CALAMBA TO BARCELONA -- 1 MAY to 16 JUNE 1882

[Aboard the Salvadora] 7th day (9 May -- Tuesday)

We are many here:

Mr. and Mrs. Salazar -- 2
Morlan and wife -- 2
Children of this gentleman -- 4
His brother -- 1
Godínez and wife -- 2
Children -- 3
Medina and wife -- 2
Children -- 2
Ortíz and wife -- 2
Children -- 5
Buil -- 1
Barco -- 1
Mr. Medina's cousin -- 1
A merchant of something -- 1
José Mercado -- 11
Servants -- 5
An Englishman: Mr. Croales -- 1
Mr. Pardo (Vicente)-- 1

Total -- 37

They are 13 men, 10 women, and 14 children.

Almost all the men speak ill of the country [Philippines] to which they go for pecuniary motives. However, I have not heard Messrs. Godínez, Morlan, Medina, Buil, and Pardo say the least injurious word about the ill-governed colony. The last one principally, the present mayor of Barótac Viejo, defends on many occasions many things that the others vituperate. At least, he is grateful. The others who made their fortune there, who had spent there years and years voluntarily or freely, and who are now retiring with more money than good feelings, are bitter. I don't know why they have the poor taste to suffer such a martyrdom. It is true that they are getting gold and I believe that for it they are capable of anything.

The women exceed the men much more. In comparison with the women, the defamers are lyric poets. If they are to be believed, Spain is a paradise where the most stupid is a genius in virtue, talent, and wisdom compared with the others and in the Philippines not even one useful atom could be found, because God lost there His providential wisdom. Even towards the other countries they have the same attitude. However, when we transferred to the mail boat of the Messageries Maritimes, they praised it somewhat, but there is always at bottom an element of self praise.

The children are making much noise. The crew say that never had they had it like this.

The steamship Salvadora, according to our information, is two hundred feet from stern to prow. It is quite pretty and clean. Its special features which attract attention are some beautiful cabins and four or five large boats. It runs from seven to eight miles an hour.

The captain, Mr. Donato Lecha, is an Asturian, dutiful, young and with a face beaming integrity. He is affable, a man of few words, much more refined than his other countrymen and colleagues that I have met. His assistant, who is a young Andalucían, is a smart and intelligent chap.

At this moment it is raining. The sea is now as calm as yesterday. We see nothing but a distant mountain on the northwest. The sea has a beautiful green color and with the foam which the ship makes, I'm reminded vaguely of my childhood.

We can now discern clearly several islands. The lighthouse looks to us like a lyrical flame. Later, still clearer, it resembles somewhat San Nicolás1 only it stands on some rocks.

We see more clearly vessels, houses, vegetation, highways, chimneys -- all that an active city has. The port pilot came later. We stop. A crowd of Indians, Malays, and Englishmen flocked to the boat, offering in a language that they alone can understand carriages, changing gold for silver etc., etc. One changed my fifteen pesos gold for silver and three pesetas. At last I disembark and hire a carriage to take me to La Paz Hotel.

SINGAPORE (SINGAPURA)

I'm in my room which overlooks a patio adjoining the Hotel Europa. I hear English spoken everywhere. I'll remember everything I have seen since this afternoon.

When I got down the boat and proceeded to the carriage, the Indian driver said to me "Nam, nam," asking for a plaque on which was written a number that he had handed me. It was his. At last I gave it to him and we left.

Two large coal warehouses, but large ones, stand at the landing; then, well-built streets; plants on the sides; Chinese-style houses; crowds of Indians of Herculean figures; Chinese; a few Europeans; and very, very few Chinese women. Shops everywhere with advertisements in English and Chinese; most lively men. The carriages resemble the tres por ciento3 drawn by one horse. Some of these are large and some are very small. I have not yet seen pretty houses like those in the Philippines. We pass before the Malabar temple, the Muslim, and the Chinese. We saw the police headquarters, and returning to the hotel, I saw the Protestant church in Gothic style. Afterward I got down at the Hotel de la Paz where my driver charged me one duro4 as fare. They accompanied me upstairs and a Chinese took me to my room. The Chinese has a charming and honest-looking countenance, rare among the Chinese in my country.

An Englishman, who knew a little Spanish, received me kindly and argued with the driver to whom I had given only half a duro. A crowd of these Indians besieged me, offering me a million things.

I didn't buy anything except a comb and a cane for two pesetas.

I have forgotten to say that on our arrival many Malayan children came in bancas (canoes), saying to us "A la mer, a la mer, aller," so that we would throw them coins. Astonishing are their skill and agility; they are like fishes. For two cents (cuartos) they jump into the water and pick them up.

I went down to the inn and I found the majordomo, a sort of Lala-Ary5 who speaks Spanish, English, French, Malayan, and German, and he explained to me several things. I went to the Protestant church and I saw there a holy-water basin and a child carried by a lady and several Englishmen. There was a minister. I saw also many ladies who were seated. I sat down also and read the Bible a little. The good thing in there was the many punkahs6 which served as fans for the faithful. There was a holy image. I went out later and took a walk.

Almost everybody rides except the poor Chinese. I saw the court where many Englishmen were playing ball; a magnificent carriage drawn by two beautiful, big, black horses, with two English drivers and inside the Maharajah of Lahore -- an old stout man, respectable-looking and garbed in European style but wearing a sort of apron. I have seen a Chinese woman with the smallest feet; but I didn't see either Indian women or Malayan. I asked about them and I was told they stayed at home.

Tomorrow I'll visit the town.

There are many carriages for hire. I'm surprised to find the streets bordered with trees and many...on both sides. The town is rather pretty.

When I returned to the hotel, I waited a long time for supper. At last it came after I had leafed through an illustrated German magazine with beautiful drawings.

The other diners were many Englishmen and Englishwomen and two Siamese young men whom anybody would say were Filipinos. The dinner was served by Chinese with my Indian Goinda as assistant and Tam, the majordomo, the Lala-Ary. There was neither order nor coordination in the service. In addition to the tumbler for drinking water there was a finger-bowl beside each plate. Two punkahs fanned the diners. Here I ate rice which was inferior to ours; the pineapples, though small, were sweet and tasted good; the banana, bad.

I have forgotten. A young Englishwoman as blonde as the one I met at my arrival. How I regretted that I did not know English! I remembered Dora7 each time I saw her. I imagined that the Conception8 by Dickens must look very much like her.

1The name in Rizal's passport, "Mercado" being the old family name of Rizal's father, Francisco Mercado, and Rizal a later addition.

2On the left bank of the Pasig River between Manila and Kalamba once stood the Church of San Nicolás, now in ruins.

3An old elegant vehicle in the Philippines used for pleasure.

4Short for peso duro, hard peso. It is the Spanish and Spanish-American peso or dollar.

5Lala-Ary was an Indian, owner of Fonda de Lala-Ary, a famous restaurant, formerly in what is now called Plaza del Conde and lastly on the Escolta, the site now occupied by the Philippine National Bank. Its name was later changed to Hotel Inglés and it moved to Alhambra Street, Ermita, Manila.

6Punkah in India is a large portable fan or a canvas-covered frame suspended from the ceiling for fanning a room.

7Dora, the name of a character in Charles Dickens' David Copperfield.

8A painting of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception.

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