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
Tagalian merriness

Life in Manila during the dry season was described to us as exceedingly agreeable and gay. Then almost every evening joyous groups thread the city singing and joking, while from every hut resounds some snatch of melody accompanied by the guitar. We had a slight foretaste of the joviality which must prevail in Manila during the delicious summer evenings from the joyous disposition manifested by the various Tagal families, even during the wet season, when the almost incessant rain, and the swampy state of the streets, compelled the natives to remain crowded in the narrow rooms of their poor little huts. In St. Miguel, a hamlet in the immediate neighbourhood of Manila, with a number of country seats of wealthy foreigners and natives, we repeatedly heard the sweet plaintive notes of the native women singing Tagal ditties, which for pathos and thrilling tenderness surpassed all we had hitherto heard or read of the talents of the coloured races for song and melody.

We shall be able in the Appendix to give the notes of a very characteristic melody, the words of which form a very favourite popular song (Condiman), which we ultimately succeeded in taking down through the kindness of Senor Balthasar Girandier of Manila.

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