A TRIP TO JAPAN, WITH NOTES BY THE WAY. No 3.
(BY A NELSONIAN. )
March 15, 190S,
The present Cathedral in Manila is the successor of four others, all of which were destroyed by fire. We arrived just at service time, and beard some beautiful sioging by a choir of children. The churches of St. Ignatius and Domingo . are famous for their carved work, all done by natives and many others possess special features, which are deeply interesting to the antiquarian. The newest chu re dis St. Sebastian, situated in the new town, it has two high towers, and is built of steel plates, made and fitted in Europe, and calculated to resist earthquakes and tire. Tbe various Protestant bodies, Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian, have also handsome houses of worship. The beautiful building of the Ayuntainmento faces the Cathedral. It was formerly the palace of the SpanJUh Governor-General, but it now contain* the offices of his American successors, the Philippine Commissioners and the Philippine Assembly. Its great marble ball, where the latter was in session at the time of our visit, is a notable feature of the building. The city schools are worthy of note The. Americana have paid special attention to matters educational, and in 1901 no fewer than 500 skilled teachers were sent over from tbe United States. It is esti* mated that over 25,000 scbolprs attend the schools in Manila itself. We paid a Visit to one of them, where a lesson on the pineapple was in progress, and the crowd of well-dressed, smiling pupils would have been a Sredit to any Nelson school. A noticeable feature was the number of senior scholars amongst them, some grey haired, grandmotherly women. One of Manila's curious Bights is the cemetery of Paoo. Owing to the flat and marshy character of tbe country near Manila graves are not usually dug in the earth, but thick walls of 9tone are reared, and in them niches made, in which the bodies are ptaced. This method of burial is said to have been referred to by a former governor-general as "pigeonholing our dead for future reference.' 1 Although Paco cemetery was built a century ago, very few of the inscriptions show greater age than 10 years. This will be understood when one learns that a system of rent for graves exists, and if this is not paid when due, eviction ensues. Until a few years ago this practice was made evident by the display of bones thrown into an enclosure at the back of the cemetery, where they found a final resting place, Needless to say this practice has now been stopped under the new regime. The quaint houses and shops in tbe old city, with their overhanging upper stones and courtyard gardens, present an infinite variety of appearance and days could be spent exploring tbe narrow streets. After lunch we drove into the country, and saw the native quarter, the buildings of which offered a decided contrast to those-of the Spanish city. On tbe return journey a visit was paid to the German cigar factory. We were taken round by the courteous manager, and saw tbe whole process of manufacture, from tbe original leaf to the finishing of the boxes with the well-known gorgeous labels. Of special interest were the almost human much ines for cigarette making, which took in a roll of paper and tobacco at tbe respective ends, and shot out the finished cigarette from, tbe centre. The work of tbe girls: and women who fill the cigarettes into packets of thirty is little short of marvellous. The cigarettes are not counted, but the worker seizes a handful, and by long practice, very seldom fails to secure the right number. Before leaving each member of oar party was presented witn numerous specimens of the factory's products. On returning to tbe city we inspected the shops, also the Cinese quarter and market, the sights, sounds, and especially fibe smells, of which baffle description. The streets, however, are beautifully clean. Gangs of natives are constantly engaged in washing tbe roadways from largejiog^. pipes, and a system of drainafpii&<BffiK being installed at a cost .a||pi&,f£soo, ooo. in the cool of the=i*e%*ißg;,all Manila goes ta tbe Limeta, and in this beautiful park the driveway encloses velvety lawns and two fine band stands, where the band of the Constabulary, about
sixty strong, perform during the time of promenade. The driveways were crowded with carriages, many of wbidh would have boon a credit to Hyde Park. Our hired victoria was turned out to perfection, with a liveried coachman, and a pair of beautiul Australian ponies.^ The lawns were tilled with the tank and fashion of Manila, and the scene brilliantly lit up with electric arc lamps was one not easily forgotten. As we drove back to the city the gorgeous tropical sunset was bringing into strong relief the islands in the bay and its surronuding mountain?. The nearer lights flashing from j lighthouse and shipping, the domes j-and towers of the old city wifi the [Chiming ol the Angelua fruin the churches, made up a scene of wonderful beauty. In the evening we again strolled round the city, and it was with regret that we bade farewell to lovely Manila; its friendly citizens, and Intensely interesting scenes and memories, and sped aut into the bay towards out temporary floating home. March 20, 1908. Having heard pome travellers' tales of wee as to the weather to be expected during- the trip through the Uhina Sea from Manila to Hongkong we were agreeably disappointed, as the sea was comparatively smooth, and the trip nothing like so bad as many experienced across the Tasman Sea. A fifty-three hour sail landed us in the harbor of Hong kong. Our possession of this island dates from 26th January, 1841, when it was ceded to Great Britain at the close of the naval and military struggles which had taken place between Britain and China during the preceding seven years, In 1860 the Kowloon Peninsula^ on the opposite side of Hongkong harbor, and inlß9B further territory in that direction came into possession of our Ecu pirn, the latter, however, being ceded for ninety. nine years only. r The city of Victoria, the capital of the island, is solidly British. With a regard to visitations from typhoons the buildings are extremely massive, the style of architecture being,, of course, adapted to the tropical cilmate. The buildings generally are not se6n to advantage, as, owing to the very limited space of fiat ground available, the older streets at any rate are somewhat narrow. The military element is, of course, to the fore, the garrison being about 2600 strong The; I 'kilties" are at present much in evidence, the Cameron. Highlanders forming part of the i force. In .addition there are about [8000 civilian" residents, and about 160,000 Chinese. The harbour is truly magnificent* and at the time of our visit a large number of warships British and foreign^ lay at anchor together with a considerable floet of freight and passenger steamers. The city, viewed from the harbor, presents an imposing appearance, rising in terraces, and having the Peak, 1800 feet high, a=? a back ground. The Water front presents a busy iscene, the Praja, a fine road of Bf ty. feet in width extends, alqng the whole sea front of the. city and to the massive seawall are • anchored fleets of junka arid- sampans irand smaller steamers. A very large population make' their homes ou the native craft and the whole family Jake an active part in the navigation and general working of their respective vessels. The women are especially active, and it is no I uncommon sight to seen mother and- daughter navigating quite a large boat laden with freight, working the huge oars and sweep 3 which propel it, the mother probably with a very young child in a sort pi saddle on her back. Surely jf there is a country where women's rights should have full play it is China, where the woman seems to bear a goodly share of the burdens of tho br.;ad-winner. R. B. S. To bo continued.