The Philippines: Past and Present (vol. 1 of 2)
Dean C. Worcester
Part 8 out of 10
of cholera had occurred in Manila, and requested that an adequate
military force be despatched to the valley of the Mariquina River to
protect the city water supply from possible contamination.
This request was promptly acceded to, and the guard thereafter
maintained proved adequate to prevent infection of the city water,
although there are three towns on the river above the intake, and it
was the custom of their people to bathe and wash their clothing in
this stream. Many of the filthy surface wells of the city were filled
as rapidly as possible, and those that could not be filled were closed.
The people, entirely unaccustomed as they were to any sanitary
restrictions, believing that the disease was not cholera, and firm in
their conviction that they had a right to do whatever they liked so
long as they kept on their own premises, bitterly resented the burning
or disinfection of their houses and effects, and the restriction of
their liberty to go and come as they pleased, and in spite of the
fact that the number of cases was kept down in a manner never before
dreamed of at Manila, there arose an increasingly bitter feeling of
hostility toward the work of the board of health. In fact, the very
success of the campaign proved an obstacle, and we were assured that
the disease could not be cholera, as, if it were, there would be a
thousand deaths a day!
An educational campaign was immediately begun, and simple
directions for avoiding infection were published and scattered
broadcast. Distilled water was furnished gratis to all who would drink
it, stations for its distribution being established through the city
and supplemented by large water wagons driven through the streets. The
sale of foods likely to convey the disease was prohibited. Large
numbers of emergency sanitary inspectors were immediately appointed,
and every effort was made to detect all cases as soon as possible. A
land quarantine was established around the city, to protect the
In anticipation of a possible extensive outbreak of contagious disease
a detention camp capable of accommodating some twenty-five hundred
people had been established previously on the San Lazaro grounds, and
to this place were taken the cholera "contacts." A cholera hospital
was opened near this camp, and the stricken were removed to it from
their homes as speedily as possible, the buildings which they had
occupied being thoroughly disinfected, or burned if disinfection
The bodies of the dead were at the outset either buried in hermetically
sealed coffins or cremated. When the detention camp and hospital at
San Lazaro threatened to become crowded, a second camp and hospital
were established at Santa Mesa. At this latter place both "contacts"
and the sick were obliged to live in tents.
The Spanish residents were allowed to establish a private cholera
hospital in a large and well-ventilated _convento_ on Calle Herran. As
the number of sick Spaniards was nothing like sufficient to fill this
building, they were asked to turn over the unoccupied space in it to
the board of health, which they most generously did.
In response to popular clamour a hospital under strictly Filipino
management was opened in a nipa building in Tondo. Interest in it
soon flagged, and the government found itself with this institution
on its hands.
The epidemic came soon after the close of a long-continued war,
and there were at that time in Manila not a few evil-intentioned
persons, both foreign and native, who welcomed every opportunity
to make trouble. The difficulties arising from the claim advanced
by a number of reputable but ignorant medical men that the disease
was not cholera at all were sufficiently great. They were enormously
increased by false and malicious stories to the effect that "contacts"
were killed at the detention camp; that patients on arrival at the
cholera hospital were given a drink of poisoned _vino_  and
instantly dropped dead; that the distilled water distributed free of
charge was poisoned, and that the Americans were poisoning the wells.
The necessary use of strychnine as a heart stimulant at the cholera
hospital was made the basis for a story that the sick were being
poisoned with this drug.
These silly tales were widely circulated and quite generally believed,
and as a result of the fear thus engendered, and of the desire on
the part of relatives and neighbours of stricken persons to escape
disinfection and quarantine, strong efforts were often made to conceal
the sick and the dead, and when this was not possible the "contacts"
usually ran away. There were not wanting instances of the driving of
cholera victims into the streets.
In spite of the generally hostile attitude of the public and some
grave mistakes in policy, the measures adopted sufficed at the outset
to hold the disease in check to an extent which surprised even the
health officers themselves.
On May 15 there began a rapid and quite steady decline in the number
In June, however, it increased. During July it grew steadily larger,
and on the 25th of that month there were ninety-one cases, the
largest number which has ever occurred in Manila on any day since
the American occupation.
Throughout the early months of the epidemic Major Maus had laboured
unceasingly to check it, displaying an energy and an indifference to
fatigue and personal discomfort which were highly commendable. The
long-continued strain ultimately began to tell on him severely. On
May 17 orders were received from the Adjutant-General's Office
providing for his relief on or about July 30, and stating that Major
E. C. Carter, of the United States Army Medical Corps, would be
available for detail as commissioner of public health on that date,
if his services were desired. Arrangements were accordingly made to
have Major Carter proceed to the Philippines. Major Maus's resignation
was accepted, effective July 31. Dr. Frank S. Bourns was urged to
take temporary charge of the situation, and consented to do so.
On the 8th of August Major Carter arrived and announced his readiness
to assume his duties, but it was suggested to him that he ought first
to have some time to familiarize himself with them, and Dr. Bourns
was left free to carry out the special work for which he had been
This he did with promptness and despatch, the number of cases for
August being but seven hundred twenty as against thirteen hundred
sixty-eight for the previous month. On the 8th of September, having
brought the disease under control at Manila, he insisted on resigning
in order to attend to his private affairs, which were suffering from
neglect, and his resignation was reluctantly accepted.
Dr. Bourns's remarkable success in dealing with a very difficult
situation was largely due to his ability to devise measures which,
while thoroughly effective, were less irritating to the public than
were those which had been previously employed.
The policy which he had inaugurated was followed by his successor
with the result that the cases fell to two hundred seventy-five
in September and eighty-eight in October. In November there was
a slight recrudescence, but the disease did not again threaten to
escape control and in February practically disappeared, there being
but two cases during the entire month.
The return of hot, damp weather again produced a slight recrudescence,
and scattering cases continued to occur until March, when the epidemic
of 1902-1904 ended in Manila.
In view of the conditions which then prevailed and of the extreme
risk of a general infection of the city water supply, which, had it
occurred, would doubtless have resulted in the death of a third of
the population, this is a record of which the Bureau of Health may
well be proud.
The effort to prevent the spread of infection by maintaining a land
quarantine around Manila proved entirely ineffective. The disease
promptly appeared in the provinces where the campaign against it
was from the outset in charge of newly appointed Filipino presidents
of provincial boards of health, aided, when practicable, by medical
inspectors from Manila.
Before it was finally checked in Manila there were 5581 cases with
4386 deaths; while in the provinces, in many of which it necessarily
long ran its course practically unhindered, there were 160,671 cases,
with 105,075 deaths.
On the 27th of April, 1904, the Board of Health passed the following
"Whereas cases of Asiatic cholera have occurred in but three provincial
towns of the Philippine Islands since February 8, 1904; and
"Whereas only one case of Asiatic cholera has been reported as
occurring any place in the Philippine Islands since March 8, 1904; and
"Whereas the city of Manila was declared on March 23 to be free from
the infection of Asiatic cholera; On motion
"_Resolved_, That the islands composing the Philippine Archipelago
are, and are hereby declared to be, free from the infection of Asiatic
"_Be it further resolved_, That the Commissioner of Public Health be
directed to send a copy of these resolutions to the honourable the
Secretary of the Interior, the Municipal Board, the United States
Marine-Hospital Service, and the Collector of Customs."
As a matter of fact, however, it later proved that cholera was endemic
in certain swampy regions near Manila, and in 1905 we found ourselves
with a new epidemic on our hands.
At the end of the second week, beginning August 23, there had been one
hundred thirty-seven cases, as compared with one hundred twenty-five
for the same period during the epidemic of 1902-1904.
However, the conditions for combating cholera were now far more
favourable than in 1902. Major E. C. Carter had at his own request been
relieved from duty as commissioner of public health, and Dr. Victor
G. Heiser, passed assistant surgeon of the United States public
health and marine hospital service, had been appointed to succeed
him on April 5, 1905. Dr. Heiser was a highly trained officer of one
of the most efficient services which has ever been organized for the
combating of contagious and infectious diseases.
He had under him in the city of Manila a small but thoroughly trained
body of twenty-four medical inspectors, of whom nineteen were Americans
and five Filipinos. Profiting by his previous experience and that of
his predecessors in the Philippine service, he inaugurated a campaign
which practically terminated the epidemic in Manila on February 21,
1906,  with a total of two hundred eighty-three cases and two
hundred forty-three deaths.
This brief and decisive campaign reflects the greatest credit on all
concerned with it.
The board of health had one great advantage in the fact that the San
Lazaro contagious disease hospital had been completed. This building,
with its cool wards and attractive surroundings, made it possible to
give cholera victims the best of care.
There was at the outset little or no fear of this hospital, but
apparently this condition of things was not satisfactory to that
small but dangerous element of the Manila public which from the time
of the American occupation has never let pass any opportunity to make
trouble. As usual, the medium of attack was the local press. _Soberania
Nacional_ published a most extraordinary article painting in vivid
colours the alleged horrors of the San Lazaro Hospital, and stating
among other things that the naked bodies of the dead, tagged and with
their feet tied together, lay about the entrance of that institution. A
more false statement was never published.
Within twenty-four hours after its appearance terror reigned among
the lower classes, and living and dead cholera victims were being
smuggled out of the city to neighbouring towns.
Feeling that the vicious attitude of a certain section of the press
had cost lives enough, I sent the editor of this paper a courteous
invitation to call at my office. He made no response. I then wrote
him, demanding a retraction, and sending him a correct statement to
He was at first disposed to argue the matter, but finding that I
meant business published the article which I sent to him and made
the following retraction:--
"We are exceedingly glad to affirm in the honour of truth and justice,
that the news given by us on the seventh instant under the title
'Painful Scenes,' and 'Naked Dead,' is absolutely absurd, false and
"We have investigated the truth of the said notice, and can affirm
to our readers that it is entirely inaccurate, as in the courtyard
of the said hospital the naked dead that we have spoken of are not
now exposed, nor have they ever been so exposed.
"The truth is above all things, and to rectify a baseless piece of
news should not be a doubtful action on the part of the person who
gave the news, but rather something in his favour that the public
should appreciate it at its full value.
"To conclude, we must record our gratitude to the Secretary of the
Interior, the Hon. Dean C. Worcester, for the investigations made in
the premises with the purpose of ascertaining the truth of the alleged
facts, and for the courteous way in which he received us this morning
when interviewed by one of our reporters."
In the provinces the results of the campaign against cholera were
far less satisfactory than in Manila as was to be anticipated, owing
to lack of adequate personnel, but the cases, which numbered 34,238
and deaths which numbered 22,938, were far fewer than during the
I shall not attempt here to trace the course of the subsequent
epidemics which have occurred from time to time, but shall content
myself with giving the deaths by years. In 1908, they numbered 18,811;
in 1909, 7306; in 1910, 6940; in 1911, 203. In 1912, there were none,
and thus far in 1913 there have been none. 
The superstitious practices which were formerly employed by the
Filipinos to combat this scourge have given way to simple and
inexpensive hygienic measures, and we can safely count on sufficient
cooeperation from the people to make an effective campaign possible
when it next appears.
Never shall I forget the strain of the early days of the first
epidemic. Two of my best men, Dr. Meacham and Mr. Mudge, literally
worked themselves to death, remaining on duty when they knew that
they were in imminent danger, and in the end laying down their lives
willingly for an alien and hostile people. Such things make one proud
of being an American.
At times the situation was not devoid of amusing features. I had
occasion to visit one of the northern provinces, where the epidemic was
especially severe, in an effort to calm the panic-stricken populace. I
stayed with the governor, a very intelligent Filipino. For obvious
reasons I investigated his domestic arrangements, finding that he
was boiling drinking water, thoroughly cooking all food, and taking
all usual and necessary precautions to prevent infection.
On returning to his house the first evening, after a short absence, I
found the grounds decorated with lighted Japanese lanterns. Supposing
that the proverbial Filipino hospitality had risen above even such
untoward circumstances as those which then existed, I asked the
governor what the entertainment was to be. In evident perplexity he
replied that he had not planned to have any entertainment, and on
my inquiring what the lanterns were for, said he had heard that they
were good to keep away cholera germs!
I have referred to the fact that the civil government inherited a
fairly well developed epidemic of bubonic plague. In 1901 this disease
caused four hundred twenty-seven deaths, in 1902 it caused ten only,
but the demands made on the sanitary force by the cholera epidemic
which began in that year rendered it impossible to give to plague
the attention which it otherwise would have had, with the result
that in 1903 we had one hundred seventy-four deaths. In 1904 there
were seventy-eight; in 1905, forty-three; in 1906, seven; in 1907,
none; and from 1907 until 1912, none. In the latter year the disease
Rats become infected with it, and fleas transmit it from them to human
beings. It was probably brought in by pestiferous rodents hidden
inside packages of vegetables, as it appeared in a district where
crates of vegetables are opened in large numbers, and did not appear
in the vicinity of the piers, although shore rats are abundant there,
and if diseased rodents had landed from shipping, would promptly have
become infected,--a thing which did not occur.
At about the same time plague also appeared at Iloilo, where it was
eradicated with a total of nine deaths. At Manila there have been
up to the present time  fifty-nine deaths, and scattering cases
continue to occur at considerable intervals.
Had plague not been promptly and effectively combated, it would
unquestionably have spread rapidly, causing untold misery and heavy
As I have previously stated, at the time of the American occupation
smallpox was by many people regarded as an almost inevitable ailment
of childhood. It proved necessary to secure the passage of legislation
forbidding the inoculation of human beings with it to prevent misguided
Filipinos from deliberately communicating it to their children, not
because they did not dearly love them, but because they regarded
infection with it as a calamity sure to come sooner or later, and
desired to have it over with once for all.
We have performed more than ten million vaccinations, with the result
that the annual deaths from this disease have decreased from forty
thousand at the outset to seven hundred for the year just ended. There
is now less smallpox in Manila than in Washington.
In the six provinces nearest Manila it was killing, on the average,
six thousand persons annually. For a year after we finished vaccinating
the inhabitants of these provinces it did not cause a death among them;
nor has it since caused such a death except among new-born children
or newly arrived unvaccinated persons.
These extraordinary results have been achieved without the loss of
a life or a limb so far as we know. The vaccine used was prepared by
our own Bureau of Science with extraordinary care, and has proved to
be remarkably pure and active.
We at first endeavoured to have vaccinations performed by local
Filipino health officers, but, after spending large sums without
obtaining satisfactory results, gave up this plan and substituted
therefor a method of procedure by which the work was carried on under
the very immediate supervision of the director of health. We then made
substantial progress. However, under the law as it at present stands,
succeeding annual vaccination, intended to insure the immunization
of children soon after they are born and of unvaccinated persons who
may come into a given territory, are intrusted to the local Filipino
authorities, with the result that in very many cases they are not
attended to. We get elaborate returns showing the number of persons
vaccinated. Then comes an outbreak of smallpox, and on investigation
we learn that the vaccinations so fully reported were made on paper
only! In other words, the continuance of this work, of such vital
importance to the Filipino people, is still directly dependent upon
continued control by American health officers.
Another great problem now in a fair way to final solution is the
eradication of leprosy. At the outset we were told by the church
authorities that there were thirty thousand lepers in the islands. In
1905 we began to isolate and care for all supposed victims of this
disease, only to find that many outcasts believed to be suffering
from it were really afflicted with curable ailments. We were able to
restore a very large number of them to society, to their great joy
and that of their friends.
A few hundreds of true lepers were being humanely cared for in
Manila and elsewhere. Many others had been driven out of the towns
into forests or waste places on the larger islands, where they were
perishing miserably from fever and other diseases. Still others had
been isolated on sand quays, where they were in danger of dying from
thirst during the dry season. Not a few wandered through the towns
at will, spreading the disease broadcast.
All known lepers are now cared for at Culion, a healthful, sanitary
town with good streets, excellent water and sewer systems, many modern
concrete buildings and a first-class hospital.
They are not confined to the limits of the town, but wander at will,
except that they are excluded from the immediate vicinity of the
houses of the officers and employees of the colony.
They may have their little farms, and raise pigs, chickens, vegetables,
etc., if they wish. They may, and do, float about over the waters of
the neighbouring bay in boats or on rafts, and fish to their hearts'
content. They are well fed and well cared for, and their physical
condition improves to a marked degree promptly after their arrival at
the colony. The only hardship which they suffer is that necessarily
involved in separation from their relatives and friends, and this is
mitigated by occasional visits which the latter may make them.
Since we began to isolate lepers, their number has decreased to
approximately three thousand, and with a continuance of the present
policy the disease should soon disappear from the Philippines.
During the period immediately subsequent to the American occupation,
amoebic dysentery wrought sad havoc both among our soldiers and among
civil government officers and employees. Four of my own family of five
had it, and one had it twice, in spite of the fact that we took all
known precautions; and the experience of my family was by no means
exceptional. This disease then annually cost the lives of a large
number of American men and women, and a considerable additional
number went home invalids for life as a result of infection with
it. We seemed to hear almost daily of some new case.
Careful scientific investigation carried on at the bureau of science
taught us the best methods of combating this type of dysentery,
and the proper disposal of human feces, the regulation of methods
used in fertilizing vegetables, improvement in supplies of drinking
water, and other simple, hygienic measures have reduced the deaths
from it among Americans to an almost negligible minimum. Such cases
as occur are almost without exception detected early, and readily
yield to treatment.
The belief that Filipinos do not suffer from this disease has proved
to be without foundation. It kills thousands of them every year. Those
who are willing to adopt the simple precautions which experience has
shown to be necessary may enjoy the large degree of immunity from it
which Americans now have.
The chief cause of amoebic dysentery in the Philippines has undoubtedly
been infected drinking water. From time immemorial the people have
been obtaining their water for drinking purposes from flowing streams,
open springs or shallow surface wells.
The wells were especially dangerous, as it was the common custom
to wash clothing around them so that water containing disease germs
frequently seeped into wells used by whole villages. The results of
such conditions during a cholera epidemic can readily be imagined.
The drinking supplies of many provincial towns have now been radically
improved by the sinking of 853 successful artesian wells.
In many places there has been a resulting reduction of more than
fifty per cent in the annual death rate. Large sums are spent yearly
by the government in drilling additional wells,--a policy which is
warmly approved by the common people. The recent appropriations for
this purpose have been $255,000 for the fiscal year 1912, $60,000
for 1913 and $200,000 for 1914.
When we came to the islands, malaria was killing as many persons
as was smallpox. The mortality caused by it is now being greatly
reduced by giving away annually millions of doses of quinine, and by
draining or spraying with petroleum places where mosquitoes breed,
as well as by teaching the people the importance of sleeping under
mosquito nets and the necessity of keeping patients suffering from
active attacks of malaria where mosquitoes cannot get at them. Only
quinine of established quality is allowed in the market.
The results obtained in combating malaria are often very
striking. Calapan, the capital of Mindoro, was in Spanish days known as
"the white man's grave" on account of the prevalence of "pernicious
fever" there. To-day it is an exceptionally healthy provincial town.
At Iwahig, in Palawan, the Spaniards attempted to conduct a
penal colony. They were compelled to abandon it on account of
pernicious malaria, which caused continued serious mortality when
the American government attempted to establish a similar institution
there. Application of the usual sanitary measures has made it a
Old jails throughout the islands have been rendered sanitary,
or replaced by new ones. The loathsome skin diseases from which
prisoners formerly suffered have in consequence disappeared. The
practical results obtained in Bilibid, the insular penitentiary, are
worthy of special note. The annual death rate at this institution was
78.25 per thousand for the calendar year 1904. It increased steadily
each month from January, 1904, to September, 1905, when it reached
its maximum, deaths occurring at the rate of 241.15 per thousand per
year. At this time the director of health was given charge of the
sanitation of this prison.
By remedying overcrowding, improving drainage, installing sewers and
regulating diet along scientific lines, the rate was reduced in six
months to 70 per 1000, and there it stuck.
A systematic examination of the stools of prisoners was then
made. Eighty-four per cent were found to be afflicted with at least
one intestinal parasite. Fifty per cent had two or more, and twenty
per cent had three or more. Fifty-two per cent of the total had
hookworm. Active treatment for the elimination of these parasites was
begun in one barrack, and after the work was completed it was noted
that there was much less disease there than in the remainder. All
of the thirty-five hundred prisoners were ultimately examined,
and intestinal parasites eradicated if present. The death rate then
dropped to thirteen to the thousand, and has remained at or near this
figure up to the present time.
I have already referred to the discovery of the cause of beri-beri,
and to the effect of the governor-general's order forbidding the
use of polished rice in government institutions or by government
I subsequently made a strong effort to secure legislation imposing
a heavy internal revenue tax on polished rice, thus penalizing its
use. I failed, but such effort will be renewed by some one, let us
hope with ultimate success.
In Spanish days cholera, leprosy, smallpox and other dangerous
communicable diseases were constantly reintroduced from without. This
is no longer the case. The United States public health and marine
hospital service has stretched an effective defensive line around the
archipelago and has sent its outposts to Hongkong, Shanghai and Amoy,
to prevent, so far as possible, the embarkation for Manila of persons
suffering from such ailments. We now have the most effective quarantine
system in the tropics, and one of the best in the world. At Mariveles
there is a very large and complete disinfecting plant, and vessels
may also be satisfactorily disinfected at Cebu and Iloilo.
This quarantine service kept the Philippines free from bubonic plague
for seven years, and has repeatedly prevented the entry of pneumonic
plague, that most deadly of all known diseases.
A peculiar and shockingly disfiguring disease known as yaws occurs
somewhat infrequently in the Philippine lowlands and is very prevalent
in a number of places in the highlands. In many ways it resembles
syphilis, and indeed at one time was considered to be syphilitic
in its origin. Doctor Richard P. Strong, of the Bureau of Science,
made the very important discovery that salvarsan is an absolute
specific for it. The effect of an injection of this remedy closely
approaches a miracle in medicine. In five or six days the condition
of the patient begins to improve rapidly. By the end of the second
week his horrible sores have healed.
It was with this remedy that we began our health work among some of
the wilder head-hunters of northern Luzon. Think of the advantage of
being absolutely certain of curing such an ailment in every case, and
think of the gratitude of poor wretches, undergoing untold suffering,
when they were almost immediately relieved!
Soon after this use for salvarsan was discovered, I caused a liberal
supply of it to be sent to the Bontoc Hospital. For some time we
were unable to persuade any victims of yaws to undergo treatment,
but finally we found one at Barlig who was guilty of a minor criminal
offence, arrested him, and took him to Bontoc. Instead of putting
him in jail there, we sent him to the hospital for treatment.
At first he complained bitterly that we were putting no medicine
on his sores. Then the remedy began to work and he decided it was
"strong medicine." By the tenth day he was running around town
joyfully exhibiting his rapidly healing body to every one who would
look at it. On the fourteenth day he suddenly disappeared, to the
deep regret of the medical men, who had hoped that they might keep
him as an example of what could be done, and thus persuade others
to undergo treatment. A few days later, however, he reappeared with
thirteen victims of yaws from his home town, having meanwhile twice
covered on foot the great distance which separates Barlig from Bontoc,
and assembled and brought in his fellow-sufferers.
As we have seen, the people of Manila were formerly supplied with
impure drinking water from the Mariquina River, and were therefore in
constant danger of infection with cholera and other deadly diseases. At
a cost of some $1,500,000 we have given the city a modern water system,
the intake of which is far up in the hills above the last village. The
annual deaths from ordinary water-borne diseases exclusive of cholera
have fallen from 3558--the average number at the time the new system
was introduced--to 1195. Recently a leak in the dam, which necessitated
temporary resumption of the use of the Mariquina River water, was
immediately followed by a marked increase in the number of deaths
from such diseases, thus conclusively demonstrating the fact that we
were right in ascribing the previous reduction in deaths to a better
This annual saving of lives is an important result, but more important
yet is the fact that when Asiatic cholera reappears in the Mariquina
valley, as it inevitably will sooner or later, we shall not live in
constant fear of a general infection of the Manila water supply,
which, judging from the experience of other cities where modern
sanitary methods have been introduced, might result in the death of
a third of the population. In every country a very considerable part
of the population always fails to boil its drinking water, no matter
how great the resulting danger may be.
Manila lacked any facilities for the proper disposal of human waste,
and the conditions which resulted were unspeakable, especially in
the little _barrios_, or groups of houses, placed close together,
helter-skelter, on wet, swampy ground and reached by means of runways
not worthy even of the name of alleys, as one often had to crouch to
pass along them.
A modern sewer system costing $2,000,000, supplemented by a pail
system, has very effectively solved this problem, while thousands of
homes closely crowded on disease-infected, mosquito-breeding ground
have been removed to high, dry, sanitary sites. The regions thus
vacated have in many instances been drained, filled, provided with
city water and good streets, and made fit for human occupancy.
The old moat around the city walls was a veritable incubator of
disease. It has been converted into an athletic field where crowds
of people take healthful exercise. The _esteros_, or tidal creeks,
reeked with filth. More than twenty miles of such creeks have been
cleaned out, although much still remains to be done to put them in
really satisfactory condition.
There were no regulations covering the construction of buildings, and
it was not unusual to find six or eight persons sleeping in a closed
and unventilated room 10 x 8 x 8 feet. Manila now has an excellent
sanitary code, and such conditions have been made unlawful.
The previous woeful lack of hospital facilities has been effectively
remedied. At a cost of approximately a million and quarter pesos we
have built and equipped the great Philippine General Hospital, one of
the most modern institutions of its kind in the world, and by far the
best in the Far East. In it we have very satisfactorily solved the
question of getting sufficient light and air in the tropics without
getting excessive heat. Its buildings are certainly among the very
coolest in the city of Manila, and "the hospital smell" is everywhere
It is called a three-hundred-bed institution, but as a matter of fact
the ventilation is so admirable that nearly two hundred additional
beds can safely be put in as an emergency measure.
Two hundred and twenty of its beds are free. In them a very large
number of persons are annually given the best of medical and surgical
care. At its free clinic some eighty thousand patients find relief
in the course of a year.
The increase in private hospital facilities has also been
noteworthy. Among the new institutions doing admirable work should be
mentioned the University Hospital, an Episcopal institution; the Mary
J. Johnston Hospital, a Methodist institution; and St. Paul's Hospital,
a Catholic institution. Patients are admitted to all of them without
regard to their religious belief, a policy the liberality of which
must commend itself to all broadminded persons.
In enumerating the hospitals of Manila, the old Spanish institution,
San Juan de Dios, should not be forgotten, for it has been improved
and modernized until it offers good facilities for the treatment of
the sick and the injured.
All of the above mentioned institutions are in effect acute-case
hospitals designed for the treatment of curable ailments. Cases
of dangerous communicable disease are excluded from them, but are
adequately provided for at San Lazaro where the insular government
has established modern and adequate hospitals for plague, smallpox,
cholera, diphtheria, scarlet fever, measles, etc., as well as a
detention hospital for lepers, pending their departure for Culion.
An insane hospital capable of comfortably accommodating 300 inmates
has also been provided. A few years since the insane were commonly
chained to floors, or tied to stakes under houses or in yards,
and were not infrequently burned alive during conflagrations. Such
conditions no longer exist, but the government is not yet able to
provide for nearly all of the insane who need institutional care.
The several institutions above mentioned have a very important
function apart from the relief of human suffering, in that they afford
unexcelled opportunities for giving practical instruction in nursing
and in the practice of medicine and surgery.
A few years ago there was not such a thing as a Filipina trained
nurse in the islands. I was firmly convinced that the Filipinas of
this country could learn to be good nurses, and made earnest efforts
to have included among the first students sent at government expense
to the United States several young women of good family who should
attend nurses' training schools and then return to assist in our
I failed to secure the adoption of this plan, but later the training
of nurses was inaugurated in connection with hospital work at the
old Civil Hospital, St. Paul's, the University Hospital, the Mary
J. Johnston Hospital and the Philippine General Hospital. At the latter
institution there is now conducted an admirable school where more than
two hundred young men and women are being trained. Three classes have
already graduated from it, and Filipina nurses have long since proved
themselves to be exceptionally efficient, capable and faithful. It
will be some time before we can educate as many as are needed in the
government hospitals, and after that has been accomplished a vast
field opens before others in the provincial towns, where the need of
trained assistants in caring for the sick is very great.
We found exceedingly few competent Filipino physicians or surgeons
in the islands. This condition was due not to natural incompetence
on the part of the Filipinos but to the previous lack of adequate
educational facilities. The government has established a thoroughly
modern college of medicine and surgery, well housed, and provided
with all necessary laboratory facilities. It furnishes the best of
theoretical instruction, while its students have every opportunity
for practical work at the bedsides of patients in the government
hospitals, all patients in free beds being admitted subject to the
condition that they will allow their cases to be studied.
While there is still an evident tendency on the part of graduates of
this school to feel that they know enough, and to desire to get to
making money without delay, we are nevertheless managing to attract an
increasingly large number of the more competent to the intern service
of the Philippine General Hospital, where as the result of additional
years of practical experience they become exceptionally proficient.
This institution, with its great free clinic, offers very exceptional
facilities for practical instruction, and we have already trained
some extremely competent Filipino physicians and surgeons.
As funds permit, hospital work is being extended to the provinces. At
Cebu a thoroughly up-to-date sixty-bed institution is now open. A
smaller one was established years ago at Baguio, where surgical work
may be performed with great advantage on account of the rapidity with
which convalescence occurs in the cool, pure mountain air, which also
expedites the recovery of persons recuperating from wasting diseases.
A little more than a year ago a hospital was opened at Bontoc, the
demand for accommedations being so great from the start that we did
not even await the arrival of beds. Sick Igorots were only too glad
to lie on the floor if their needs could be ministered to.
It had previously been the custom of the wild men to kill chickens,
pigs or carabaos in case of illness, in order to propitiate evil
spirits, the kind and number of animals killed being of course
determined by the wealth of the patients. They have now satisfied
themselves that quinine for malaria, salvarsan for yaws, and other
effective remedies for common ailments are more useful and more
readily obtained than was the helpful intervention of the _anitos,_
or spirits of the dead, while the methods and results of modern
surgery are a source of unending amazement and satisfaction to them.
The first surgeon to anesthetize a Kalinga became promptly and widely
known as "the man who kills people and brings them to life again,"
and the individual on whom he operated successfully, who chanced to
be the most influential chief of the tribe, became his friend for
life. Indeed, the results of medical and surgical work for the wild
men have been an important factor in bringing about and maintaining
friendly relations with them.
Their gratitude is at times very touching. At Atok, in Benguet, there
lives an Igorot chief named Palasi. When he was already old a son was
born to him. This boy, who was the delight of his declining years,
became deathly ill with confluent smallpox, and the Igorots considered
him as good as dead. At this time Sanitary Inspector Baron appeared
on the scene. He promptly turned every one else out of the house and
himself nursed the boy, saving his life. Palasi wished to pay him
for his services, but was informed by Mr. Baron that the government
paid him, and he could not accept additional compensation. Palasi
promptly made the long journey to Baguio to ascertain whether Baron
had told him the truth, and was informed by Governor Pack that this
was the case. The old man retired to Atok, quite disgusted with the
strange ways of Americans.
Six months later he again appeared at Baguio to ask the governor about
a _fiesta_ which he had just heard it was customary to celebrate
on the 25th of December. He had been told that Americans were in
the habit of giving presents to each other at this time, and asked
if this was the ease. Governor Pack said yes. Palasi then inquired
if the feast was a _good_ feast, and the custom a _good_ custom,
and was assured that both of these things were true. He next asked
if it would be a good feast for Igorots as well as for Americans,
and receiving an affirmative reply from the unsuspecting governor,
triumphantly declared that he was going to give Baron his best
horse. Under the circumstances the governor allowed him to do so.
In connection with the Bontoc Hospital we use two men, one of whom
travels from settlement to settlement, relieving minor ailments on
the spot and sending to the hospital only those patients who need
to go there, while the other stays at home and receives them. From
time to time these two doctors "change works." Pages from their daily
journals, written in the field, often read like romance.
Were I a young man, and possessed of adequate knowledge of medicine
and surgery, I would ask nothing better than to minister to the wants
of these people. One might not, and indeed would not, acquire great
wealth, but he would be rich in friends. Here lies a great field for
practical missionary work.
In connection with the health work there have been many occurrences
which were both amusing and sad. At one time there was great excitement
over a sacred spring which had appeared in Manila Bay off the district
of Tondo. It was duly blessed by Aglipay, the head of the so-called
Aglipayano church. Coincidently with its discovery there was a sharp
little outbreak of Asiatic cholera. Investigation revealed the fact
that the "spring" had its origin in a broken sewer pipe. We were
obliged to prevent the faithful from further partaking of its waters,
and thus insuring themselves a speedy trip to the better world.
At one time cases of cholera appeared scattered generally throughout
the Mariquina valley and without apparent connection. For some days we
were unable to make a guess as to their origin. Then we heard that a
"Queen" had arisen at the town of Taytay near the Laguna de Bay. An
investigation of the Queen and her activities resulted in rather
astonishing revelations. She was a very ordinary looking Tagalog girl
who had secured the body of an old bull-cart, stopped the cracks with
clay, partially filled it with water and decaying vegetable matter,
and at rather frequent intervals had bathed in the fermenting mass
thus concocted. In due time she announced herself a healer of all
the ills to which flesh is heir, and the sick flocked to her. Cholera
was then prevalent in some of the towns near Taytay, and there were
persons suffering from it among those seeking relief. Some of them
were directed to wash their hands in the extemporized tank, while
others bathed their bodies in it. As a result it soon contained a
cholera culture of unprecedented richness. This was given to patients
applying for treatment, and was bottled and sent to those who were
too ill to come in person. Hence numerous scattering cases of cholera
which did not bear any relationship to other known cases.
It proved quite an undertaking to put the Queen of Taytay out of
business. We first asked the local authorities to have her sent to
Manila, but the presidente and the police declined to act. We then
applied for a warrant to the Filipino judge of the court of first
instance having jurisdiction over Taytay, but that worthy official
found it convenient to be suddenly called out of the province. At
last we prevailed upon soldiers of the Philippine constabulary to
arrest the queen and bring her to Manila.
We had anticipated that she might prove insane, but she showed herself
to be a very keen-witted young woman. We employed her at the San Lazaro
Hospital to look after cholera patients. The people of Taytay were
not satisfied, and a few days later a large delegation of them came
to Manila and demanded the Queen. I was at my wits' end to know what
to do, but old Spanish law can usually be relied upon in emergencies,
and the attorney-general discovered a provision couched in very general
terms, which provided against disobedience to the authorities. It was
only necessary for an "authority" to have read to an ordinary person a
statement setting forth what that person must not do; then if the order
was violated, such person could be made to suffer pains and penalties.
I accordingly prepared a most impressive order prohibiting the Queen
of Taytay from further engaging in the practice of medicine, had her
followers drawn up in battalion formation, placed myself at the front
and centre, caused the Queen to be brought before me, and read her my
communication, at the same time charging the good people of Taytay
not to tempt her again to try her hand at healing, for the reason
that if they did she would surely get into serious trouble. They
marched away with the Queen and I have not heard of her since.
Hardly a year goes by that some similar miraculous healer does not
set up in business, and the supply of dupes seems to be unending.
While it is comparatively easy to combat disease in a place like
Manila, what of the provinces, where in many cases there is not one
physician to two hundred thousand inhabitants?
To meet this difficulty we have an organization of district and
municipal health officers. A district may include a single province
or several provinces. A district health officer is invariably a
physician who has had reasonably thorough practical training in the
work of public sanitation, usually at Manila.
He is supposed to spend his time in sanitary work rather than in
treating sick individuals, but it is, of course, impossible for him
always to refuse to treat such persons, and we encourage gratuitous
work for the poor when it can be carried on without interfering too
seriously with more important duties.
Presidents of municipal boards of health may exercise jurisdiction over
a single municipality or over several. They are supposed to maintain
good sanitary conditions in their respective towns, under the general
supervision of district health officers, and to instruct their people
in sanitary methods and their results, as well as to devote a certain
amount of their time to the relief of the suffering poor.
On the whole it must be admitted that while this system has
accomplished much, it has fallen far short of accomplishing what
Men like Dr. Arlington Pond of Cebu have wrought marvels, and have
conclusively demonstrated the fact that it is not the system that
is at fault. Of our thirteen district health officers, ten are
Filipinos. They are, with few exceptions, letter-perfect. They know
what they ought to do, but as a rule lack the initiative and the
courage to do it.
Recently after discovering exceptionally bad sanitary conditions in
several towns of the province of Misamis, I demanded an explanation
of the district health officer, an exceptionally well-educated and
intelligent Filipino physician. I found, as I had anticipated, that
the sanitary regulations of his towns left little to be desired,
but that they were absolutely ignored.
I asked him what sense there was in paying his salary if he failed
to remedy such conditions as I had discovered. He replied that if he
were really going to compel people to clean up, it would be necessary
to begin with the provincial governor, whose premises were in a bad
state. When I suggested that in my opinion the provincial governor
would be the best possible man to begin with, the doctor evidently
thought me crazy!
It is as yet impossible for the average intelligent Filipino to
understand that the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak,
should be treated alike.
It often happens that a province asks for an American health officer,
or a Filipino demands the services of an American physician. My
invariable procedure in such cases has been to request that the
application be made in writing. For some mysterious reason the
petitioners are seldom willing to go on record.
A short time since we had a strong demand from Iloilo for an American
district health officer. I made the usual suggestion and got a written
request that there be sent to Iloilo a district health officer "after
the style of the district health officer of Cebu." If Dr. Pond's
nationality may be considered a part of his style, then this was a
request for an American, otherwise not!
With rather shocking frequency, Filipinos who must be examined for
leprosy or some other dangerous communicable disease strongly insist
that the examination be made by an American bacteriologist rather
than by one of their own countrymen.
In connection with recent election troubles two men were wrongfully
denounced as lepers. In several instances perfectly sound people
have been thrust among lepers who were being taken on board steamer
for transfer to Culion. This grievous wrong was committed by their
enemies under cover of darkness, and in the confusion which attends
the embarking of a number of people in a heavy sea. The reason why
the services of Americans are often specially requested for diagnostic
work is not far to seek!
It is a significant fact that our greatest success in establishing
satisfactory provincial sanitary conditions has been achieved in
certain of the "special government provinces," where the people are
under the very direct control of American officials.
There is not a regularly organized province in the Philippines in
which the towns are as clean as are those of Mindoro, where, until
recently, we have never had a resident district health officer.
I believe that nowhere in the tropics can there be found native
towns which are cleaner or more healthful than are those of Bukidnon,
inhabited in some instances by people who have literally been brought
down out of the tree-tops within the last two or three years. We have
never had a resident health officer in this subprovince.
I mention these facts not as an argument against health officers, but
as a proof of what can be done without them by intelligent Americans
vested with proper authority.
It has given me especial pleasure to see the fundamental change which
has come about in public sentiment relative to medical, surgical
and sanitary work. At the outset sanitary inspectors and vaccinators
carried on their work at serious risk of personal violence. Indeed,
several of them were killed. Incredible tales were believed by the
populace, with the result that cholera victims sometimes had to be
taken to the hospital by force. In later years it has been by no
means unusual for them to come in voluntarily and request treatment.
General hospitals were in the old days regarded as places where people
so unfortunate as to have no homes to die in might go to end their
days. It was almost impossible to get any other class of persons
Now we constantly turn away deserving patients from the Philippine
General Hospital because of lack of room. The common people are
flocking to it in rapidly increasing numbers. We even have "repeaters,"
and persons who drop in just to get a comfortable bed and a bath while
waiting for an examination which will inevitably show that there is
nothing wrong with them.
Our difficulties were increased at the outset by the fact that many
foreign medical men working in the Far East good-naturedly ridiculed
our efforts to better conditions, claiming that in tropical colonies it
was customary to take only such steps as would safeguard the health of
European residents, and that it was really best to let the masses live
as they would, since orientals were incapable of sanitary reform, and
the attempt to bring it about involved a waste of effort that might
be more profitably directed elsewhere. Furthermore these men were,
in their several countries, practising what they preached.
It has been very interesting to note the reaction of American methods
upon those previously in vogue in neighbouring colonies. At first
our efforts to make Asiatics clean up, and to eliminate diseases
like leprosy, cholera and plague, were viewed with mild amusement,
not unmixed with contempt; but the results which we obtained soon
aroused lively interest.
Foreign governments began to send representatives to the annual
meetings of the "Philippine Island Medical Association,"  in
order to learn more of our methods. From these small beginnings sprang
"The Far Eastern Association of Tropical Medicine," the biennial
meetings of which bring together the most experienced, skilful and
widely known physicians and sanitarians in the East for an interchange
of views and experiences which is invaluable, and greatly facilitates
concerted action between the various governments concerned in dealing
with what may be termed "international health problems."
The first meeting of this Association was held at Manila, the second
at Hongkong. The third will take place at Saigon.
The results of a rigid enforcement of the "Pure Food and Drugs Act"
are worthy of more than passing notice. Such enforcement has been
comparatively easy as the officials concerned are not hampered
by politics. The Philippines were at one time a dumping-ground for
products that could not be sold elsewhere, but it is now possible for
Filipinos to obtain wholesome preserved foods and unadulterated drugs,
except in very remote places where none of any sort are available.
The cost of our medical and sanitary work has been comparatively
small. The per capita rate of taxation here is lower than in any
other civilized country. What we have done has been accomplished
without spending vast sums of money or resorting to military measures.
The results obtained are very largely due to the faithfulness
and efficiency of Dr. Victor G. Heiser, who was chief quarantine
officer of the Philippines when he succeeded Major E. C. Carter as
commissioner of public health on April 5, 1905, and was later made
director of health when the original board of health was abolished
as an administrative entity. He has continued to hold the office of
chief quarantine officer, and thus has been in complete executive
control of the health situation for eight years.
Through good report and ill, mostly ill, he has given unsparingly of
his time, his skill and his wisdom, always treating the government
money as if it were his own.
His tenure of office has been long enough to enable him to inaugurate
and carry out policies, and thus get results.
Seldom, if ever, have health officials been more viciously and
persistently attacked than have Dr. Heiser and myself. The assaults
on us have been the direct result of a firm stand for a new sanitary
order of things, established in the interest of the whole body of
inhabitants of these islands, civilized and uncivilized. We both
welcome the profound change in public sentiment, which has slowly
but surely come about as a result of practical accomplishment.
Many very grave health problems still confront the insular
administration. Of these the most serious are the eradication of
tuberculosis and the reduction of the very high infant mortality rate.
It is believed that about one Filipino in five suffers from
tuberculosis in some form during his life and the work we have thus
far accomplished in many fields must be considered as in a way a
clearing of the decks for action against this, the greatest enemy of
all. However, the Philippines do not differ essentially from other
civilized countries, in all of which tuberculosis is a very serious
factor in the death rate.
As regards infant mortality the situation is different. More than
fifty per cent of the babes die before completing their first year of
life. The causes which lead to this appalling result have been made
the subject of careful investigation which still continues. Popular
interest has been aroused, but it is undoubtedly true that many
years of patient work will be necessary before anything approaching
satisfactory results can be brought about.
The physical condition of the average Filipino is undoubtedly
bad. Of one hundred seventy-eight university students recently
examined sixty-nine were found to be suffering from serious
organic troubles. Unquestionably the great mass of the people are
underfed. This is largely due to the poor quality of the rice which
they consume, and to the fact that rice forms too large a part of
their diet. I am firmly convinced that much of the so-called laziness
of the Filipinos is the direct result of physical weakness due to
improper and insufficient food.
Since the American occupation a large amount of time has been
successfully devoted to the working out of a good all-around diet made
up of local products the cost of which comes within the means of the
poor. The next thing will be to get them to adopt it, and there comes
the rub. Incalculable good would result, if we could only persuade the
people of these islands to sleep with their windows open. Thousands
upon thousands of infant lives would be saved annually, if mothers
could be persuaded not to give solid food to their little ones during
the early months of their existence.
In the educational campaign which we have thus far conducted with some
considerable degree of success, two agencies have proved invaluable,
namely the Catholic Church and the public schools. Again and again I
have begged Apostolic Delegate Monsignor Agius and Archbishop Harty to
bring to bear the influence of the Church in favour of simple sanitary
regulations, the general adoption of which was imperatively necessary
in combating some epidemic of disease. They have invariably given me
Through the public schools we reach more than half a million children,
and they take the information which we convey to them home to
their parents. Simple rules for the prevention of cholera have been
universally taught in the schools. When the use of English has become
generalized the difficulty now encountered in reaching the common
people will largely disappear. The truth is that they are singularly
tractable and docile when their reason can be effectively appealed
to. The readiness with which they have submitted to the rigorous
measures necessary for the elimination of leprosy is a lasting honour
Would the sanitary campaign so vitally important to the people of
the Philippines be effectively continued if American authority were
withdrawn at this time? With regret I must answer this question
emphatically in the negative. We have succeeded in training a few
good physicians and surgeons. We have thus far failed to train
really efficient sanitary officers. What is lacking is not so much
knowledge as to what should be done as initiative and courage to do
it. Until this condition changes radically for the better, Filipinos
cannot safely be intrusted with the sanitary regeneration of their
country. Under American control the population of the islands is
steadily and rapidly increasing. It is my firm conviction that if
Filipinos were at this time placed in control of the health work,
the population would steadily and rapidly decrease.
The present attitude of the Filipino press toward sanitary work is
both interesting and important. I quote the following editorial from
the March 27, 1913, issue of _El Ideal_, a paper generally believed
to be controlled by Speaker Osmena:--
"Some persons, who, because of being ignorant of many things, do not
sympathize with the Filipino people, who are in the habit of frequently
throwing up to them the violent opposition of our masses to strict
sanitary measures in cases of epidemics, and the lively protests which
are provoked here on some occasions by other provisions tending to
end some public calamity, thinking they see in this disposition of
mind an indication of our incapacity to govern ourselves....
"To be more expressive, we shall say that the sanitary agents and
veterinarians of the government, swollen with power and overly zealous
of their prestige, quickly become, when an occasion like those cited
by us presents itself, cunning czars, whose sphere of influence is in
direct ratio to the peaceful character and ignorance of the people
intrusted to their care, and whose excesses and abuses recognize
no limits but the natural ones established by the greater or lesser
honour of those public servants, their greater or lesser cynicism,
and their greater or lesser degree of temerity.
"This, and nothing else, is the logical and natural explanation of
the hostility of our people toward those measures of good government
which are sincerely esteemed for what they are worth, but for which
they have veritable terror because of the nameless abuses to which
they give rise.
"These comments are of palpitating current interest at this moment,
when reports are made almost daily to the press and the proper
authorities of misbehaviour and excesses befitting soulless people
who live without the law committed by persons who should be examples
of prudence, honesty and good manners, for it is in this concept that
the people are compelled to furnish them their daily bread."
It is deeply to be regretted that the public press of the islands
has not yet become sufficiently enlightened to join in the great
sanitary campaign which has already relieved an enormous amount of
human suffering and has greatly increased the expectancy of life of
the people of the Philippines.
The Philippine Assembly has repeatedly passed acts providing for the
creation of a sort of sanitary council of numerous members authorized
to pass on public health measures proposed by the director of health
and instructed to disapprove them if not in accordance with the
beliefs and customs of the Filipinos.
In protecting the public health in the Philippine Islands emergencies
constantly arise which must be instantly and effectively met. It would
be as logical to place a commanding general directing a battle under
the control of an advisory board as it would thus to tie the hands of
the director of health, and it is difficult to see how any competent
and self-respecting sanitarian could be willing to continue to hold
this position if so hampered.
The Philippine Commission has heretofore invariably tabled the
acts designed to accomplish this end, but that body has now been
"Filipinized" and its future attitude on this very important
question is therefore in doubt. Hardly had the legislative session
opened in October, 1913, when the assembly again passed the same
old bill. Should it become a law, there will be occasion to watch,
with especial interest, the death rate of Manila and that of the
archipelago as a whole.
Baguio and the Benguet Road
In June, 1892, when sitting in a native house on a hill overlooking
Naujan Lake in Mindoro, and anxiously awaiting the boats which were
to make it possible for my party to return to the coast, I saw a
small flotilla approaching.
To my surprise and regret I found that it was not coming for us, but
brought a number of Spanish officers who had heard that we had some
mysterious procedure for killing the tamarau, an extraordinarily wild
and vicious little buffalo peculiar to this island. They had come to
get us to tell them how we did it, if possible, and if not to watch
us and find out for themselves.
We described to them our method, which was easily understood. It
consisted in picking up a likely trail along some water course,
following it until the tamarau was overtaken, and then shooting
him. This looked suspiciously simple to our Spanish friends before they
had tried it, and they shook their heads. After trying it they became
convinced that more than a few days of experience would be necessary
before satisfactory results could be obtained. They profited little
by the best information we could give them, and by the services of
the expert tracker whom we loaned to them. Meanwhile I obtained from
one of them, Senor Domingo Sanchez, information destined to become
of great importance in the development of the Philippines.
Senor Sanchez, who was an employee of the Spanish forestry bureau,
told me that in the highlands of Northern Luzon at an elevation
of about five thousand feet, there was a region of pines and oaks
blessed with a perpetually temperate climate and even with occasional
frosts. I confess that I did not believe all of his statements. I
was then experienced in climbing Philippine mountains, and at five
thousand feet had invariably found a hopeless tangle of the rankest
tropical vegetation, with humidity so high that trees were draped with
ferns, orchids, and thick moss, and dripping with moisture. However,
I knew that the mere presence of pine and oak trees would mean the
occurrence of special bird species feeding upon their seeds, and so
determined to investigate.
A severe attack of typhoid fever necessitated my leaving the islands
before I could carry out this plan, but upon my return with the first
Philippine Commission in 1899 I remembered Senor Sanchez's story. In
view of the probability that American occupation would continue
for a long period, the existence or non-existence near Manila of an
extensive highland region with a temperate climate became a question
of great practical importance. I therefore caused search to be made
in the Spanish archives to see what, if any, reliable information was
available, and to my great satisfaction unearthed a detailed report
made by a committee of three distinguished and competent Spanish
officers who had spent some weeks at Baguio in the _comandancia_ of
Benguet, during which period they had made six temperature observations
daily, had tramped over the neighbouring country very thoroughly,
had located a number of springs of potable water and determined their
approximate flow, and in short had gathered a large series of very
valuable data which more than bore out the statements of Senor Sanchez.
I found, furthermore, that Spanish engineers had made a survey for
a carriage road into this country, and had prepared a profile of it
with estimates of the amount and cost of the necessary excavation
and other work.
While in Washington during the winter of 1899-1900, I brought
this matter to the attention of Secretary Root. Just as the second
Philippine Commission was filing out of his office, after receiving
its instructions, he called out to us directing that we look into
that Benguet matter, and if the facts proved to be as stated open up
Mindful of these instructions the commission delegated General Luke
E. Wright and myself to visit Benguet and familiarize ourselves with
conditions by investigation on the ground. General MacArthur was
dubious when we expressed a desire to carry out the instructions of
the secretary of war. He told us that the country was very dangerous,
doubtless confusing it with Bangued, the capital of Abra, near which
there was at that time a strong and active Insurgent force.
We insisted on going, so he said that he would send a troop of
cavalry with us, and he kept his word. During the last week of July
we finally sailed from Manila on a naval vessel for San Fernando in
the province of Union. From this place we expected to go by road as
far as Naguilian, in the same province, and thence on horseback to
Trinidad and Baguio, in Benguet.
In order to expedite investigations as much as possible we took
with us Mr. Horace L. Higgins, president of the Manila and Dagupan
Railway Company, who was an engineer of experience, to report on
the practicability of constructing a railway to Baguio. We also took
Major L. M. Maus, of the army medical corps, and Dr. Frank S. Bourns,
who then held the volunteer rank of major in the same corps, to report
on the possibilities of the place as a health resort. Two young naval
officers went along just for the trip.
Major Maus accompanied us only because requested to do so. Taking
the latitude and altitude as a basis for his calculations, he had
already determined with a lead pencil and piece of paper just what
the climate of Baguio must be, and had demonstrated to his own
complete satisfaction that the statements of the members of the
Spanish committee above referred to were necessarily false.
His first rude shock came when we were met at San Fernando by a young
aide to Colonel  Duval, who was in command of the local garrison
at that place. This lieutenant told us that some negro soldiers were
stationed at Trinidad and were being kept supplied by an army pack
train. I asked him how they were getting on. He said very well,
except that they could not keep warm. They had called for all the
spare blankets available, but still complained of the cold!
The trail proved to be in execrable condition. No repair work had been
done on it since 1896, and its constant use during the then-existing
rainy season by a pack train had completed its destruction. Much of
the way it was a mere V in the earth, with deep mud at the bottom.
We left Naguilian early in the morning and stopped for lunch at
a little place properly called Sablan, but unofficially known as
"The Bells." Aguinaldo had thought at one time of establishing his
headquarters in Benguet and had planned to have a gun foundry at
Sablan. His troops accordingly stole most of the church bells in
the neighbouring lowland towns, meaning to use them for gun metal,
and compelled the unfortunate Benguet Igorots to carry them up the
steep trail. Boiler pipes, which had been used in lieu of carrying
poles, had in several instances been badly bent out of shape. There
was even an old vertical boiler which had been lugged up entire for
some unknown reason.
The labour involved must have been enormous, and we were assured
that when the Igorot bearers, prostrated with fatigue, had refused
to continue their titanic task without rest, they had been driven
to it at the muzzles of Insurgent rifles, and that some of them had
been shot as a lesson to the others. At all events, the boiler and
the bells were there, and there the boiler and the larger bells have
remained ever since!
It was still steaming hot at Sablan, and the whole countryside
was buried in the densest tropical vegetation. Major Maus was
triumphant. Things were working out just as he had predicted. However,
as we were already halfway up, we thought that we might as well
continue the journey. I had expected to find pines and oaks, but
had anticipated that they would grow amidst a dense tangle of damp
We were all literally dumfounded when within the space of a hundred
yards we suddenly left the tropics behind us and came out into a
wonderful region of pine parks. Trees stood on the rounded knolls at
comparatively wide intervals, and there were scores of places where,
in order to have a beautiful house lot, one needed only to construct
driveways and go to work with a lawn-mower. At the same moment,
a delightful cold breeze swept down from the heights above us.
Just at sunset we experienced a second surprise, coming out on the
knife-sharp crest of a ridge, and seeing spread before us the Trinidad
Valley, which is shaped like a huge wash-basin. Its floor was vividly
green with growing rice, Igorot houses were dotted here and there over
its surface, and the whole peaceful, beautiful scene was illuminated
by the rays of the setting sun. The air had been washed clean by
the heavy rain which had poured down on us throughout the afternoon,
and the sight was one never to be forgotten.
Just at dusk we reached the little settlement of Trinidad, which had
been the capital of the Spanish _comandancia_ of Benguet, finding
that its inhabitants were in part Ilocanos and in part Igorots.
Here we were hospitably entertained by the officers of the military
post. It was so cold that one's breath showed. Major Maus improved
the opportunity to indulge in a severe chill. Finding him buried
under blankets, we asked his views as to the Benguet climate. They
were radical! It is only fair to the Major to say that the report
which he ultimately made set forth the facts fully and fairly. It
did not suit General MacArthur. Years afterward, when discussing the
climate of Benguet with Surgeon-General Sternberg, I referred to this
report and found to my amazement that he had never seen it. He caused
an investigation to be made, and it was at last resurrected from a
On our arrival at Trinidad we received a letter from Mr. Otto Scheerer,
the one white resident of Benguet, inviting us to make our headquarters
at his house when we visited Baguio. Bright and early the next morning
Mr. Scheerer himself appeared on the scene and guided us to his home,
where he entertained us most hospitably during our entire stay. The
trip from Trinidad, a distance of four miles, was made over a wretched
We found conditions exactly as described in the Spanish report. The
country was gently rolling, its elevation ranging from forty-five
hundred to fifty-two hundred feet. The hills were covered with short,
thick grass, and with magnificent pine trees, which for the most
part grew at considerable distance from each other, while along the
streams there were wonderful tree ferns and luxuriant tangles of
beautiful tropical vegetation. It took us but a short time to decide
that here was an ideal site for a future city, if water could be
found in sufficient quantity.
We revisited each of the several springs discovered and described
by the Spanish committee, but decided that they would be inadequate
to supply a town of any great size. Mr. Scheerer now came to the
front and guided us to the very thing that we were looking for,
but had hardly dared hope to find; namely, a magnificent spring of
crystal-clear water. At that time it was flowing nearly a million
gallons per day. It burst forth from a hillside in such a manner as
to make its protection from surface drainage easy, and we decided
that there was nothing lacking to make Baguio an admirable site for
the future summer capital and health resort of the Philippines.
It was obvious that the construction of a highway from San Fernando,
in Union, to Baguio would involve considerable expense, and we asked
Mr. Scheerer about other possible lines of communication. A study
of the Spanish maps had led us to consider two: one up the valley of
the Agno River, and the other up that of the Bued River. The latter
route had the great advantage of affording direct communication with
the end of the railway line at Dagupan.
Mr. Scheerer took us to a point which commanded a view for some
distance down the Bued River valley, and conditions looked rather
favourable. Mr. Higgins undertook to make a trip down this valley to
the plains of Pangasinan, reporting to us on his arrival at Manila,
so we returned to that place and awaited advices from him. He was
furnished with a guard of soldiers from Trinidad, and attempted to
go down the river bed, but encountered unexpected difficulties, and
his progress was finally checked by a box canon from which he escaped
with difficulty, spending a night without food or water on a chilly
mountain top known as "Thumb Peak." The following morning he managed
to cross to a high mountain called Santo Tomas, whence he returned
to Baguio. He was, however, of the opinion that the trip down the
canon could be made without special difficulty by a party suitably
provided with food and tentage.
Convinced by our report that active measures should be taken to
establish communication with this wonderful region, the commission,
on September 12, 1900, appropriated $5000 Mexican, "for the purpose
of making a survey to ascertain the most advantageous route for
a railway into the mountains of Benguet, Island of Luzon, and the
probable cost thereof."
Captain Charles W. Meade, then serving as city engineer of Manila,
was selected to make the survey. There was every theoretical reason to
believe him competent, and we did not question either his integrity
or his ability. After being absent from Manila for some time, he
reported in favour of the Bued River valley route, saying that it
was entirely feasible to build a railway along it.
He suggested that, as the construction of a wagon road would be
necessary in building the railroad, we might as well undertake that
first, and so be able to go to Baguio in wheeled vehicles before the
railroad was completed. He asked for $75,000 United States currency,
with which to build this road, stating that he expected to be able
to do it for $65,000, but would like $10,000 as a margin of safety.
On December 21, 1901, the commission passed an act authorizing the
construction of a highway from Pozorubio, in Pangasinan, to Baguio,
"the same to be built under the general supervision of the military
governor and the immediate direction of Captain Charles W. Meade,
Thirty-sixth Infantry, United States Volunteers, who has been detailed
by the military governor for that purpose, along the general line
of survey recently made by Captain Meade for a railway between said
towns." The $75,000 asked for were appropriated by this act.
Work began promptly at both ends of the line. In June, 1901,
I set out on my first trip through the wild man's territory in
northern Luzon. Incidentally, and for my personal satisfaction only,
I inspected the work on the road. We had been rather disappointed by
Captain Meade's failure to make more rapid progress. At the lower end
I found that delay was being caused by a huge cliff necessitating a
very heavy rock cut. I was assured by Captain Meade that from this
point on the line ran through dirt most of the way, so that the road
could be completed very rapidly. This statement proved to be grossly
in error. It took years of hard work to open up the road.
Its cost when finally ready for traffic was $1,961,847.05. Its length
was forty-five kilometers eight hundred ninety-one meters,  of
which thirty-four kilometers were in non-Christian territory. Some
ten kilometers of the remainder have since been incorporated in the
first-class road system of the province of Pangasinan, as this part
is chiefly used by the people of that province in shipping their
agricultural products to Benguet, and in maintaining communication
between their towns.
The additional cost of the road to date  since it was first
opened is $792,434, making its total cost to date $2,754,281.05. This
includes not only the actual cost of maintenance, but very extensive
improvements, such as the metalling of the road from the so-called
zigzag to Baguio, the construction of five steel bridges, and the
replacing of all the original bridges on the road and of all the
original culverts except those made of concrete or masonry.
On my arrival in Benguet in 1901, I found that good progress had been
made on the upper end of the road, which had penetrated for a short
distance into the canon proper without encountering any considerable
On October 15, 1901, the commission stated in its annual report to the
secretary of war, "He  has been much delayed by the difficulty of
procuring the labour necessary for its early completion, and several
months will yet elapse before it is finished!" They did!
On August 20, 1901, Captain Meade was relieved, and Mr. N. M. Holmes
was made engineer of the road.
On February 3, 1902, a little sanitarium was opened in a small native
house at Baguio. During the following July I was sent to it as a
patient, and while in Benguet again inspected the road which had been
continued high up on the canon wall to a point where, on a very steep
mountain side, a peculiar rock formation had been encountered at the
very grass roots. This rock disintegrated rapidly under the action
of the sun when exposed to it. Comparatively solid in the morning,
it would crack to pieces and slide down the mountain side before
night. A sixty-foot cut had already been made into the precipitous
mountain side, and the result was an unstable road-bed, hardly four
feet in width, which threatened to go out at any moment.
My trip to Baguio promptly relieved a severe attack of acute intestinal
trouble from which I had been suffering, and when Governor Taft fell
ill the following year with a similar ailment, and his physicians
recommended his return to the United States, I did my best to persuade
him to try Baguio instead. He decided to do so.
Five rough cottages had meanwhile been constructed for the use of
the commissioners, the lumber for them being sawed by hand on the
ground. Boards had been nailed to frames as rapidly as they fell
from the logs, and had shrunk to such an extent that a reasonably
expert marksman might almost have thrown a cat by the tail through
any one of the houses. At night they looked like the old-fashioned
perforated tin lanterns, leaking light in a thousand places. These
were the luxurious homes provided for the high officials of the
government of which so much has been said!
We paid for them an annual rental amounting to ten per cent of their
cost, which had of course been excessively high on account of the
necessity of packing everything used in them, except the lumber,
up the Naguilian trail.
However, we were in no frame of mind to be critical. We had put in
three years of killing hard work, labouring seven days in the week,
and keeping hours such as to arouse a feeling little short of horror
among old British and other foreign residents. We were all completely
exhausted, and Mr. Taft was ill. For my part, I would gladly have paid
almost any sum for a tent under the pine trees and the privilege of
occupying it for a few weeks.
On the trip up Mr. Taft had ridden a magnificent saddle horse which
had been given to him by General Chaffee. At the time he left, Manila
had been burning hot. When he was at last seated on the porch of the
little house which was to be his home for weeks, with a cool breeze
sighing through the needles of a spreading pine tree close at hand,
his satisfaction knew no bounds. Already his magnificent constitution
had begun to respond to the stimulation of the wonderful mountain air,
and filled with enthusiasm he summoned a stenographer and dictated
the following cablegram to the secretary of war:--
"April 15, 1903.
"Stood trip well, rode horseback 25 miles to 5000 feet altitude. Hope
amoebic dysentery cured. Great province this, only 150 miles from
Manila with air as bracing as Adirondacks or Murray Bay. Only pines
and grass lands. Temperature this hottest month in the Philippines
in my cottage porch at three in the afternoon 68. Fires are necessary
night and morning.
As quick as the wires could bring it, he received the following reply:
"_Washington_, D.C., April 16, 1903.
"Referring to telegram from your office of 15th inst., how is horse?
When he read it his shouts of laughter, rolling over the hills of
Baguio, must have been audible half a mile away!
Mr. Taft's sojourn in the hills put him again in fine condition and
made it possible for him to return to Manila and resume the heavy
burden of work which there awaited him. The other members of the
commission also greatly benefited by their stay in the hills.
While there we heard disquieting rumours as to the practicability
of completing the road. There was a difference of opinion between
the engineer in charge and one of his immediate subordinates as to
the route which should be followed. The consulting engineer of the
commission was accordingly requested to make a survey to determine a
practicable route for the unfinished portion of the road and estimate
the cost of completing it. In due time he advised us that it was
practicable to complete it, but that the cost would be at least
$1,000,000. Warned by our experience with Meade, we wished additional
expert advice, so summoned to Baguio Colonel L. W. V. Kennon, a man
of great energy and executive ability, who had had large experience
in engineering work in mountainous country, and requested him to go
down the Bued River valley and report on the progress of the work,
and the practicability of completing the road on the route which had
been determined upon.
Being the youngest and most active member of the commission, I was
detailed to accompany him. On this trip I became convinced that
all of the engineers interested, except the consulting engineer,
had grossly understated the difficulties which must be overcome
before the road could be completed. Colonel Kennon decided that it
was entirely feasible to build the road, but that the comparatively
short stretch already completed from Baguio into the upper end of
the canon must be abandoned and a new line adopted. Furthermore,
he gave us some very definite and extremely unpleasant information
as to the probable cost of completing the work, his statements on
this subject confirming those of the consulting engineer.
The commission was thus put face to face with the hard facts but did
not flinch. On the contrary, it passed the following resolution on
June 1, 1903:--
"On Motion, _Resolved_, That it be declared the policy of the
Commission to make the town of Baguio, in the Province of Benguet, the
summer capital of the Archipelago and to construct suitable buildings,
to secure suitable transportation, to secure proper water supply,
and to make residence in Baguio possible for all of the officers and
employees of the Insular Government for four months during the year,
that in pursuance of this purpose the Secretary of the Interior,
the Consulting Engineer to the Commission, the Chief of the Bureau
of Architecture, and Major  L. W. V. Kennon, United States Army,
whom it is the intention of the Commission to put in actual charge of
the improvements in Benguet Province, including the construction of
the Benguet Road, the erection of the buildings and the construction
of a wagon road from Naguilian, be appointed a Committee to report
plans and estimates to the Commission for the proposed improvements
in the Province of Benguet and to submit same to the Commission for
action and necessary appropriation, and
"_Be it further resolved_, That steps should be immediately taken
looking to the increase of the capacity of the Sanitarium by at least
twenty rooms, to the construction of seven more cottages on the grounds
of the Sanitarium, to the construction of a Governor's residence on the
site overlooking the big spring which is the source of the Bued River
immediately south of the Sanitarium proper, to the construction of an
Administration building sufficient for the Commission, the Commission's
staff and the Executive Bureau, of at least twenty-five rooms, and to
the making of a plan for a town site for the municipality of Baguio;
but that the details of construction and improvements, with such
variations from the indicated plan as may seem wise, shall be left
to the committee appointed under the previous resolution."
In his annual report dated November 15, 1903, Governor Taft said:--
"In connection with the subject of health, reference should be
made to the province of Benguet and to Baguio, the capital of that
province. The secretary of commerce and police will refer to the
work now being done in the construction of the Benguet road from
Pozorrubio, through Twin Peaks, to Baguio. There have been serious
engineering mistakes made in the road, and it is proving to be much
more costly than was expected; but when completed its importance in
the development of these islands can hardly be overestimated. One
of the things essential to progress in the islands is the coming
of more Americans and Europeans who shall make this their business
home. If there can be brought within twelve hours' travel of Manila
a place with a climate not unlike that of the Adirondacks, or of
Wyoming in summer, it will add greatly to the possibility of living
in Manila for ten months of the year without risk. It will take away
the necessity for long vacations spent in America; will reduce the
number who go invalided home, and will be a saving to the insular
government of many thousands of dollars a year. It will lengthen the
period during which the American soldiers who are stationed here may
remain without injury to their health and will thus reduce largely the
expense of transportation of troops between the islands and the United
States. More than this, Filipinos of the wealthier class frequently
visit Japan or China for the purpose of recuperating. People of
this class are much interested in the establishment of Baguio as a
summer capital, and when the road is completed a town will spring up,
made up of comfortable residences, of a fine, extensive army post,
and sanitariums for the relief of persons suffering from diseases
prevalent in the lowlands. It is the hope of the government that
the Roman Catholic Church will send American priests as it has sent
American bishops to the islands, to assist in the moral elevation
of the people. The fear of the effect of the climate has kept many
from coming. The Roman Catholic Church authorities have announced
their intention of erecting rest houses at Baguio for the purpose of
the recuperation of their ministers and agents. The Methodists and
Episcopalians have already secured building lots in Baguio for this
purpose. It is the settled purpose of the Commission to see this
improvement through, no matter what the cost, because eventually
the expenditures must redound to the benefit of the government and
people of the islands. We have already stated, in the report on the
public land act, that it is proposed, under that act, which allows the
organizing of town sites, to sell the public land in suitable lots
at auction so that every one interested shall have the opportunity
to obtain a good lot upon which to build a suitable house." 
Mr. Taft would be delighted could he see to-day how completely his
anticipations have been fulfilled.
Colonel Kennon was put in charge of construction work, and things began
to move. They kept moving until the road was finished. From this time
on we knew that the expense involved would be out of all proportion
to the original estimate, but we were determined to push the work
through, having reached the decision that it was worth while to open
up communication with Baguio at any cost within reason, because of its
future certain value to the people of the islands as a health resort.
On April 1, 1904, I rode over the road in a vehicle nearly to Camp
Four, and came the rest of the way to Baguio on horseback over a new
trail which zigzagged up a mountain side near Camp Four and followed
the crest of the range from there in. A little later the Commission
came by the same route, and spent the hot season in the cool Benguet
On January 29, 1905, Colonel Kennon drove into Baguio in the first
wagon to arrive there over the Benguet Road, which was opened for
regular service on March 27th of the same year. The cost of the road
on November 1, 1905, had, as previously stated, been $1,966,847.05,
and the cost of the heavy work in the canon had been approximately
$75,000 per mile, which is not excessive when compared with the cost
of similar work in the United States, especially as this sum included
maintenance of the portions constructed during previous years.
The fact that a certain amount of congressional relief funds was
expended on the construction of this road has been made the subject
of very unjust criticism. A large number of poor Filipinos, who were
in dire straits, were thus given an opportunity for remunerative
employment, and the distribution of a portion of the congressional
relief fund in this way was in entire harmony with the fixed policy
of the commission to avoid pauperizing the people by giving money
or food outright to able-bodied persons, and to afford them relief
by furnishing them opportunity to work for a good wage. A further
reason why the expenditure of money from this fund on the Benguet
Road was appropriate is found in the fact that the region opened up
is destined to play a very important part in the cure of tuberculosis,
which is the principal cause of death among the people of the lowlands,
but is practically unknown among the Igorots of the hills.
During the earlier years after the road was open owners of bull carts
in Pangasinan made large sums transporting freight over it. This is
not the case at the present time, as the growing volume of freight
requiring to be moved led to the blocking of the road with bull carts
and necessitated the installation of an automobile truck line so that
it might be more expeditiously handled.
In December, 1904, the great landscape architect, Mr. D. H. Burnham,
visited Baguio, and made a plan for its future development. He was
enthusiastic over its possibilities, and gave his services free of
charge. His plan is being closely adhered to, and although funds are
not now available for going far toward carrying it out, we have at
least avoided anything which would interfere with it.
The next important event in the history of Baguio was the first sale
of residence and building lots, which took place on May 28, 1906,
and was conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Public
Land Act relative to town sites.
Although a howling typhoon was sweeping Benguet at the time, 91
residence lots and 15 business lots were disposed of at this first
sale, and at a subsequent one held in Manila a few weeks later all
the remaining lots then surveyed were sold.
The town site includes two hundred sixteen square miles, and new lots
are surveyed as required. All sums derived from the sale of lots are
used for the improvement of the town site, and thus Baguio is made
to help build itself.
In the spring of 1900 the Baguio Country Club was organized. Because
of the extraordinary false statements made concerning it by certain
unscrupulous politicians, I give its history somewhat fully. Its
purpose was to afford a meeting place for the people of the town
and to give them an opportunity for outdoor sports. It purchased a
hundred acres of land on which a low assessment had been placed in
view of the semipublic purpose which it was to serve.
At the outset the "club house" was a rude, grass-roofed shed made of
pine slabs. Its doors and windows were mere openings which could not be
closed. It was erected in about a week. Three holes of a golf course
and a croquet ground had been prepared. These decidedly primitive
club facilities nevertheless served to bring the people of Baguio
together and give them an opportunity for a good time out of doors.
In February, 1907, a Country Club Corporation was organized
with a capital stock of $5000, of which $3000 have thus far been
subscribed. The shares cost $50. No single subscriber owns more than
three, with the sole exception of Mr. Forbes, who took ten to help
the club get started. Ownership of stock brings no emoluments, but,
on the contrary, indirectly involves expense which the present owners
have been willing to bear for the public good.
From these small beginnings the Baguio country club has grown into
an important institution. As funds became available from the sale
of stock, the payment of dues and tile generous donations of a
few members, an excellent nine-hole golf course was completed, and
tennis courts and facilities for trap-shooting were installed. In
March and April, 1908, a modest club house was built at a cost of
some $5000. It has two small locker rooms, a large living room,
a tiny office, a little bath, a kitchen, and nine single sleeping
rooms. Three very small cottages, costing $375 each, were erected
on the club grounds for the use of the members. Five larger cottages
have since been constructed.
Any person of good character is eligible to membership. The entrance
fee is $25, but officers of the army, navy and marine corps stationed
at Baguio are admitted without the payment of this fee, and persons
temporarily there may secure the privileges of the club by paying at
the rate of $5 per month. The annual dues are $20. The families of
members are entitled to the privileges of the club. Among its members
are the highest officials of the insular government and teachers,
clerks, stenographers and other employees drawing small salaries,
as well as numerous permanent residents of Baguio.
It knows no race or creed, and Filipinos take advantage of its
privileges quite as freely as do Americans. Representatives of
every nationality in the islands may be found on its golf course on
a pleasant afternoon. It is the common meeting place of Baguio, and
hardly a day passes without the giving of some pleasant luncheon or
dinner in its little living room or in the outdoor space covered by
an overhanging roof at its eastern end. No more democratic institution
Congressman Jones, in his attacks on the Philippine administration, is
fond of stating that "there is a club for officials at Baguio." The
statement is true, but reminds one of that other statement of a
ship's first mate who came on board intoxicated just before the vessel
sailed. The following morning, happening to look at the ship's log for
the previous day, he saw the entry "The mate drunk to-day." It was his
first offence, and he begged the captain to erase this record, but the
captain said "It is true, is it not?" and insisted that it must stand.
A little later the captain was taken ill. Upon resumption of duty he
found an entry in the log reading: "The captain sober to-day." When
he furiously insisted that it be erased, the mate said "It is true, is
it not?" Now, it is true that there is a club for government officers
at Baguio, but in making this statement Mr. Jones and his ilk have
neglected to say that there is also at Baguio a club for employees; a
club for private citizens; a club for Americans; a club for Filipinos;
a club for foreign consuls and other foreign residents of the islands;
a club for business men; a club for clerks; and that all of these
institutions are one and the same, namely, the Baguio Country Club,
which is now strictly self-supporting and meets its obligations from
the funds derived from the dues of its members. These dues are absurdly
low in view of the privileges which it affords.
Although Mr. Forbes does not like to have it known, I cannot refrain
from stating that the club has not always been self-supporting, and
that he has repeatedly made up deficits from his private funds. The
cost involved in getting the golf course into shape was out of all
proportion to the resources of the organization. Sufficient funds
were not available to pay for the club house and cottages when they
were constructed, and had it not been for the generosity of Mr. Forbes
the club would not exist to-day in anything like its present form.
The polo field at Baguio has been referred to as another evidence of
extravagant governmental expenditure. It is true enough that it was
in the first instance an expensive luxury, as an immense amount of
earthwork had to be done in order to make a level piece of ground of
sufficient size. The field is administered by the Country Club, and is
open to the use of the public for any form of amusement which will not
interfere with its use for polo. The detractors of the government have
neglected to mention that the cost of its construction and maintenance
have been met from the private funds of Mr. Forbes.
Returning now to the story of the growth of Baguio, the next
step forward was the construction of an official residence for the
governor-general, for which $15,000 were appropriated. Mr. Forbes had
not the slightest personal interest in this appropriation. When it
was made he had no knowledge of the fact that he was later to become
governor-general, and his private Baguio residence was decidedly more
comfortable and commodious than this official one. His subsequent
occupancy of the latter building involved a real personal sacrifice.
In 1908 a modern hospital and the governor-general's residence were
completed. No other government official is furnished a free house. All
have to rent government cottages or stay at hotels, unless they choose
to build for themselves. The policy of giving the governor-general
an official residence in Baguio is in accord with that which gives
him one at Manila.
In April, 1908, there was opened a "Teachers' Camp," to which came
American school teachers from all over the islands. They were housed
in a hundred and fifty tents, which were set up under the shade of the
pine trees. Larger tents served as kitchen, dining room, storehouse
and recitation rooms, while a structure of bamboo and nipa palm,
erected at a total cost of $150, was utilized for general assembly
purposes. Four talented lecturers were employed to instruct and
entertain the teachers. At one time there were a hundred and ninety
persons in the camp.
The credit for initiating this very important move is due chiefly to
William F. Pack, at that time governor of the province of Benguet, who
strongly advocated bringing the teachers to Baguio, and did everything
in his power to make the first assembly the great success which it was.
It has now become a fixed institution, and has accomplished
untold good. Americans who spend too many years in out-of-the-way
municipalities of the Philippines without coming in contact with their
kind are apt to lose their sense of perspective, and there is danger
that they will grow careless, or even slovenly, in their habits. It
is of the utmost benefit for school teachers to get together once a
year, learn of each other's failures and successes, and profit by each
other's experiences, forget their troubles while engaging in healthful
athletic sports, listen to inspiring and instructive discourses,
and above all else benefit by open-air life in a temperate region.
The Teachers' Camp is now a beautiful and attractive place. A fine
system of walks and drives make every part of it readily accessible. It
has an excellent athletic field. The teachers live in tents, but
good permanent buildings have been provided in which are located the
mess, a social hall, recitation rooms, etc., and several comfortable
cottages have been constructed for the use of visiting lecturers
and others. An outdoor amphitheatre which seats a thousand persons
has been built at small expense by taking advantage of peculiarly
favorable natural conditions. Filipino teachers share the pleasures
and benefits of the camp with their American associates, and the
"assembly" certainly does great good.
During the hot season of 1908 the Bureau of Lands transferred a number
of its employees to Baguio, quartering them in tents. This was done
in order to ascertain the practical effect of sending American and
Filipino employees to this mountain resort. The conclusion was reached
that the small additional expense involved was more than justified
by the larger quantity and higher quality of the work performed as a
result of the greatly improved physical condition of the workers. Every
Filipino sent to Baguio gained in weight, with the single exception
of a messenger who had to run his legs off! Other bureaus subsequently
followed the example of the Bureau of Lands, with similar results.
During the 1909 season, the railroad having reached Camp One, five
large Stanley steam automobiles were operated by the government in
transporting passengers from this place to Baguio, and more than two
thousand persons were thus moved over the road.
Meanwhile, the unexpectedly heavy expense involved in completing the
road had been made the subject of severe criticism by the public press
of Manila. Most of the critics were entirely honest, having no idea
of the character of the country opened up, or of the importance of
making it readily accessible.
Just at the time when the commission should have crowded its programme
through to conclusion, it faltered. The only government construction
work performed at the summer capital that year, in addition to what
has been mentioned, was the erection of a small office building and of
a barrack building for labourers, the enlarging of five government
cottages, the addition of out-buildings, and the enlarging of a
building which served as a combination sanatorium and hotel.
This policy of inaction was a mistaken one. It made the Benguet Road
seem like the city avenue which ran into a street, the street into
a lane, the lane into a cow path, the cow path into a squirrel track
and the squirrel track up a tree, for while one could get to Baguio,
there was very little there after one arrived. The accommodations
at the sanatorium were strictly limited, and there was some apparent
justification for the charge freely made that the Philippine Commission
had voted to spend very large sums of money to open up a health resort
from which only its members and its staff derived benefit.
The government had at the outset been obliged to construct its
buildings on a piece of private land purchased from Mr. Otto Scheerer,
as prior to the passage of the Public Land Act and its approval by the
President and Congress, building on public land was impossible. Now,
however, a town site had been surveyed, and plans for the future
development of Baguio had been made by one of the world's most
competent experts. The time had arrived for action. Mr. Forbes, then
secretary of commerce and police, argued vigorously for the carrying
out of the original plan of the commission by the construction of
adequate public buildings. To help the development of the place,
he purchased two adjacent building lots and on the tract of land so
secured built a handsome and expensive home, where he subsequently
entertained not only his personal friends, but guests of the
government, as well as various persons who had no other claim on him
than the fact that they were officers or employees of the government
who were in need of a change of climate and could ill afford to seek it
at their own expense. Among his house guests were General Aguinaldo,
Speaker Osmena and many other Filipinos. It was Mr. Forbes's idea,
and mine as well, that members of the commission ought to set the
example by building at Baguio. I followed his example to the extent
of buying a lot and constructing on it a simple and inexpensive house,
thus obtaining the first and only home that I have ever owned.
Ultimately Mr. Forbes formulated a plan for the construction of a group
of government buildings, a mess hall and a large number of small and
inexpensive cottages for rental to government officers and employees
so that the executive offices of the government might be transferred
to Baguio during the heated term and it might become the true summer
capital of the Philippines. This plan was adopted in substance, and
it was decided to transfer the bureaus of the government to Baguio
for the coming hot season, so far as practicable.
Funds were appropriated for the carrying out of Mr. Forbes's plan,
but before the construction work had fairly begun there occurred,
on October 17, 1909, a destructive typhoon. Eighteen inches of rain
fell in nine hours, and twenty-six inches in twenty-four hours. The
Bued River quickly rose fifty feet, carrying away trees and rocks
which obstructed its course, and seriously injuring the road for
miles. Four of the largest bridges were swept away and the work of
constructing government buildings, which was just about to begin,
was greatly retarded. It was not thought possible to transfer the
bureaus of the government to Baguio for the coming hot season as
planned. Indeed, there were not lacking those who insisted that no
one would be able to get there. Mr. Haube, the energetic and capable
young engineer in charge, had the road open on the twentieth day of
December, and the projected buildings ready for occupancy in February,
a noteworthy and highly creditable achievement.
It was then thought that the storm which had done such serious damage
to the road was of unprecedented violence, but there was worse to
come. On July 14 and 15, 1911, a terrific typhoon swept across northern
Luzon, bringing down one of the world's record rainfalls. Between
noon of the 14th and noon of the 15th, forty-five and ninety-nine
hundredths inches of rain fell at Baguio. A mountain forming a part
of the wall of the Bued canon split from the top and the detached
portion toppled over into the river, damming it to a depth of about
a hundred and fifty feet at a time when it was carrying an enormous
volume of water. When this dam burst, an avalanche of earth and rock,
swept onward by a huge wave, rushed down the canon, leaving complete
destruction in its wake. Every bridge in its course was carried away,
and the road was left in such condition that it would have cost
$300,000 to open it for traffic. Then Providence, having apparently
done its worst, relented and sent another typhoon which washed away
most of the debris left by the first one, uncovering the road-bed
and making it possible to reopen communication for $50,000.
The cost of maintaining the Benguet Road has proved
excessive. Mountains tower above it on both sides to a height of four
to seven thousand feet and the drainage basin which finds its outlet
down the narrow gorge through which the road runs is enormous. Even
so, under ordinary climatic conditions its maintenance does not offer
very exceptional difficulties, as much of it is blasted out of rock;
but during extraordinarily heavy storms the danger of destruction by
overwhelming floods is great.
While a century may pass before there is another storm like the one
which brought down the terrific slide above described, there may be
one at any time, and when the railroad has once reached Baguio, it is
hardly probable that such extensive repairs as were necessary after the
last destructive typhoon will ever again be made, especially as the
horse trail built on a carriage road grade from Baguio to Naguilian
Back to Full Books