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Never were more elaborate preparations made to receive our big delegation. Some said it was a wise precaution to have the day the Philippine Chamber of Commerce were to entertain us before the publishing of the "Wood-Forbes Report;" but after the report had been made public we found the laughter and shouts of "Viva" (long life) from the children and the heartfelt greetings of their elders, were cordiality and good-fellowship personified.
We were told that there were three times the number of people in Java as in the Philippines, but that the Philippines could easily support a population of 50,000,000. We were so glad to hear this, as there are more babies there than any other place in the Orient, with the exception of Japan, but the Philippine babies seem to be free from the awful sores we noted on many of the Japanese children. However, it seems that infant mortality is great in the Philippines, on account of the improper diet of the mothers and many of the babies die, we were told, as their mother's milk does not agree with them. One of the first orders of Governor-General Leonard Wood was to call a meeting to check the infant mortality.
In an interview, just after the "Wood-Forbes Report" had been published, Governor Leonard Wood said, "I look for great things from the women of the Philippines; the quicker they form a part of the Government, the better for the Islands." He seems to feel that they are the most important factor in the islands and considers them more dependable than the men. He told with great satisfaction how he had arranged for Miss Hartlee Emprey (the research worker from the Rockefeller Hospital at Peking, who succeeded in perfecting a four-cent-a-day diet for the famine-stricken in China) to eliminate the malnutrition in the food for the young Philippine mothers and to discover a better diet for the lepers. Governor Wood added, "I want doctors, lots of them, modern equipment' and nurses to make more sanitary conditions. I also wish the diseases destructive to cattle studied." There are only 930 nurses in the islands and funds and equipment are needed badly. More doctors are needed in curing the lepers. In speaking of the present condition of the islands, he said, "The Philippines are not ready to cut loose from the United States."
Everything was done in Manila to make us feel at home, from the moment the Reception Committee landed on board and Mayor Fernandez handed over the keys of the city. After being entertained by the Chinese, Philippine, Spanish and American Chambers of Commerce and being told that there were countless dialects and language mixtures, we were not surprised that a telephone operator must speak at least nine languages.
The Montalban Falls trip, as guests of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce, made us recall the days of 1915, for there the same leader of the Philippine Orchestra at the Exposition, greeted us. We passed through a flower-decorated arch and then beneath a specially constructed bower under which were the charmingly set tables for our "tiffin."
The second day in Manila we were taken to the Pampanga Sugar Refinery. Here the men of the party had lengthy talks with the officials, while the women of the party were being entertained at a luncheon. The ladies were told that the American factory girl who spends the best part of her week's wages for silk stockings has her equal in the Philippines. It seems that the natives (yes, the men too) are so fond of showy clothing that they will go buy some fancy trifle, when they are in need of food. Very often the employer has to feed them so as to be sure they will have strength enough to do their work properly. It seems that many Filipinos regard the United States as a child regards a benevolent uncle - they want their independence knowing that the United States will get them out of any difficulty and protect them from all harm, at the same time, letting them have their own way.
They are so quick to learn it is no wonder that many of our soldiers turned into teachers, just as the soldiers in Russia today are repeating history in this respect.
Members of the local Chamber of Commerce told us that on account of the soil and climate, the sugar matured in seven months instead of eighteen months necessary in the Hawaiian Islands, and that in one day, the refinery (we inspected) could turn out 20,000 tons of sugar, enough to supply San Francisco for one year (the help working on two ten-hour shifts and receiving one and a half pesos a day a piece).
Although the pineapples have been imported from the Hawaiian Islands to the Philippines, they are not subject to the blight that affects them there; they have a wonderfully sweet flavor. An increase of a million dollars in the industry has recently been reported, our party was told.
The third day we were taken to Pagsanjan Rapids, where the party left in small canoes through a scenic gorge. Mrs. Francis Krull, George Vranizan and Mrs. Vranizan, Mrs. Bruce Foulkes, S. Swartz and Mrs. Swartz, Harry Dana, Frank Howlett, A. I. Esberg and his wife were all thrown out of the boats and into the swift current, but all were rescued in time. Dr. F. E. Orella introduced the first woman lawyer in Manila, and she addressed us in the observation car, on the way back from the Falls.
We passed miles of beautiful groves and were told on the way back to Manila, that each tree averaged about fifty cocoanuts a year, but that one tree has been known to yield three hundred nuts, and that a new breakfast food, made from them, is about to revolutionize the morning meal. Also we heard that no longer will it be necessary to go to the tropics to enjoy the mango, for a new process has at last been discovered that will permit of their being canned. We were told that the natives carry long knives and often use them and that someone said, "Although they may be dressed in the latest style from toes to head, they are still savages from the waist up." This seems difficult to believe, in spite of the numerous scars one sees, as one could not but feel friendly toward the Filipinos. Their courtesy is typified in their road signs that we passed, "Slow please," and after the curve was rounded, "Thank you."
We all noticed how clean and neat their appearance was. You know it is said that the Japanese keep their bodies clean, but not their clothes, while the Koreans keep their clothes clean (perhaps because they are white and the dirt is so evident), and not their bodies, that the Chinese keep neither their clothes nor their bodies clean, but the Filipinos keep both, their bodies and their clothes, immaculate.
One of our party asked one of our hosts. "Why he never said, 'right' and 'left', in directing the chauffeur." The answer was that in the old days the footman's seat was on the left horse, hence 'cella' for left, while the driver held his reins in his right hand, therefore 'mono' (or hand) means right to the Filipinos.
Reese Lewellyn said, as did most of the Americans in the Islands, "That the United States should never give up the Philippine Islands, as they are a necessary base for America's importing and exporting." He said, "Although, before I made this trip, I was not in favor of the United States holding outside territory, I now realize that we must keep the Philippines as an outlet for our supplies. In a diplomatic way the Filipinos will have to be made to realize that, in spite of the fact that they have been told they would be independent of United States, conditions warrant our keeping them as a part of the United States."
Our first impression of the native women was that they were all going to some ball or had put on their low-necked, transparent evening dresses by mistake. But, before any reader gets the impression from this that they are immodest, let me hasten to add that we found that they were exceptionally sweet and charming and are the souls of propriety. Why, even the man engaged to a girl cannot so much as walk with her on the streets in the broad daylight, and to take her arm - Oh, horrors! If a girl should permit two different beaus to call upon her, even if well chaperoned, it would eliminate her matrimonial prospects, as she would then be branded as a hopeless flirt, so we were told.
But, needless to say, the few American girls in Manila do not follow these rules, for we heard that an engagement for tea with one masculine admirer and to watch the oily seola nuts burn at dinner with another friend, and to attend an evening dance with a third, is not considered unusual. After the Philippine women get the suffrage, Governor Leonard Wood seems to want them to have, some of the ladies of our party wonder if things will not be a little different for the native women?
We were escorted through cigar factories, hemp works, and to Bilibid Prison, where from a central reviewing stand, the avenue of cells with the drilling space between, radiate like a great pinwheel. A very elaborate drill was given by the prisoners, who were dressed according to their conduct - white for the best behavior, blue, fairly good, stripes for bad behavior.
Besides the tea dance at the beautiful Spanish Club, the Governor's Reception at the Palace (as it is called here), and the numerous dances, there was a luncheon given to our party at the delightful Manila Hotel by the Rotary Club.
At this function the cablegram to us from Mayor Rolph was read and applauded, as were the messages from former Manager Wood of the St. Francis, and Manager Manwaring of the Palace. After speeches by A. I. Esberg, Byron Mauzy, C. B. Lastreto, Ex-Senator James Phelan, who had just arrived in Manila, made a very interesting and humorous address.
He referred to the time when the war over the Philippines was going on, at which time he was Mayor of San Francisco. He said, "Then we hardly knew where the Philippines were." He dwelt upon the marvelous resources of the Islands and warned us not to be like the old miner, who before the "Days of '49" said that he saw a sign advertising the village that is now San Francisco, for sale for five dollars. When asked, "Why he didn't buy it," he said, "He didn't' have the five dollars, and anyway he didn't want it then."
Governor Wood finished the speeches with a stirring address. "Capital is safe in the Philippines. Take an interest in them," he said. "They are big, there are wonderful resources and there is big work to do here. The American Flag is still at the top of the pole. The progress of the Philippine people in the last twenty-three years cannot be paralleled, it could not have been accomplished without their cooperation and without our aid." He referred to the so-called laws of discouragement that are said to impede business. "I want to get hold of them and correct them, but they cannot be changed in a hurry. The United States stands for the development of trade and the open-door in the Pacific. One of the best piers in the world will be built; the harbor rivals Seattle, and Manila will be a great port and a distributor of the products of the Far East. There is room for expansion, labor is cheap. Germany, the beaten nation, has learned to live without import or export and understands cheap living. Competition will be keen. They are out to gobble up South American trade. We must get busy. The war talk is tommy-rot. Of course there will be wars in the future, but only irresponsible people think of war at present."
Manuel Queson, in a long interview, after the "Wood-Forbes" report was out, said, "I do not agree with the report as the Islands are ready for independence."
Sergio Osmena, referred to as a great power and known as the "Sphinx of the Philippines," was reticent at first, but later he talked freely about the marvelous resources of the Islands and stated that he, too, believed the Islands ready for independence.