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Thomas J. Maher
account of surveying in the Philippines is found in the autobiography
of Captain Thomas J. Maher, entitled, Around the World in
In the fall of 1912 I left San Francisco for the Philippines
aboard the Pacific Mail
Steamer "KOREA," in company with Dr. Mills, a young medical
officer. In Japan we saw many interesting things. One that appeared
the most novel was the coaling of ships by women, who, one above
the other, stood on ladders placed against the side of the vessel.
Small baskets containing coal were passed from woman to woman,
a human conveyor belt system, which worked with remarkable rapidity
and efficiency. In Yokohama, if I remember correctly, the difference
between British business methods and those of the rising generation
of Japanese merchants was apparent. I went to the teller of
the Shanghai and Hong Kong Bank and placed a twenty-dollar gold
piece in front of him and requested an exchange into Japanese
money. He gave me large currency. I told him I would appreciate
receiving more sen and small coins. He seemed annoyed and in
a bored manner remarked, "You know, this is an accommodation
and a courtesy." He was charging the usual rate of exchange.
Picking up my gold piece and passing back his currency, I proceeded
to the Yokohama Specie Bank. The Japanese teller asked me if
I intended to make the usual tourist purchases and said, "If
so, you will need small coins," He proceeded to help me as though
I were doing him a great favor. The difference in the attitude
of the stabilized British interests and those of the rising
Japanese was quite apparent.
Ricksha men were quite insistent on showing
the tourist the Japanese temples, the little shops where cloisonne
was made, stores and shops where Satsuma ware, silks, etc.,
were for sale, calling attention to Japan's wonderful Mt. Fujiyama,
all the time leading to No. 9 in the world renowned Yoshiwara,
where might be found the celebrated bureau of Intimate Social
Relations, a well organized business employing the highest grade
of Japanese talent in that particular profession, all under
the supervision of the Government. The Ricksha men received
no commission or cumshaw from this establishment and always
recommended emporiums of entertainment, the operators of which
treated them more generously.
on our way and passing through a village, we noticed much excitement
and noise. It was at a Japanese theater. We were courteously
received and placed in an excellent position for observation.
Payment was not accepted. Proceeding along the road we stopped
at a little Japanese eating place. We squatted on a floor mat.
Our food, fish and rice, was served on a low table or bench
and we had trouble in getting our long legs oriented, much to
the amusement of the Japanese waitresses. When we got some saki
in a little cup not much larger than a thimble and tea in vessels
about the same size, our expressions caused some merriment.
It must be remembered that this was half a century ago, when
tourists were infrequent. Moving on in our rickshas and approaching
the top of a rise in the road, the gentle breeze wafted to us
was reminiscent of that from the stockyards but did not produce
any nostalgic yearning for dear old Chicago. As we advanced
we came upon a string of Japanese maidens, every two carrying
a long pole from which was suspended a bucket or jar. They were
proceeding to the fields. We witnessed a medieval system for
the disposal of household sewage. This custom, then, was prevalent
throughout the Orient and was the reason why the consumption
of salads, uncooked greens, and vegetables was attended with
considerable risk. Proceeding along the road we saw what I presume
were schools. The children, all quite young, and all outside,
were going through exercises, with wands, which resembled setting-up
arriving in Manila, I was assigned to the Steamer FATHOMER,
Captain Eberhart Mueller commanding, a fine steel seagoing craft.
She was deigned for the tropics and was built in Hong Kong.
The Captain's quarters were in the eyes of the ship, followed
by the wardroom, with the crew's quarters aft. The odor from
dried fish, an important article of diet, was thus wafted aft.
She had another unusual feature: On the boat deck, about sixteen
feet above the waterline, there was a steel water tank with
dimensions about 6' x 6' x 6', capacity about 216 cubic feet.
The stiffness of the vessel could be regulated by controlling
the amount of water in the tank, by raising or lowering the
metacentric height of the vessel, by shifting water from this
tank to bilge tanks or the reverse. She had a nice easy roll
in the choppy seas of the monsoons and could be readily stiffened
for typhoon seas.
The FATHOMER's working grounds were the Northern
Sulu Sea, Mindoro Straits, and the China Sea. At first I was
placed in charge of a shore party from the ship on Busuanga
Island. Our headquarters were at the head of Port Uson, at Malbato
on the ranch of Sr. Mollat. The party consisted of myself, Gordon,
Max Steinberg, and several men. We lived in a nipa shack, in
a coconut grove near the water's edge. The floor of the shack
was about five feet above ground. It was made of bamboo poles,
separated by about one-half inch, to permit a free circulation
of air. The sides and roof were of thatched nipa, which permitted
a free circulation of air but kept out the heavy typhoon rains.
During earlier periods of revolution or tribal warfare, flooring
of this kind had certain disadvantages. It was an old Malay
custom to crawl under a shack, stick a bolo through one of the
cracks, and tickle the ribs of a possible erstwhile enemy; so
it was always advisable to sleep on a cot or other elevation.
We slept on cots under nets and about midnight
of the first day of occupancy we were awakened by a blood-curdling
yell. A lantern was lighted. No one had been murdered, but Max
was all tangled up with his net which had been flattened. Max,
somewhat breathless, said that something heavy, cold, and slimy
dropped on his bed. Max and I were newcomers. Gordon was the
Old-Timer. He said, "Max, shut up and go to sleep. It was only
a snake." We found that it was just a pet house snake, a species
of boa, about six feet long. It was quite harmless but a great
destroyer of vermin. We were learning about the animal life
of the Islands. A knowledge of carabao, cayman, crocodile, singalong,
monkeys, big roaches, wild pig, red ants, spiders, and scorpions
was acquired in time. Some were irritating, but none were really
unfriendly, if left alone, a quality which the American of today
is not prone to recognize, the race developing a strain of do-gooders
with the characteristics of universal anteaters with snouts
in everybody's business.
We were frequent guests at the home of Sr. Mollat.
He had a son, perhaps in the early twenties, and four charming
daughters. Sr. Mollat had been under fire during insurrections
and had many interesting tales concerning his experiences. Here
we had our first Spanish dinner. The courses were so numerous
that we lost count. Sr. Mollat and his son spoke excellent Americano,
but the women folk spoke only Spanish. That made no difference;
all was laughter and chatter. Gordon, Steinberg, and I had our
heads shaved before leaving the ship, not expecting to meet
anyone, and when Sr. Mollat brought us to the house, the women
folk stood wide-eyed, mouths open, wondering what new species
the "Old Man" was bringing home. He had an agricultural station
with many kinds of American fowl and cattle. However, the girls
always snickered when they saw us and a snicker from the older
generation of Spanish girls was irritating, as it just developed
a feeling of frustration. Spanish girls were always under the
immediate supervision of a duenna, and according to young men's
classification, the duenna was the ugliest, most evil-tempered,
and villainous of the female species, with the eyes of a hawk
and the ability to appear suddenly from nowhere.
Sr. Mollat warned us about traveling in certain
sections, where each year he lost cattle. Later, when I had
command of the FATHOMER, we frequently anchored in Port Uson,
an excellent typhoon anchorage. Mollat would generally send
out a piece of heart of palm eighteen inches or so in length.
It made a most delicious salad. I understand this meant the
destruction of the tree, and my recollection is that each tree
was a source of revenue of about one peso per year. We would
send ashore a tin of ice cream, a rarity in the provinces, before
the time of the frigidaire machine.
our work in the vicinity of Port Uson, we moved to Coron, a
beautiful barrio a few miles distant. We visited the Presidente
and inquired about getting a nipa shack, but preferred the small,
clean, concrete jail, We questioned him about living there.
It was ideal, being reasonably free from the large roaches,
lizards, and mosquitoes. He said, "Oh, Senors, that cannot be;
the jail is full." When we decided to move on and use tents,
if necessary, he replied, "Wait, you are working all day and
will need the jail only at night." I said, "How can that be,
when the jail is full?" "Oh no, Senors, it is only full during
the day. At night we send the prisoners home; keeping them in
jail would only punish the families. You see, the Filipino likes
to fish and have cockfights. That he can do only during the
day and in jail that is not possible. Besides, the prisoners
do not want to go home at night. Senors, you do not know the
Philippine woman." I told him that plan would not work. Then
he said, "How long would you want to live there?" "Two weeks."
"Only two weeks? That is easy. You come tomorrow morning and
the jail will be nice and clean; you move in." "Well, how about
those prisoners?" "Oh, Senors, tonight I shall tell them to
go home and come back in two weeks and go to jail again." We
moved in, lived there two weeks, and at the end of that period
the prisoners returned to complete their suspended sentence.
The Filipino is quite practical in many ways. Such sensible
action could never take place in the States, as all kinds of
legal decisions would be necessary, maybe action by the Supreme
Senors, you do not know the Philippine woman." How often has
that remark crossed my mind. The Malay is easy to deal with.
The trouble starts when emissaries crammed full of philosophical
and socialistic ideas get away from a practical basis. The Sandoval
family lived in Coron where they had a fine home built of hardwood,
but it apparently was less comfortable than a large home made
of thatched nipa. The Sandovals were very hospitable and saw
that the wives of officers who arrived at that town got suitable
nipa shacks to live in. The beautiful Sandoval girls were questioned
about the duenna; they voiced their diplomatic disapproval in
the most polite Spanish. Their duenna must be given credit -
she certainly was on the job.
About three months later I took command of the FATHOMER. To connect
the surveys of the different islands in the Northern Sulu Sea
and to extend the control to the China Sea called for a large
scheme of triangulation with sides twenty to forty miles in length.
We had to have a station on the highest peak on Coron Island.
This island is of a different geological formation from the others.
It consists of a series of excessively sharp ridges and projections
or pinnacles which form a ring around what appeared to be a central
crater. This rim ranged from about 1000 feet to a peak about 2000
feet at the northeast end. The island has since been flown over;
so more is known about its features than was based on native superstitions.
The face of this peak appeared almost perpendicular, for perhaps
1000 feet. It was partly covered with bejuco and other vines.
After several years of mountain climbing in Alaska I was in fairly
good condition and tried the ascent from another approach. I made
about 600 feet; my hiking clothes and leather boots were cut up.
That method was impractical but still possible if grapnels and
ropes were used.
There were some natives, mountain people on this island; not
many, just a few shy timid folk, who fled upon our approach.
They were one of the many different races in the islands - -
Tagbuanas. This island was an important source of supply of
birds' nests, which were in great demand in China. The Tagbuanas
gathered and sold them to a Chinese merchant in the town of
Coron. Through him, we made contact with these people. Willie
Weidlich, one of our officers, went ashore to make arrangements
to have material taken to the summit for the erection of a survey
signal. He returned, stating that the natives refused to climb
to the peak, claiming there were monsters in the lake in the
center of the island. Next day Max Steinberg went ashore to
offer very high compensation. They were still adamant in their
refusal. In our launches and whaleboats we carried a quantity
of red and white and black muslin to make targets. As he was
about to get into the whaleboat to return to the ship, he dropped
a small piece of red muslin, about one vara, on the beach. A
native woman grabbed it, others came around and there was almost
a fight. He gave another woman a little piece; then all wanted
some. Max started something. He then took a bolt of red muslin
from the boat, rolled it out on the beach, and told the women
they could have all of it if the men put up the signal on the
peak. The women didn't see anything difficult about that. Max
picked up the cloth, got in the whaleboat, and started for the
ship, leaving a riot on the beach with the men on the defensive.
Next morning Max returned to the beach with two bolts of red
muslin. The women were all smiling, the men quite glum, not
smiling, but ready to climb. They made a fine job of erecting
the signal. One of our men, a boy from a mountain district,
used to climbing and survey work, went along to supervise the
work. The monsters in the lake may or may not have been myths,
but there was no myth as to what home life would have been if
these women did not get that red cloth. Again the Presidente's
remark came to mind, "Si Senor, but you do not know the Philippine
woman." Some day one of our 4 Point programs will reach that
island and these women will find that they should have mink
coats. Then I could say to the Presidente, "Si Senor, but you
do not know the American women. No red muslin nor fig leaves
for them." A superior grade of bamboo was said to come from
this island but only a small quantity.
Next it was necessary to establish a signal on Mt. Tundalara,
and finish observations there in one day. It was inland about
four miles, and there were few, if any, trails. We crossed a
number of streams where the natives called out "Cayman" (crocodiles).
There were traps along the streams to capture these reptiles.
On the return trip I guess I passed out, as I found myself sitting
on a log, a native holding me up. He went away and brought back
a fruit something like a small pear, which he insisted I eat
or suck. It revived me quickly. Sometime later our medical officer
criticized me for not finding out what it was. Returning, while
crossing flat lands, we came in contact with a number of carabao.
These animals do not like white men and one big fellow gave
every indication of being unfriendly toward me; there was no
possibility of mistaking his intentions. A Philippine boy, perhaps
ten years of age, approached the brute and with a switch drove
him off. In large cities these animals show no particular aversion
to the white man; familiarity, perhaps.
The carabao is a most useful domestic animal. It is used for
drayage, hauling tremendous loads on heavy, flat, two-wheeled
trucks. Under the heat of the sun the hide of these animals
becomes shiny, and the creatures will then head for a wallow
unless water is thrown over them. In Manila, in that state a
carabao has been known to head for the Pasig River and then
jump in with cart and contents. They are irreplaceable for certain
classes of work, such as ploughing the rice paddies, where a
carabao sinking in mud almost to his belly, with a small boy
on his back, will haul the plough, slowly of course, doing work
that would stall any other animal or machine. Years ago a Manila
representative of the International Harvester Company informed
me that they were able to develop almost any kind of an agricultural
machine but the carabao had them stumped.
The Philippine horse is a small wiry animal. He is worked twelve
to sixteen hours per day and is often cruelly mistreated. I
understand this is never attempted with the carabao. The reason
is not humanitarian. To do so, I understand, is extremely dangerous.
survey of the shore line of the Culion Leper Colony and the
charting of the harbor were interesting. While this piece of
work fell within the field of operations of another party, the
Doctor-in-Charge would often needle us about not making the
survey, about keeping away from the Colony. The charts in existence,
and more important work in unsurveyed areas had been given the
preference. As this was a very small job, to please the Medico
we proceeded to the harbor, tied up at the wharf, and started
work. The entrance to the Colony was through a large gate and,
to pass in or out, it was necessary to walk through a trough
filled to a depth of about one-half inch with an antiseptic
fluid. Our Philippine sailors were the recipients from the Government,
without cost, of two pairs of shoes per year. These youngsters,
until stopped, took off their shoes, which they did not want
to spoil, and jumped across the trough, not always making it.
The shoes, although issued for general wear, the boys kept for
dress occasions. When we anchored off some barrio over the weekend,
they went ashore in their white uniforms, white hats, black
shoes, and black neckerchiefs. They presented a neat and natty
appearance, a treat for the barrio girls, who immediately forgot
the home-town boys. After such visits we never lacked for recruits.
Once again, the President's remark, "Ah, Senor, you do not know
the Philippine woman."
back to the Colony, our principal triangulation station was
in the center of the town. The lepers gathered around the instrument;
they were curious but made no attempt to touch anything. We
were instructed by the Medico-in-Charge not to touch them nor
permit them to touch us. I understand that at this time there
was an American, an excellent machinist and an inmate, and that
some Americans had shaken hands with him. I never inquired as
Colony was most unusual, a credit to the officials who governed
it and to those who provided the funds for its operation. It
was clean and sanitary. The patients did not have to work and
if they did, they received payment. There was a special coinage
which never left the Colony. However, an inmate could send funds
to friends or relatives outside by depositing his earnings in
the Colony bank where a draft would be drawn on the Bank of
the Philippine Islands, Manila, for payment to the party designated.
lepers who were in bad shape were hospitalized. An invitation
to visit the hospital was not accepted. The appearance of such
human misery would not be pleasant and I believe could only
be considered by the patients as satisfying morbid curiosity.
If we were medical officers, such a visit would be professional.
The lepers had considerable freedom. They fished in adjacent
waters from bamboo rafts. Attempts at escape were infrequent.
we were tied up at the wharf, the medical officer in charge
(Dr. Clemens) occasionally had dinner aboard. He informed me
that they were making good progress with chaulmoogra oil in
the treatment of patients. A Coast Guard Cutter called about
once a month with mail and provisions. They did not have modern
storage facilities in the colony so fresh provisions did not
last long. There were a few ammonia ice machines in operation
but none in the Colony. We had one aboard, but it took an engineer
to keep it in operation and the gaskets had to be obtained from
England. However, we always had fresh meat and provisions.
a bluff overlooking the harbor were a number of small houses,
in front of which black-gowned nuns occasionally were seen walking.
Being aware of the lack of fresh provisions and other commonplace
articles of diet, I asked Dr. Clemens, one evening when dining
with me, if he would care to invite the ladies aboard for dinner.
He informed me that they were Nuns of a French Order; that they
avoided contact with the outside world and only went to places
where the most dangerous diseases, such as plague, cholera,
etc., prevailed. We always sent a tin of ice cream to them.
Some months later, long after we completed the survey, we visited
the Colony and Dr. Clemens came aboard for dinner. He remarked,
"Captain, when you were here last, you extended an invitation
to the Nuns to dine aboard. Well, one of these ladies is now
a leper." This was our last call at the Colony as our working
grounds shifted, and I never saw Dr. Clemens again.
resumed work in the northern part of the Sulu Sea. During a
break of the monsoon the sea was as smooth as glass; in fact,
it had a glassy, almost oily appearance. At this time, particularly
in the vicinity of the Quinaluban group, numerous sea snakes
could be seen lying on the surface, basking in the sun or dozing.
These snakes were yellowish in color, eight to ten feet long,
and were said to be poisonous. One was hooked by a sailor and
brought aboard. It had a somewhat foul odor. Flying fish appeared
in large numbers. Some would apparently just vibrate their fins,
others just soar. I have noticed them take to the air when pursued
by larger fish, travel a certain distance, then change course
at right angles. When anchored on a shoal at night, they would
fly aboard, apparently attracted by the gangway lights. When
anchored on these shoals, the crew would fish and I have seen
almost a ton of fish caught within an hour, Lapu Lapu, tagingue,
rampacatado - fine edible fish weighing fifteen kilos and up.
Some were put in the cold storage room while others were cut
up and sun dried on our large canvas awning. The principal diet
of the crew was fish and rice; other items were available, but
this diet was preferred.
weekend we anchored off San Jose, a small town on the Panay
Island Coast. Near the beach stood an old watch tower with its
large bell, used in times past to give warning of the approach
of Moro raiders. There was an excellent road connecting with
other parts of the island, and it was here I first saw a trotting
bull driven by a Padre. It was an Indian humpback (Brahma bull)
and it made good time. There was a little market on the side
of the road leading from the beach where numerous items were
sold. Some stands had bolos, krisses, etc.; others had pina,
jusi and other cloths. Another had eggs, papaya, mangoes, etc.
The mess caterer approached the little girl in charge of this
stand to buy several dozen eggs; about all she had. She would
sell only one dozen, saying, "Si, Senor, if I sell all my eggs
to you, what will I have left if others want to buy?" A rather
novel point of view. Certainly not that of the white man.
was mentioned that fish and rice were the principal items of
diet for the sailors. Beriberi was not common among these men,
but we have an occasional case break out in recruits from some
of the barrios. Beriberi frequently resulted from the excessive
use of polished or white rice, which lacked certain essential
elements. The unpolished rice had the necessary nutritive substances,
but there was an aversion to this type, mainly on social grounds.
The native wanted the same kind of rice as was used by the Americans
and Spaniards and foreigners, overlooking the fact that with
these people any dietary deficiency in this grain was made up
from other foods not available to nor desired by the natives.
Two recent recruits developed bad cases. Dr. Capps came to me
and said, "These fellows won't take the necessary diet." Well
it wasn't difficult to change that idea.
survey of the Quinaluban group was part of a program to be undertaken
at some future time. The largest island was covered with cogon
grass and was sparsely populated. Work was undertaken there
immediately, and the men with beriberi were assigned to the
working party. Camp equipment and provisions, including two
sacks of white rice (seen by these men) were sent ashore, but
the Bo'sun, as the launch was leaving, switched unpolished rice
for the white. We returned in two weeks and found these fellows
in pretty good shape. After going hungry for awhile, they decided
that the unpolished rice wasn't bad; in fact, they acquired
a liking for it. The Philippines officials were aware of the
bad effects of this diet deficiency but an established habit,
based on social custom, could not be readily changed. However,
I understand a sauce was developed which, used on the white
rice, supplied the elements required.
water was sent ashore with all camp parties and was used exclusively
aboard ship except for bathing; even in the galley for washing
dishes. Chief Engineer John Wier had a one-track mind concerning
the use of distilled water. All galley piping was connected
to one tank, which was supplied from the ship's evaporator.
Some ships used boiled water for drinking. This practice had
one disadvantage, - at times a sufficient quantity would not
have been boiled and to supply an urgent demand the shortage
would be made up from one of the faucets. All water looked the
same to the mess boys. Chief Wier said it did not make sense
to take precautions with the drinking water and then wash dishes
in bacteria-laden water from some tropical source, as there
was always a slight film on dishes which certainly could be
an excellent breeding ground for bugs. During the three years
I had command of the FATHOMER there was not a single case of
illness aboard, an unusual condition anywhere, phenomenal for
the tropics. This state of good health I attribute solely to
the activities of Dr. Capps, an excellent medical officer, and
to a Chief Engineer with a one-track mind concerning pure water.
Steinberg was a very efficient officer. His last assignment
as a member of my party was to make a survey of an ant-infested
island in the Coron group. His equipment included a large quantity
of kerosene and a number of flat tins. Anchoring off his camp
one night, several of us went ashore at daybreak. We found Max
asleep in his tent with one foot projecting beyond the mosquito
net. There was an iguana about ten inches away. Every once in
a while the long tongue would flash out with lightning rapidity,
striking Max's foot, which would wiggle. I never inquired as
to whether Max had trained an iguana to catch mosquitoes off
his feet while he slept. Considering his success in trading
with Coron Tagbuanas, I wondered if he had plans for developing
a new tropical enterprise. His cot stood in four tins of kerosene
and the ground around was soaked with it. He solved the red
ant problem. On an earlier occasion, while making a plane table
survey of a mangrove-lined shore, he passed a small sand beach
on which were a couple of native children. While setting up
his table a short distance from this place, he heard a piercing
scream. Returning, he saw an hysterical woman who pointed to
a blood patch on the water. A crocodile had come out of the
water, grabbed one of the children, and disappeared beneath
the surface. Some years later, one of these reptiles reached
up to the deck of a launch and tore the leg of Lieutenant Bond.
I understand that the jaws of the crocodile fouled the launch
stanchion against which Bond was standing; otherwise, Bond would
have been pulled overboard. The reptile was shot by a constabulary
officer who was with the party. Bond was hospitalized for a
considerable time. Infection from the teeth of one of these
reptiles is often fatal.
was transferred to another ship. He left the FATHOMER in perfect
health but shortly after was taken down with mountain fever.
That ship did not have a chief engineer with a one-track mind
concerning distilled water. They used boiled water. The FATHOMER
returned to Manila for overhauling. I last saw Max in the 1940's
in New York. He was then with the U. S. Engineers. He was an
Coast Survey had a magnetic station at Antipolo at which I made
some observations. In the Church nearby was a small statue known
as the Virgin of Antipolo, which was held in the greatest veneration
by women, especially those desiring children. Numerous jewels,
many of considerable value, were donated to this statue.
one occasion, when the ship was in Manila Harbor, we noticed
an interesting religious ceremony by a sect known as the Flagellantes.
The members proceeded very slowly over a certain route, lashing
themselves with scourges, until their backs were raw, ending
near a small cross in front of which they prostrated themselves.
Here they were stepped on by one of the leaders; this action
possible indicating humiliation. The raw wounds were then treated
with a salve, which from appearance I judged to have been made
from crushed leaves.
Manila Harbor, bound for the Sulu Sea, the FATHOMER passed a
Russian warship at anchor. This vessel did not present the snappy
shipshape appearance of the British and German ships. Russian
ships often carried cattle which were consumed aboard. From
a large square port of this vessel a cow or bull had its head
stuck out. From an adjacent port an officer or petty officer
looked out. He had a beard which resembled a tar brush and on
an arm was gold braid from wrist to shoulder. On the deck beneath
the FATHOMER's" bridge, I heard Policarpo Bingel, one of our
sailors, remark, "That one is the Captain." His companion said,
"No, the other one is." Policarpo said, "He is the Captain;
see all the gold braid." The other said, "No, that is not so.
He has whiskers, and Captains do not have whiskers." The bull
had no whiskers. I pondered on my classification. I looked over
the bridge rail. The youngsters glanced up, saw me, giggled
and scurried away. A happy-go-lucky lot.
one occasion my Philippine clerk, referring to a certain man,
said, "Captain, do not put him ashore there. He has a wife there;
married a long time ago and never went back." This happened
a couple of times at different places, so I asked the clerk
about these marriages. He said, "Oh, yes, he marry often." Another
example of Malay practical philosophy, making moral, immoral
relations. As this lad was a capable sailor boy, with all the
sailor's instincts, and a good hand with a survey party, I did
not intend to lose him over marital complications, so before
putting him ashore, I generally made inquiries as to whether
he had any wives in the vicinity. Upon reflection it will be
seen that the procedure was real simple and sane, far superior
to the system prevalent in some sections of California, where
partners can only be exchanged, traded, or disposed of after
costly legal mumbo jumbo proceedings. The simplicity of the
Malay method may result from the fact that no alimony was involved.
incident which happened aboard another of our vessels, the PATHFINDER,
some years earlier was cited to me by Dr. Robert Hawkes, who
was then surgeon aboard that ship. The PATHFINDER had a large
coal capacity, refrigeration space, etc., and returned to Manila
only once a year for drydocking and painting. Coal was obtained
at local ports. This incident treats of the short life and tragic
Philippine pig is a wiry, rangy animal with not enough meat
on his carcass to make one plate of spare ribs. Paddy was a
regular American hog. Somebody gave him to the PATHFINDER when
a mere shoat. He thrived aboard ship and grew to a size which
would make him a prize animal at the Chicago Stockyards. He
was clean in personal habits; his skin was a nice light pink
in color. He was a universal pet with officers and crew, mostly
crew. When the ship had a number of working parties out, one
officer and a few men were always kept aboard. The Officer and
Quartermaster met each returning party at the gangway, and Paddy
was always there to be petted and have his back scratched. After
all parties returned, the Officers gathered on the quarterdeck
before dinner, lounging around in large wicker chairs where
each enjoyed a bottle of beer. One evening, an officer shoved
a half bottle of beer in Paddy's snout. Now, Paddy discovered
that this was just what was missing in a pig's life. If he didn't
get it, he would raise cain, squealing, grunting, nipping, until
he was attended to.
change of officers took place and the position of Executive
Officer was taken over by a recent arrival who was a very capable
man in his profession. He objected to the pig being aboard,
claiming it was unsanitary, and giving a number of reasons which
theoretically might be valid. He wanted the pig put ashore or
destroyed. The pig could not survive ashore, so it meant destruction
anyway. Hawkes, who knew the Malay temperament besides having
a liking for animals, as medical officer said he could not support
the Executive Officer in this matter, which was placed before
Captain Gilbert. Captain Gilbert was very successful with men
and knew that it was always possible to ease up the friction
of regulations through a liberal interpretation. He mentioned
to this officer that his claims might be true, but that these
men were away from port for months at a time and the harmless
antics and playfulness of the pig afforded recreation. Well,
the officer, apparently, was within his rights. The steward
was given orders to kill the pig. This was done, resulting almost
in a minor mutiny among the crew. Dr. Hawkes, as caterer of
the mess, ordered the steward to serve roast pork at every meal,
placing a large portion each time before the Executive Officer.
Hawkes told me that not one morsel was eaten by any other officer
or man and that it was served at each meal morning, noon, and
evening, until it became too odoriferous. Hawkes stated that
on one occasion a working launch came alongside and the Executive
Officer, who was at the gangway, gave orders to the Quartermaster
to take it out to the boom. A little later the launch was seem
adrift about a mile away. The Executive Officer rang for the
Quartermaster and said, "Did I not tell you to take the launch
to the boom?" "Si, Senor, I took the launch to the boom." The
Quartermaster strictly obeyed orders; the Executive Officer
neglected to tell him to make it fast. The Executive Office
usually wrote the morning orders, stating that parties were
to leave the ship and what signal building equipment was to
be placed in each launch. One day the parties started off and
about two hours later a launch returned. The party could not
work. The morning orders called for two tool bags in the launch.
The bags were there all right, but the orders did not state
what tools were to be placed in the bags; there were no saws
or hammers. Incident after incident of this nature occurred,
a most effective way of showing resentment against an ill-conceived
action - - in fact, a resentment which could have dangerous
consequences aboard ship. In dealing with men, the creation
of a sullen resentment or an imagined injustice should be avoided.
the fall of 1913 the FATHOMER was in Manila to dock and paint
ship and for engine room repairs at Engineers Island, where
the Insular Government maintained a fine shipyard under the
direction of Mr. Helvering, General Superintendent, and with
Mr. Gould in charge of the machine shop. The Coast Survey ships
and vessels of the Insular Coast Guard were repaired there.
The FATHOMER tied up alongside a stone sea wall. One day, while
standing there talking to Captain Jensen (who has since retired
to Sailor's Snug Harbor), my attention was attracted by a man
walking along the wall who was headed toward us. I was somewhat
fascinated by what appeared to be an apparition, - a reincarnation
of the greatest of the subjects of David, the famous painter.
After a few moments silence, I said to Jensen, "Captain, here
comes Napoleon Bonaparte." He said, "You are not far off. He
is a grandson or great-grandson of the Emperor." His name, as
I remember it, was Captain Miklo. Later I met this man several
times and on one occasion commented on the resemblance. He smiled
and said those rumors were true. He mentioned to me the line
of descent, which originated beyond the bonds of matrimony.
He was very pleasant and quite sociable. To the best of my recollection
he stood about 5'5" or 5'6" in height, was broad shouldered,
heavily, though not clumsily built. He had chestnut hair, somewhat
wavy, above a high, broad forehead. As I remember it, he had
a grayish brown eye; and the chin had a slight cleft. From a
masculine standpoint he was quite good looking. The man seemed
to be of a retiring disposition. He had command of one of the
Insular Government's Cutters. I think he suffered under the
weight of a famous heritage and lacked the combativeness of
his ancestor. Waterloo decided the fate of an Empire; perhaps
this man, instead of commanding a second rate cutter, might
have headed a government. Such is destiny. To anyone interested,
Mr. Helvering, Mr. Gould or Captain Jensen may be able to furnish
information. The records of the old Insular Coast Guard Service
may give some of this man's history.
evening, while walking along Calla Bonificio toward the Cormita
district, I failed to locate the street I was seeking. A tall
Negro in uniform noticed my dilemma and asked if he could be
of assistance. I mentioned the address. He said it would be
a little difficult to direct me but, if agreeable, he would
be pleased to accompany me to the place, remarking that it would
be no inconvenience as he was out for a walk. The stroll was
pleasant and the conversation quite interesting. He was Captain
Lovering, leader of the world-famous Philippine Constabulary
Band, with which organization, some years later, he appeared
at the San Francisco World's Fair. I believe that he passed
away shortly after that. The band remained famous for many years
under the leadership of capable men, but it never regained the
pinnacle of fame which it reached under Lovering.
unusual individuals were to be found in those days in the Orient
from Manila to Macao to Hong Kong to Singapore. Some were remittance
men, others adventurers, drifters, and speculators, while others
became very successful in the business world.
Oregon and California we grow trees a couple of hundred feet
high. A Texan showed me a pumpkin and said that was just the
size of a small Texas strawberry. Be that as it may, the Philippines
grow the biggest roaches, and I have not heard that claim challenged
by a Texan or by anyone else. We fumigated the ship twice a
year, officers and crew going ashore, roaches and rats following,
all returning when the job was finished. The roaches generally
quartered in the bilges, where they were caught by several of
the crew (youngsters) . From the paint locker these boys got
red, blue, white, yellow and aluminum paint, with which they
painted the backs of these roaches and then turned them loose.
Of course, there was some merit to the idea. If the quartermaster
on watch saw a blue or aluminum or other colored roach coming
down the dock late at night, he knew right off that it belonged
aboard his ship. Everything seemed to be systematized, Malay
FATHOMER had one of the old type water coolers in the forward
corner, port side, of the wardroom. It was a messy affair, constantly
dripping into a tin tray. Late in the evening roaches approached
this tray, apparently for a drink. I have often watched these
roaches and thought of pouring a little Scotch into this drain
water, but something happened before that took place. However,
the idea wasn't much good, as our roaches might have invited
aboard their relatives from the half dozen cutters tied up along
the sea wall.
evening several of us, with a dinner guest, were sitting in
the wardroom with lights low drinking Scotch and Soda. It was
getting on to eleven o'clock. Suddenly we saw our guest's eyes
bulge, as he looked toward the cooler. He saw a pure white roach,
followed by a yellow one, and an aluminum colored one. He glanced
at us. We acted casual and talked about things in general, suggesting
that we top off the evening with a little nightcap. He rubbed
his eyes, then his forehead, squirmed a little, then picked
up his hat and said, "Gentlemen, I must be going; it is getting
repairs, we frequently tied up in the Pasig River, alongside
the stone wall near the Intendencia Building, our headquarters.
One evening, returning to the ship about 10 p.m., I noticed
that there was no rat guard on the bow line, A rat guard was
a metal plate, slightly dished, 18", perhaps 24" in diameter,
with a slot from the edge to the center which fitted over the
rope. I called the Quartermaster. He said, "Maybe it fell off."
I said, "Maybe not." He said, "Maybe. But Captain, why do Americanos
want those things? Rats use gangways just like officers and
men." The boy had something. There really would be no use to
tightrope a mooring line to get aboard, when there was a fine
wide gangway. Gangways were supposed to be raised but often
not done or adjusted for tide.
Taft and Governor Wright inaugurated a most effective and efficient
system of Colonial Government, giving first thought to social
welfare, improving sanitary conditions, sinking artesian wells,
building roads and establishing an educational system to meet
the needs of the people and develop a type of government which
would progress with them. At a later date Governor Harrison
appeared. His views were considerably different; they tended
more to practical politics and the finest system of Colonial
Government was not carried out. Under Taft, there was no wasting
of funds. All Government property had to be strictly accounted
for. A term in Bilibid, a famous jail, was the reward for dishonesty
in handling insular funds or property. A jail sentence, instead
of a fine, was the punishment for violations. Suspended sentences
were unknown and the Parole Board boys hadn't arrived. Political
patronage had not been subject to that scientific study and
keen analysis which, figuratively speaking, converted it from
a problem in elementary arithmetic to the realm of divergent
infinite series. It was then in the same class as the Three
R's in the educational system, now obsolete but faintly remembered
by "Old Timers."
of property aboard the FATHOMER was inventoried and a copy of
the inventory was filed with the Bureau of Supplies. (I do not
recall the correct name.) After repairs, before leaving for
the working grounds, a requisition for necessary supplies would
be sent to the Bureau. This was checked against the inventory
and nonexpendable items had to be accounted for. If sheets were
ordered, the old worn ones had to be produced. The same with
paint brushes, wrenches, hacksaws, blades, bolts, etc. We always
had enough sheets. A worn one, ripped down the middle, made
two. When in Iloilo, our engineers got discarded tools from
various machine shops and our Chinese boys never had trouble
in gathering broken china at the restaurants. Other items not
easily accounted for were reported as blown overboard in a typhoon.
was told concerning Governor Taft, the authenticity of which
I cannot vouch for --old stuff to Old Timers. An auditor checking
inventories and expenditures listed on a voucher saw one item
covered feed and maintenance of a number of horses. At the corral
all horses were accounted for except a number of saddler's horses.
A stable boy was directed to get the horses. He produced a number
of wooden frames or forms on which the harness makers worked,
frames called "Saddler's horses." It looked as though the Sergeant
was in trouble - collecting funds for the fodder and maintenance
of wooden horses. It looked like Bilibid. The case was submitted
to Taft. He chuckled when he read the charges. He reread them
several times, each with a prolonged chuckle, and Taft's chuckles
covered a lot of territory. Taft remitted the sentence and dropped
the charges. He did not believe in discouraging inventiveness.