Saturday, June 28, 2008
WHEN the Philippine Revolution broke out in August 1896, Placido Campos was the captain municipal of Dasmariñas, Cavite, and Francisco Barzaga the municipal secretary. Together they liberated the town from Spanish control beginning September 3, four days after the capture of the tribunal of Cavite el Viejo (now Kawit) by Emilio Aguinaldo and his Voluntarios.
A NOTED lawyer and educator, Severino de las Alas, the fourth regular delegate of Cavite to the Malolos Congress, was born on January 8, 1851, in Indang, Cavite, the son of illustrious parents, Eugenio de las Alas and Evarista Mojica.
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Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
One day in August, 1900 upon receiving a letter from Mr. Atkinson, who was then at the head of the schools in Manila, I called at his office and accepted a position as teacher in the Second Tondo boys School where I taught for two months.
In November of 1900 there was branching out of the school system and upon request I was sent into the provinces. My first location was Cavite Viejo, the home of Don Emilio Aguinaldo.
I found there had been a so-called Spanish school in the town in which had been taught the Catholic catechism, a few prayers also in Spanish and something of manners, together with a very little of numbers. The building had been destroyed during the uprising of 1896 and the school had deteriorated even below its former low standard of instruction. The man I found in charge was ignorant old fisherman who had picked up a little Spanish in Manila. He would catch fish in the morning and about ten a.m. would come home and hear the children repeat their exercises in Spanish pronunciation and the catechism.
It was truly a novel sight to see the old man dressed in nothing but a pair of coarse pantaloons with the legs rolled up above his knees, sitting propped up against a post, mending his net, with the betel nut juice trickling down the corners of his mouth and the cigarette smoke curling above his matted chair, while he assumed the character of a teacher.
The children studied their exercises out loud in concert and could be heard more than a block away shouting at the top of their voices: "a-b ab, i-b ib, e-b, eb, o-b ob, u-b ub". They had been kept at this senseless work day after day, week in and week out, during the whole year.
The place used for a schoolhouse was the under part of the fisherman's bamboo house. It was low, uncoiled, with a mud floor, and open to the weather. In one corner was tied a pig, while on the posts were nests occupied in part by patient old biddies. there was also the ever prevalent, half-starved dog always under foot.
Upon entering, the sign which met my eyes was not one calculated to insure enthusiasm in the work. Some of the little half-clothed younsters were eating raw turnips, others were smoking the inevitable cigarette, some were having a good time gambling with pennies, while a few were shouting their lessons. Out of this confusion, I must bring order: with this material I must organize a school.
The people were very anxious to learn the new language and seemed willing to help, but when it came to supplying an adequate building and paying Filipino assistants, they were absolutely helpless. They looked to the government for everything. There seemed to be some excuse for their inability to help in this way for they had just passed through four years of almost continuous fighting and privations and had little to give but poverty.
The people were exceedingly poor and many children came to school with only an abbreviated shirt for clothing. These were, of course, sent home and in many cases could not return because the parents were too poor to clothe them. The people in the early days took the new government as natural consequence and looked to it for everything of a general nature, remaining indifferent or blaming it if it failed to keep the peace or punish offenders; but always neglecting to give any help in bringing these things about.
Toward education they were eager to show their appreciation and loud in their praises of it. The town officers would send out policemen to gather the children into the schools when they played truant or were kept away by their parents. The people seemed to think that an education was easily and quickly acquired and after one had finished, he need never work any more. Coupled with this was the Spanish belief that a gentleman never did manual labor. they were scandalized when I took hold and began making desks for the schoolroom.
In 1902 I was transferred to Alfonso, a town in the hills of southern Cavite, where the work of starting the schools had to be begun all over again. I selected some young people in the town and taught them the lessons they should teach the children the next day and giving them instruction in the evening and after school hours, I succeeded in fitting them for teachings in the primary grades.
No Americans were nearer than Indang, seven miles away, and for months at a time I would see no one who could speak English. I was obliged to learn Tagalog in order to make myself understood.
The greatest difficulties were encountered in finding school buildings and preparing the Filipino teachers for there was very little money available. It took weary months of extra work to prepare the teachers for their duties. We had teachers' classes after school hours and in the evenings and at last opened up schools in the barrios of Bailin, Magallanes and Mendez Nunez. The people of the barrios put up provisional buildings. Civil government had been established and was being appropriated for schools but the demand for new schools was greater than we could possibly supply.
The methods of instruction were very similar to those in vogue now. The pupils were first taught a number of words by the use of objects and a few action words. Then the use of these words was taught by means of conversational exercises. After this the questions and answers were written by the pupils, either copied or by dictation. The child taught to read and each new word was treated in the same way. The pupil learned to read, write and use the word the same day. Of course the pupils were older than those generally found in the first grade today. The children had a tendency to commit whole pages of the text and repeat them without any knowledge of their meaning.
As for discipline, I have never found any trouble except that at times the Filipino teachers had to be cautioned against being too severe.
Those early years were full of interesting work and even though there were hardships, privations and disappointments, I look back to them with pleasure. We, the pioneer of the work, feel that we helped lay the foundation stones of our present efficient educational system.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Inasmuch as the situation in Cavite seems to have been not unlike the situation in the other provinces of Southern Luzon, it may be taken as more or less representative of the whole department. A Secret Service Memorandum. [Summary of omitted portions: Trias in a barrio of. San Francisco de Malabon, with 376 soldiers all armed with guns.]
Friday, June 20, 2008
Luis Aguinaldo, 33, was one of the Thirteen Martyrs of Cavite who were arrested by the Spaniards as an aftermath of the uprisings in San Francisco de Malabon (now General Trias), Noveleta and Cavite el Viejo (now Kawit) on August 31, 1896. Occurring one after the other within a period of five hours, 10 A.M to 3 P.M these three-armed incidents constituted the “First City of Cavite”, the local counterpart of the “City of Pugad Lawin” on August 23.
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Domingo Rojas came to the Philippines on a boat from Canton, China (according to Teofilo Rojas, son of Modesto Rojas ) when he was still a young boy. He had nine siblings and they came here because there was much grief and strife in China then. Domingo's original surname was Go Pao and he took on the Spanish surname of his godfather,Rojas, when he was baptized into Catholicism. Domingo's family brought their wealth ,mostly gold, here with them . It must have been around the mid to late 19th century when young Domingo arrived in the Philippines and his first stop was Silang. Ka Pilo (Teofilo Rojas) told me more than 12 years ago that there were 2 gentlemen with caps and queues who accompanied him here. Who they were, Ka Pilo didn't also know.
Monday, June 16, 2008
The subscribing attorneys commissioned by your excellency to examine and report upon the title deeds held and submitted by the British-Manila Estates Company (Limited) relative to the Imus estate in the province of Cavite, having complied with such commission after a very careful study of all the documents submitted, have now the honor to report to your excellency upon said titles. For the sake of method and greater clearness this report is divided into three parts, whereof the first contains the description of the said estate, the second the history or record
Friday, June 13, 2008
DESCRIPTION AND GENERAL CONDITIONS. The province of Cavite is situated on the southern shore of Bay of the Manila. On the east it is bounded by the provinces of Rizal and Laguna. On the south by the province of Batangas, the boundary line being in the main the crests of the Sungay and Tagaytay mountain ridges. On the west it is bounded by Manila Bay and the China Sea...
SIR: In compliance with the provisions of Act No. 1044, Civil Commission, and your indorsement of June 26, 1905, I have the honor to submit the following report: GENERAL STATEMENT. The province of Cavite in former times was one of the richest in the islands. Since establishment of civil government it has suffered much from ladronism and other causes, which will be treated under separate heads. The principal sources of livelihood are four in number: 1. Fishing, which furnishes profitable occupation to many who live in the coast towns and barrios. The Manila and Cavite markets afford sale at good prices for all fish caught. As a rule, the part of the population devoted to fishing are among the most prosperous of the province.
Monday, June 2, 2008
IN those days Havana was a, picturesque old-world city of stately church and government buildings, and large. open spaces laid put in attractive plazas and boulevards, contrasting with narrow, winding, and cobbled streets, grilled windows, kiosks, and other reminders of old Spain. The suburbs had great natural beauty especially Vedado, on the sea, connected with the city by a drive along the water front, where Spain's official family formerly resided, then replaced by the American Governor-General who also commanded the army,of occupation, General Brooks, and staff. The entrance to the harbor offered an exceptionally fine view of the old Morro -castle standing on a promontory at one side, the city and bay front backed by hills, on the other. But Havana was practically untouched by real progress and was years behind in everything except natural and man-made beauty. It was almost as medieval as regards sanitation as was Manila's Intramuros at the time of the American occupation.
GENERAL LUDLOW AND A BRIBING CONTRACTOR
Being on duty with the city government brought me in contact with all classes of people. Sanitary and other i'eeded reforms were being initiated which the inhabitants were avoiding whenever possible. That was the one time in my government service iwhen I "ould have made real money for, sanitary improvements being expensive, pr6perty owners were only'too willing to pay for immunity, and one df- my duties was to check the recommendations of others. The people hpproached the subject of a quid pro quoi in tuch a direct and businesslike manner that it gave 'the impression of having been an accepted custom. One story current at the time was that a would-be contractor going to General Ludlow's office to see him in that connection, placed a pile of fifty dollar bills on the desk without comment; that the General made a. spill of the top bill, set it on fire with a match, and, when it was nearly burned, it a cigarette from the vanishing fifty dollars, also without comment; whereon the contractor, grabbing the rest of the pile, made a hurried exit.
While in Havana it was my privilege to serve under or with many officers who later became national and international figures: General Ludlow, a brilliant soldier and engineer, whose career was cut short by death upon returning to the United States after a very short tour of duty in the Philippines; General Gorgas who directed the wonderfully successful sanitary measures maintained during the building of the Panama Canal and who was Surgeon-General of the Army during the. world war; Major Furbush, his personal aide-de-camp during that time; General Scott, an old Indian fighter and a recognized authority on the American indian: and his sign language, later Chief of Staff of the Army; Past-Assistant Rosenau of the Marine Hospital Service, and others. But neither the life nor the duty '88 appealed to me. It was too civilized, and, from a distance of some 10,000 miles, the Philippines appeared so attractive that at my request the General kindly got me ordered to Manila. Havana had not returned to pre-war morality, or that under the former regime belied the name. The performances in one theater were so rotten that' an order was issued prohibiting actresses from appearing there. But bad as Havana was, San Francisco was worse. Both places attracted the worst of the underworld of several countries, but while San Francisco made them welcome, the military Government of Havana waged relentless war on all of the tribe.
A SOMEWHAT LONG ASIDE THAT WILL BE PARDONED
IN AN - "OLD-TIMER"
Cuba was 'a delightful country to live in with its speakingeyed and beautiful women, unequalled tobacco, cheap and varied products of dairy, garden, and sea, luscious fruit, and tasty game. Here in the Philippines we have a much better climate both for health and for agriculture-one 6f the'best in the world, in fact-and we have beautiful women which by the way, have improved greatly in appearance since the beginning of the century, but the Philippines are, in many respects, still far behind the Cuba of 1898. Influenced by part of the local press and by some of the politicos and professors from the enlightened rural districts, many of us have acquired highly astigmatic and myopic conceptions of local values. Some are even under the impression that Manila is the Hub of the East, at least. We point with just pride t6 our new legislative 'and postoffice buildings and to other striking governmentalundertakings, but pay scant attention to the reported unsavory condition of our city government and police force; forget that. public graft seemingly increases with education and length of tenure of office; that we import far too much of our food even to vegetables, eggs, milk, and above all fish-a sufficient number of Japanese not yet being interested in the last-named industry to keep the market supplied; that the land donated by the government to the tao, after having its valuable timber burned by him or allowed to rot, is doing its. best to produce another crop of the same kind, and little else; that the poor man in distress-financial, on account of sickness or in a controversy with the ilustrado, stands the chance of the proverbial snow-ball. All this has no direct connection with the Spanish-American war but. is a sequence thereto. To one on the side-lines it looks as if little has been accomplished during the American occupation compared to what might have been, especially along the lines of agriculture, improvement in the condition and protection of the tao, and uplift of the public moral sense. When a man convicted of sedition is elected to public office there is something wrong somewhere. Polemics on economics and five-year programs bring us no farther than did the Bagong Katipunan. But were Messrs. Quezon and Osmefia to dedicate their leadership to overcoming the prerequisites to throwing off the "foreign yoke" with anything like the energy they have expended in chasing the elusive "Independencia", these Islands would soon be, in fact as well as in name, the "Pearls of the Orient" and so acclaimed by the whole world. Unfortunately for all concerned, when the United States fell heir to the Philippines, by conquest and by treaty, it had no men in public life with any experience in colonial administration or with an understanding of the psychology of the Orient. For this reason the Government of the Islands stepped off with the wrong foot and has been out of step ever since. After the first and disastrous exportation of gubernatorial talent, the office was filled by the appointment of politicians on the ground, later by men of sufficient private means to meet the ever-increasing demands on the pocket of the executive. Wealth, political expediency, and endorsement by the local politicians except in the case of General Wood, were necessary qualifications for appointment to this high office, but even had the local representative been a life-trained man for the job, it is extremely doubtful if Washington would have heeded his recommendations. In his ignorance, and measuring things out here with the yardstick used at home, Uncle Sam made a very generous and honest gesture upon which the politician has waxed fat at the expense of Juan de la Cruz. Is it hard to place the blame for the present retarded condition of the Islands? Personally, I am in favor of "immediate, absolute and unconditional independence" or of government by the United States until such time as is considered feasible to grant independence. Present conditions are neither conducive to the self-respect of Americans nor beneficial to the Filipinos. For many years the sine qua non to employment in the civil government of the Philippines was loyalty, honesty, and service. With few exceptions all were given spontaneously, by Americans and Filipinos alike, and those faltering were usually brought back to the fold by the example of men like Secretary Worcester and Colonel Harbord who were not obliged, like the rank and file, to rough it for bread and butter and could have lived a life of comparative ease instead of undergoing the hardships and discomforts of traversing jungles and mountains. It was the same spirit that later prompted Governor-General Wood to build his own monument-an outstanding administration of patient, self-sacrificing, and constructive service to the people he ruled-when the Philippines were on the rocks.
THE DOCTOR AS CHAPERON
After a short leave I reached San Francisco and was allowed to amuse myself for a couple of months until every one with political pull had been given passage to Manila. Ordered to leave on each of half a dozen transports, the order was invariably revoked, once only a few minutes before the boat sailed, and I just got my baggage ashore in time. Finally, I was shipped in the capacity of chaperon to two army nurses, and the anxieties of the trip will be appreciated by anyone having undergone the tribulations of responsibility for attractive girls on a troopship. Despairing of being able to do justice to both charges, I concentrated on one and, after warding off the attacks of some forty would-be suitors, my anxiety relaxed and the voyage became a dream from which there was a rude awakening upon entering Manila Bay and learning that she was married and, worse still, that her husband was to meet her. I then wished myself back in Sodom or Gomorrah whichever San Francisco was. The transport arrived at Manila just before General Lawton was killed at San Mateo for, from my window at the Hotel Ingles, I remember seeing the funeral cortege pass through the Escolta. The General's death cast a gloom over the entire Army and especially on those who had served under him. He was looked up to as a fine soldier and gallant leader besides which, as a man, he was very popular.
THE SCHWAN EXPEDITION
Upon reporting to the Chief Surgeon of the Eighth Army Corps, I found myself slated to take charge of the hospital at Dagupan but, asking for service wit troops, I was assigned to a cavalry regiment then in barracks on the Bay front. Several weeks later we went into the field as part of the Schwan expedition which was to cover the provinces of Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, and Tayabas. As the cavalry-parts of the fourth regular and eleventh volunteer regiments generally operated independently and in advance of the other troops, I am unable to enumerate, with any degree of accuracy, the organizations taking part in the expedition, but I recall some engineers, a mountain battery, and the thirtieth, thirty-ninth, and:forty-sixth recently-organized volunteer infantry. On two occasions only do I remember that we were at the General's headquarters. For the cavalry it was a somewhat triumphal and rather hurried excursion conducted by the colonel-a most interesting experience and giving one a good idea of country and people. Heretofore, the cavalry had been serving as infantry, except for a troop mounted on native ponies, but horses coming in on a transport, they were issued a few days before the regiment took the field. Many of these mounts were green and none in condition for field service, especially in the tropics, and as a consequence many died within a few days. The afternoon the troops left the barracks there was a fine exhibition of rough-riding, one trooper being killed and several injured before leaving the parade ground. That night we camped at San Pedro Macati, the concentration point for the troops of General Schwan's command, and by some unfortunate misunderstanding or oversight the camp was without forage and rations, which did not arrive until sometime during the night.
THE FRIGHTENED GUIDE
From this camp the cavalry entered Cavite province by a trail connecting with the Imus-Silang road. Silang and Indang were taken, and in going into the first named town after dark, due to delay caused by damaged bridges over ravines, we lost our local guide. He was not exactly what one would call a volunteer but had been "persuaded" by the regular mestizo guide to give us the benefit of his knowledge of local trails. This man knew vhen, where, and what to expect from his compatriots, andjust before rounding a curve in the trail he dove head-fist into the brush and only a moment before the Insurtents opened fire. This guide even previous to that was tie worst "scared" individual I have ever seen-not of the Americans but of his big American mount. I do not thin? he will ever forget the few hours spent on the animal's bck, his hands gripping the saddle fore and aft, his toes he stirrup leathers near the saddle. He looked as if he would much prefer-to, be shot than to be where he was.
THE FILIPINO DOCTOR
In one of these two towns there was an Insurgent hospital. The arrival of the cavalry had been unexpected or too sudden for the evacuation of the sick with anything like the promptness of the garrison, so the surgeon and his wife remained at the hospital. Someone locating quite a little money which the doctor claimed as personal and not belonging to the Republic, the colonel left its disposition to me. As it looked as if the medico would soon be out of a job or at least without a monthly pay check and that he would need this money for the rehabilitation of himself and family, it was turned over to him.
AN AMBUSH AND THE DIGNIFIED COLONEL
When near Naic, General Cailles' troops provided quite a little entertainment during which there were two amusing incidents. Our colonel and staff were advancing on the road, the cavalry and infantry being deployed in the rice fields on either side. Having to cinch up my saddle caused me to fall behind, so I made a short cut but, on account of some trees cutting off the view, overshot the mark and had to ride back in order to join headquarters which, for: the moment, consisted of the colonel, two color sergeants, a trumpeter, a civilian aide, and two correspondents. When we were opposite a corn field I had passed a few minutes earlier, one of the newspaper men suddenly turned his pony out of the road and made for a large mango tree where he dismounted' and lit a cigarette. It looked as if he had a premonition of impending discomfort for, as he made the shelter of the tree, the Filipinos opened fire from the corn, some sixty yards away. It was quite lively for a time, until a man had been sent for and had brought up some mounted troops. The shelter of the mango looked so inviting and the correspondents so pleased with themselves, that I suggested to the colonel that he dismount at least, but he told me that his "dignity would not allow" him to do so. Informing him that mine did, I joined the newspaper men and from the lea of the mango, got some fine pictures of the troops coming into the zone of fire. There were quite a number of men in the corn, but they evidently did not wish to do us any physical injury but just to work on our nerves-in which they succeeded except, I believe, in the case of the colonel who apparently had none to work on. Although the bullets caused a wonderful displacement of dust, not a man or a horse was hit. The colonel was a very soldierly-looking man, quite the beau sabreur, and with his large white hat, bleached khaki blouse with the yellow cuffs, collar, and shoulder straps of those days, was an imposing and conspicuous figure-everyone else was wearing a blue shirt.
THE SOLDIER WHO THOUGHT HE HAD BEEN SHOT
A little later, headquarters being dismounted at a point where the road was somewhat higher than the surrounding country, both my horse and the trooper holding it dropped. Investigation showed that the horse had been hit in the head by a Remington bullet but no wound could be found on the soldier, an Irishman. Although he confided in me tlat he had been hit and was dying, it was very evident that the horse had just knoced him over with its head, when hit, but I could not s convince the trooper. He had become reconciled to a les g ditence and was not to be cheated out of dying a orous death. Even ridicule had no effect. Some months later when in barracks, I went into an officer's s and saw this soldier, the striker, leave by another door. I never did get within speaking distance of that man although I wanted to hear his story of the day at Naic and how he had convinced himself that he was not dying.
SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR AT SILANG
The first time I ever slept on the floor without a mattress and with any degree of comfort was at Silang where I made the acquaintance of the springy floors made with strips of hard bamboo and on which one can dance almost as well as on the regulation waxed hard-wood floor. The only objection at Silang was the too free circulation of really cold air. This town is so accessible from Manila in these days of the automobile, and offers such a marked change of climate and fine scenery, that it is surprising people do not liv there and commute to business in Manila.
DOWN TAGAYTAY RIDGE
From Cavite we went down the Tagaytay Ridge into Batangas province. The trail was nothing to brag about and the rifle pits which had been dug on and near it, made the descent difficult for the horses. The view of the volcano, the lake, and the orange country was magnificent. To me it is one of the two most striking views in the Islands, the other being at a point on the old Villaverde trail coming down from Imugan where one first sights the lowlands. The mountain back of San Quintin limits the view to the east but the entire province of Pangasinan and the central plain are visible, the little mountain at Balungao, and the towns and hills near Lupao and Cuyapo standing out as on a relief map.
THE PEOPLE'S FEAR OF AMERICAN HORSES
After visiting Batangas the cavalry turned north, taking the principal towns in Laguna and later those of Tayabas. Calamba put up quite a little resistance to the infantry, but the cavalry passing on the gallop caused the garrison to take to the hills. The American horse was then an unknown quantity but there were rumors of its being trained to fight with teeth and hoofs so the Insurgents were somewhat leary of close contact. I remember taking several hot baths in an enormous wooden bowl there was in a large and well furnished house in which I took up temporary residence. When visiting a friend stationed at Calamba, for duck shooting a year later, he told me the house belonged to a physician but not knowing to what use the family put my bath tub, I felt some delicacyin calling to express thanks for the temporary use of house and bowl. When we were in Santa Cruz, waiting for the infantry to come up and garrison the town, Pagsanjan was occupied by the Americans during the day, by the Filipinos at night. They just relieved each other without any unpleasantness. Tiaong and Candelaria were the most meanly hostile places we visited. At other places there was usually a fight, and, this over, there was seldom any further trouble, but in these two barrios there was no organized resistance but sniping from the distant houses and then a run for the brush. Passing through a second time we left some of their wounded in one of these places and when we were well out of the village it was seen to be burning. Some bright mind had probably been reading of Napoleon's experiences in Russia. At San Pablo, which was taken on the gallop, the colonel commanding the town was slow in getting away and was found hiding in a hollow tree. When we left the town our colonel appointed him "Presidente" and at a later visit he was doing good work. A Belgian business man had been keeping the town and the Insurgent troops in rice and, although he provided us with some excellent wine, except for this he was not in good favor. Acting as interpreter for the colonel who was somewhat angry, I found great difficulty in bringing to mind the French equivalents for "hanging from the church tower" and even stronger expressions, so had to substitute milder ones.
A PLUCKY FILIPINO SOLDIER
The nerviest Filipino soldier I saw was at San Pablo. Shot and ridden down when the town was taken, and left for dead some distance outside what became one of our outposts, he was forgotten. The third day his groans caused a patrol to be sent out when he cooly lay on his back and fired at the patrol, receiving several hits in return. Eventually, he threw away his rifle and waved his hand to signify that he had had enough. The plucky fellow was brought into town, and it was found that besides a number of other wounds both his legs were broken. It was some job getting him stretched out to somewhere near his original length and the proceeding did not appear to hurt much. Anyhow, he did not show it and when the job was finished he did more than justice to his first American meal. When we left after a few days he was getting along well and always joking about his recent experiences. The Filipino has a remarkable resistance to shock and can stand physical injury better than we do, but when ill he dies without apparent reason.
By William C. Farr
In the early part of 1911, the writer, then a lieutenant in the Philippine Constabulary, was stationed at Indang, Cavite, commanding the Second Cavite Company. Indang is situated a thousand feet above sea level, on the general slope of Cavite Province that rises towards Tagaytay ridge. It is about 24 kilometers (15 miles) from Taal volcano, then active.
During the night of January 27-28, 1911, numerous earthquake shocks were felt, repeated about every half hour with increasing intensity until the eruption. Some of the shocks were strong enough to rock the buildings, but none lasted over a minute. The people of the uplands of Cavite Province did not seem worried about these shocks, but took them as a matter of course
On January 28, I left Indang on one of my usual inspection trips, passed through Silang, and arrived at Carmona late in the afternoon of the same day. Carmona is located in Cavite Province on the plain of Laguna de Bay and is about 33 kilometers (21 miles) from Taal volcano. I spent the 29th in Carmona, inspecting the town police and the records of the Justice of the Peace. Beweeen one and two o'clock on the morning of January 30th, a loud report was heard, which woke the sleeping town, the people all rushing out of their houses. In the direction of Taal volcano we saw a huge column of fire reaching up toward the sky, which quickly changed to black, with streaks of fire running through it, like lightning in dark clouds, occasionally followed by a noise like thunder. Soon the town of Carmona was covered with a thin layer of lava ash.
Carmona was not in telephone connection with any other part of the province, the nearest telephone being at Silang about 13 kilometers (9 miles) away, and as it was important that I get in touch with my station at Indang, to learn if any damage or casualties had occurred in that place or in the town of Mendez, which was nearer the volcano, I left Carmona at daybreak, and alternately walking and running, arrived at Silang in about an hour. There was no road, just a winding trail through tropical forests. What was rich in green foliage when I had passed through two days before was now a dull gray. Trees, plants-everything was covered with a thin layer of volcanic ash.
Immediately upon arriving at Silang I got into telephone communication with my junior officer, Lieutenant Percival, and he told me there was no damage done in either Silang or Indang, except by the lava ash which was heavier in these places than in Carmona.
Feeling sure that assistance would be needed by the Constabulary stationed in Batangas Province, I instructed Lieutenant Percival to take ten men and all available medical supplies at Indang and proceed at once over Tagaytay ridge to the town of Talisay, situated in the north shore of Taal Lake, and I ordered another detachment to patrol along Tagaytay Ridge to learn the condition there.
I arrived in Indang that evening at six o'clock. I was suffering from a severe attack of malarial fever, but there was no time to rest, for there was work to do and plenty of it. I gave up the idea of going at once to the shores of Taal lake with great reluctance, but my district, which consisted of half of Cavite Province, had to be looked after. A big town fiesta was scheduled at Silang, where the religious and political situation was acute, and I considered the presence of Constabulary officer necessary there. As a matter of fact there was trouble at that fiesta and only prompt action on the part of the town officials and myself prevented it from becoming serious. But that is another story. Also, a watchful eye had to be kept on Pablo de Castro and his band of outlaws, for it was an opportune time for them to become active. Fortunately, all during the relief work, this band was conspicuous by being very quiet. Whether this was because the eruption overawed them, or for some other reason, I do not know. Repeated attempts on my part to get in telephone communication with the Constabulary Senior Inspector at Cavite, the capital of the province failed, as was to be expected; at that time the telephone system in Cavite Province was anything but reliable. This left me on "my own", with all responsibility mine. When telephone connections were finally made with the Senior Inspector on February 2, the first thing he did was to "bawl" me out for sending a detachment into the stricken district without authority from him.
Reports came to Indang'of refugees, many of them injured, coming to the town of Mendez. The Senior Inspector who had come to Indang, his dignity still ruffled over my action in sending the detachment to Talisay without orders from him, ordered me to take a patrol to Mendez and check up on the reports and make preparations to remove the injured to Naic from where they could be transported by boat to Manila. Leaving Indang at daybreak on February 3, I arrived at Mendez with my patrol after an hour's hike, and found the town officials all upset by the influx of the refugees from the stricken area. They did not show the usual Filipino hospitality, and in fact, requested in no uncertain terms, that the refugees be at once removed as the town had no food to feed them. Nor were they willing to help me to get cargadores to transport the injured, and only by "strong arm" methods was I able to gather the necessary men.
There were some four hundred refugees, of whom about twenty-one were severely injured, including men, women, and children. The injured had been without medical attention or even first aid, and Corporal Tique of the Constabulary Medical Corps, who accompanied me, immediately got busy with the limited means at hand. Injuries consisted of burns about the head, shoulders, arms, and feet. In some cases women were burned around the waist; particularly those who had been nursing children. At that time, the average provincial Filipina, during the period of child nursing, wore a short, lose bodice, leaving part of the waist exposed.
There was a Spaniard with the refugees, who had formerly been a sergeant in the Spanish Army and had settled in the barrio of Bayuyungan, on the north shore of Taal lake. He stated that when the eruption occurred, he gathered as many people as he could at the Bayuyungan river, a small stream, and had them immerse their bodies in the water to protect them from the falling hot lava ash. He stated that a heavy gas had settled in the valley, making it difficult to breathe, which suddenly exploded, instantly killing many people, and causing the water of the lake to dash up on the land like a tidal wave. After the falling of hot ash had subsided, he led the people, injured and uninjured, up the steep precipice of Tagaytay ridge to Mendez. It is a wonder how some of the injured were able to make the climb of over two thousand feet over a very steep trail. One young woman I discovered lying in a small hut in what had once been a rice field. Her clothes had been completely burned off. There was not a spot on her body that was not burned and even her hair was gone. Between her legs lay a dead prematurely born child. She herself was alive and conscious. First aid was given her, but she failed to survive the trip to Naic.
In the afternoon, I was making arrangements to transport the injured by cargadores to Naic, when the Senior Inspector arrived. He had received a telegram from Constabulary Headquarters, Manila, stating that the Senior Inspector of Batangas had reported that people from Cavite Province had crossed the border and were robbing the dead in the stricken district. The Senior Inspector was very much worked up about this, though I doubted that the report was true and believed it might have been caused by some of the refugees returning to search for their dead relatives and gather the meager belongings they had left behind, and seeing Constabulary patrols or other people approaching, running away. At that time there was bitter feeling between the people of the two provinces, probably dating back to tribal days, and neither could think good of the other and were ready to accuse them of any fault. That very likely accounted for the lack of hospitality on the part of the people of Mendez towards the refugees. I explained this to my superior, but he was inclined to believe that the report was true and that it should be investigated at once. The evacuating of the injured would have to wait, and he ordered my arrangements stopped. Not until several days afterward were the injured transported to Naic under the supervision of Lieutenant Percival. The rest of the day and that night I spent unsuccessfully in trying to ascertain the truth of that telegram. Early the next day the Senior Inspector, accompanied by myself and my detachment, left Mendez, arriving on Tagaytay ridge at sunrise. It was my first view of the Batangas valley since the eruption. What a scene of desolation greeted our eyes! Gone was the beautiful valley with its blue lake. Gone was the gorgeous foliage and the peaceful villages amid the trees. Gone were the green slopes of Volcano Island in the center of the lake, and the many-colored cloud usually hovering over the crater. Instead everything was a dirty gray, the water in the lake had a dirty color, the villages had disappeared. The slopes of Volcano Island were bare of any vegetation, and from the crater issued a threatening black column of smoke. After spending about a half an hour viewing the scene of destruction, our party descended down a hog-back that ran from the top of the ridge into the valley towards the barrio of Bayuyungan. Even in ordinary circumstances the descent of the ridge was difficult, but then it was doubly so, because of the lava mud which made the trail slippery and dangerous.
Upon arrival at the lake shore, we made contact with a Constabulary relief party under Major Grove, of which Lieutenant Percival and his detachment was a part. Colonel William C. Rivers and Majors Gurney and Sweet had just arrived in a launch from the town of Taal. Colonel Rivers was then a captain in the United States Army, and detailed as one of the assistant directors of the Philippine Constabulary. Major Gurney was Chief of the Constabulary Medical Division and Major Sweet was Senior In- 4 Spector of Batangas Province. He did splendid work at that time for which he never received proper official recog- j nition. The united parties proceeded to what was left of Bayuyungan, and, taking possession of the largest house, converted it into a combined barracks and hospital. Here were assembled all the injured found in the vicinity. First aid was given them, prior to their being transported to hospitals at Los Bafios and Manila.
Bayuyungan is situated on high ground, partly protected from the crater by foot hills that extend from Tagaytay ridge to the lake shore, and was, therefore not totally destroyed as were the barrios of Bigaan, Ginlot, Bosoboso, Banaga, and Bilibinang, which were located in the foot hills and only about four and a half miles (7 kilometers) from the crater. It was decided to leave me and my detachment with Major Grove's party. while the Cavite Senior Inspector with Lieutenant Percival and his detachment left that afternoon for Indang. Lieutenant Percival, with less than a year's service in the Constabulary and in spite of his lack of experience, did excellent work in the stricken district.
The next day Major Grove directed Lieutenant Stone of the Constabulary and myself to take a detachment and go to the destroyed barrios and locate the dead in aid to the U. S. Army Burial Corps, which was expected. It was a horrible job. The stench of decaying bodies was sickening. The villages in which we worked had been totally destroyed; not one house was left standing. Being of bamboo and nipa structure, the houses had simply collapsed, but in most cases the roofs, being pyramidal in shape, had retained their form. To locate the dead, these had to be dug into. Some were found empty, while others would contain as many as fifteen to twenty corpses of all ages, leading one to believe that when the eruption came, the younger people had fled to the houses of their parents. Sometimes a corpse could be located by following a track made in the lava mud, which would lead to a mound of ash covering a human body. Some bodies were found in the branches of trees. The writer saw a dead carabao, several feet from the ground, lodged in the branches of a tree, probably blown there by the force of the explosion of the gases that settled in the valley after the eruption. In every case the features of the dead were completely obliterated, showing that in most cases death was caused by the explosion. As "rigor mortis" had set in, the bodies were found in every position and posture. Many bodies were found together in close embrace. A number of premature childbirths were discovered. We marked the places containing bodies with little flags.
After the job of locating the dead was done, came the work of burying. The Army burial detachments with the assistance of the Constabulary took charge of this work. The- method was to dig a trench six feet deep by six feet wide and as long as was necessary to accommodate the dead in that vicinity. A tally was kept, the bodies were laid side by side, and the trench was filled in. A sign board was erected at both ends, on which was marked the number of males, females, and children, and the number of those whose sex was unrecognizable. About 500 were buried under my own supervision. This duty lasted some four days, when I was relieved by another Cavite detachment under Lieutenant Hawkins.
Much has been written about the splendid relief work the Red Cross did after the Taal eruption, but during the whole time I was in the stricken district, I saw no evidence of this. The burden of the actual work done was borne by the various detachments of the Philippine Constabulary None could help but admire how the enlisted men of that corps, who were all Filipinos, responded to the situation and to the orders of their officers. The Red Cross officials spent their time dashing aimlessly around the lake on a launch. At one time the launch arrived at Bayuyungan and Major Grove stated he was glad it had come as there were some injured to be evacuated. But he was informed that it would be impossible to take any injured on that trip because there were American women aboard the launch. In the section where I was at work, no supplies of any nature were sent in by the Red Cross. The food that was sent in for the relief of the people came from Manila commercial firms.
It would have been better had all sight-seeing parties been kept out the district. They came expecting to be taken care of by the Constabulary officers; and then complained because things were not what they had expected and the meals were poor-when the Constabulary were having a hard time to get rations to feed themselves.