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Situation and Area

The Philippine Islands lie between 116° 40' and 126° and 34' E. long., and 4° 40' and 21° 10' N. lat. The islands are washed by the China Sea on the north and the west, the Pacific Ocean on the east, and the Sea of Celebes on the south. They are nearly south of Japan, and north of Borneo and the Celebes, with which they are connected by three partly-submerged isthmuses. The archipelago belongs to the same geographic region as Borneo, Sumatra, and Java, and therefore to Asia rather than to Oceanica. In all there are 3141 islands; 1668 of them are listed by name. Luzon has an area of 40,969 sq. miles; Mindanao, 36,292 sq. m. Nine islands have an area between 1000-10,000 sq m; 20 between 100 and 1000 sq. m.; 73 between 10 and 100 sq. m.; and 262 between 1 and 10 sq. m. The remaining 2775 islands are each less than 1 sq. m. The total area of the islands is 115,026 sq. m. The extent of the Earth's surface included by the boundaries of the treaty lines is about 800,000 sq. m.

Physical Geography — Fauna and Flora

The scenery of the islands, especially Luzon, is very beautiful. The greatest known elevation, Mt. Apo, in Mindanao, is over 10,000 ft.; it was ascended for the first time by Father Mateo Gisbert, S.J., accompanied by two laymen, in 1880. There are twenty well-known and recent volcanic cones, twelve of them more or less active. Mayon Volcano, about 8000 ft., is probably the most beautiful symmetrical volcanic cone in the world. There are no very large rivers; the Cagayan of northern Luzon and the Rio Grande and the Agusan, both in Mindanao, are more than 200 miles in length. The largest lakes are Laguna de Bay, near Manila, and Laguna de Lanao, in Mindanao; the surface of the latter is 2200 ft above sea-level. Laguna de Bombon, in Batangas Province, Luzon, is the crater of an immense volcano, of roughly elliptical shape, seventeen by twelve miles. On an island in the lake is the active volcano of Taal. The fauna of the Philippines resembles that of the neighboring Malayan Islands to a certain extent. Two-thirds of the birds of the Philippines are peculiar to them; what is more strange is that 286 species of birds found in Luzon, at least fifty-one are not to be met with in any other part of the archipelago. The flora of the islands is similar to that of Java, Sumatra, and Borneo, but with differences sufficiently numerous to give it a marked individuality. Forests form seven-tenths of the area of the archipelago; they embrace a great variety of woods, many of them highly valuable.

Mineral Resources

Coal is found in many parts of the islands. two mines are now in operation on the small island of Batan, Albay Province, Southern Luzon. The total output in the Philippines during 1909 was valued at nearly $100,000. About $250,000 worth of gold was mined the same year. Iron is also found, the product in 1909 being worth a little more than $15,000.

Climate

The climate is, generally speaking, tropical, although there are points in the islands where it cannot strictly be so termed. The mean temperature in Manila during the period 1883-1902 was 80°F.; the average maximum during the same time was 97° and minimum 63°. The average rainfall in Manila is something more than 75 inches. Baguio, Province of Benguet, has been called the Simla of the Philippines. Climatic conditions are so favourable that the commission and assembly held their sessions there this year (1910) during the warm months. The mean minimum temperatures of four months of the year are lower in Baguio than at Simla, and almost equal for two other months. The monthly means are nearly equal for the two places during five months.

Railways

Railway lines are in operation in Luzon, Panay, Cebu, and Negros, about four hundred miles in all.

Population

A census of the islands taken in 1903 estimates the population at 7,635,426, of whom 6,987,686 are classed as civilized and 647,740 are wild.

There are no question in Spanish times about the number of Christians ; but a difference in opinion prevails about the number of the wild people. An estimate published in Madrid in 1891 puts down the non-civilized tribes (Moros included) at 1,400,000. According to the Director of the Census of 1903, there has been tendency to exaggerate; he admits that the number 647,740 is possibly too small, but that it is probably within ten per cent of the true number.

Wild Tribes

The Negritos are believed to have been the aborigines of the islands. There remains about 23,000 of these, leading today a primitive life, nomadic within a certain district, living in groups of twenty or thirty under a chief. They are a race of dwarfs, four feet eight inches in height. They are of sooty black colour, their hair woolly, their toes almost as prehensile as fingers. The Negritos, it is thought, once occupied the entire archipelago, but were driven back into the mountains by the Malays.

Among other wild tribes may be mentioned the Igorottes in Northern Luzon, some of whom are head-hunters. They are an industrious and warlike race. Belgian missionaries have been working among them in the past few years with considerable fruit. The Ibilao or Ilongot is noted for his bloodthirsty propensities; the Ifugaos are said to resemble the Japanese in appearance. They use the lasso with great dexterity, and with it capture the luckless traveler, decapitate him, and add the head to their collection. They wear as many rings in their ears as they have taken heads. In Palawan (Paragua) the most numerous tribe is that of the Tagbanuas, many of whom have been Christianized. The Manguianes occupy the interior of Mindoro; they are a docile race and do not flee from civilized man. Among the wild tribes of Mindanao may be mentioned the Manobos, Bagobos, Bukidnons, Tirurays, and Subanos. They are classed as Indonesians by some ethnologists. Slavery is practised, and human sacrifices are known to have taken place within the past few years.

The Moros or Mohammedan Malays chiefly inhabit Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago, though they are found also in Basilan and Palawan. They were professional pirates, and advanced as far as Manila at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards. They killed large numbers of Filipinos, and carried others into slavery. Until within about sixty years ago, when Spanish gunboats of light draught were introduced, they made marauding excursions into the Visayan islands (Panay, Negros, Cebú, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, etc.), carrying off a thousand captives as slaves annually. They were the great obstacle to the civilization of Mindanao. The Moro is possessed of much physical strength, is indifferent to bloodshed, too proud to work, and extremely fanatical. Many of them build their towns in the water, with movable bamboo bridges connected with the shore. Flanking their settlements they build cottas or forts. The walls of some of these were twenty-four feet thick and thirty feet high. The United States Government respects the Moro custom of discarding the hat, by permitting the Moro Constabulary (military police) to wear a Turkish fex and to go barefoot.

Extensive missionary work has been done by the Jesuits in Mindanao. Previous to the American occupation, they ministered to 200,000 Christians in various parts of the islands. Even among the Moros their efforts were successful and in one year (1892) they baptized 3000 Moros in the district of Davao. They established two large orphan asylums, one for boys and the other for girls, at Tamontaca, where liberated slave-children were trained to a useful life, and which later formed the basis of new Christian villages. For lack of support, a great deal of this work had to be abandoned with the withdrawal of Spanish sovereignty from the islands.

Christian Tribes

The inhabitants of Luzon and adjacent islands are the Tagalogs, Pampangans, Bicols, Pangasinans, Ilocanos, Ibanags or Cagayanes, and Zambales. The most important of these are the Tagalogs, who number about a million and a half; the Pampangans, about 400,000, excel in agriculture; the Bicols in South-eastern Luzon were, according to Blumentritt, the first Malays in the Philippines; the Pangasinans, in the province of that name, number about 300,000; the Ilocanos, an industrious race, occupy the north-western coast of Luzon; the Ibanags, said to be the finest race and the most valiant men in the islands (Sawyer), dwell in the Northern and Eastern Luzon. The Zambales were famous head-hunters at the time of the Spanish conquest, and made drinking-cups out of their enemies' skulls. They number about 100,000. The Visayan Islands are inhabited by the Visayas, the most numerous tribe of the Philippines. Fewer wild people are found among them than in other portions of the archipelago. The population is about 3,000,000. There is a strong resemblance, mentally, morally, and physically, between individuals of the Visayas, but there is a great difference in their languages, a Visayan in Cebú, for instance will not understand a Visayan of Panay. For all that, it is said that the Filipinos had a common racial origin and at one time a common language. Physically, the Filipinos are of medium height, although tall men are to be found among them; especially in the mountain districts. Generally speaking, they are of a brownish colour, with black eyes, prominent cheek bones, the nose flat rather than arched or straight, nostrils wide and full mouth inclined to be large, lips full, good teeth, and round chin.

The following estimates of the Filipinos are selected from the United States Census Report of 1903. The first gives an appreciation of the people shortly after the arrival of the Spaniards and before they were Christianized. The second and third are the views of an American and an Englishman, respectively, of the Christianized Filipino before and at the time of the American occupation.

(1) Legaspi, after four years' residence, writes thus of the natives of Cebú : "They are a crafty and treacherous race....They are a people extremely vicious, fickle, untruthful, and full of other superstitions. No law binds relative to relative, parents to children, or brother to brother....If a man in some time of need shelters a relative or a brother in his house, supports him, and provides him with food for a few days, he will consider that relative as his slave from that time on....At times they sell their own children....Privateering and robbery have a natural attraction to them....I believe that these natives could be easily subdued by good treatment and the display of kindness".

(2) Hon. Dean C. Worcester was in the Philippines in 1887-88 and 1890-93. He says: "The traveler cannot fail to be impressed by his (the Filipino's) open-handed and cheerful hospitality. He will go to any amount of trouble, and often to no little expense, in order to accommodate some perfect stranger. If cleanliness be next to godliness, he has much to recommend him. Hardly less noticeable than the almost universal hospitality are the well-regulated homes and the happy family life which one soon finds to be the rule. Children are orderly, respectful, and obedient to their parents. The native is self-respecting and self-restrained to a remarkable degree....he is patient under misfortune and forbearing under provocation....He is a kind father and a dutiful son. His aged relatives are never left in want, but are brought to his home and are welcome to share the best that it affords to the end of their days".

(3) Frederick H. Sawyer lived for fourteen years in the Philippines; he writes: "The Filipino possessed a great deal of self-respect, and his demeanour is quiet and decorous. He is polite to others and expects to be treated politely himself. He is averse to rowdyism or horseplay of any kind, and avoids giving offence. For an inhabitant of the tropics, he is fairly industrious, sometimes even very hard-working. Those who have seen him poling cascos against the stream of the Pasig will admit this. He is a keen sportsman, and will readily put his money on his favourite horse or gamecock; he is also addicted to other forms of gambling. The position taken by women in a community is often considered as a test of the degree of civilization it has attained. Measured by this standard, the Filipinos come out well, for among them the wife exerts great influence in the family and the husband rarely completes any important business without her concurrence.

"The Filipinos treat their children with great kindness and forbearance. Those who are well-off show much anxiety to secure a good education for their sons and even for their daughters. Parental authority extends to the latest period in life. I have seen a man of fifty years come as respectfully as a child to kiss the hands of his aged parents when the vesper bell sounded, and this notwithstanding the presence of several European visitors in the house. Children, in return, show great respect to both parents, and some morning and evening to kiss their hands. They are trained in good manners from their earliest youth, both by precept and example".

History

The islands were discovered 16 March, 1521, by Ferdinand Magellan. Several other expeditions followed, but they were fruitless. In 1564 Legaspi sailed from Mexico for the Philippines. He was accompanied by the Augustinian friar Urdaneta. As a layman this celebrated priest had accompanied the expedition of Loaisa in 1524, which visited Mindanao and the Moluccas. Legaspi landed in Cebú in 1565. The islands had been called San Lazaro by Magellan ; Villalobos, who commanded an expedition from Mexico, called the island at which he touched Filipina, in honour of Prince Philip. This name was extended to the whole archipelago by Legaspi, who was sent out by the former prince then ruling as Philip II.

Though there were not wanting indications of hostility and distrust towards the Spaniards from the inhabitants of Cebú, Legaspi succeeded in winning their friendship after a few months. Later, in 1569, he removed the seat of government to Iloilo. He sent his nephew Juan Salcedo to explore the islands to the north. Salcedo's report to his uncle was favourable and in 1571 Legaspi, leaving the affairs of government in the hands of the natives, proceeded north and founded the city of Maynila, later Manila. Legaspi immediately set about the organization of the new colony; he appointed rulers of provinces, arranged for yearly voyages to New Spain, and other matters pertaining to the welfare of the country. In his work for pacification he was greatly aided by the friars who were then beginning the work of Christian civilization in the Philippines which was to go on for several centuries. Legaspi died in 1574. To him belongs the glory of founding the Spanish sovereignty in the islands. He was succeeded by Lavezares. About this time, the Chinese pirate Li-ma-hon invaded Luzon, with a fleet of over sixty vessels and about 6000 people. A storm that met the fleet as it neared Manila wrecked some of his boats, but Li-ma-hon proceeded on his journey and landed 1500 men. Repulsed in two attacks by the Spaniards, Li-ma-hon went north and settled in Pangasinan province. The following year (1575) Salcedo was sent against them; he defeated them and drove the fleeing Chinese into the mountains.

A few years later the arrival of the first bishop is chronicled, the Dominican Salazar, one of the greatest figures in the history of the Philippines; he was accompanied by a few Jesuits (1581). The Augustinians had come with Legaspi, the Franciscans arrived in 1577, and the Dominicans in 1587. By unanimous vote of the entire colony the Jesuit Sanchez was sent to Spain to explain to Philip II the true state of affairs in the islands. His mission was entirely successful; Philip was persuaded to retain his new possessions, which many of his advisers were counseling him to relinquish. In 1591 an ambassador came from Japan demanding that tribute be paid that country. This the new governor Dasmarinas refused, but the drew up a treaty instead that was satisfactory to both parties. An expedition that started out against the Moluccas in 1593 ended disastrously. On the voyage some of the Chinese crew mutinied, killed Dasmarinas and took the ship to China. Dasmarinas built the fortress of Santiago, Manila, and fortified the city with stone walls. He was succeeded by his son Luis. During his governorship the convent of Santa Isabel, a school and home for children of Spanish soldiers was founded (1594). It exists to this day. The Audiencia or Supreme Court was re-established about this time. As it was appointed from Mexico and supported from the islands it had proved too great a drain on the resources of the colony, and so had been suppressed after the visit of the Jesuit Sanchez to Philip II. The last years of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries were marked by the seizure, by the Japanese, of the richly-laden Spanish vessel from the islands. It had sought shelter in a storm in a port of that country. The crew were put to death . Then there was a fruitless expedition against Cambodia; a naval fight against two Dutch pirate-ships, one of which was captured; and a conspiracy of the Chinese against the Spaniards. The force of the latter, 130 in number, was defeated, and every man of them decapitated. The Chinese were repulsed later, and it is said that 23,000 of them were killed. The Recollect Fathers arrived in Manila in 1606.

During the first half of the seventeenth century the colony had to struggle against internal and external foes; the Dutch in particular, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Moros, the natives of Bohol, Leyte, and Cagayan. A severe earthquake destroyed Manila in 1645. In spite of the difficulties against which the islands had to struggle, the work of the evangelization went rapidly forward. The members of the various religious orders, with a heroism rarely paralleled even in the annals of Christian missions, penetrated farther and farther into the interior of the country, and established their missions in what had been centres of Paganism. The natives were won by the self-sacrificing lives of the missionaries, and accepted the teachings of Christianity in great numbers. Books were written in the native dialects, schools were everywhere established, and every effort employed for the material and moral improvement of the people. From the time of the fearless Salazar, the missionaries had always espoused the cause of the natives against the injustices and exactions of the individual rulers. It is not strange, therefore, that trouble arose at times between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities . As these misunderstandings grew from the mistakes of individuals, they were not of long duration, and they did not in any way interfere with the firmer control of the islands which Spain was year by year obtaining, or with the healthy growth of the Church throughout the archipelago.

Spanish sovereignty in the Philippines was threatened by the capture of Manila by the British under Draper in 1762. There were only 600 Spanish soldiers to resist a force of 6000 British with their Indian allies. Their depredations were so dreadful that Draper put a stop to them after three days. The city remained under British sovereignty until 1764.

There were several uprisings by the natives during the beginning of the nineteenth century. One of the most serious of these was that headed by Apolinario de la Cruz, who called himself King of the Tagalogs. By attributing to himself supernatural power, he gathered about him a large number of deluded fanatics, men, women, and children. He was apprehended and put to death. An event of great importance was the introduction in 1860 of shallow-draught steel gunboats to be used against the piratical Moros of Mindanao. For centuries they had ravaged the Visayan islands, carrying off annually about a thousand prisoners. A severe earthquake in Manila in 1863 destroyed the chief public buildings, the cathedral, and other churches, except that of San Agustin.

Some native clergy participated in a serious revolt against Spanish authority which occurred in Cavite in 1872. Three Filipino priests who were implicated in the uprising, Gomez, Zamora, and Burgos, were executed. It is said that the spirit of insurrection which manifested itself so strongly during the last quarter of the nineteenth century was the result of the establishment of certain secret societies. The first Masonic lodge of the Philippines was founded in Cavite in 1860. Lodges were later formed at Zamboanga (in Mindanao), Manila, and Cebú. Europeans only were admitted at first, but afterwards natives were received. The lodges were founded by anti-clericals, and naturally anti-clericals flocked largely to the standard. There was no idea then of separation from the mother country, but only of a more liberal form of government. After the insurrection at Cavite in 1872, the Spanish Masons separated themselves from the revolutionary ones. New societies were gradually formed, the most celebrated being the Liga Filipina, founded by the popular hero Dr. Rizal . Practically all the members were Masons, and men of means and education.

A more powerful society and a powerful factor in the insurrection of 1896, recalling the American Ku Klux Klan, was the Katipunan . Its symbol KKK was literally anti-Spanish, for there is no K in Spanish. The full title of the society was "The Sovereign Worshipful Association of the Sons of the Country". The members (from 10,000 to 50,000) were poor people who subscribed little sums monthly for the purchase of arms, etc. Later a woman's lodge was organized. According to Sawyer "the Katipunan adopted some of the Masonic paraphernalia, and some of its initiatory ceremonies, but were in no sense Masonic lodges" (p.83). In 1896 another insurrection broke out near Manila, in Cavite province. Aguinaldo, a young school teacher, became prominent about this time. The spirit of revolt spread through the neighbouring provinces; there were several engagements, until finally, Aguinaldo, at the head of the remnant of rebels, left Cavite and took refuge near Angat in the Province of Bulacan. As it would have taken a long time to dislodge them, a method of conciliation was adopted. The result was the pact of Biak-na-bato, signed 14 Dec., 1897. By the terms of this agreement the Filipinos were not to plot against Spanish sovereignty for a period of three years; Aguinaldo and other followers were to be deported, for a period to be fixed by Spain. In return they were to receive the sum of $500,000 as indemnity; and those who had not taken up arms were to be given $350,000 as reimbursement for the losses they had incurred. The leaders of the insurrection of 1896 exercised despotic power, and ill-treated and robbed those of their countrymen who would not join them. Andres Bonifacio, the president of the Katipunan, ultimately became a victim of these despots. Thirty thousand Filipinos are reported to have lost their lives in the rebellion of 1896.

In 1898 hostilities broke out between Spain and the United States. On 24 April, 1898, Aguinaldo met the American Consul at Singapore, Mr. Pratt; two days later he proceeded to Hong Kong. The American squadron under Commodore (now Admiral) Dewey destroyed the Spanish ships in Manila Bay. Aguinaldo and seventeen followers landed at Cavite from the United States vessel Hugh McCullough and were furnished arms by Dewey. Aguinaldo proclaimed dictatorial government, and asked recognition from foreign powers. The American troops took Manila on 13 August. A treaty of peace was signed at Paris by the terms of which the Philippines were ceded to the United States, and the latter paid Spain the sum of $20,000,000. It was later discovered that certain islands near Borneo were not included in the boundaries fixed by the peace commission. These were also ceded to the United States , which paid an additional $100,000. The Filipinos had organized a government of their own, the capital being Malolos, in the Province of Bulacan. Fighting between them and the Americans began on 4 Feb., 1899; but by the end of the year, all organized opposition was practically at an end. Aguinaldo was captured in April, 1901, and on 1 July of the same year the insurrection was declared to be extinct, the administration was turned over to the civil Government, and Judge Taft (now President) was appointed governor.

American Government: General

The Spanish laws remain in force today, except as changed by military order, Act of Congress, or Act of the Philippine Commission. The first Philippine Commission was appointed by President McKinley Jan., 1899. The second Philippine Commission was sent to the islands in 1900. Its object was to establish a civil government based on the recommendations of the first commission. The principles that were to guide this commission are thus expressed in the following instructions given them: "The Commission should bear in mind that the government that they are establishing is designed not for our satisfaction or for the expression of our theoretical views, but for the happiness, peace, and prosperity of the people of the Philippine Islands, and the measures adopted should be made to conform to their customs, their habits, and even their prejudices, to the fullest extent consistent with the indispensable requisites of just and effective government." "No laws shall be made respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, and that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall for ever be allowed." This was confirmed by Act of Congress 1 July, 1902, in almost identical words (section 5). The members of the commission are appointed by the president, with the consent of the Senate; their tenure of office is at the pleasure of the president. There are nine commissioners, one of whom is the governor-general (the chief executive of the Philippine Islands), and four are secretaries of the departments of the Interior, of Commerce and Police, of Finance and Justice, and of Public Instruction. Each of these departments is divided into bureaus of which there are twenty-three in all. Through these the actual administration of the affairs of the Government is carried on.

On 16 Oct., 1907, the Philippine Assembly was inaugurated. The assembly shares legislative power with the commission over all parts of the islands "not inhabited by the Moros or other non-Christian tribes". Over the Moros and the non-Christian tribes the commission alone has power. The legislative power of the commission and assembly over the Christian tribes is equal. No law may be made without the approval of both houses. If at any session the annual appropriation for the support of the Government shall not have been made, an amount equal to the last annual appropriation is considered thereby appropriated for the ensuing year. The members of the assembly are elected by popular vote. The right to this suffrage is extended to all male citizens of the Philippine Islands or of the United States, over twenty-three years of age, who possess at least one of the following qualifications: (1) ability to speak, read, and write English or Spanish; (2) ownership of real property to the value of $250 or the payment of $15 annually of the established taxes; (3) holding of municipal office under the Spanish Government in the Philippines. All acts passed by the commission and by the assembly are enacted by the authority of the United States Congress, which reserves the power and authority to annul them. The assembly may consist of not less than fifty nor more than a hundred members. Each province is entitled to one delegate; and if its population is more than 90,000, to an additional member for every extra 90,000 and major fraction thereof. There are at present eighty delegates, Manila is counted as a province. Thirty-one delegates are from the Visayan Islands, and forty-four from Luzon. The commission and assembly are authorized to send two commissioners to the United States to represent the interests of the Philippines at Washington.

American Government: Provincial

According to their form of government, the islands are divided into three classes: the Christian provinces, the non-Christian provinces, and the Moro provinces. The officers of the Christian province are the governor, the treasurer, the third member of the provincial board, and the fiscal or district attorney. The governor and third member are elected to office; the treasurer and fiscal are appointed by the governor of the Philippine Islands with the consent of the Commission; the tenure of their office depends upon the governor-general. Any provincial officer may be suspended or removed from office by the governor-general for sufficient cause. The provincial governor, the treasurer, and the third member form the provincial board, which legislates in a limited way for the province. The non-Christian tribes are under a governor, secretary, treasurer, supervisor and fiscal. In some provinces there is also a lieutenant-governor. These officers are appointed by the governor-general with the consent of the commission. The Moro province includes the greater part of Mindanao, the whole of the Sulu Archipelago, and smaller groups of islands. The inhabitants number 500,000, half of them Moros; the remainder, with the exception of some thousand Christians, are wild tribes. The Government of the Moro province is civil-military. It is divided into five districts, each with its governor and secretary, appointed by the governor of the province. On the legislative council of the entire province there is, besides the governor, a secretary, treasurer, and attorney. While the governor-general appoints these officers, the two first named are usually officers of the United States army detailed for this purpose. The district officers are also usually detailed from the army.

Courts of Justice

There is no trial by jury in the Philippine Islands. There are three classes of courts of justice : justice-of-the-peace courts, courts of first instance, and the supreme court; a justice of the peace must be at least twenty-three years of age. he is appointed by the governor from a number of individuals whose names are presented by a judge of the court of first instance, and by the director of education. Among his powers is that of performing marriage ceremonies. The courts of first instance try appeals from the lower court and cases in which they have original jurisdiction. These judges are appointed by the governor with the approval of the commission.

Supreme Court

This court is composed of one chief justice and six associates. Important cases may be appealed from it to the Supreme Court of the United States . The supreme court rarely hears witnesses, but examines the written testimony made before the lower court, and listens to arguments of the opposing lawyers. The supreme court may not merely reverse or affirm the decision of the lower court, but it may even change the degree and kind of punishment. A defendant, for instance, sentenced to imprisonment for life or for twenty years may, and sometimes does, have his sentence changed on appeal to the supreme court to the death penalty.

Religion

Before the arrival of the Spaniards the religion of the islands was similar to that of the majority of the Chinese, Japanese, and Malayans. They were worshippers of the souls of their ancestors, of the sun, the moon, the stars, plants, birds, and animals. Among the deities of the Tagalogs were: a blue bird, called Bathala (divinity); the crow, called Maylupa (lord of the earth); the alligator, called Nono (grandfather). They adored in common with other Malayans the tree Balete , which they did not dare cut. They had idols in their houses, called anito , and by the Visayans, diuata . There were anitos of the country who permitted them to pass over it; anitos of the fields who gave fertility to the soil; anitos of the sea who fed the fishes and guarded boats; and anitos to look after the house and newly-born infants. The anitos were supposed to be the souls of their ancestors. Their story of the origin of the world was that the sky and the water were walking together; a kite came between them, and in order to keep the waters from rising to the sky, placed upon them the islands, the Filipinos' idea of the world. The origin of man came about in the following manner: a piece of bamboo was floating on the water; the water cast it at the feet of a kite; the kite in anger broke the bamboo with its beak; out of one piece came man, and out of the other woman. The souls of the dead were supposed to feed on rice and tuba (a native liquor), thus food was placed at the graves of the dead, a custom which still survives among some of the uncivilized tribes of Mindanao.

The ministers of religion were priestesses -- crafty and diabolical old women, who offered sacrifices of animals and even of human beings. Sacrifices of animals still occur among the tribes; and accounts of recent human sacrifice will be found in the reports of the Philippine Commission. The superstitions of the Filipinos were numerous. In Supreme Case no. 5381 there is given the testimony of Igorottes, who before starting to murder a man, a couple of years ago, killed some chickens and examined their entrails to discover if the time was favourable for the slaying of a man. The hooting of owls, the hissing of lizards, and the sight of a serpent had a supernatural signification. One of the most feared of the evil spirits was the asuang , which was supposed to capture children or lonely travelers. A fuller description of these superstitions is given in Delgado, "Historia General de las Islas Filipinas" (Manila, 1894), bk. III, xvi, xvii, and in Blumentritt, "Mythological Dictionary". As might be expected from idolatrous tribes in a tropical climate, the state of morality was low; wives were bought and sold, and children did not hesitate to enslave their own parents. It was on material such as this that the Spanish missionaries had to work. A Christian Malay race, a people that from the lower grade of savagery had advanced to the highest form of civilization, was the result of their efforts.

Up to the year 1896 the Augustinians had founded 242 towns, with a population of more than 2,000,000. There were 310 religious of the order; this includes (and the same applies to the following figures) lay brothers, students, and invalids. The Franciscans number 455 in 153 towns, with a population of a little more than a million; there were 206 Dominicans in 69 towns, with about 700,000 inhabitants; 192 Recollects in 194 towns, with a population of 1,175,000; 167 Jesuits who ministered to about 200,000 Christians in the missions of Mindanao. The total religious therefore in 1906 was 1330 to look after a Catholic population of more than 5,000,000 while secular clergy were in charge of nearly a million more. The members of the religious orders in the Philippines in 1906 did not amount to 500. The condition of the Filipino people, as they were prior to the revolution of 1896, forms the best argument in favour of the labours of the religious orders. The islands were not conquered by force; the greater part of the fighting was to protect the natives from enemies from without. It was not until 1822 that there was a garrison of Spanish troops in the archipelago. And, as all impartial historians admit, the small number of troops needed was due solely to the religious influence of the priests over the people. The total strength of American regiments in the Philippines in 1910, including the Philippine Scouts, was 17,102. To this should be added more than 4000 members of the Philippine Constabulary, a military police necessary for the maintenance of order.

Besides their far-reaching influence for peace, the religious orders did notable work in literature and science. Father Manuel Blance, an Augustinian, was the author of "Flora Filipina", a monumental work in four folio volumes, illustrated with hundreds of coloured plates reproduced from water-colour paintings of the plants of the Philippines. Father Rodrigo Aganduru Moriz, a Recollect (Augustinian Discalced ), (1584-1626), after evangelizing the natives of Bataan, and founding houses of his order in Manila and Cebú, and missions in Mindanao, set sail from the Philippines. He spent some time in Persia, where he brought back numerous schismatics to the Faith and converted many infidels. Arriving in Rome, Urban VIII wished to send him back to Persia as Apostolic delegate with some religious of his order, but he died a few months later at the age of forty-two. Among his works are: "A General History of the Philippines", in two volumes; "The Persecution in Japan "; a book of sermons ; a grammar and dictionary of a native dialect; "Origin of the Oriental Empires"; "Chronology of Oriental Kings and Kingdoms"; a narrative of his travels written for Urban VIII ; a collection of maps of various islands, seas, and provinces; the work of the Augustinians (Discalced) in the conversion of the Philippines and of Japan ; a family book of medicine for the use of Filipinos.

The number of Augustinian authors alone, until 1780 was 131, and the books published by them more than 200 in nine native dialects, more than 100 in Spanish besides a number of volumes in the Chinese and Japanese languages. How extensive and how varied were the missionary, literary, and scientific works of the members of the religious orders may be gathered from their chronicles. The Philippines constitute an ecclesiastical province, of which the Archbishop of Manila is the metropolitan. The suffragan sees are: Jaro ; Nueva Cáceres ; Nueva Segovia ; Cebú, Calbayog; Lipa; Tuguegarao ; Zamboanga ; and the Prefecture Apostolic of Palawan. There are over a thousand priests, and a Catholic population of 6,000,000. (See Cebú ; Jaro ; Manila, Archdiocese of; Manila Observatory; Nueva Cáceres ; Nueva Segovia ; Palawan ; Samar and Leyte; Tuguegarao ; Zamboanga.)

The Diocese of Lipa (Lipensis)

The Diocese of Lipa, erected 10 April, 1910, comprises the Provinces of Batangas, La Laguna, Tayabas (with the Districts of Infanta and Principe), Mindoro, and the sub-Province of Marinduque, formerly parts of the Archdiocese of Manila . Rt. Rev Joseph Petrelli, D.D., the first bishop, was appointed 12 April, 1910, and consecrated at Manila, 12 June, 1910. There are 95 parishes ; the Discalced Augustinians have charge of 14, and the Capuchins of 6. The diocese comprises 12,208 sq. m.; about 640,000 Christians ; and 9000 non-Christians.

Aglipayanism

The Aglipayano sect caused more annoyance than damage to the Church in the Philippines. The originator of the schism was a native priest, Gregorio Aglipay. He was employed as a servant in the Augustinian house, Manila, and being of ingratiating manners was educated and ordained priest. Later he took the field as an insurgent general. Being hard pressed by the American troops he surrendered and was paroled in 1901. In 1902 he arrogated himself the title of "Pontifex Maximus", and through friendship or fear drew to his allegiance some native priests. Those of the latter who were his friends he nominated " bishops ". Simeon Mandac, one of the two lay pillars of the movement, is now serving a term of twenty years in the penitentiary for murder and rebellion. At first the schism seemed to make headway in the north, chiefly for political reasons. With the restoration of the churches under order of the Supreme Court in 1906-07 the schism began to dwindle, and its adherents are now inconsiderable.

Religious Policy of the Government

Freedom of worship and separation of Church and State is a principle of the American Government. In a country where there was the strictest union of Church and State for more than three centuries, this policy is not without serious difficulties. At times ignorant officials may act as if the Church must be separated from her rights as a lawful corporation existing in the State. In some such way as this several Catholic churches were seized, with the connivance or the open consent of municipal officers, by adherents of the Aglipayano sect. It required time and considerable outlay of money for the Church to regain possession of her property through the courts. And even then the aggressors often succeeded in damaging as much as possible the church buildings or its belongings before surrendering them. There is no distinction or privilege accorded clergymen, except that they are precluded from being municipal councilors. However: "there shall be exempt from taxation burying grounds, church and their adjacent parsonages or convents, and lands and buildings used exclusively for religious charitable, scientific, or educational purposes and not for private profit". This does not apply to land or buildings owned by the Church to procure revenue for religious purposes, e.g. the support of a hospital, orphan asylum, etc., so that glebe land is taxable. The only exception made in the matter of free imports for church purposes is that Bibles and hymn books are admitted free of duty. Practically everything needed in the services of the Catholic Church, vestments, sacred vessels, altars, statues, pictures, etc. pay duty, if such goods are not purchased from or manufactured in the United States . Religious corporations or associations, of whatever sect or denomination, were authorized to hold land by an act of the commission passed in October, 1901.

In April, 1906, the law of corporations came into force. Under this Act (no. 1459) a bishop, chief, priest, or presiding elder of any religious denomination, can become a corporation sole by filing articles of incorporation holding property in trust for the denomination. Authority is also given to any religious society or order, or any diocese, synod, or organization to incorporate under specified conditions to administer its temporalities. The same act empowers colleges and institutes of learning to incorporate. All cemeteries are under the control of the Bureau of Health. By an Act passed in Feb., 1906, existing cemeteries and burial grounds were to be closed unless authorized by the director of health; municipalities were empowered, subject to the same authority, to set apart land for a municipal burial ground, and to make by-laws without discriminating against race, nationality, or religion. The church burial grounds had generally to be enlarged or new ones consecrated, and individual graves indicated and allotted. The right to hold public funerals and to take the remains into church was not to be abridged or interfered with, except in times of epidemics or in case of contagious or infectious diseases, when a public funeral might be held at the grave after an hour had elapsed from the actual interment. The right of civil marriage was established in 1898, by order of General Otis. The certificate of marriage, by whomsoever celebrated, must be filed with the civil authorities. The forbidden degrees extend to half-blood and step-parents. A subsequent marriage while husband or wife is alive is illegal and void, unless the former marriage has been annulled or dissolved, or by presumption of death after seven years' absence. There is no express provision for divorce ; but marriages may be annulled by order of judges of the court of first instance for impediments existing at the time of marriage, such as being under the age of consent (fourteen years for boys, twelve years for girls), insanity, etc.

The local health officer shall report to the municipal president "all births that may come to his knowledge ", the date, and names of parents. The parochial clergy have generally complete and carefully-kept registers of baptisms, and furnish certified copies to those who need them. The property of deceased persons was in general formerly distributed at a family council, with the approval of the courts. But it appears that at the present time the estates of deceased persons must be administered under direction of the courts of first instance. Testaments are made and property devolves in accordance with the provisions of the Spanish civil code.

Education

The Spanish missionaries established schools immediately on reaching the islands. Wherever they penetrated, church and school went together. The Jesuits had two universities in Manila, besides colleges at Cavite, Marinduque, Arévalo, Cebú, and Zamboanga. The Dominicans had their flourishing University of S. Tomas, Manila, existing to this day, and their colleges in other large towns. There was no Christian village without its school ; all the young people attended. On the Jesuits' return to the islands in 1859, the cause of higher education received a new impetus. They established the college of the Ateneo de Manila, where nearly all those who have been prominent in the history of their country during the last half-century were educated. They opened a normal school which sent its trained Filipino teachers over all parts of the islands. The normal school graduated during the thirty years of its existence 1948 teachers. After the American occupation a public-school system, modeled on that of the United States , was established by the Government. The total number of schools in operation for 1909-10 was 4531, an increase of 107 over the preceding year. The total annual enrolment was 587,317, plus 4946 in the


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The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

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Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

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