or less dark. Most of the women have no distinct line of hair on the forehead. Some there are with a frontal hairy down extending to within an inch of the eyes, possibly a reversion to a progenitor (the Macacus radiata) in whom the forehead had not become quite naked, leaving the limit between the scalp and the forehead undefined. The hair of both males and females stands out from the skin like bristles, and is very coarse. The coarseness of the femaleʼs hair is, however, more than compensated by its luxuriance; for, provided she be in a normal state of health, up to the prime of life the hair commonly reaches down to the waist, and occasionally to the ankles. The women are naturally proud of this mark of beauty, which they preserved by frequent washings with gogo (q.v.) and the use of cocoanut oil (q.v.). Hare-lip is common. Children, from their birth, have a spot at the base of the vertebrae, thereby supporting the theory of Professor Huxleyʼs Anthropidae sub-order—or man (vide Professor Huxleyʼs “An Introduction to the Classification of Animals,” p. 99. Published 1869).

Marriages between natives are usually arranged by the parents of the respective families. The nubile age of females is from about 11 years. The parents of the young man visit those of the maiden, to approach the subject delicately in an oratorical style of allegory. The response is in like manner shrouded with mystery, and the veil is only thrown off the negotiations when it becomes evident that both parties agree. Among the poorer classes, if the young man has no goods to offer, it is frequently stipulated that he shall serve on probation for an indefinite period in the house of his future bride,—as Jacob served Laban to make Rachel his wife,—and not a few drudge for years with this hope before them.

Sometimes, in order to secure service gratis, the elders of the young woman will suddenly dismiss the young man after a prolonged expectation, and take another Catipad. as he is called, on the same terms. The old colonial legislation—“Leyes de Indias”—in vain prohibited this barbarous ancient custom, and there was a modern Spanish law (of which few availed themselves) which permitted the intended bride to be [178]“deposited” away from parental custody, whilst the parents were called upon to show cause why the union should not take place. However, it often happens that when Cupid has already shot his arrow into the virginal breast, and the betrothed foresee a determined opposition to their mutual hopes, they anticipate the privileges of matrimony, and compel the brideʼs parents to countenance their legitimate aspirations to save the honour of the family. Honi soit qui mal y pense—they simply force the hand of a dictatorial mother-in-law. The women are notably mercenary, and if, on the part of the girl and her people, there be a hitch, it is generally on the question of dollars when both parties are native. Of course, if the suitor be European, no such question is raised—the ambition of the family and the vanity of the girl being both satisfied by the alliance itself.

When the proposed espousals are accepted, the donations propter nuptias are paid by the father of the bridegroom to defray the wedding expenses, and often a dowry settlement, called in Tagálog dialect “bigaycaya” is made in favour of the bride. Very rarely the brideʼs property is settled on the husband. I never heard of such a case. The Spanish laws relating to married personsʼ property were quaint. If the husband were poor and the wife well-off, so they might remain, notwithstanding the marriage. He, as a rule, became a simple administrator of her possessions, and, if honest, often depended on her liberality to supply his own necessities. If he became bankrupt in a business in which he employed also her capital or possessions, she ranked as a creditor of the second class under the “Commercial Code.” If she died, the poor husband, under no circumstances, by legal right (unless under a deed signed before a notary) derived any benefit from the fact of his having espoused a rich wife: her property passed to their legitimate issue, or—in default thereof—to her nearest blood relation. The children might be rich, and, but for their generosity, their father might be destitute, whilst the law compelled him to render a strict account to them of the administration of their property during their minority. This fact has given rise to many lawsuits.

A married woman often signs her maiden name, sometimes adding “de ——” (her husbandʼs surname). If she survives him, she again takes up her nomen ante nuptias amongst her old circle of friends, and only adds “widow of ——” to show who she is to the public (if she be in trade), or to those who have only known her as a married woman. The offspring use both the parental surnames, the motherʼs coming after the fatherʼs; hence it is the more prominent. Frequently, in Spanish documents requiring the mention of a personʼs name in full, the motherʼs maiden surname is revived.
Thus marriage, as I understand the spirit of the Spanish law, seems to be a simple contract to legitimize and license procreation.

Up to the year 1844, only a minority of the christian natives had distinctive family names. They were, before that date, known by certain harsh ejaculations, and classification of families was uncared for among the majority of the population. Therefore, in that year, a list of Spanish surnames was sent to each parish priest, and every native family had to adopt a separate appellation, which has ever since been perpetuated. Hence one meets natives bearing illustrious names such as Juan Salcedo, Juan de Austria, Rianzares, Ramon de Cabrera, Pio Nono Lopez, and a great many Legaspis.
When a wedding among natives was determined upon, the betrothed went to the priest—not necessarily together—kissed his hand, and informed him of their intention. There was a tariff of marriage fees, but the priest usually set this aside, and fixed his charges according to the resources of the parties. This abuse of power could hardly be resisted, as the natives have a radicate aversion to being married elsewhere than in the village of the bride. The priest, too (not the bride), usually had the privilege of “naming the day.” The fees demanded were sometimes enormous, the common result being that many couples merely cohabited under mutual vows because they could not pay the wedding expenses.

The banns were verbally published after the benediction following the conclusion of the Mass. In the evening, prior to the marriage, it was compulsory on the couple to confess and obtain absolution from the priest. The nuptials almost invariably took place after the first Mass, between five and six in the morning, and those couples who were spiritually prepared first presented themselves for Communion. Then an acolyte placed over the shoulders of the bridal pair a thick mantle or pall. The priest recited a short formula of about five minutesʼ duration, put his interrogations, received the muttered responses, and all was over. To the espoused, as they left the church, was tendered a bowl of coin; the bridegroom passed a handful of the contents to the bride, who accepted it and returned it to the bowl. This act was symbolical of his giving to her his worldly goods. Then they left the church with their friends, preserving that solemn, stoical countenance common to all Malay natives. There was no visible sign of emotion as they all walked off, with the most matter-of-fact indifference, to the paternal abode. This was the custom under the Spaniards, and it still largely obtains; the Revolution decreed civil marriage, which the Americans have declared lawful, but not compulsory.

After the marriage ceremony the feast called the Catapúsan begins. To this the vicar and headmen of the villages, the immediate friends and relatives of the allied families, and any Europeans who may [180]happen to be resident or sojourning, are invited. The table is spread, à la Russe, with all the good things procurable served at the same time—sweetmeats predominating. Imported beer, Dutch gin, chocolate, etc., are also in abundance. After the early repast, both men and women are constantly being offered betel-nut to masticate, and cigars or cigarettes, according to choice.

Meanwhile, the company is entertained by native dancers. Two at a time—a young man and woman—stand vis-à-vis and alternately sing a love ditty, the burthen of the theme usually opening by the regret of the young man that his amorous overtures have been disregarded. Explanations follow, in the poetic dialogue, as the parties dance around each other, keeping a slow step to the plaintive strains of music. This is called the Balítao. It is most popular in Visayas.

Another dance is performed by a young woman only. If well executed it is extremely graceful. The girl begins singing a few words in an ordinary tone, when her voice gradually drops to the diminuendo, whilst her slow gesticulations and the declining vigour of the music together express her forlornness. Then a ray of joy seems momentarily to lighten her mental anguish; the spirited crescendo notes gently return; the tone of the melody swells; her measured step and action energetically quicken—until she lapses again into resigned sorrow, and so on alternately. Coy in repulse, and languid in surrender, the danseuse in the end forsakes her sentiment of melancholy for elated passion.

The native dances are numerous. Another of the most typical, is that of a girl writhing and dancing a pas seul with a glass of water on her head. This is known as the Comítan.

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 times—firstly for the Europeans and headmen, secondly for the males of less social dignity, and lastly for the women. Neither at the table nor in the reception-room do the men and women mingle, except for perhaps the first quarter of an hour after the arrival, or whilst dancing continues.

About an hour after the mid-day meal, those who are not lodging at the house return to their respective residences to sleep the siesta. On an occasion like this—at a Catapúsan given for any reason—native outsiders, from anywhere, always invade the kitchen in a mob, lounge around doorways, fill up corners, and drop in for the feast uninvited, and it is usual to be liberally complaisant to all comers.

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 a European marries a native woman, she is certain to introduce some vagabond relation—a drone to hive with the bees—a condition quite inevitable, unless the husband be a man of specially determined character.

Death at childbirth is very common, and it is said that 25 per cent. of the new-born children die within a month.

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 bowie-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, probably in ignorance of the origin of this usage.

In Spanish times it was considered rather an honour than otherwise to have children by a priest, and little secret was made of it.

In October, 1888, I was in a village near Manila, at the bedside of a sick friend, when the curate entered. He excused himself for not having called earlier, by explaining that “Turing” had sent him a message informing him that as the vicar (a native) had gone to Manila, he might take charge of the church and parish. “Is ‘Turing’ an assistant curate?” I inquired. My friend and the pastor were so convulsed with laughter at the idea, that it was quite five minutes before they could explain that the intimation respecting the parochial business emanated from the absent vicarʼs bonne amie.

Consanguine marriages are very common, and perhaps this accounts for the low intellect and mental debility perceptible in many families.

Poor parents offer their girls to Europeans for a loan of money, and they are admitted under the pseudonym of sempstress or housekeeper. Natives among themselves do not kiss—they smell each other, or rather, they place the nose and lip on the cheek and draw a long breath.

Marriages between Spaniards and pure native women, although less frequent than formerly, still take place. Since 1899 many Americans, too, have taken pure native wives. It is difficult to apprehend an alliance so incongruous, there being no affinity of ideas, the only condition in common being, that they are both human beings professing Christianity. The husband is either drawn towards the level of the native by this heterogeneous relationship, or, in despair of remedying the error of a passing passion, he practically ignores his wife in his own social connections. Each forms then a distinct circle of friends of his, or her, own selection, whilst the woman is but slightly raised above her own class by the white manʼs influence and contact. There are some exceptions, but I have most frequently observed in the houses of Europeans married to native women in the provinces, that the wives make the kitchen their chief abode, and are only seen by the visitor when some domestic duty requires them to move about the house. Familiarity breeds contempt, and these mésalliances diminish the dignity of the superior race by reducing the birth-origin of both parents to a common level in their children.

The Spanish half-breeds and Creoles constitute a very influential body. A great number of them are established in trade in Manila and the provinces. Due to their European descent, more or less distant, they are of quicker perception, greater tact, and gifted with wider intellectual faculties than the pure Oriental class. Also, the Chinese half-breeds,—a caste of Chinese fathers and Philippine mothers,—who form about one-sixth of the Manila population, are shrewder than the natives of pure extraction, their striking characteristic being distrust and suspicion of anotherʼs intentions. It is a curious fact that the Chinese half-caste speaks with as much contempt of the Chinaman as the thorough-bred Filipino does, and would fain hide his paternal descent. There are numbers of Spanish half-breeds fairly well educated, and just a few of them very talented. Many of them have succeeded in making pretty considerable fortunes in their negotiations, as middlemen, between the provincial natives and the European commercial houses. Their true social position is often an equivocal one, and the complex question has constantly to be confronted whether to regard a Spanish demi-sang from a native or European standpoint. Among themselves they are continually struggling to attain the respect and consideration accorded to the superior class, whilst their connexions and purely native relations link them to the other side. In this perplexing mental condition, we find them on the one hand striving in vain to disown their affinity to the inferior races, and on the other hand, jealous of their true-born European acquaintances. A morosity of disposition is the natural outcome. Their character generally is evasive and vacillating. They are captious, fond of litigation, and constantly seeking subterfuges. They appear always dissatisfied with their lot in life, and inclined to foster grievances against whoever may be in office over them. Pretentious in the extreme, they are fond of pomp and paltry show, and it is difficult to trace any popular movement, for good or for evil, without discovering a half-breed initiator, or leader, of one caste or another. They are locally denominated Mestizos.


A Tagálog Townsman

The Jesuit Father, Pedro Murillo Velarde, at p. 272 of his work on this Colony, expressed his opinion of the political-economical result of mixed marriages to the following effect:—“Now,” he says, “we have a querulous, discontented population of half-castes, who, sooner or later, will bring about a distracted state of society, and occupy the [183]whole force of the Government to stamp out the discord.” How far the prophecy was fulfilled will be seen in another chapter

San Miguel, Manila

The Jesuits probably built the first parochial structures


during their administration of the San Miguel ecclesiastical district in 1603 until 1768. The Franciscans took over the mission in 1777 and in 1835, Fr. Esteban Mena (OFM) was reported to have started building a church. Fr. Francisco Febres (OFM) made repairs and improvements after the 1852 earthquake.


When the sandalwood and fur trades died out in the third decade of the 19th Century, the new economic engine was whale fishing, starting in the mid-1820’s. That industry depended more on the Cape Horn Route and fewer ships traveled from Honolulu to China. Some ships did go that way and letters even in the 1840’s are known going via the Indian Ocean route. Please send me an E-mail ( with details of pre-Postal covers routed to or from Honolulu via the Indian Ocean.

Feb 10 Per Joseph Peabody

The notation “per J. Peabody” reveals this cover as one sent via the Indian Ocean. The content confirms it with this beginning: “Per Jos. Peabody/Manila,” datelined “Honolulu, Oahu, Feby 16, 1840.” The American Brig Joseph Peabody sailed from Honolulu for Manila on February 16, 1840. From Manila, the Peabody sailed north to the Siberian Coast and returned to Honolulu, so this letter was transshipped at Manila to a New York bound ship. Winds, current and distance would have dictated a voyage from Manila via the Indian Ocean and the Cape of Good Hope and then northward in the Atlantic. It was stamped with a New York ship postmark on August 31 and received at Boston on September 2, 1840. At New York, the letter was rated with a manuscript “20½” indicating the 18½¢ fee to carry it beyond 150 miles (but less than 400 miles) under the rates in effect until 1845, plus a 2¢ ship fee. Captain Dominis of the Joseph Peabody became the father-in-law of Queen Liliuokalani


A Scene in Town from The Flebus Album of Views In and Around Manila 1845


A Scene in Town from The Flebus Album of Views In and Around Manila 1845,

a painting by

Jose Honorato Lozano.



The Postal history used cover from Honolulu hawai via manila to Batavia.

the famous “Batavia Cover” shown below.

52 - Mar 11 Batavia cover
52 - Mar 11 Batavia Cover backstamps - OFF

Postmarks front and back of this cover are Honolulu, March 11, 1852, Manila, May 19 and June 17, Hong Kong, June 21, Canton, July 2 along with a Canton PAID mark, and again Hong Kong on July 22. This cover, addressed to Batavia via a forwarder in Canton, was carried to Manila by the Bremen bark Ceres, departing April 3, 1852. The letter next went from Manila to Hong Kong and paid a single letter rate of 4 pence (represented by the black “4” over the Honolulu postmark). At Hong Kong, the letter was sent to the forwarder in Canton at another 4 pence rate (represented by the red “4” in the upper left corner). The forwarder crossed out his name, paid postage to Singapore (1 shilling represented by a red squiggle over the Honolulu postmark) and sent it back down to Hong Kong. From Hong Kong, the letter was carried to Singapore by the P&O steamship Malta (July 23 departure; July 31 arrival) under British mail contract, and then to Batavia by local shipping. The “48” is said to represent a Batavia local rate, typically written with the same type of ink.




 the 1863 earthquake

 Double rated folded cover bearing two 2 Reales stamps from Madrid to Manila

after 1863

After the 1863 earthquake, a new bridge replaced it in 1875. This had eight arches – the two middle ones were built of iron – and was named the “Puente de España”. The second to be built was called the Clavería bridge.

This was a suspension bridge and was a landmark

View of the “Puente de España”, built after the 1863 earthquake. Álbum fotográfico… End of the 19th century. BN The metallic parts of the “Puente de España” – the central arches, the balustrades and the candelabra – were imported from France, this being organized by José Echeverría, the Spanish engineer posted there. Bridge


After the 1863 earthquake, a new bridge replaced it in 1875. This had eight arches – the two middle ones were built of iron – and was named the “Puente de España”. The second to be built was called the Clavería bridge.

This was a suspension bridge and was a landmark on the urban landscape of Manila; it linked Quiapo with the Arroceros district and was opened to the public in 1852. A third construction, the Ayala bridge was built in two separate sections; it crossed the river at Convalecencia island and was opened in 1880.

Marine traffic in the bay increased heavily during the second half of the 19th century. It was at this time that the construction of lighthouses began. Examples of this are the San Nicolás lighthouse and those built on Corregidor Island, all of which were constructed in accordance with the latest advances in European technology.


The “Puente de España” over the Pasig River in Manila. Casto Olano in Colección de planos… 1876. BETSICCP, Madrid After the destruction of the “Puente Grande” , a project was drawn up for an eight-arch combined construction: the two central arches had wider spans, were low, and were built from iron, the remaining six arches being built from quarried stone. Bridge
Bridge The “Concepción” portion of the Convalecencia bridge in Manila. Eduardo López Navarro in Colección de planos correspondientes a varias de las construcciones realizadas o proyectadas por la Inspección General de Obras Públicas de las Islas Filipinas. 1876. BETSICCP, Madrid The Ayala bridge, as it was also known, crossed the river in two independent sections that converged on Convalecencia Island. Each of these sections was formed by three low arches and a lower platform, all of which were timber-built.
Puente View of the suspension bridge in the city of Manila. Álbum fotográfico… Late 19th century. BN The suspension bridge was constructed by private enterprise which operated it on a toll basis. The project was drawn up by the French engineer M. Gabaud.

The Ayala bridge between Convalecencia island and the Concepción district collapsed in this year. La Ilustración Española y Americana, 1890. BNAlthough scarcely ten years had passed since it was opened, by 1889 the Ayala bridge was in a dangerous condition. That year, the section between the island and the San Miguel district collapsed, and only a few months later the Concepción section followed suit.


Project for the port of Manila. José García Morón. Revista de Obras Públicas, 1889-1890 During the 1880’s, a greater number of efforts were made to provide Manila with an exterior port that would match its trading, economic and political importance. Puerto
Puerto New project for an artificial port for the city of Manila. José García Morón. 1890. AHN Generally speaking, the proposal consisted of creating a sheltered area for ships to anchor in. In addition, large areas would be set aside for the construction of sheds and warehouses to store produce and merchandise awaiting shipment to Europe and America.
Project for a battery on the south wall. Mariano de Goicoechea. 1834. SHM Throughout its history, the defence of Manila was a constant cause of concern which gave rise to continual fortifications works on the seaboard front. Muralla
Río Section of the Pasig River close to the Manila city walls. 19th century. SHM During the 19th century, a great deal of effort was devoted to the channelling and straightening of the Pasig river estuary and the defence of its banks.
Channelling dikes to counter the sediments that silted up the Pasig mouth. 1757. SGE During the 18th century, dredging works and campaigns were carried out to clear the accumulation of sand at the river mouth, which was a hindrance to navigation and entry into the river port. Diques
Río View of the Pasig River and the stone-built “Puente Grande”, before the 1863 earthquake. Fernando Brambila. Collection of drawings and engravings made on the Malaspina Expedition. 1789-1794. MN Built in the first half of the 17th century, and until the suspension bridge was opened, the “Puente Grande” was the only bridge crossing the Pasig River. In 1814, the wooden roadway was replaced with masonry arches.


Faro Project for a metallic lighthouse on the sandy promontory of San Nicolás at Manila Bay. José Echeverría in Colección de planos… 1876. BETSICCP, Madrid The majority of the lighthouses built in the Philippines were of traditional construction, although some were also built with a metallic structure in consonance with the latest trends in European engineering.
Watchtower on Corregidor Island at the entrance to Manila Bay. Ildefonso de Aragón. First half of the 19th century. SHM Although the lighthouses constructed in the Philippines were of varied types, they were all provided with living quarters for the tower keepers and deposits for supplies of drinking water, which were essential in isolated places with difficult access. Torre



The San Miguel  church was destroyed during the 1880 earthquake and rebuilt by Fr. Emilio Gago (OFM) in 1886. It was rebuilt IN 1913 through the patronage of the Roxas clan and was sedignated by Msgr. Michael O’Doherty as a Pro-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Manila after it was inaugurated in 1913.


The “Punta Santiago” lighthouse (Batangas) which provided signalling in the strait between Luzon and the island of Mindanao. Magin Pers y Pers and Guillermo Brockmann. La Ilustración Española y Americana. José Fernández. 1891. BN In 1890, the new catadioptric lighthouse was opened to assist navigators by illuminating this unavoidable route leading from the south and the Pacific towards the China Sea. Faro


one of the older homes (late 1800′s)





The history of the Odd Fellows in the Philippines is quite interesting. The fraternity reached the Philippines long ago before the country gained independence and many unfortunate events occurred along the course of time. Many of the records were destroyed and only few remain where we can get accountable information about its first organization in the country.


1872: According to Major O.W. Coursey, author of the History and Geography of the Philippine Islands, the awakening of the Filipinos to a deep sense of injustice being practiced upon them by the Spaniards was the introduction of ‘fraternal’ societies in the Islands, and to the influence of higher education obtained by those of means in the school of Hong Kong and other Old-World cities. He mentioned that the ‘Society of Odd Fellows’ spread to the Islands in 1872 and was largely responsible for the petty insurrection of the following year. This could be because many of the military men who fought the war were members of the society. Membership was mostly limited to military servicemen during that time.


1898: Author Peter Sellars in his book, History of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in the City of San Francisco, mentioned of military men, whom many are members of the Order, had been given proper send-off by the Odd Fellows of San Francisco on their way to the Philippines. The New York Times also mentioned that during the 74thAnnual Session of the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in the United States, a ‘Brother Badley’ who is with the United States Army in the Philippines, asked permission to establish the society in the country. The Grand Sire, international president of the organization, at that time recommended that the action be taken by the Sovereign Grand Lodge at that session. He also recommended that members serving in the Army may be permitted to form military lodges or associations. In Peter Sellars’ book, an ‘Odd Fellows Association of the Philippines ‘ was in existence in the country. Most members, if not all, were military servicemen so presumably, meetings were held inside Naval or military base camps and that membership was exclusive to military servicemen.


1899: An armed military conflict between Filipinos and Americans umably, Lodge meetings of the Odd Fellows were suspended.



1903: When the war ended on July 4, 1902, the.





The history of Odd Fellow  in Phillipne quatete interresting,the fraternity reached phillipine before long ago before the country gained the records of were destroyed and only few remain where we can found accountable informations






According to Major O.W. Coursey, author of the History and Geography of the Philippine Islands, the awakening of the Filipinos to a deep sense of injustice being practiced upon them by the Spaniards was the introduction of ‘fraternal’ societies in the Islands, and to the influence of higher education obtained by those of means in the school of Hong Kong and other Old-World cities. He mentioned that the ‘Society of Odd Fellows’ spread to the Islands in 1872 and was largely responsible for the petty insurrection of the following year. This could be because many of the military men who fought the war were members of the society. Membership was mostly limited to military servicemen during that time.


conflict bertween Filipinod  and US Army,Odd fellow suspended.







Manila is  a bustling, vibrant city and much like the Big Apple, it never sleeps! During the 1800-1900s it was the place to be and had the highest standard of living! Here are some glimpses of vintage Manila!

Binondo used to look this way like a rural community! It is now one of the busiest commercial places in Manila where a lot of stores are and not a square meter of space is vacant
Escolta Street, 1884, had European architecture adapted to the Philippine climate. People dressed up quite elegantly on the streets and I suppose the weather was not as humid otherwise attired with long sleeves and maria claras, fainting would have been rampant.
n the late 1800s, the gate to Intramuros still looks as it does now. We have kept the kalesas going for the tourists only now there is a golf course surrounding the gate
Here is the gate to Fort Santiago. It curiously holds up a Freemason symbol. What is that all about? Incidentally, this is where my hero uncle has been laid to rest. He was beheaded along with others who wrote insurgent material against the Japanese government. You rock Uncle Dever Alejandro!I
 Fort Santiago, Intramuros Manila
 (Dr. Jose Rizal’s detention cell before his execution in the 1890’s)

Rizal (1861-December 30 1896) was the hero of the Philippine rebellion of 1896-8 against Spain.

 Andrés Bonifacio (1863-May 10 1897) was another. Both were executed.


Emilio Aguinaldo, born in 1869, died in 1964 (sic), was a third, and the country’s first president.





 Photo of Intramuros Manila, circa 1800s


Commodore Dewey’s Flagship at the Battle of Manila, USS Olympia


Filipino-American War


1898 Filipino soldiers outside Manila

 The Philippine Army: From “Katipuneros” to “Soldiers”

A chapel where Katipuneros were sworn in. Influenced by the Masonic Order, the Katipunan was established as a secret, fraternal society, complete with Masonic rituals, blood oaths, coded passwords, and an aura of religious mystery. Women were admitted later on although most were exempted from the blood-letting rites.

The Katipunan or KKK was founded by Filipino rebels in Manila on July 7, 1892 (Long name: Kataas-taasang Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or “Supreme and Venerable Society of the Children of the Nation”).

The founders –all freemasons– were: Andres Bonifacio, Ladislao Diwa, Teodoro Plata, Deodato Arellano, Valentin Diaz, Jose Dizon and a few others.

They met secretly at Deodato Arellano’s  house on Azcarraga (now Claro M. Recto Avenue), near Elcano Street, Tondo district. 

Unlike the pacifist and Europe-based Propaganda Movement, whose members were scions of the elite and wealthy, the Katipunan — composed of the common people, with only a sprinkling of the well-to-do middle class — did not dream of mere reforms. It aimed at liberating the country from Spanish tyranny by preparing the people for an armed conflict. Thus the Katipunan was founded on a radical platform, namely, to secure the independence and freedom of the Philippines by force of arms.

The San Francisco Call, Sept. 24, 1899, Page 26

Residence of Deodato Arellano on Azcarraga (now Claro M. Recto Avenue), near Elcano Street, Tondo district, birthplace of the Katipunan.

Spanish police headquarters at Tondo district, Manila, 1897.

A Katipunero’s cedula and a skull used in Katipunan initiation rites

Manila:   The Garrote was a strangulation machine. The two young Filipino muchachos (male domestic helpers) were sentenced to death for killing their abusive Spanish employer. The execution took place in front of the public slaughterhouse. The photographer, American businessman Joseph Earle Stevens, wrote: “The sight of the unfortunate prisoners…was pitiable in the extreme, and their faces bore marks of unforgettable anguish.”

The premature discovery of the plot on Aug. 18, 1896 forced the Katipuneros, as the members called themselves, to open hostilities.

The first major battle of the revolution took place on Aug. 30, 1896 when the Katipuneros attacked but failed to capture the Spanish polverin (powder depot) and deposito (water reservoir) in San Juan del Monte; 153 Katipuneros and 2 Spanish soldiers died.

As the rebellion progressed, a split developed between the Magdiwang faction (identified with Supremo Andres Bonifacio) and the Magdalo faction (loyal to Emilio Aguinaldo), both situated in Cavite Province.

The marker reads: “The Tejeros Convention: A revolutionary assembly was held March 22, 1897 in the building known as the Casa Hacienda of Tejeros that once stood on this site. Presided over by Andres Bonifacio toward the end of the session, the assembly decided to establish a central revolutionary government and elected Emilio Aguinaldo President, Mariano Trias Vice President, Artemio Ricarte Captain General, Emiliano Riego de Dios Director of War and Andres Bonifacio Director of the Interior. Certain events arising in the convention caused Bonifacio to bolt its action (1941)”.

At the Tejeros Convention on March 22, 1897 held in Barrio Tejeros, San Francisco de Malabon (now General Trias), Cavite Province, the delegates voted to do away with the Katipunan.  They argued that the insulated fragmentation that had aided the Katipunan’s  secrecy had outlived its usefulness; in a wide-open national war for independence, unified leadership was required. A well-defined structure was needed to steer a combat force of thousands. From a small circle of conniving men and women, membership had grown to about 15,000 to 45,000 patriots (up to 100,000, according to some estimates; the previous figures, considered as more credible, were supplied by the Ilocano writer and labor leader, Isabelo de los Reyes, who was born in 1864 and died in 1929). 

Bonifacio did not strongly object; the convention went ahead and formed the “Pamahalaang Tagapamatnugot ng Paghihimagsik” or Central Revolutionary Government.

Artemio Ricarte restrains an enraged Andres Bonifacio who tried to shoot Daniel Tirona; the latter had objected to Bonifacio’s election as Director of the Interior of the Revolutionary Government. Tirona had argued that the post should not be occupied by a person without a lawyer’s diploma. Bonifacio, who had to quit schooling at age 14 due to a family exigency, fumed at the thinly-disguised personal insult.

Emilio Aguinaldo was elected President; when his own election as Director of the Interior was questioned for lack of academic credentials by Daniel Tirona, Bonifacio (RIGHT) took it as a personal affront. At age 14, his father and mother had died forcing him to quit his studies and to look after his younger siblings. As a means of support, he made wooden canes and paper fans which he sold in the streets. (Daniel Tirona became one of the founding members of the pro-American Partido Federal when it was organized on Dec. 23, 1900).

Feeling grievously insulted, Bonifacio hotly declared that by virtue of his authority as Katipunan Supremo, he was voiding and nullifying the decisions of the convention. He stormed out of the convention and drafted his own government and army.

Gen. Pantaleon Garcia (ABOVE) was appointed a committee of one by Emilio Aguinaldo to investigate and to report on the case of the Bonifacio brothers. He recommended a court-martial; when the brothers were convicted, Garcia recommended that the death penalty be imposed on them.

Bonifacio and his brother Procopio were arrested, tried and convicted of treason; they were executed on May 10, 1897.

(Andres Bonifacio had 4 years of formal schooling compared to 7 years for Emilio Aguinaldo. However, while Bonifacio wrote and spoke good Spanish, Aguinaldo was barely able to speak it).

The Revolutionary Government unified the ragtag Katipunero rebel forces into a cohesive Philippine Revolutionary Army organized along European  lines. It gave each conventional unit a nomenclature and organization. The army  adopted two official names: in Tagalog,  “Hukbong  Pilipinong Mapanghimagsik” and in Spanish “Ejército Revolucionario Filipino”. 

General Artemio “Vibora” Ricarte was designated as Captain-General (Commanding General). He heldthis post from March 22, 1897 until Jan. 22, 1899 when he was replaced by General Antonio Luna.

When independence was declared onJune 12, 1898, the Philippine Revolutionary Army became the Philippine Republican Army. 

The first Philippine Army used the 1896 edition of the Spanish army’s  Ordenanza del Ejercito to organize its forces and establish its character as a modern army. Rules and procedures were laid down for the reorganization of the Army, adoption of new fighting methods, regulation of ranks, adoption of new rank insignias and a standard uniform called rayadillo.

Orders and circulars were subsequently issued covering such matters as building trenches and fortifications, equipping every male aged 15 to 50 with bows and arrows to partially meet the acute lack of arms, enticing Filipino soldiers in the Spanish Army to defect, collecting empty cartridges for refilling, prohibiting unplanned sorties, inventories of captured arms and ammunition, fund raising, purchase of arms and supplies abroad, unification of military commands, and exhorting the people to give any material aid, especially food, to the soldiers.

Filipino flag secured by Peter MacQueen, correspondent of The National Magazine in the Philippines in 1899.

Pay scale of officers and men of the Philippine Army, per decree of President Aguinaldo issued from Bacoor, Cavite Province on July 30, 1898. He raised money by taxing merchants, businessmen and well-to-do families. Benito Legarda, director of the treasury department, was described by Joseph Stickney, aide to Admiral Dewey, as “a suave diplomat” and “…just the man to convince a reluctant lot of business men that it will be more pleasing to themselves and more satisfactory to the government for them to part with their money than their blood.”

Shoulder bars of Philippine army officers.

The Filipino army’s main weapons were the 1893 Spanish Mauser bolt-action 7 mm rifle (TOP); it was reloaded by pressing 5 cartridges stacked in a thin metal clip down through the open bolt; and the single-shot, breechloading Remington Rolling Block .43 Spanish rifle (BOTTOM).

Bladed weapons carried into battle by the Filipino rank-and-file. Officers wielded European-style swords.

The Filipinos were short of artillery; the few guns they possessed were booties from the Spanish army. They  improvised by making cannon out of water pipe, strengthened with timber. 

A Filipino iron pipe cannon strengthened with bamboo

A cannon made of bamboo by the Filipinos

Igorots in the Philippine Army. Photo was probably taken in  January 1899 at Candon, Ilocos Sur Province. The Igorots — numbering 225 — were hardy mountaineers from the Cordilleras of northern Luzon. They were recruited by Maj. Isabelo Abaya (PHOTO, central figure, with pistol and sword). Abaya was killed in action on May 3, 1900.  

Filipino soldiers in Bacolor, Pampanga, 1898. The American photographer’s caption: “PORTION OF AGUINALDO’S ARMY IN THE SUBURBS OF BACOLAR. These men were well armed and drilled, and if they had been commanded by officers trained in the military service, they would have made excellent soldiers. But they cannot stand before a charge of American volunteers.”

The Filipino soldiers in dark uniforms were former members of the Spanish Army who had defected to the Philippine Republican Army. This photo could have been taken on May 28, 1898, when a native regiment of  the Spanish Army surrendered at San Francisco de Malabon (now General Trias), Cavite Province, and a large number of the men enlisted in the Philippine Army. In his memoirs,  Aguinaldo wrote that about 1,800 crossed over.



 The army was divided into an active and a volunteer force. The Active Army was organized into regiments, companies and batteries. In turn, the companies were divided into soldiers with firearms and those without, the duty of the latter – the proportion of five to each rifleman – being to keep themselves close to the rear of the firing line and secure the guns of men who are disabled. The function of the Volunteer Army was the gathering and storing of food supplies and obtaining iron and copper from every possible source for the fabrication of arms. It was also its duty to search the fields for projectiles which had failed to explode, to carry food to the troops, to strengthen daily the defenses and deploy others to suitable sites.

Academia Militar – First Philippine military school

Filipino army officers (under General Juan Cailles)

On the recommendation of General Antonio Luna, General Emilio Aguinaldo authorized the creation of a military school for officers.

On  Oct. 25, 1898, the Academia Militar was established at  Malolos, Bulacan with Colonel Manuel Bernal Sityar, hijo (meaning junior), as Director. 

Colonel Sityar (RIGHT) was a Spanish mestizo who had served as a lieutenant in the Spanish Civil Guard.  In 1882, he trained at the Academia Infanteria de Filipinas in Manila. He graduated from the Academia Militar de Toledo in Spain in 1895. He was born on Aug. 20, 1863 in Cavite City of an “Indio” mother and a Spanish father who hailed from Cadiz, Spain. His great grandfather was a lawyer to Spanish King Alfonso. His great grandmother was a relative of Queen Isabela. Both his grandfather and father were Spanish Dukes, and his father was in addition a commodore of the Spanish Navy.

Sityar was the first to suspect the existence of a revolutionary movement. On July 5, 1896, he reported to the Civil Governor of Manila that certain individuals, especially in Mandaluyong and San Juan del Monte, were enlisting men for unknown purposes, making them sign in pledge with their own blood. But his report did not alarm the colonial authorities. Fifty-six days later, on Aug. 30, about 800 Katipuneros assaulted the polverin (Spanish powder magazine) at San Juan del Monte, igniting the Philippine Revolution. (153 Katipuneros and 2 Spanish soldiers died in this first major battle of the revolution).

1898: A company of Filipino soldiers originally in the Spanish service

Sityar later defected to Aguinaldo’s army at San Francisco de Malabon (now General Trias), Cavite on May 28, 1898. He declared, ” I have served the country of my father with blood. Now I will serve the country of my mother with blood”. Colonel Sityar served as aide-de-camp and assistant chief of staff to General Emilio Aguinaldo. In the Malolos Congress which opened on Sept. 15, 1898, he represented the province of Laguna. 

Sityar and his wife accompanied the president of theFirstRepublicin his long and arduous trek to northern Luzon, from Nov. 13, 1899 in Bayambang, Pangasinan, until Dec. 25, 1899 in Talubin, Bontoc, Mountain Province; on that Christmas day, Aguinaldo, wishing to spare the 5 women in his entourage from further hardships (Aguinaldo’s wife and sister, Sityar’s wife and Col. Jose Leyba’s 2 sisters) ordered Sityar and a certain Colonel Paez to accompany the women and surrender to the Americans in Talubin. [Colonel Leyba was Aguinaldo’s adjutant and secretary].

Aguinaldo and his party reached Palanan, Isabela on Sept. 6, 1900. Here, Aguinaldo was captured by the Americans on March 23, 1901. 

After the surrender at Talubin, Sityar quit the military life and taught at the Liceo de Manila when it was founded in 1900. Curiously, in the same year, the Queen Regent of Spain made Manuel Sityar Knight of the Military Order of Maria Cristina.

Sityar was one of the founding members of the pro-American Partido Federal when it was organized on Dec. 23, 1900.

He died in 1927.

1898: Staff officers of General Juan Cailles

1899: Filipino army officers

Group showing General Manuel Tinio (seated, center),  General Benito Natividad (seated, 2nd from right), Lt. Col. Jose Alejandrino (seated, 2nd from left) and their aides-de-camp

A page from The Illustrated London News, issue dated March 17, 1899. Clockwise, from top left: Generals Pantaleon Garcia, Gregorio del Pilar, Tomas Mascardo, and Isidoro Torres.

Shoulder bars of Philippine army officers. From: “Buhay na Kasaysayan” by Pedro Javier and Yonito Flores

The Academia Militar‘s  mission was to complete the training of all  officers in the active service. The academy formally opened its classes on Nov. 1, 1898.  The classes were divided into two sections, one for field officers from colonels to majors, and the other from Captains and below. Graduates became regular officers of the army. The course of instruction consisted of current orders and regulations, field and garrison regulations, military justice and penal laws, arithmetic and military accounting, geography and history, field fortifications, and map drawing and reading.

Barasoain Church and Convent. Photo taken on March 31, 1899, shortly after the Americans captured Malolos.

The Academia Militar was housed in the convent of Barasoain together with the Universidad Literia de Pilipinas and Instituto Burgos.

The Academia was deactivated on Jan. 20, 1899 due to highly escalated tensions between the Filipinos and Americans. Fifteen days later, on February 4, war broke out

Battle of Manila Bay

Battle of Manila Bay
Part of the Spanish-American War
USS Olympia with Dewey at Battle of Manila bay DSCN4191 at Vermont State.jpg
Commodore George Dewey aboard the cruiser Olympia.
Date 1 May 1898
Location Near Manila, Philippines
Result Decisive U.S. victory
United States United States Spain Kingdom of Spain
Commanders and leaders
US Naval Jack 45 stars.svg George Dewey Naval Jack of Spain.svg Patricio Montojo y Pasarón
Engaged Forces:[cn 1]
4 protected cruisers
2 gunboats
Unengaged Forces:
1 revenue cutter
2 transports
Engaged Forces:[cn 1]
2 protected cruisers
4 unprotected cruisers
2 gunboats
Unengaged Forces:
1 cruiser
3 gunboats,
1 transport
Shore defenses
6 batteries
3 forts
Casualties and losses
1 dead (due to heatstroke),[5]
9 wounded,
1 protected cruiser damaged
161 dead,
210 wounded,
2 protected cruisers sunk,
5 unprotected cruisers sunk,
1 transport sunk

Pacific Theater: Spanish American War

The Battle of Manila Bay took place on 1 May 1898, during the Spanish-American War. The American Asiatic Squadron under Commodore George Dewey engaged and destroyed the Spanish Pacific Squadron under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón. The engagement took place in Manila Bay in the Philippines, and was the first major engagement of the Spanish-American War.



Admiral Montojo, who had been dispatched rapidly to the Philippines, was equipped with a variety of obsolete vessels. Efforts to strengthen his position amounted to little. The Spanish bureaucracy knew they could not win a war and saw resistance as little more than a face-saving exercise. Administration actions worked against the effort, sending explosives meant for naval mines to civilian construction companies while the Spanish fleet in Manila was seriously undermanned by inexperienced sailors who had not received any training for over a year.[6] Reinforcements promised from Madrid resulted in only two poorly-armored scout cruisers being sent while at the same time the authorities transferred a squadron from the Manila fleet under Admiral Pascual Cervera to reinforce the Caribbean. Montojo compounded his difficulties by placing his ships outside the range of Spanish coastal artillery (which might have evened the odds) and choosing a relatively shallow anchorage. His intent seems to have been to spare Manila from bombardment and to allow any survivors of his fleet to swim to safety. The harbor was protected by six shore batteries and three forts whose fire during the battle proved to be ineffective. Only Fort San Antonio Abad had guns with enough range to reach the American fleet, but Dewey never came within their range during the battle.[3][6]


USS Olympia entering Manila Bay.

At 7 p.m. on 30 April, Montojo was informed that Dewey’s ships had been seen in Subic Bay that morning. As Manila Bay was considered unnavigable at night by foreigners, Montojo expected an attack the following morning. The American Consul in Manila, however, had provided Dewey with detailed information on the state of the Spanish defenses and the lack of preparedness of the Spanish fleet, prompting him to enter the bay immediately. At midnight Dewey, aboard the protected cruiser USS Olympia, led his squadron into Manila Bay. Passing the entrance, two Spanish mines exploded but were ineffective as they were well below the draft of any of the ships due to the depth of the water. Inside the bay, ships normally used the north channel between Corregidor Island and the northern coast and this was the only channel mined. Dewey instead used the unmined south channel between El Fraile and Caballo Islands. The El Fraile battery fired a few rounds but the range was too great. The McCulloch, Nanshan and Zafiro were now detached from the line and took no further part in the fighting. At 5:15 a.m. on 1 May, the squadron was off Manila and the Cavite battery fired ranging shots. The shore batteries and Spanish fleet then opened fire but all the shells fell short as the fleet was still out of range.[6] At 5:41 with the now famous phrase, “You may fire when ready, Gridley,[1] the Olympia’s captain was instructed to begin the destruction of the Spanish flotilla.[7]

The U.S. squadron swung in front of the Spanish ships and forts in line ahead, firing their port guns. They then turned and passed back, firing their starboard guns. This process was repeated five times, each time closing the range from 5,000 yards to 2,000 yards. The Spanish forces had been alerted, and most were ready for action, but they were heavily outgunned. Eight Spanish ships, the land batteries, and the forts returned fire for two and a half hours although the range was too great for the guns on shore. Five other small Spanish ships were not engaged.

Montojo accepted that his cause was hopeless and ordered his ships to ram the enemy if possible. He then slipped the Cristina’s cables and charged. Much of the American fleet’s fire was then directed at her and she was shot to pieces. Of the crew of 400, more than 200, including Montojo, were casualties and only two men remained who were able to man her guns. The ship managed to return to shore and Montojo ordered it to be scuttled. The Castilla, which only had guns on the port side, had her forward cable shot away causing her to swing about, presenting her weaponless starboard side. The captain then ordered her sunk and abandoned. The Ulloa was hit by a shell at the waterline that killed her captain and disabled half the crew. The Luzon had three guns out of action but was otherwise unharmed. The Duero lost an engine and had only one gun left able to fire.[6]

Contemporary colored print, showing USS Olympia in the left foreground, leading the U.S. Asiatic Squadron in destroying the Spanish fleet off Cavite. A vignette portrait of Rear Admiral George Dewey is featured in the lower left.

At 7:45 a.m., after Captain Gridley messaged Dewey that only 15 rounds of 5″ ammunition remained per gun, he ordered an immediate withdrawal. To preserve morale, he informed the crews that the halt in the battle was to allow the crews to have breakfast.[7] According to an observer on the Olympia, At least three of his (Spanish) ships had broken into flames but so had one of ours. These fires had all been put out without apparent injury to the ships. Generally speaking, nothing of great importance had occurred to show that we had seriously injured any Spanish vessel. Montojo took the opportunity to now move his remaining ships into Bacoor Bay where they were ordered to resist for as long as possible.[6]

A captains’ conference on the Olympia revealed little damage and no men killed. It was discovered that the original ammunition message had been garbled – instead of only 15 rounds of ammunition per gun remaining, the message had meant to say only 15 rounds of ammunition per gun had been expended. During the conference reports arrived that sounds of exploding ammunition had been heard and fires sighted on the Cristina and Castilla. At 10:40 AM action was resumed but the Spanish offered little resistance and Montojo issued orders for the remaining ships to be scuttled and the breechblocks of their guns taken ashore. The Olympia, Baltimore and Boston then fired on the Sangley Point battery putting it out of action and followed up by sinking the Ulloa. The Concord fired on the transport Mindanao, whose crew immediately abandoned ship. The Petrel fired on the government offices next to the arsenal and a white flag was raised over the building after which all firing ceased.[6] The Spanish colors were struck at 12:40 PM.

The results were decisive. Dewey won the battle[7] with seven men very slightly wounded,[8] a total of nine injured, and only a single fatality among his crew: Francis B. Randall, Chief Engineer on the McCulloch, from a heart attack.[9]

Subsequent action

A Spanish attempt to attack Dewey with the naval task force known as Camara’s Flying Relief Column came to naught, and the naval war in the Philippines devolved into a series of torpedo boat hit-and-run attacks for the rest of the campaign. While the Spanish scored several hits there were no American fatalities directly attributable to Spanish gunfire.

On 2 May, Dewey landed a force of Marines at Cavite. They completed the destruction of the Spanish fleet and batteries and established a guard for the protection of the Spanish hospitals. The resistance of the forts was weak. The Olympia turned a few guns on the Cavite arsenal, detonating its magazine, and ending the fire from the Spanish batteries.


In recognition of George Dewey’s leadership during the Battle of Manila Bay a special medal known as the Dewey Medal was presented to the officers and sailors under Admiral Dewey’s command. Dewey was later honored with promotion to the special rank of Admiral of the Navy; a rank that no one has held before or since in the United States Navy. Building on his popularity, Dewey briefly ran for president in 1900, but withdrew and endorsed William McKinley, the incumbent, who won.

Dewey’s flagship, the Olympia, is preserved as a museum ship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the Independence Seaport Museum (formerly the Philadelphia Maritime Museum).

Order of battle

United States

The Battle of Manila Bay, depicted in a lithograph by Butler, Thomas & Company, 1899



  • USS Olympia, flagship, protected cruiser of 5,870 tons. Twin 8-inch guns mounted in turrets fore and aft, ten 5-inch guns and six torpedo tubes. Top speed 20 knots.
  • USS Baltimore, protected cruiser of 4,600 tons. Single 8-inch guns mounted fore and aft, two 8-inch and two 6-inch guns aiming axially and three 6-inch guns aiming on each broadside. Top speed 20 knots.
  • USS Raleigh, protected cruiser of 3,200 tons. One 6-inch and two 5-inch guns aiming forward, four 5-inch guns aiming astern and two 5-inch guns aiming on each broadside. Top speed 19 knots.
  • USS Boston, protected cruiser of 3,200 tons. Single 8-inch guns mounted in barbettes fore and aft with 6-inch axial firing guns mounted beside each. Four additional 6-inch guns. Top speed 13 knots.
  • USS Concord, gunboat of 1,710 tons with six 6-inch guns. Top speed 17 knots.
  • USS Petrel, gunboat of 867 tons with four 6-inch guns. Top speed 12 knots.

Unengaged Vessels:

  • The Revenue Cutter McCulloch, the collier Nanshan and the steamer Zafiro (a supply vessel) were directed to keep out of the main action because of their light armament and lack of armor. The McCulloch’s chief engineer died of a heart attack.[9]


Engaged Vessels:

  • Reina Cristina, flagship, unprotected cruiser of 3,042 tons, with six 6.4-inch guns. The fastest Spanish vessel with a top speed of 16 knots.
  • Castilla, unprotected cruiser of 3,289 tons, with four 5.9-inch and two 4.7-inch guns. The vessel’s 8-inch guns had been removed to equip the shore batteries. The ship was used as a floating battery as the temporary repair of the leaks had immobilized her propeller shaft.
  • Don Antonio de Ulloa, unprotected cruiser of 1,152 tons, with two 4.7-inch guns on the starboard side. Under repair with her engines ashore. Her entire port side armament had been removed to equip the shore batteries.
  • Don Juan de Austria, unprotected cruiser of 1,152 tons, with four 4.7-inch guns. Top speed 13 knots.
  • Isla de Cuba, protected cruiser of 1,030 tons, with six 4.7-inch guns. Top speed 14 knots.
  • Isla de Luzón, protected cruiser of 1,030 tons, with six 4.7-inch guns. Top speed 14 knots.
  • Marques del Duero, gunboat of 492 tons, with one 6.4-inch and two 4.7-inch guns. Top speed 10 knots.

Engaged vessels ranged in size from 5870 tons (Olympia) to 492 tons (Marques del Duero).[2]

Unengaged Vessels:

  • Mindanao, transport ship of 1,900 tons, with 2 secondary rapid fire guns. 77 men.
  • Velasco, unprotected cruiser of 1152 tons. Her boilers were ashore being repaired. All her guns were apparently removed to the Caballo Island Battery. 145 men.
  • El Coreo, gunboat of 560 tons, with three 4.7-inch guns, three secondary rapid fire guns, and 1 torpedo tube. 115 men.
  • General Lezo, gunboat of 520 tons, with two 4.7-inch guns which were apparently removed to El Fraile Island, 2 secondary rapid fire guns, and 1 torpedo tube. 115 men.
  • Argos, gunboat of 508 tons, with one 3.5-inch gun. 87 men.

The Spanish vessels had 19 torpedo tubes between them but no serviceable torpedoes.

Shore Defenses

  • Fort San Antonio Abad: Built 1584. Located in Manila. Various guns with only the 9.4-inch having enough range to reach Dewey’s ships at their closest approach.
  • Fort San Felipe: Built 1609. A small castle built on a sandbar protected by a breakwater and separated from Cavite City by a moat.
  • Cavite Fort: Fortified naval base and shipyard in Cavite City located adjacent to Fort San Felipe.
  • Corregidor battery: Entrance to Manila Bay. Did not fire.
  • Caballo battery: Entrance to Manila Bay. Did not fire.
  • El Fraile battery: Entrance to Manila Bay. Fired three rounds before Raleigh silenced it after hitting the battery with a single shell.
  • Cañacao battery: Located in the town of Cañacao. Armed with a single 4.7-inch gun. Did not fire.
  • Sangley Point battery: Located at the Sangley Point Naval Base. Armed with three 64-lb muzzleloading cannon and two 5.9-inch guns (which were the only ones to fire.)
  • Malate battery: Located in the Manila district of Malate. Did not fire.

The batteries were supplemented with the guns removed from Montojo’s fleet. The Corregidore, Caballo and El Fraile batteries had a combined total of 17 guns.

Dispatches between Dewey and the Secretary of the Navy

Engraving of the Battle of Manila Bay with portraits of the respective commanders, from The history and conquest of the Philippines and our other island possessions; embracing our war with the Filipinos by Alden March, 1899.

Multiple dispatches were exchanged between Dewey and John D. Long, Secretary of the Navy, immediately prior to, and following, the Naval Battle of Manila Bay. One dispatch notified Dewey of his promotion to the acting grade of Rear Admiral:[10]

HONGKONG, May 7, 1898. (Manila, May 1.)
The squadron arrived a Manila at daybreak this morning. Immediately engaged enemy and destroyed the following Spanish vessels: Reina Christina, Castilla, Don Antonio de Biloa, Don Juan de Austria, Isla de Luzon, Isla de Cuba, General Lezo, Marquis del Duaro, El Curreo, Velasco, one transport, Isla de Mandano, water battery at Cavite. I shall destroy Cavite arsenal dispensatory. The squadron is uninjured. Few men were slightly wounded. I request the Department will send immediately from San Francisco fast steamer with ammunition. The only means of telegraphing is to the American consul at Hongkong.

HONGKONG, May 7, 1898. (Cavite, May 4.)
I have taken possession of the naval station at Cavite, Philippine Islands, and destroyed its fortifications. Have destroyed fortifications bay entrance, paroling garrison. Have cut cable to main land. I control bay completely and can take city at any time, but I have not sufficient men to hold. The squadron excellent health and spirits. The Spanish loss not fully known; very heavy; 150 killed, including captain, on Reina Cristina, alone. I am assisting and protecting Spanish sick and wounded, 250 in number, in this hospital, within our lines. Will ammunition be sent? I request answer without delay. I can supply squadron coal and provisions for a long period. Much excitement at Manila. Scarcity of provisions on account of not having economized stores. Will protect foreign residents.

WASHINGTON, May 7, 1898.
DEWEY (care American consul), Hongkong:
The President, in the name of the American people, thanks you and your officers and men for your splendid achievement and overwhelming victory. In recognition he has appointed you acting rear admiral, and will recommend a vote of thanks to you by Congress as a foundation for further promotion. The Charleston will leave at once with what ammunition she can carry. Pacific Mail Steamship Company steamer Pekin will follow with ammunition and supplies. Will take troops unless you telegraph otherwise. How many will you require? LONG.


  • Wreck of the Regina Cristina
  • Wreck of the Castilla
  • Wreck of the Don Antonio de Ulloa
  • Wreck of the Isla de Cuba
  • Wreck of the Isla de Luzon
  • Wreck of the Velasco


In 1898 the US won the Philippines, along with Cuba, Puerto Rico and Guam, in the Spanish-American War. The Philippines resisted America in a further war lasting from 1899 to 1901.

The US granted the Philippines semi-independence in 1935 as the Commonwealth of the Philippines (President Manuel Quezon). The Japanese were in occupation from 1941 to ’44, when General MacArthur landed with the Sixth United States Army. The independent Republic of the Philippines was established in 1946 (President Manuel Roxas).

In 2007 a new translation of Noli me tangere by Harold Augenbraum (480 pages) was released by Penguin Classics. Neither it nor its successor is, strictly speaking, historical. They were set in Rizal’s own time. They angered both the Spaniards and hispanicised Filipinos. They are critical of Spanish friars (Franciscan, Dominican, Augustinian) and of atrocities committed in the name of the Church. Noli me tangere was published in Berlin in 1887, El filibusterismo in Ghent in 1891, with borrowed funds.

The former begins, in the new translation:

“Toward the end of October, Don Santiago de los Santos, who was generally known as Captain Tiago, gave a dinner party that, despite its having been announced only that afternoon, which was not his usual practice, was the topic of every conversation in Binondo and neighboring areas, and even as far as Intramuros [the walled inner city of Manila]. In those days Captain Tiago was considered the most liberal of men, and it was known that the doors of his house, like those of his country, were closed to no one but tradesmen or perhaps a new or daring idea.

“The news surged like a jolt of electricity among the parasites, spongers, and freeloaders that God, in his infinite goodness, has so lovingly multiplied in Manila. Some went looking for bootblack, and others in search of collar-buttons and cravats, but everyone, of course, spent time deciding on the best way to greet the master of the house with just the right amount of familiarity to make him believe in a past friendship, or, if necessary, how exactly to make excuses for not having come by sooner.

“The dinner was to be given on a house in Analoague Street, and since we no longer remember its number, we will describe it in such a way that it can still be recognised, if earthquakes haven’t destroyed it. We don’t believe the owner would have torn it down, because usually this sort of work is reserved for God or nature, which has, it appears, many projects of this type under contract with our government. It is quite a large structure, of a style similar to many others in the country, located near a section that overlooks a branch of the Pasig often called the Binondo Creek, which plays, like many rivers in Manila, the multiple roles of bathhouse, sewer, laundry, fishing hole, thoroughfare, and even drinking water, if that served the interests of the Chinese water-seller. It is important to note that this vital district artery, where traffic is so bustling and bewildering, for a length of over a kilometer, is served by just one wooden bridge, which for half the year is under repair on one end and for the remainder is closed to traffic on the other, so that in the hot months horses take advantage of this permanent status quo to jump from it into the water, to the great surprise of the daydreaming individual as he dozes … or philosophizes on the century’s progress. […]”

The French term filibuster was used in the late eighteenth century to describe pirates who pillaged Spanish colonies in the West Indies. Then, in the middle of the next century, it was used to describe US citizens who fomented insurrections in Latin America. Another, extant, use was in relation to the obstruction of legislation in the US Congress. Did that appear before or after the Latin American use? Presumably Rizal’s filibusterismo refers to the latter use, transposed to the Philippines.

Joaquin (1917-2004) was a Philippine historian and journalist. His novels, with their “baroque Spanish-flavored English [and] his reinventions of English based on Filipinisms” are mainly about Manila. The Woman Who Had Two Navels (1961) is set in the American period, leading up to independence, with part taking place in Hong Kong

The Manila Pictures in 1900-1920 compare with the present day

old pictures around the country mostly with wonderful photographs of Manila then and now. I was amazed by the majestic beauty and simplicity of our country. Looking at the old photos made me realize how resplendent and classic the buildings and architectures were during that time. Too bad that many of those structures were totally or partially damaged mostly during World War II when the Philippines was attacked by the Empire of Japan as part of its ambition to expand its empire in Asia.

Luneta c1890

Fortunately, some structures are still standing today and some places are almost left untouched. So let’s take a journey back in time as we look at the wonderful photographs of Manila then and now.


Calle Misericordia (now Tomas Mapua Street)

Misericordia was taken from the Confraternidad de la Santa Misericordia (Fraternity of Holy Piety) that was founded for charitable purposes in 1594 by Governor Luis Peres Dasmariñas.

Tomas Mapua Street in district of Sta. Cruz is formerly known as Calle Misericordia. Tomas Mapua is the founder and first president of the Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) and first registered architect in the Philippines after graduating BS Architecture from Cornell University.


Calle Misericordia (now Tomas Mapua Street)

Present Day

Calle Misericordia (now Tomas Mapua Street)

Luneta Hotel

Luneta Hotel is a defunct hotel located in T.M. Kalaw Street and Roxas Boulevard in Manila. The hotel is in the Art deco style of architecture that was very popular during the early American period. The hotel is owned by the Litonjua family, and still stands to this day but has ceased operations as a hotel. It is now converted as a storage building. The old edifice is being considered for demolition.


Luneta Hotel 1900

Present Day

Luneta Hotel 2005

Calle Real del Palacio (now General Luna Street)

General Luna (also known by its old name, Calle Real del Palacio) is the closest thing Intramuros has to a main street and gives visitors easy access to most of the major attractions, including San Agustín Church and Manila Cathedral. Follow this street all the way to its northwestern tip and you’ll find yourself in front of Fort Santiago; go the other way and you’ll eventually end up in Rizal Park, which is just over the border in the nearby Ermita district.


Calle Real del Palacio (now General Luna) c1913

Present Day

Calle Real del Palacio (now General Luna)

Binondo Church (Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz)

Binondo Church, also known as Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz , is located in the District of Binondo, Manila, in the Philippines. This church was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 to serve their Chinese converts to Christianity. The original building was destroyed in 1762 by British bombardment. A new granite church was completed on the same site in 1852 however it was greatly damaged during the Second World War, with only the western facade and the octagonal bell tower surviving.

San Lorenzo Ruiz, who was born of a Chinese father and a Filipino mother, trained in this church and afterwards went as a missionary to Japan and was executed there for refusing to renounce his religion. San Lorenzo Ruiz was to be the Philippines’ first saint and he was canonized in 1989. A large statue of the martyr stands in front of the church.

Masses are held in Filipino, in Chinese dialects (Mandarin, Hokkien), and in English.



Present Day

binondo church

Calle Rosario, Binondo (now Quintin Paredes Street)

Quintin Parades in Binondo is the old Calle Rosario after the district’s patroness the Nuestra Señora del Rosario. The street was renamed after the Filipino statesman and lawyer Quintin Paredes. He represented Abra in Congress and became Speaker of the House.


A typical Manila street scene Calle Rosario, Binondo

Present Day




Present Day

calle-rosario-binondo-before-and-today 1

Sta. Cruz Church

The first Santa Cruz Church was erected in 1608 by the Society of Jesus, better known as Jesuits, as a parish church for the swelling ranks of Chinese immigrants to Manila, many of whom had converted to the Catholic faith. The original structure was twice damaged by earthquakes, and totally destroyed in World War II. The present building, completed in 1957, is essentially Baroque and somewhat reminiscent of the Spanish-built mission churches in southern California. Shortly before the expulsion of the Jesuit in the Philippines, a replica of the venerated image of the Nuestra Señora del Pillar was brought over to Sta. Cruz Church from Zaragoza, Spain. In the middle of the 19th century, the Our Lady of the Pillars was declared patroness of Sta. Cruz district, replacing San Entanislao Kostka. For next centuries up the present, she was the object of veneration among devotees of the Blessed Virgin.


Santa Cruz Church, Manila

Present Day

Santa Cruz Church, Manila

Malacañan Palace

The Malacañan Palace, commonly known simply as Malacañang, is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Philippines. Located at 1000 J. P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila, the house was built in 1750 in Spanish Colonial style. It has been the residence of every Philippine head since Rafael de Echague y Berminghan. During the American period, Governors-General Francis Burton Harrison and Dwight F. Davis built an executive building, the Kalayaan Hall, which was later transformed into a museum.

Originally a summer house by Spanish aristocrat Don Luis Rocha, the house was sold to Colonel Jose Miguel Formente, and was later purchased by the state in 1825. Since 1825, Malacañan Palace became the temporary residence of every Governor-General. During the Spanish–American War, Malacañan Palace became the residence of the American Civil Governors, with William Howard Taft being the first American Governor resident. During the American period, many administrative buildings were constructed and Malacañan Palace was refurbished. Emilio Aguinaldo, the first Philippine President, was the only head of the state who did not reside in Malacañan Palace, instead residing in his own home, the Aguinaldo Shrine, located in Kawit, Cavite.


Malacañan Palace

Present Day

Malacañan Palace

Dewey Boulevard (now Roxas Boulevard)

Roxas Boulevard (formerly known as Dewey Boulevard) is a boulevard in Metro Manila, and an eight-lane arterial road that connects the center of Manila with Pasay City, Parañaque City. It is one of the major arteries in the city’s metropolitan network, designated as Radial Road 1. Formerly named in honor of the American Admiral George Dewey who defeated the Spanish navy in the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898, the boulevard was renamed to Roxas Boulevard in the 1960’s to honor President Manuel Roxas, the fifth President of the Republic of Philippines. Roxas Boulevard runs along the shores Manila Bay and is well-known for its sunsets.


Roxas Boulevard


Roxas Boulevard

Quiapo Church (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene)

Quiapo Church is a Roman Catholic church located in the District of Quiapo, Manila. The church is one of the most popular churches in the country. It is home to the Black Nazarene, a much venerated statue of Jesus Christ which many people believe has miraculous attributes. The church was painted cream after the original Mexican Baroque edifice was burned down in 1928. It is expanded to its current form in 1984 for accommodation of thousands of devotees. Also known as St. John the Baptist Parish, the church at present belongs to the Archdiocese of Manila.


Quiapo Church


Quiapo Church

These are the wonderful photographs of Manila then and now. I will try to come up with another set in the near future.


The Phillipines  tribes

Tobacco Smoking Family – 1911
Kalinga Man – 1911
Kalinga Woman – 1911
Mock Wedding of A Spaniard and a Local (Negritos)
Tattooed Bontoc Warrior
Bagobo Woman (Mindanao Rgeion) – 1914
Tinguian Woman
Tinguian Women
A Benguet Brave
Weaving Cloth Machine In Bontoc Province
Ethnic Bamboo Band
Head Hunters
Ifugao Head Hunter – 1911
Native Ifugao Tribe Dance
Igorot Tribes Men
Igorot Deer and Dog Hunters
Igorot Native Rain Coats
Moro Soldiers 1909
Negrito Cheif with His Family 1909
Tattooed Kalinga Man 1911

the end @ copyright Dr Iwan Suwandy 2011


2 responses to “The Philippine Historic Collections 1800-1912

  1. Hello to every one, for the reason that I am actually keen of reading this webpage’s post to be updated on a regular basis. It contains pleasant stuff.

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