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February 22, 2022

The few products of a more advanced civilisation which they require, they obtain by the sale of the spontaneous productions of their forests, chiefly:

  • wax and resin (pili),*
  • apnik
  • dagiangan (a kind of copal)
  • some abaca.

Wax is in demand for church solemnities.

  • It fetches half a dollar per katti.
  • Resin averages half a real per chinanta.

Business is transacted very simply.

The lowlanders, having intercourse with the Igorots, make a contract with them. They collect the products and bring them to a place previously agreed on, where the lowlanders receive them after paying down the stipulated price.

Physicians and magicians, or persons supposed to be possessed of secret powers, are unknown; every one helps himself.

In order to arrive at a clear understanding of their religious views, a longer intercourse would be necessary. But they certainly believe in one God, or, at least, say so, when they are closely questioned as to Christ. They have also loosely acquired several of the external practices of Catholicism, which they employ as spells.

Hunting and hard labour constitute the employments of man in general, as well as in the Philippines.

The hair is somewhat curled. They employ women as beasts of burden—which, although it exists among many of the peoples of Europe, for example, the Basques, Wallachians, and Portuguese, is almost peculiar to barbarous nations, — seems to have been unknown in the Philippines ‘as far back as the time of its discovery by the Spaniards; and even among the

  • The fruit of the wild pili is unfit for food.

barbarians of the Ysaróg, the women engage only in light labour, and are well treated.

Every family supports its aged and those unfit for labour. Headaches and fevers were stated to me as the prevalent maladies. They cured it by using burnt rice, pounded and mixed to a pap with water, is taken as a remedy. In case of severe headache, they make an incision in the forehead of the sufferer.

Their prevalence is explained by the habit of neutralising the ill effects of drinking water in excess, when they are heated, by the consumption of warm water in large doses. The rule holds with regard to cocoa-water; the remedy for immoderate use of which is warm cocoa-water.

Their muscular power is small. They are unable to carry more than 50 pounds weight to any considerable distance.

Besides the hunting and agriculture, their occupations are restricted to:

  • the manufacture of extremely rude weapons, for which they purchase the iron, when required, from the lowlanders,
  • the coarse webs made by the women, and
  • wicker work.


Every father of a family is master in his own house, and acknowledges no power higher than himself.

In the event of war with neighbouring tribes, the bravest places himself at the head, and the rest follow him as long as they are able. There is no deliberate choosing of a leader.

On the whole, they are peaceful and honourable towards each other, although the idle occasionally steal the fruits of the fields. If a thief is caught, the person robbed punishes him with blows of the rattan, without being under any apprehensions of vengeance in consequence.

If a man dies, his nearest kinsmen go out to requite his death by the death of some other individual, taken at random. The rule is strictly enforced.

For a dead man, a man must be killed. For a woman, a woman. For a child, a child.

Unless, indeed, it be a friend they encounter, the first victim that offers is killed.

But due to the unusual success attained by some of them in representing the occurrence of death as an unavoidable destiny, this custom was abandoned. The relatives do not exact the satisfaction.

This was easy in the case of the deceased being an ordinary person ; but, to the present day, vengeance is required in the event of the death of a beloved child or wife. If a man kills a woman of another house, her nearest kinsman endeavours to kill a woman of the house of the murderer; but to the murderer himself he does nothing; and the corpse of the victim thus slain

Ygorrote Girls.

as a death-offering is not buried, nor is its head cut off ; and her family, in their turn, seek to avenge the death by murder. This is reckoned the most honourable course. Should the murderer, however, be too strong to be so overcome, any weaker

person, be it who it may, is slain in retaliation; and hence, pro· bably, the comparatively small number of women.

Polygamy is permitted. But even the most courageous and skilful seldom or never have more than one wife. A young man wishing to marry commissions his father to treat with the father of the bride as to the price; which latterly has greatly increased :

but the average is ten wood knives, costing from 4 to 6 reales, and about 12 dollars in cash ; and the acquisition of so large a sum by the sale of wax, resin, and abaca, often takes the bridegroom two years. The bride-money goes partly to the father, and partly to the nearest relations; every one of whom has an

equal interest. If there should be many of them, almost nothing remains for the father, who has to give a great feast, on which occasion much palm-wine is drunk.

Any man using violence towards a girl is killed by her parents. If the girl likes him, and the father hears of it, he agrees upon a day with the former, on which he is to bring the bride’s dowry; which should he refuse to do, he is caught by the relations, bound to a tree, and whipped with a cane. Adultery is of most rare occurrence; but, when it does take place, the dowry is returned either by the woman, who then acquires her freedom, or by the seducer, whom she then follows. The husband has not the right to detain her, if he takes the money, or even if he should refuse it: but the latter contingency is not likely to arise, since that sum of money will enable him to buy for himself a new wife.

In the afternoon we reached a vast ravine, called “ Basira," 973 metres above Uaclóy, and about 1,134 metres above the sea, extending from south-east to north-west between lofty, precipitous ranges, covered with wood. Its base, which has an inclination of 33°, consists of a naked bed of rock, and, after every violent rainfall, gives issue to a torrent of water, which discharges itself violently. Here we bivouacked; and the Ygorrotes, in a very short time, built a hut, and remained on the watch outside. At daybreak the thermometer stood at 13.9° R.

The road to the summit was very difficult on account of the slippery clay earth and the tough network of plants; but the last 500 feet were unexpectedly easy, the very steep summit being covered with a very thick growth of thinly leaved, knotted, mossy thibaudia, rhododendra, and other dwarf woods, whose innumerable tough branches, running at a very small height along the ground and parallel to it, form a compact and secure lattice-work, by which one mounted upwards as on a slightly inclined ladder. The point which we reached, as may be seen by the illustration, was evidently the highest spur of the horse


shoe-shaped mountain side, which bounds the great ravine of Rungus on the north. The top was hardly fifty paces in diameter, and so thickly covered with trees that I have never seen its like; we had not room to stand. My active hosts, however, went at once to work, though the task of cutting a path through the wood involved severe labour, and, chopping off the branches, built therewith, on the tops of the lopped trees, an observatory, from which I should have had a wide panoramic view, and an opportunity for taking celestial altitudes, had not everything been enveloped in a thick mist. The neighbouring volcanoes were visible only in glimpses, as well as the Bay of San Miguel and some lakes in the interior. Immediately after sunset the ther. mometer registered 12.5° R.:

On the following morning it was still overcast; and when, about ten o’clock, the clouds became thicker, we set out on our return. It was my intention to have passed the night in a rancho, in order next day to visit a solfatara which was said to be a day’s journey further; but my companions were so exhausted by fatigue that they asked for at least one day’s rest.

On the upper slope I observed no palms, with the exception of calamus; but polypodies were very frequent, and orchids surprisingly abundant. In one place all the trees were hung, at a con. venient height, with flowering aërids; of which one could have collected thousands without any trouble. The most beautiful plant was a Medinella, of so delicate a texture that it was impos. sible to preserve it. .

Within a quarter of an hour north-east of Uaclóy, a considerable spring of carbonic acid bursts from the ground, depositing abundance of calcareous sinter. Our torches were quickly extinguished, and a fowl covered over with a cigar-box died in a few minutes, to the supreme astonishment of the Ygorrotes, to whom these phenomena were entirely new.

On the second day of rest, my poor hosts, who had accompanied

me back to Uaclóy, still felt so weary that they were not fit for any undertaking. With naked heads and bellies they squatted in the burning sun in order to replenish their bodies with the heat which they had lost during the bivouac on the summit; for they are not allowed to drink wine. When I finally left them on the following day, we had become such good friends that I was compelled to accept a tamed wild pig as a present. A troop of men and women accompanied me until they saw the glittering roofs

of Maguíring, when, after the exchange of hearty farewells, they returned to their forests.

The Indians whom I had taken with me from Goa had proved so lazy and morose that nearly the whole task of making the path through the forest had fallen upon the Ygorrotes. From sheer laziness they threw away the drinking water of which they were the porters ; and the Ygorrotes were obliged to fetch water from a considerable distance for our bivouac on the summit. In all my troublesome marches, I have always done better with

Cimarrons than with Indians. Cuadrillero.

The former I have found An armed escort fully equipped (hat, shirt, drawers, obliging, trustworthy, active

and acquainted with localities, while the latter generally displayed the opposite qualities. It would, however, be unjust to form a conclusive opinion as to their comparative merits from these facts; for the barbarians are at


home when in the forest; what they do is done voluntarily, and the stranger, when he possesses their confidence, is treated as a guest. But the Indians are reluctant companions, Polistas, who, even when they receive a high rate of wages, consider that they are acting most honourably when they do as little as possible. At any rate, it is no pleasure to them to leave their village in order to become luggage-porters or beaters of roads on fatiguing marches in impracticable districts, and to camp out in the open air under every deprivation. For them, still more than for the European peasant, repose is the most agreeable refreshment. The less comfort any one enjoys at home, the greater is the reluctance with which he leaves it; and the same thing may be observed in Europe.

As the Igorots were not permitted to have coconut palms to make wine, vinegar and brandy, so that they might not infringe the hacienda’s monopoly.

They showed me a petition asking me for my commments. The document was put together by an native writer in so ludicrously confused a manner that I give it as a specimen of Philippine clerkship.*

At all events, it had the best result, for the petitioners were accorded twice as much as they had prayed for.

The south-west monsoon lasts in this region (district of Goa) from April to October. April is very calm (navegacion de señoras). From June to August the south-west winds blow steadily;

March, April, and May are the driest months. There are shifting winds in March and the beginning of April; while from October to December is the time of storms; “ S. Francisco (4th October) brings bad weather.” Rice is planted in September and reaped in February