Fabulous Philippines > Yesterdays in the Philippines > Chapter 6(d)


Manila Newspapers. General Blanco and the Archbishop.





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Our Manila papers consist of four pages, the first two of which are specially reserved for advertisements. Half of one of the inside leaves is likewise reserved, and the remaining half is covered with blocks full of gloomy sentiments which relate to the decease of this or that person, There is a little black frame of type around each square, and at the top is a cross, with a "R.I.P." or "D.O.M." under it. Below comes the name of the defunct, with hour, minute, day, and year of his birth and death, and below his virtues are extolled and his friends invited to pray for the repose of his soul. Every year, each person that has died the year before has his anniversary, both in church and in the newspapers; and when you recollect that out of a population of 350,000 a good many depart each twelvemonth, it is hard to see why the whole paper shouldn't consist of these notices. The other inside page contains the news, and we learn that a bad odor has been discovered up some side-street; that a dog fell into the river and was drowned; that a perfumery store has received a new kind of liquefied scent; that it will probably rain in some part of the island during the day; and that the band on the Luneta ought not to be frightened off merely by a few drops that fall from some passing cloud. And so it goes until the French or English mail comes in, and then the progressive dailies copy all the news they can find, out of the foreign papers, and serve it up cold, at one month

I met General Blanco, Governor of the islands, the other evening, and he seemed to enjoy the good music and good supper which one of our popular bank-managers and his wife provided for some of us in the occasion of a birthday. He is an elderly man, and kindly, and appears milder in disposition than would seem advisable for one occupying so important a position. I should think he might let some of those sharp-eyed little ministers of his run him, and he appears almost too modest, too kind-hearted, to be the ruler that he is. Suffice to say the General is modest in dress and modest in manner. He often walks up and down the Malecon promenade by the Bay in the afternoon, saluting everyone that passes, and when the vesper bells ring out the hour of prayer from one of the old churches inside the city walls he stops, remove his tall gray stove-pipe and, as do a host of other pedestrians, bows his head. To tell the truth he has little of the Spanish aspect about him and is just the kind of a man one would go up and speak to on the Teutonic or Campania. In sharp contrast is he to the Archbishop, who drives about behind his fine white horses and looks as keen as well-nourished. But who knows! Appearances are deceitful, and foolish he who trusts to them.


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