The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 — Volume 12 of 55 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 307 pages of information about The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 — Volume 12 of 55.

Of the division and distribution of bishoprics and provinces in the Filipinas.  Chapter VII.

At the instance of the first bishop, Don Fray Domingo de Salazar, and with the information which he gave to the Catholic king Don Felipe Second, of glorious memory, his Majesty divided those islands into four dioceses, beseeching the Holiness of our most Holy Father, Clement Eighth, to establish the aforesaid bishop as the metropolitan archbishop of the city of Manila, with three suffragan bishops. [56] Two of these were in that same island, one in the eastern part, and one in the western; one, the bishop of Nueva Segovia (which by sea is but sixty leguas distant from Great China); his bishopric extends as far as the Ilocos, more than a hundred leguas distant, being conterminous with the archbishopric of Manila.  The other is the bishop of Camarines whose bishopric is but little smaller, reaching from the lagoon of Manila to the channel-mouth through which we enter the islands on the way thither from Espana.  The third bishopric is even larger, for it embraces almost all the islands of the Pintados (the proper name for which is Bisayas)—­beginning with the islands of Panay, Bantayan, Leite, Ibabao, and Capul, and extending to the great island of Mindanao and the more southern islands.  Its cathedral and see are in the city of Santissimo Nombre de Jesus, so named from the discovery of [an image of] the Child Jesus which was found there, as we have related.

The people of the Bisayas are called the Pintados, because they are actually adorned with pictures [Span. pintados—­i.e., painted, or tattooed]—­not because this is natural to them, although they are well built, of pleasing countenance, and white; but because they adorn their bodies with figures from head to foot, when they are young and have sufficient strength and energy to suffer the torment of the tattooing; and formerly they tattooed themselves when they had performed some act of valor.  They tattoo themselves by pricking the skin until the blood comes, with sharp, delicate points, according to designs and lines which are first drawn by those who practice this art; and upon this freshly-bleeding surface they apply a black powder, which is never effaced.  They do not tattoo the body all at the same time, but by degrees, so that the process often lasts a long time; in ancient times, for each part which was to be tattooed the person must perform some new act of bravery or valiant deed.  The tattooed designs are very ingenious, and are well adapted to those members or parts whereon they are placed.  During my stay in the Filipinas, I was wont to say, in my satisfaction and admiration for the fine appearance of those natives, that if one of them were brought to Europe much money could be made by exhibiting him.  Children are not tattooed, and the women tattoo all of one hand and part of the other.  They do not, however, on this account go naked; they wear well-made collarless robes, which reach the ankle and are of cotton bordered with colors:  when they are in mourning, these robes are white.  They take off these robes in their houses, and in places where garments are unnecessary; but everywhere and always they are very attentive and watchful to cover their persons, with great care and modesty, wherein they are superior to other nations, especially to the Chinese.

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The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898 — Volume 12 of 55 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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