The Austrian Frigate Novara visits Manila in 1858

excerpts from
Karl Scherzer (1861)

  • Historical notes relating to the Philippines
  • From Cavite to Manila
  • The river Pasig
  • First impressions of the city
  • Its inhabitants
  • Tagales and Negritoes
  • Preponderating influence of Monks
  • Visit to the four chief monasteries
  • Conversation with an Augustine Monk
  • Grammars and Dictionaries of the idioms chiefly in use in Manila
  • Reception by the Governor-general of the Philippines
  • Monument in honour of Magelhaens
  • The "Calzada"
  • Cockfighting
  • "Fiestas Reales"
  • Causes of the languid trade with Europe hitherto
  • Visit to the Cigar-manufactories
  • Tobacco cultivation in Luzon and at the Havanna
  • Abáca, or Manila hemp
  • Excursion to the "Laguna de Bay"
  • A row on the river Pasig
  • The village of Patero
  • Wild-duck breeding
  • Sail on the Lagoon
  • Plans for canalization
  • Arrival at Los Banos
  • Canaoe trip on the "enchanted sea"
  • Alligators
  • Kalong Bats
  • Gobernador and Gobernadorcillo
  • The Poll-tax
  • A hunt in the swamps of Calamba
  • Padre Lorenzo
  • Return to Manila
  • The "Pebete"
  • The military Library
  • The civil and military Hospital
  • Ecclesiatical processions
  • Ave Maria
  • Tagalian merriness
  • Condiman
  • Lunatic Asylum
  • Gigantic serpent thirty-two years old
  • Departure
  • Chinese pilots
  • First glimpse of the Celestial Empire
  • The Lemmas Channel
  • Arrival in Hongkong Harbour
Preponderating influence of Monks

How little can be effected by forced amamlgamation of speech and manniers, is best illustrated by the late separation of Central and Southern America from the Spanish rule, although in most of these countries the majority of the people speak only Spanish, and are governed entirely in accordance with Spanish customs. Much better founded seems to us the observation that it was less the sword than the cross of Spain which brought the Philippines under the throne of Castile, and that the natives have become Spanish Christians, without being Spanish subjects. The entire Archipelago is nothing but one rich church domain, a safe retreat for the legion of Spanish monks, who are able to lord it here with restrained power. There is a Governor-general of the Philippines only so long as it pleases the Augustinian, Dominican, and Franciscan friars; and if ever an insurrection breaks out in the Archipelago, designed to shake off the Spanish yoke, there will be more than one monk to head the movem ent.

In a country where the cloister and its denizens interfere so arbitrarily in all the concerns of life, and impart to the capital itself, as indeed to the entire Archipelago, a character entirely peculiar to itself, religious establishments and their zealous occupants call for special consideration, and the reader need assuredly feel no surprise that we would begin the narrative of our visit to the capital of the Philippines by a description of its monasteries. In Manila these unfortunately are not, as they were in the middle ages, the nurseries of culture and civilization, of science and art, but rather give the impression of being simply huge establishments for the maintenance of zealous souls, weary of life, who wish to close their days of labour in tranquil contemplation, exempt from all anxiety.

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created: March 08, 1998
updated: March 08, 1998
APSIS Editor Johann Stockinger