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banner -geodetic control of Northern Luzon

Thomas J. Maher

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This account of surveying in the Philippines is found in the autobiography of Captain Thomas J. Maher, entitled, Around the World in Forty Years.

In the fall of 1912 I left San Francisco for the Philippines aboard the Pacific Mailnative with boar 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.

Continuing 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 exercises.


Upon 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.


Finishing 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 Court.

"Si 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.


A 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."

Getting 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 to details.

The 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.

The 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.

While 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.

On 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.


We 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.

One 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.

It 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.

The 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.

Distilled 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.

Max 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.

Max 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 excellent officer.


The 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.

On 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.

Leaving 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.

On 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.

An 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 end of


The 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.

A 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.


In 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.

One 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.

Many 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.

In 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 fashion.

The 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.

One 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 late."

After 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.


Governor 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."

Every piece 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.

A story 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.

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