LETTER FROM PHILLIPINES


January 7, 1904

 

LETTER FROM PHILLIPINES [sic].

 

CALBAROS, SAMAR, PHILLIPINE [sic] ISLANDS, Nov. 1, 1903.--EDITOR PRESS:  If you will allow me space in your valuable paper I will try and keep the promise which I made to some of the good people of old Crittenden county, to let them know all that I am able to learn of the Philippine Islands, and as I have since last writing changed stations, and are glad to say that all the boys of this command are well satisfied.

We are still on the island of Samar, about 200 miles south of Manilla, and we are now stationed at one of the prettiest Government Posts that there is in the Philippine Islands.  The Government is putting up a new Post here and there has been quite a lot of work here for the soldiers, but as the Post is now about finished, the work is not quite so severe.

The Government has purchased a tract of land consisting of about one hundred acres for this Post, and it was all cultivated in cocoanuts, and it is a fine cocoanut grove.  This is a nice country here, but every time we change stations we have to learn a different language, for these people do not use the same language at all.  Here on the Island of Samar there are three different languages--Visia [Visayan], Tagalog and Spanish, and when you get the three mixed it sounds like a combination between a flute and base drum.

Well, here comes a couple now, and I will try and give your readers a description of them, as we see them from one day to another.

"Married?"  Yes.  Clothes? Well, both together wear about enough drapery to wad a crutch.  Shoes they never wear, and consequently leave a track like that of a half grown grizzly bear.  The man wears a hat about three feet in diameter, and the general effect is that of a yearling calf under a shed.  They are a little slim headed, insignificent [sic] looking people, with about as much expression on their faces as a good sized mince pie, and a good, true American could do away with one of them just as quick as he could the pie, and you know the majority of the Americans love mince pie, but I don't.  We treat them the same as we would a mince pie.

As for this country its all right, but the people are all wrong; but in time to come they may change, and I will say this much, that if the Americans can't change them there is no need of any other nation trying it.  Some of them can be changed by talking to them and some can be changed by the water cure, and if not that way the soldiers find other means of changing them.  But as I have said before, since the civil government has control in the majority of the islands now, they have established schools, both Spanish and American, and some of them seem to learn quite readily.

We are stationed close to a very nice town of about 8,000 inhabitants and there is quite a little to be seen by going through the town, especially around the market, where they keep dried fish, and some that are not dried, but smell as if they are rotten.  You can see all kinds of people around one of those markets, and it is worth seeing, too, but I think this trip here will satisfy me; but still I enjoy being here.

We have a nice bathing place here, and every man that's in the command falls in line with his bathing suit on and are then marched down to the beach, and bathe for thirty minutes before breakfast.  And that every day in the year.

Well, Christmas is near here, and I will close by wishing all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, as I am going to try to enjoy myself among my little brown friends.

With best wishes to the PRESS and readers, I am,

Respectfully yours,
BURT WOODY.

 

Source:  Crittenden Press. (Marion, Ky.) 1879-1907, January 7, 1904, Image 2 - Chronicling America - The Library of Congress.

 

[My comments are in brackets.]