Social and Industrial Condition of the Filipinos
American and Tagalog Invaders of Visaya Compared—Doubt As to the Aptitude of Filipinos for Self-Government—Their Civilization Not Achieved by Themselves But Inherited from Spain—Their Present Personal Liberty—Belief of the Poor That Alien Occupation is the Root of Their Misery—How the Filipinos View Labor—Their Apathy Toward Machinery—Their Interest Centred Not in Industry But in Themselves—Their Hazy Conceptions of Government—Their Need of a Remodelled Social System—Their Jealousy Lest Others Make Large Profits in Dealing with Them—Zeal of the Aristocrats to Preserve Their Prerogatives—A New Aristocracy Likely to Be Raised by the American Public Schools.
Capiz was occupied by a company of the Tenth Cavalry and one of the Sixth Infantry. The relations between Americans and Filipinos seemed most cordial. There had never been any fighting in the immediate neighborhood of the town. The Visayans are a peaceful race; even in the insurrection against Spain the Capizenos felt a decided pro-Spanish sentiment. Early in the rebellion a few boat-loads of Tagalog soldiers came down from Luzon, and landed on the open north coast two miles from the town. The valiant Capizenos had dug some trenches on the beach and had thrown up a breastwork there, and they went out to fight for Spain and Visaya. They fired two rounds without disconcerting the Tagalogs very much, and then, having no more ammunition, they “all ran home again,” as my informant naively described it. The Tagalogs took possession of the town, and the Visayans lived in fear and trembling. Nearly all women, both wives and young girls, carried daggers in fear of assault from Tagalog soldiers. Some declared to me that they would have used the daggers upon an assailant, others told me that the weapons were intended as a last resort for themselves. The Spanish wife of our Governor said that during the time of Tagalog occupation she seldom ventured out of her home; that she discarded her European dress, affected the native costume, wore her hair hanging down her back, and tried in every way to keep from attracting the attention of the invaders. Nevertheless, several young girls were seized in spite of their parents’ efforts to protect them. Many families fled from the town and took refuge in the mountain villages inland. Others lived in boats, lurking about the rivers and the innumerable waterways which criss-cross the swampy coast plain. When the Tagalogs withdrew, the wanderers returned to their homes, only to make a fresh exodus when the Americans came.
The Americans did not land on the north coast, but entered the town from the south, having marched and fought their way up the full length of the island from Iloilo. Horrid rumors preceded them concerning their gigantic size and their bloodthirsty habits. It was reported that they had burned hundreds of women and children alive at Iloilo. The timid Capizenos had no idea of resistance, but, for the most part, closed their houses, leaving some old servant in charge, and took once more to the hills and the swamps. A few sage heads had their own reasons for doubting the alleged American ferocity, and decided to stay at home and risk it.