Calamba to Barcelona

1 May to 16 June 1882




1 MAY to 16 JUNE 1882


1 May – Monday [01]

My brother woke me up at five o'clock in the morning to get ready for the trip. I rose up mechanically and arranged what I had to take with me.

My brother gave me 356 pesos which I should take with me. I asked my servant to call a vehicle to conduct me to Biñan. I dressed and while I was waiting for breakfast, the carromata [02] arrived. My parents had already awakened but not yet my sisters. I took a cup of coffee. My brother looked at me with sorrow; my parents knew nothing. Finally I kissed their hands. I was on the verge of crying! I went down hurriedly, bidding a mute goodbye to everything dear to me: Parents, brothers, house. I was forsaking them all. I passed by the house of my sister Neneng to ask her for a diamond ring, but I found her still sleeping. I proceeded on my way to the house of my sister Lucía. My brother-in-law [03] was already awake and I was expecting him to accompany me, but he did not. I proceeded on my way. The sun was beginning to rise.

Calamba's houses, her cultivated fields, her Makiling, all her simple and picturesque beauty -- all appeared to my eyes at those moments with an inestimable value.

When I thought that I was leaving my family behind, tears welled in my eyes. I felt I was drowning. The horse was nimble; my driver, silent and so was I. What thoughts! What sad reflections!

Oh, how much sacrifice for an ephemeral good! We reached Biñan soon. There I changed my vehicle, my new driver being Vicente, an old acquaintance. I gave Macario a peseta as a tip. This new driver, Vicente, is gay and loquacious. He recounted to me many things that I did not understand. He entertained me somewhat, but not altogether.

Thus we passed through San Pedro Tunasan, Muntinglupa, Las Piñas, and Parañaque until Malate. I gave him 3 pesos. I took another vehicle for Manila.

There I found Chengoy [04] with Dandoy. Chengoy told me he would give me my passport that same day. My uncle Antonio really came bringing me the passport. We went to Henry's [05] house to get my ticket and afterward we went shopping. That afternoon I ordered a lounging chair and then I wrote letters.

What a night that was! How distressful it was for me!

Shall I see my family, my father, mother, brothers, and brothers-in-law? Oh! One who has never left the bosom of his home; one who has left it amid a thousand loving goodbyes and farewells can consider himself happy.

(The ticket cost me...)

2 May -- Tuesday

My compadre, [06] Mateo Evangelista, one of those who had worked hard and helped me get my passport, arrived at seven o'clock. We went to see the ship Salvadora, anchored in the river. Its captain received us well, he being a friend of my compadre who had recommended me to him.

Afterward I called on Mr. Pedro A. Paterno who gave me a letter of recommendation to his friend Esquivel and asked me to take his picture to his brothers. I bade his family farewell and I took my other things.

In the afternoon I bade the Jesuit fathers goodbye. They gave me strong letters of recommendation to the Jesuit fathers in Barcelona. I owe much to this religion (Catholic), very nearly everything that I am. There I met a gentleman who voluntarily and kindly offered to recommend me also to his businessmen friends.

From there I went to say goodbye to my dear professor of drawing, Mr. Agustin Sáez, who regretted much my departure.

Later my uncle Antonio, Gella, and I with Rosauro de Guzman went together to take dinner at the Café Suizo. My old friend Chengoy could not join us as he was suffering from an eye ailment.

I went to the house of my friends the Valenzuela girls to bid goodbye. I found them dressed as they were about to go out to pay me a farewell visit. There I found the pictures and the tea which Paterno was sending to his brothers. As a souvenir they gave me a pot of biscuits and a box of chocolates, a gift of Capitana [07] Sánday, Leonor's [08] mother.

From there back to my house to finish the last preparations and to write letters.

3 May -- Wednesday

I woke up at five o'clock in the morning. I dressed and heard Mass in Sto. Domingo church. Perhaps the last one that I would hear in my country. Oh, what memories of my childhood and of my early youth!

Upon returning to my house, I took breakfast; I'm mistaken, I tried to eat, but I could not. I was somewhat lethargic. After a while my compadre came and took breakfast. The gifts of the good Capitana Sánday were served at the breakfast. I was sorry I could not take them along, for even a tiny piece.

We went down afterward: My uncle Antonio, Gella, my compadre, Chengoy, and I. Chengoy bade me farewell at the door. He could not go with us. I embraced this good and faithful friend. I felt I was going to collapse on account of sadness. We went in the direction of Magallanes where we found the Salvadora. We boarded it, and as my companions wanted to go away, I begged them not to leave me so soon. They gladly agreed to stay and they accompanied me until the bay.

There I tried to take advantage of the few moments left to talk and enjoy looking at them -- the last friends that I would see and to me represented my whole country and my family. How many services they rendered me, what solicitude!

Finally came the hour of separation. I couldn't speak. I embraced them twice and I would have liked to hold them embraced. How would it have been if they were my own family!

They moved away. I saw them walking away and I couldn't take my eyes off them until they turned around the Malecón. A thousand and one times they waved their handkerchiefs to me; I wanted to hold them with my eyes. Friends, who have been like my second family, who have worked indefatigably for my welfare, how can I pay you? I still remember what you said, "Be a man!" Well then, I'm a man, and that is why I weep. I weep on departing from my country, the seat of all my affection.

Tears are welling in my eyes but the cursed sense of honor holds them.

The ship weighs anchor at last: Its propeller moves sweeping the water and leaving behind it a lengthening wake. My motherland, my town, I leave you; you will disappear and I'll lose sight of you.

I take a pencil and though imperfectly, I like to fix on paper the shore of Manila.

My hand runs nimbly in obedience to my heart, and I draw.

But, in the meantime and little by little, the buildings were becoming smaller; their outlines were becoming confused, though their shadows acquired intensity forming a contrasting chiaroscuro. Later, only a forest of poles and numberless vague figures gilded by a most brilliant sun. That was my motherland, my dear motherland. There I left love and glory, parents who adore me, solicitous sisters, and a brother who watches over my family and me, and friends. Oh, yes! How many loves, how many hearts, which could have made me happy, and nevertheless I'm abandoning them! Will I find them on my return free, just as I have left them?

Leonores, [09] Dolores, [10] Ursulas, Felipas, Vicentas, Margaritas, and others: Other loves will hold your attention and soon you will forget the traveler. I'll return, but I'll find myself alone, because those who used to smile at me will save their charms for others more fortunate. And in the meantime I fly after my vain idea, a false illusion perhaps. May I find my family intact and afterward die of happiness!

Lunch time came. We are sixteen passengers: five or six ladies, many children, and the rest are gentlemen. I'm the only Indio. [11] We have also some unfortunate ones: Indian Negroes and Englishmen prisoners from Port Breton. No incident occurred during the luncheon.

The luncheon finished, I saw that we are opposite Mariveles. I took a look at it and continued writing. After sometime we saw Corregidor. These two mountains are nearly opposite each other. The Mariveles Mountain is beautiful and looks like mount Makiling of my province which brought back to me vivid memories of that poetic country.

Since this morning the weather has been beautiful; the sea, calm and fair, more than my dear Laguna. I sight other mountains whose names I don't know and should like to know. They are on the left of Corregidor. I inquire about their names and nobody can tell me. They say it is the Island of Luzón.

In sailing from Manila we pass between Mariveles and Corregidor. They pointed to me the Fraile and Monja islands, the Fraile at the right and the Monja on the left of Corregidor, looking westward. The water of the sea has a dark-blue color which fresh water does not have.

The passengers, who are all Europeans, are of various kinds. I have been talking a long while with one from Salamanca, a soldier in the Civil War who described to me some of the actions he had witnessed.

We have in front of us the Island of Mindoro.

An Englishman is traveling with us. He speaks Castilian well but he pronounces the words very badly. It seems that he has something in his mouth that is holding his tongue. He is tall and slender.

The sun is setting; its disk is scattering a vivid flame which is reflected on the rippled surface of the sea. The fanciful clouds tinted with vivid red, seemed like the dome of an incandescent grotto. Shadows are invading the East, lengthening themselves but losing in intensity as they neared the West.

We are sailing through an immense desert. Not a playing fish can be seen.

I've changed my suit. The one I'm wearing is the only woolen one I have which my good sister María made me. This reminds me that last year, at this time, we were traveling in a casco [12] in Laguna Lake -- my sisters Néneng, María, and Trining with Ursula, Victoria, and others -- en route to Páquil. How much time has already elapsed! At that time I was admiring the poetic places and highways in my country. Now I admire only the immensity of the sea.

The moon has risen from the water: reflections of the sun in the West and a round and most beautiful disk in the East. The gentle and cool breeze caresses my brow, bringing me aroma and freshness and makes the paper tremble. In my town perhaps they are looking at the same moon as I do. Perhaps my mother and my sisters, looking at it, are thinking of me as I'm thinking of them. If instead of looking at a point, our gazes would meet...

It is quite dark and I can't continue writing.

Let's meditate.

They have brought a lantern suspended from a rope. In its light I write these lines. Seated in my lounging chair, facing the moon, I see it rising slowly, glistening on the waves.

I remember the verse my mother used to recite:

Cuando en las ondas

De los vastos mares

Corría a sepultar

Sus rayos bellos

El Rubio Apolo, etc. [13]

Through the word ondas (waves) numerous thoughts assail my mind, all concerning my family and my hometown.

A lady is singing and dandling her son. Perhaps that was the way my mother dandled me.

I got sleepy.

2nd day of my sailing -- [Thursday] -- 4 May

Seasickness has begun today. I got seasick. Throughout the ship they do nothing but conjugate the verb marear (to be seasick) -- old men, children, men, and women do it. Nobody wants to confess that he is seasick, but the truth is many are.

"I've something like indigestion, but I'm not seasick." "No, oh no, sir, I'm not seasick. I've only a little headache."

I spent the day drawing and sleeping. I was feeling bad. Hardly have I eaten a spoonful.

A Spanish gentleman is traveling with us. He has a beard, eyeglasses, and wrinkled brow; he is tall, well dressed, and uncommunicative. Now and then he speaks to me. Despite his look, he is charming to me.

The sun set as yesterday, but the moon did not appear I until much later.

I fell asleep. I did not take supper. At midnight I went down to my berth.

3rd day -- Friday -- 5 May

I'm very seasick. I slept. I saw some large birds; they entertained me a little.

At lunch time we sat down at the table. I tried to eat; I did well. At the end of the luncheon, a waiter told me that sand banks could be seen. They are called the Shoals of La Plata. They are 440 miles from Manila; that is, we are at one-third of the way. They look like white bands from afar.

I'm less seasick. I feel better. At mealtime I wasn't so bad. A light rain at sunset.

Today I've counted the children and it seems to me they are twelve; the ladies, five; the men, about ten. The children are noisy.

Tonight Messrs. Barco, Morlan, Pardo, Buil, and others were conversing. They talked much about the government in the Philippines. Criticism flowed freely. I discovered that in my poor country all the Spaniards, friars and lay officials alike, are consumed with the desire to suck the blood out of the Indio. There might be exceptions, as they said, but they are rare. This is the source of great evils and enmity between those who quarrel over the same booty.

"I've been very frank," said Morlan, "and I've proven it to all of them. I'm not referring to their private morality; I speak only generally."

"The fact is," replied Pardo, "that for three days to date you have not spoken well of anybody."

Mr. Morlan did not like this and the discussion was taking a bad turn. It seemed that it was going to end badly. It was getting to be an insult. Finally, nothing happened. And gradually they dispersed to go to bed.

4th day (6 May -- Saturday)

The day began as before without any incident.

It seems that ill-feeling continues between Morlan and Pardo.

The ship is rocking less. We have seen the instrument for recording distance and the Captain, who graciously asked me about my health, told me that in nineteen hours we have traveled 156 miles and a fraction.

Tonight we played chess. I won three times. Afterward I saw the sea in the midst of darkness. Oh! There is a certain terrible menace in its frightful loneliness. It seems to be angry and crying for a victim. Unfortunate will be the one who falls into its waves in the midst of its immensity. It seems like a huge monster endowed with infinite life manifested by its continuous movement -- an all-mouth monster; that is, an immense gaping abyss par excellence.

Tonight my traveling companions saw my badly drawn sketches and little pictures. They like them very much. The ex-governor of Antique praised them highly and tomorrow I must make his picture.

We played chess. Mr. Buil, another man, and I conversed a long time.

Afterward we went to sleep.

5th day (7 May -- Sunday)

Today is Sunday and we have no Mass. There's no priest on board.

I have made many pictures today.

The children are making more noise than a battalion of cavalry making a charge.

We are going on better. The sea is almost as calm as when we left Manila.

6th day (8 May -- Monday)

The calm that reigns today is as complete as on the first day.

They say that we shall see the Natuna Islands where the steamer Gloria met its end five years ago. It is said that tomorrow we shall see Singapore. The passengers are gladdened by this news.

At half past three I saw mountains and islands which my companions pointed out to me. They presented on the southeast a beautiful view to us who have not seen land for days. A long chain of islands forming a sort of mountain range, they remind me of Talim Island with the Susong Dalaga [14] of my province. Over there a mountain of volcanic formation; farther away another which looked like Calamba -- all of them covered with exuberant vegetation. It is said that they are populated by savages, half-cannibals. The fact is the only sign of life that we could see is a Chinese sampan, perhaps a pirate vessel with all sails up and full wind.

Again I remember my family and my country. Will I see them again? Always the same question. If I don't see my parents again, if my supposed enlightenment should cost me my love, how would my repentance be? But the pain of the farewell seems less to me now. Oh, time! What mysterious remedy do you carry in your flight that you could heal any wound of the heart?

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 – 1 [15]

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 fortunes 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 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 crewmen 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 Austrian, 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 Nicolás [16] only it stands on some rocks.

We see more clearly vessels, houses, vegetation, highways, and 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 from 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 are everywhere with advertisements in English and Chinese; most lively men. The carriages resemble the tres por ciento [17] 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 duro [18] 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. Their skill and agility are astonishing; they are like fish. 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-Ary[19] 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 punkahs [20] 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 Dora [21] each time I saw her. I imagined that the Conception [22] by Dickens must look very much like her.

2nd day in Singapore (10 May -- Wednesday

I left the Philippines exactly one week ago today, and I'm already in a foreign country.

I've had a sad and frightful dream with all the appearance of reality. I dreamed that while in Singapore, my brother had died suddenly and I told my old mother about it who was traveling with me in the same boat. The dream was confirmed by Sor Catalina and then I had to return, leaving everything in this country. Why did I have that dream? I'm thinking of cabling my hometown to find out the truth; but I'm not superstitious. I left my brother strong and robust. It is true that I had a dream once that was fulfilled. Before the examination for the 1st year in Medicine, I dreamed that I was asked certain questions but I didn't mind them. When the examinations came, I was asked the questions in my dream. May God will that it might not happen thus! After the bath and the luncheon, I hired a carriage for a day and I went around the town.

The first that I saw were two beautiful houses of Chinese in European style, surrounded by walls and trees. I made the carriage stop in front of a Chinese building decorated with dragons and paintings. I entered. I was equipped by Goinda with some English words. With these I entered a kind of small garden among columns and pedestals. Numerous beautiful plants and a variety of flowers, planted with symmetry and order; cages at the two extremes; in one of them were pheasants, a kind of turkey, and other birds beside; in the other, spotted deer and peacocks. I came out and got into the carriage to continue my tour.

My driver, whose name is Nija, he said, pointed out to me an English building, then a French church. There I stopped and went down. To reach it one crosses a beautiful garden, but I found it closed. From there to the Portuguese church; the same, it was closed, but the garden is less beautiful.

Running, running we reached the gas factory: a building, all new to me. I entered but I saw nothing nor could I get into the interior. After this, a magnificent Chinese temple, which was about to be finished. I entered it: Large and tall pillars painted the color of coffee; three altars with painted idols; in the middle is a genie blowing stones over a dragon; paintings, sculptures, and good bas-reliefs. In the patio is a little tower of live rock which is charming.

Afterward, through many streets and shops of fish, fruits, and a thousand enigmatic things. After having seen two beautiful markets, the like of which cannot be found in Manila, I saw the magnificent house of the American consul with the flag aloft. I visited also a large school for Chinese, Malays, Indians, and Englishmen. It is a magnificent building and there are many students. The palace of the Rajah of Siam is also notable and has a small iron elephant and whatnot on the pedestal placed in front of the building.

My carriage crossed a beautiful hanging bridge and we reached a lively place. Beautiful European buildings, shops, show-windows, etc. It is the Escolta of the town. The banks and a Japanese curio bazaar are located there. In all the houses there are fountains with faucets. In a certain way this is more advanced than the Philippines.

I told the driver to take me to the Messageries Maritimes, but as he could not understand me, I had to return to the inn and ask the majordomo how to say in English Messageries and he taught me a cabalistic phrase which I repeated to the driver who understood it as if it were his brother. He went then running and from there I returned to the inn, telling the driver to come back at three.

An hour later, we took luncheon and then I took the carriage in the company of Goinda, the young Indian, who taught me how to shop. Following that, I went to the Botanical Garden, seeing on the way the Armenian cemetery. The entire road is beautiful, shaded by trees; beautiful bridges, and charming houses.

I reached (10 minutes) the garden located on a hill, as the majority of the constructions in Singapore are. Its cleanliness and orderliness are admirable; numerous plants with their labels beside them, well tended by Malays. One climbs up through a clean path with canals on the sides until one reaches a poorly inhabited cage, for it had only one cockatoo, one parrot, and other little birds. I found beside it a Chinese woman with an English boy. I continued walking, admiring those trees which charmed me and I entered a kind of storehouse with numerous varieties of parasitic and air plants, most beautiful and rare. I met there a Malay who could not understand me. I went out looking for mammals, for I believed there were some and I found only a kind of cage-storehouse where I saw in different compartments two superb peacocks, an eagle, two marabous, turkeys and Guinea hens, blue birds similar to the hoopoe in plumage, wild pigeons, cockatoos, and other birds whose names I didn't know. I met another Malay, and as he could not understand me, I drew a cow and showed it to him and he replied: Tadar. Tired of looking for it, I approached an Englishman who was playing with his dog. I greeted him and asked him for the zoological garden. He replied that there was none. I went away then, looked for a coach, and went back.

I met on my way several English girls, some of whom were quite pretty, many coaches, and strollers. I stopped to watch the ball game and then told my driver, remembering what Mr. Buil taught me, steamer, meaning I wished to be taken to a boat. He understood me and we left.

It was my intention to transfer my luggage to the Djemnah but they told me in the Salvadora that it was impossible, because of certain regulations of the English.

I returned to the inn fretting and gave the driver two duros for my whole trip that day. It must be noted that yesterday for one trip alone; I paid $1.20 (2.50).

After a while they called us to supper and I had the luck to sit beside a drunken Englishman. He was talking in French so that we conversed. He was drunk like a toper and he repeated to me the same phrases. At last, we understood each other. He hardly ceased talking until the end of the supper when I had the chance to sneak away and to leave him alone. After a short walk, I went up to my room to write.

At two o'clock in the afternoon, after luncheon, we went to the pier to board the Djemnah. We spent two pesos for the fare as well as for the use of the coach that day.

Installed in my cabin, I went up to the deck and there I found the courteous Messrs. Salazar and Pardo who called me and greeted me, asking me about my health. Our conversation dealt naturally about the excellence of the Djemnah. It surpasses all praise and all the descriptions that I could make of it, I believe, will be pale. It is enough to say that everything is shiny for its cleanliness: copper, iron, zinc, and wood. The ship is large, very large; its length must be some one hundred fifty varas [23] and its width about ten or twelve. The cabins are very beautiful, clean and well ventilated. Each has a light, curtains, basins, mirror, etc. The floor is covered with rugs; there are large halls; the comfort rooms, very clean; the bathrooms, excellent. In short, according to those who have traveled much, it is impossible to ask for more. As I go examining the ship more slowly I'll make better observations.

Great orderliness prevails. There are a large number of passengers -- English, French, Dutch, Spaniards, Malays, Siamese, and Filipinos. It is said that there is a Siamese prince aboard.

The service is unsurpassable. All the stewards are attentive, courteous, and smart. There is a good and pretty library.

This afternoon, during the luncheon, at which we were served pheasants and raspberry, there sat beside me a Dutchman who spoke many languages except Spanish. We conversed in French and thus I'm learning it.

2nd day (12 May 1882 [-- Friday])

This morning it rained heavily. The sea was agitated but it does not rock the ship yet. We met one ship which is quite large, although smaller than the Djemnah; but we left it behind in less than a quarter of an hour. Traveling with us, I'm told, are one Frenchman, forty Dutch, several English and Spaniards, and many Siamese. The last ones are very mischievous and as yet little civilized. The little ones speak a jargon of their own and do nothing but laugh.

I'm reading Walter Scott's Charles the Bold, which is in French.

This morning, after breakfast, the Dutch played a game similar to tabilla. The Dutch girls, who are pretty and approaching the age of puberty, helped them by picking up the disks from the floor. Seeing these girls in their beautiful attire run after the disks to hand them to the players is surprising to one who is familiar with Spanish arrogance.

During the dinner, the conversation was in French. More and more I observe the exquisite service that we have here. Very early in the morning the boy cleans all the shoes and he is always at our service.

The berths have spring beds which are very cool. The cleaning is carefully done and everywhere can be seen the most fastidious tidiness.

The Siamese have told me in semi-English, mimic jargon, that they are Buddhists and not Christians.

Everything that is happening here is amusing. I'm with a German, an Englishman, and a Dutchman. I realize that this is a small Babel.

3rd day (13 May -- Saturday)

The ship is beginning to waggle; that is, to rock with more gracefulness. I'm seasick. From time to time it showers.

4th day (14 May -- Sunday)

I had a sad dream. I imagined that I was traveling with my sister Neneng and that we had reached a port. We disembarked, but as there were no boats, we had to wade to the shore. They said that there were many crocodiles and sharks there. When we reached land, the ground was sandy, but planted in some parts, and was full of vipers, snakes, and serpents. And on the path leading to my house there were many hanging boas, some were tied but were alive and menacing and the others dead. My sister and I were walking, she ahead and I behind. We were following one another. Sometimes we came across the dead ones; the live ones tried to get us but could not. But, at the end of that line, a real serpent, tied but menacing and angry, obstructed the road, leaving only a very small space to walk on. My sister succeeded to pass through, but I, despite my carefulness, was caught on the shirt and pulled. Because of my weakness, I looked for some support to hold on and I found none. I felt I was coming close to it and its tail seemed about to coil me. In the midst of my futile efforts, when I saw death in the form of loathsome rings, Pedro, the town carpenter, arrived who, with one blow, separated it from me. I escaped the danger and we reached the house. I no longer recall whose it was.

The following day I had another dream less frightful, but saddening. Imagine upon reaching Point Galle, I don't know why it occurred to me to return to my town confident that I could overtake the boat at Colombo. I saw my parents and they did not mention to me at all my trip and after my visit with them, I thought of continuing my journey. How great was my disappointment when I remembered that I had to start all over again, that I would not overtake the French mail boat and that I lacked money! To have to cross again the sea until Colombo when I should have been in Europe! I borrowed another one hundred pesos, resigned to stay in the fourth class. I was very sad and disappointed when a traveling companion came to me. But I woke up and I was in my berth. What could these dreams mean?

I mention these because they were the most notable things that happened to me until Point Galle, except the aforesaid seasickness which prevented me from eating one day. Let no one call me faint-hearted and superstitious, because I'm only recording my trip.

My contact with the foreigners is increasing. At last Wednesday came and the first thing we saw early in the morning was Point Galle.

Point Galle

Tropical vegetation formed by the elegant palm in the midst of which rise some small buildings; a sea that strikes the steep rocks producing abundant white foam. Perhaps Ithaca looked like this to the traveler, and some crafts swaying gently. Sailor, is this Ceylon, is that Point Galle, now English colony, formerly Dutch?

The engine is slowing; the port pilot arrives, and a quarter of an hour afterwards, we anchor.

Narrow canoes cut through the waters of the sea, but they are so narrow that they can hold only one man. Wide boats manned by Indians, some of whom come aboard, now offering us money, now to launder our clothes, and other things of the kind.

Are you going ashore? Here is the question that they ask one another.

The three Dutchmen and I went down. A wide boat took us ashore. The round trip cost one rupee.

We stopped at a kind of wooden pier and I saw a fort built by the Dutch. Above the gate can be seen the coat of arms of the Order of the Garter. We entered and took a coach.

First we saw the Protestant church, then the post office, and we went around the citadel. Her appearance was gloomy, but very gloomy, small houses on narrow streets, very even streets but with few people; here and there several Indians and children seated or sheltered in the dark doors. An excessive sadness reigned over the city whose inhabitants used to be numerous. Several pretty English houses, but not so cheerful, attract the attention of the traveler. We went out to the suburbs. Our coach was going well. The cicerone was very talkative and by what I understood we saw the English cemetery, Catholic church, Muslim mosque, and several schools. Numerous elegant coconut trees are seen on both sides of the street, mixed with small banana trees, tall nanca [24] trees, and breadfruit with broad leaves. The general appearance of Point Galle is picturesque but lonely and quiet and at the same time sad. At times the road is on the border of a precipice; other times it forms a small but long valley between the mountains. The Indian houses are made of clay and stone and inside them can be seen women who perhaps look too masculine, but handsome. They are dressed like the women of my country, though without the picturesque neckerchief and the well-known cleanliness. I saw a belle with large eyes and beautiful features on top of a high hill which rose on the road. She reminded me of Samtala (?). She was under the elegant palm, watching us pass by. What beautiful idylls and what terrible plots must take place under that swaying dome of the coconut trees! The Indians wear their hair long and gathered. They don't shave before puberty; it is difficult to distinguish by the face alone the two sexes. Children follow our coach asking for money and greeting us. I have never seen such beautiful and expressive eyes! (The drive cost one rupee.)

Afterward we went to the Oriental Hotel where I found several fellow passengers. While I was writing to my family, the time for lunch came. After this was over, I resumed my letter-writing. But my companions invited me for a drive and I went with them. We went to see the cinnamon garden. On the way were very beautiful, lonely landscapes and again coconut plantations.

The garden had nothing special, excepting the meddlesome keeper and the river which, it was said, was full of crocodiles. A dried one of these was hanging in a kind of pavilion. The cinnamon trees are like ours in the Philippines. They offered us some little pieces of stone of different colors.

We visited the temple of Buddha. We found the Indians prostrate with the forehead touching the floor, responding to a kind of mournful prayer. We entered and saw first notable fresco paintings in Egyptian style and afterwards large idols, that of Buddha being the largest, which must be about eight varas long, reclining, but with open eyes which were made of emeralds, costing $50 gold. Different kinds of flowers and bonga [25] were the offerings. We left alms.

From there we went around and on the way I was told that that was Paradise.

I finished my letters and took them to the post office where I was cheated. It should cost half a peseta hut I was charged one and a half peseta.

The Buddhist priests who visited the Siamese were received by these very respectfully. They were wearing ordinary dress.


Boat --                  6$

Inn --            1 -- 7$

Postage --      1 -- 1$

Coach --         1 -- 1$

[Total] --              3 -- 15$

From Point Galle to Colombo

18 May

We weighed anchor at seven o'clock and half an hour later we were sailing away from Point Galle towards the north. At the very beginning the waves were rebellious so much so that they went over the ship's deck. Frequent and strong squalls, added to the light movement of the ship, often placed us in amusing postures and taught us a new kind of gymnastics. The children cried; the women remained seated; and the men balanced themselves.

At last, at 1:00 we sighted Colombo with its port and beautiful view. The breakwater, a meter above the water level, was well inside and elegant and tall buildings in the distance were inviting to the curious and tired traveler. Several crafts, steamers, and ships were waiting in the bay.

Some launches, loaded with coffee, anchored beside our ship and their crew began snatching a certain cable. Their numerous crewmen engaged in a grand dispute -- grand at least, judging by the many words and numerous gestures with which they threatened one another. Many of us went to watch them. At last, after urging this one, threatening the other, one further away intervening, taking away the pole from the other -- after these preliminaries, two grappled, as everybody expected, and afterwards they separated upon getting tired. Needless to say, there was no bloodshed or anything of the kind. I didn't know how the dispute ended or who the winner was. The fact was that one of the little crafts got hold of the disputed cable and everything ended there.

Among those who went to see them was a young man named Jorab -- Dutch by birth -- who was going to Europe to finish or to study law. It was very amusing how, on the sly, he went after a girl who had been the object of his attentions since yesterday. Now and then I looked at them and I noted that the girl had already understood him, but my conjectures went no further.

The weather became a little calm which permitted the passengers to go down and visit Colombo, for many had not yet seen it. I, perhaps one of the most curious, went ashore also in one of the narrowest canoes. I was alone because the roguish boatman would not admit more. Four Spaniards, companions and fellow passengers, had gone ahead of me.

On the way I observed the port's breakwater, which was the name of a kind of curved dike above the water to break the waves and prevent them from disturbing the tranquil bay. This made me think of Manila.

I was greatly distressed, fearing that my companions had left me behind, as it seemed to me in fact, when I was still in the canoe, seeing them climb in a coach and going away. How disappointed I was in knowing as I did that the city I was going to visit was English and probably no one would understand me. But fortunately they left an Indian guide or cicerone dressed in white who, through signs and mimicry, made me understand that my companions had gone to the hotel (Grand Oriental Hotel).

After going through some muddy streets, very much like those of Manila and admiring several large buildings, perhaps made like those in Europe, my guide, boatman, and I reached the hotel where I found my companions.

Mr. Ortiz, who was in charge of the expenses, paid the boatman, and after ordering meals for six, we took coaches, I, alone in one, and went around the town.

Colombo is more beautiful, smart, and elegant than Singapore, Point Galle, and Manila, though with less bustle than the last two. As I have said the buildings are grand. We stopped first at the post office. Near there I saw a well-molded life-size statue of Sir Edward Barnes. The posture is excellent but the folds of the cloak seemed to me too stiff.

In front of the telegraph building is the Savings Bank, and another beautiful building. As we went along, we were more and more satisfied and pleased. The guide who rode in my coach explained to me the various buildings as we passed them.

Some temples which we could not visit for lack of time; the barracks of the regiment where we saw soldiers in red jacket and black trousers; the hospital; the officers' barracks where we saw a tiger's skin and a lighthouse clock tower, which was next to the telegraph building; the Galle Face Hotel; beautiful private houses; the district where many of the houses belonged to Italians. We passed by the seashore where the waves broke its fury into abundant foam. Long streets bordered with trees among which I saw the camachile [26] and the eternal coconut trees; the cemetery and the botanical garden, not as well taken care of as that of Singapore; and finally the museum.

This beautiful building stood in the center of the garden. It was white, in European style. Its walls and pillars were covered with lead and there was a statue in front of it. The entrance is through a beautiful and simple front. On the ground floor were numerous stuffed sharks, many..., very big sawfish, some more than six or seven varas long; a spearfish at the left; idols; weapons; different images of Buddha; curious objects of the country; and Indian masks for dances, vying in ugliness, several of which resembled the Roman masks for having one half different from the other. What is the explanation for the similarity between the Indian and Roman masks? Had there been some relations between them? A beautiful column of blue marble stood in the middle. It seemed that it was going to be used in the house of the Maharajah of Ceylon, according to the label in English. It was of one piece. Numerous monoliths, plaques, idols, stone elephants, a big cannon, etc.

On the second floor, four or five big turtles; big skeletons of carabaos and two of whole elephants, one of which still carried the bullet that hit it, and two even bigger skulls of these pachyderms, another of a wild boar, porcupine, monkey, etc.; and several stuffed deer. Porcupines, wild boars, many fishes, locusts, alligators, and crocodiles, etc., bronze and gold idols of Buddha, gems, numerous insects, reptiles, and birds.

Satisfied we went down to the garden and saw two live peacocks. I was sorry I could not see the statue because it was raining.

We proceeded to the hotel.

I have observed here in Singapore, as in Point Galle, that the birds, including the crows, go near men.

We reached the hotel, which was of four stories with the ground floor, where I saw a beautiful picture, copy of Gustave Doré's [27] painting portraying a night on the circus arena. The painting is a masterpiece. In the midst of the darkness of the night various cherubs descend to the inanimate bodies of the martyrs, food for wild beasts. The whole is very beautiful, worthy of its author.

As it was not yet time for supper, we went around some shops of pipes and other manufactured articles. Ebony and ivory elephants, boxes of tortoise shell and porcupine, canes, and jewelry were the most notable things we saw.

As it was getting dark we returned to the hotel. We entered the dining hall, which was large and. beautiful. Two majestic punkahs and excellent service. Besides the exquisite and heavy dishes they served us, a new kind of dish placed on top of a container for hot water attracted the attention of everyone. Ten years ago I saw one like it in Barretto's house.

We changed some money and in the midst of the rain we proceeded to the ship, afraid that it might leave us behind. We found at last a boat, manned by three persons who were chanting. It was a worthwhile spectacle to see the sea at flight jumping over the breakwater and scattering an extensive layer of foam.

We reached the boat at last. When I saw Nievenhing, he told me an unpleasant thing. They were three -- the engineer, the judge, and the sailor -- all Dutch. They had a dispute, they fought, and they were going to have a duel. My friend asked me not to tell anybody and I promised. It seemed to me that they were all drunk.

From Colombo to Guardafui

Continual seasickness in the midst of continuous rain and unpleasant rocking. The voyage lasted an eternity, for we have had to change our course to escape the bad weather from which we were finally delivered. During these seven days, we had our cabins closed.

But on the morning of the 26th, the sea began to get calm and we sighted the African coast. Greetings, inhospitable land but famous, alas, at the cost of the blood of your sons! Until the present your name has been associated in my mind with terror and horrible carnage. How many conquerors had invaded your land! We saw the places where sank the Hey-Kon and other ships ran aground.

The Cape of Guardafui is an arid, dry rock, without a single leaf -- its base of varied colors is beautiful.

Several fishes play on the surface of the water, amusing the passengers with their movements. The passengers look gayer, induced naturally by the good weather. The heat is noticeable.

Night comes, but at this moment it is delightful. The sky is illumined. The half-moon shines, if not as clear as in the Philippines, at least it is poetic. The sea is calm and the ship in rapid movement cuts quietly the surface of the water. Some are strolling, others are meditating.

A young man plays the piano; there is dancing and entertainment on the deck. I hear it while looking at the sea.

Oh, Thou, Spirit Creator, Being that had no beginning who seeth and sustaineth all things in Your mighty hand; I salute Thee and bless Thee! Over there on the other side of the seas shower life and peace on my family and reserve for me the sufferings. [28]

After the tea, there was singing to the music of the piano. Delightful was the concert of the human voice, the sound of metal produced by human touch, and that of nature personified by the sea. And all this facing African territory.

The following day was tranquil, but it was a calm that burned. The voyage has been good, and at night, which was like the one before it, we arrived at Aden at about eleven and a half.


When we got up from our berths, the first thing we saw was Aden; that is, some houses of whimsical shape, white, spread over rocky mountains totally devoid of life. Neither one leaf nor even one root.

Boats and canoes approached the ship to load and unload cargo. Canoes with children in them begging for coins to be thrown to them. Numerous peddlers, money-changers, and new passengers. Everywhere ostrich and marabou feathers, fans of different shapes, etc. -- altogether forming a topsy-turvy and shifting mass.

The inhabitants are different from those in Asiatic colonies -- they are black and a light color is rare. It is true that the Indians of Singapore and Ceylon are also as black as coal, but they lack the glossiness that the Africans have. The type is also different -- their eyes are not so deep-set and the face is oval. The hair is curly and woolly; among some it is blonde which, at first sight, looks like a wig. Their teeth are very white. And their language does not have many vowels as that of the Indians, but abounds in guttural sounds. After breakfast, at which we were served oysters, we went ashore in a boat manned by Negroes. It was very hot and it was necessary to wear smoked glasses. Upon stepping on African soil for the first time, I felt a shuddering whose cause I ignore. The soil, hard and sandy, heated by that very brilliant and ardent sun, emits burning steam.

We climbed a coach drawn by an Arabian horse and we began to drive through a wide road marked on both sides by white rocks placed at equal distance. The same monotony. Absolutely not one plant or even grass. Only one wretched hut, made of four poor posts with grass roof, sheltering an unfortunate family, enlivened with the agony of death those deserts. The lord of creation, man, compelled by terrible necessity, lives there where plants do not want to live.

Soon we left the road to climb up slope after slope until we reached a granite fortress, built by the English. Afterward, an open path through high rocks, crowned with a bridge of granite also. After a while we reached the town. The houses were low, white outside and dark inside. The general form was a series of arcades outside, then a wall with a door, and the interior.

Numerous camels and donkeys loaded with water, hay, boxes, etc. walked slowly, led by an African. This reminded me of the journey of the wise men of the East.

The coach stopped and the driver showed us in his own language some little trees which were well tended but rickety, and indicated that the water reservoirs were in that place. We went down and we were met by the policeman who guarded them. On the gate is a sign prohibiting picking flowers and damaging the plants. What flowers? The dying well deserve to be taken care of.

The heat was extreme. We climbed up and at the right we saw a reservoir formed by the mountain slope and a granite wall, whitewashed with chalk ... perhaps. Then we went to see another reservoir, one of which by its magnitude, depth, and shape, reminded me of Dante's inferno. It could be regarded as such by the heat there. This reservoir, which is the principal one, is divided by several circles until the bottom. One circle is connected with the next by well-made and finished granite steps. A wide wall separated the reservoir from a smaller one; the wall led to a tunnel which we found closed. On one side were pumps and a bower. The works looked grand and imposing -- nature and man cooperating in their work. There was a deep well which was said to be more than two hundred feet deep; in fact, the bottom could not be seen. We left while other visitors were arriving. On our way back we passed through a fairly long tunnel; there was complete darkness in the middle of it. After this, another tunnel not so long. And afterward we proceeded to the beach. On the way we saw ostrich eggs in the shops, skins of lions, tigers, and leopards, stuffed fish, and other articles. At one shop we were served lemonade on a dirty table in tumblers which had just been used by others. They cut the ice with a nail and served it with their hands. Children came in and fanned us for a few cents.

We left and returned to the boat. The heat was unbearable. At eight twenty-one we sailed towards the Red Sea. Oh! This sea will give us pleasant moments.

From Aden to Suez

We are in the Red Sea. On the first day the temperature was fairly warm and it was very calm, so that we were able to run 300 miles or more. During this time we met several ships going in the opposite direction. The sea was fairly rough but it did not rock the ship. Only yesterday we passed a ship, which could be the Barcelona, going in the same direction as we were.

Last night, illumined by the moon, we saw an arid island. It was a very beautiful and fantastic spectacle. We passed very near it.

When we woke up this morning, it was fairly cold, as in the Philippines during the months of November and December.

At half past twelve of the 2nd of June, we arrived at Suez where we found between the coasts of Africa and Arabia ships in quarantine. We were also quarantined for 24 hours. They brought us cherries, berries, etc. Suez is a small town situated on the right bank of the Canal.

Tonight the moon rose up in the midst of the solitude of the sea; its steady and silent passage through the pure blue of the skies reflected a golden current over the tranquil waves of the sea. Beautiful and bewitching, it reminded me of my native land ... Oh! How many are now gazing at you! Alas! And only in you will our thoughts meet! Oh! If your gilded and brilliant disk could only reflect my loving sentiments on the beautiful land of my country! Fortunate are you who can see and dwell in the immense spaces; now you bathe with your silvered light the hospitable roof of my parents! Blessed are you, silent queen of the night, celestial body of love and gentle melancholy! I have always loved you. [30]

3 June -- Saturday

This is the anniversary of the earthquake which set back my country in an incredible manner; learned men, talents, and wealth disappeared. Let us pray to God.

It was fairly cold this morning when we woke up. The thermometer registered 20o. An Egyptian merchant who was embarked in a boat is a soldier. He was bringing merchandise and he wanted to approach our boat to do business.

The officer in charge refused to allow him and there ensued a dispute, supported by the tenacity of the Turk and the severity of the quarantine. It is worthwhile to see the stubbornness of the follower of the Koran. When he finally gave up, he went away throwing insults at the Frenchmen.

At about eleven or before, the doctors came to disinfect our ship. One of them, the same one who came yesterday in a boat -- fairly smart, courteous, and well-bred -- brought us the news about the present disturbance in Egypt. The Khedive, according to what I have heard, is a prisoner of the Minister of War Arabi-Bey [31] who, it seems, wants to execute a coup d'état. Everybody, the troops and the youth, seemed to be on the side of this young man who has won the goodwill of all. When I spoke with the doctor about this and expressed some of my opinions, he answered me with marked satisfaction, saying at every pause: "Bravo, that's good, bravo!" I learned that he had studied in Paris and spoke, besides French and Arabic, English and Italian.

A crowd of peddlers came after the fumigation, bringing, and vying with each other, pictures, fruits, and a thousand little objects.

Shortly after, we weighed anchor and sailed toward Suez.

The Canal

After going through an agglomeration of houses among dwarfish and rickety trees, we enter the Canal, the work which immortalizes Lesseps [32] and yields incalculable benefits. The Canal is about forty varas wide so that two ships abreast can go through it. At its maximum length it is 85 kilometers. In general its low and irregular banks are desert -- sandy, yellowish, devoid of any vegetation. Here and there can be seen only huts, telegraphic stations, some miserable Arabs, dredges, and little launches with sails which move swiftly through the clear surface of the water.

At six we enter a lake, formerly dry, which, it is believed, Moses had crossed. At nightfall we cast anchor. The following day we continued on our way, meeting some crafts, now in the lake and now in the Canal. Then in another lake we had to stop for various reasons. In the second lake we saw a little of Ismailia and after one passage, or more exactly, sailing in the river, we had to stop, God knows how long, for a ship obstructed the way.

During the navigation, we saw a wretched young man running alongside the ship, picking up pieces of bread which the passengers threw to him. Seeing him run on the sand, go down and pick up eagerly the bread, now going down the river to wrest from the water a piece of biscuit, was enough to sadden the gayest man. A camel was trotting on the sand in the afternoon. It is fairly cool near the river.

5 June -- Monday

One more day in the Canal and grounded. Who knows how long we shall remain here?

We have seen a mirage, a spectacle which is rare in other countries but very natural here. In the distance we could see seas, islands, which are none other than the sky and the mountains.

This afternoon some passengers took a boat to go ashore. Those who remained aboard were amused for a long time because they could not approach land on account of the shallowness of the water near the banks. Finally, carried by the sailors, they were able to land.

At the next trip I went in the company of various foreigners and a lady, but this one did not want to be carried, and we had to be satisfied with a fluvial stroll. I was very sorry for I have wanted to step on Egyptian soil.

Fourth day in the Canal -- 6 June

Several passengers are going to Port Said in a little steamer. They invited me but I declined.

Peddlers and a tailor bringing clothes came. We have seen two customs officers riding on Arabian horses. One of them is beautiful and of good trot.

Fifth day -- 7 June

This morning we weighed anchor through God's grace and slowly we followed the course of the Canal.

At about one thirty-five we saw Port Said.

And I have forgotten to say that I have written a letter to my family.

In the distance Port Said looks to the traveler like a grand display of masts and buildings. It seems to be a very commercial city. The lighthouse is the building that towers above all. Numerous ships forming lines on the right and left sides of the Canal might be called the guards who greet the incoming ones.

A big building with arches, said to have been the idea of a Dutch prince, is the largest that can be seen.

In short, the ship drops anchor, and numerous boats approach its sides. The population, visible from the deck, seems to be largely Caucasian.

We went down and went around the town. There were no coaches for hire. Numerous European shops, cafés-musical in one of which a fine orchestra of women and some men played beautiful pieces to the delight of its innumerable customers. There we heard the Marseillaise, a hymn which is really enthusiastic, grave, menacing, and sad. It was played twice. We have seen numerous signs in Greek, Italian, etc., women with covered faces, donkeys, and mules. We have been in Lesseps Square. It is beautiful, well arranged, with a garden well tended and precious in that region.

We are in a café. Suddenly a drum sounds and we see a crowd of children, charmingly dressed in the Oriental manner, come out of the schoolhouse. Many of these mounted donkeys and mules.

As the time for our departure is near, we return to the ship. Half an hour later we left.

In the Mediterranean -- 7 [June] -- Afternoon

We are in the Mediterranean, a European sea. Greetings to you then!

11 June -- Sunday

This morning at half past six we arrive at Napoli (Naples) and Sicily, seeing Miletus, the precious town. The look of these towns, situated on the mountain slope, is picturesque and the land surrounding them is very well cultivated. After having navigated for some time opposite those scattered towns, we enter the Strait of Messina. Etna was covered with snow and in the distance Stromboli, smoking.

This morning the sight of Napoli was a joy to the passengers. Vesuvius beside it is smoking -- a giant who seems to be guarding the nymph sleeping beside him. An extensive territory totally covered with buildings. Now the Castle of St. Telmo on the top, now the prison on the water, the tower of Massaniello, the royal palace, etc. But, alas, such a magnificent panorama cost me two friends -- G. Zorab and Edgar -- who went down to Napoli, concluding their maritime trip. I'm very sorry. When they separated from the girls, I noted that a month's company on the boat has accomplished something, for they were sad, especially the little one, Edgar, who was on the verge of tears. And they will still meet in Holland. But, I, young like them, will not see them again, perhaps...

Only an hour and a half was allowed the passengers to spend ashore. Nevertheless, carried by love and curiosity, I went down provided with a watch and with numerous orders for the telegraph office. We left the boat at seven and in ten minutes we were ashore. Greetings to you, oh Napoli!

That was a mob; an incessant coming and going. Paved streets, squares, buildings, shops, statues, etc. I went to the telegraph office, a beautiful building, 20 minutes distant. I went around the town, Toledo Street, and afterwards I returned to the boat without being fooled by the guide and the driver.

At eight ten I was back.

This morning the girls played. I observed that something was lacking; they were a little sad. I, in place of my friend Zorab, served as counter. And I'm also sad ... almost melancholy; I feel a void.

From Napoli to Marseille -- Bad weather -- Arrival at Marseille -- Farewell -- My departure -- Customs -- Marseille -- Hotel -- Stroll -- Meeting -- Luggage -- Dutch girls -- Stroll -- Mr. Salazar -- Companions -- Where could the others be -- Chateau d'Eau -- Zoological Museum -- A restaurant -- Stroll -- The Cold -- I sleep -- My sadness.

A visit with my companions -- The drive -- The Panorama -- Drive -- Farewell of the Dutch -- A joy -- The café.

The voyage from Napoli to Marseille lasted almost two days, for we arrived the following day at ten o'clock at night. On the way we saw Corsica, native country of a soldier [33] with the most genius, mountainous and sparsely populated in comparison with what we saw yesterday. The doors of the houses are wide and low and the tops of its small rocks which break in the water are crowned with sentry-boxes. The prevailing north wind has disturbed the sea so much that many got seasick.

On Monday afternoon, the 12th, the coasts of France were sighted and we navigated close to the coasts of that fertile land.

At nightfall several lights and lighthouses appeared which indicated to us the proximity of Marseille. Marseille -- the most ancient commercial city that perhaps exists.

On the eve of our separation, perhaps forever, I felt a certain uneasiness mingled with sadness upon thinking of good friends and excellent hearts that I was going to lose. It is true that Nievenhing gave me his picture, that Mr. Pardo gave me his card, but there is one thing, for which nothing can be substituted, which is one's feeling upon separating. Besides, my girl friends were also leaving. Youth is a friendship by itself, so that when two young people meet, they treat each other as if they are friends. I have already lost my friend Zorab and now Wilhelmine, Hermiene, Geretze, Celiene, and Mulder are leaving, and where are they going? The girls to The Hague and Mulder to Brussels. Probably we shall not meet again. Farewell, then, merry companions and friends. Go to the bosom of your families, and I, who am beginning my pilgrimage, will still go roaming at the mercy of fortune. I realize that if friendships are forged in travel, I have not been born for travel.

Morning came and I dressed very early, putting on a suit for going ashore -- frock-coat, hat, and gloves. There were many people on deck admiring Marseille. Numerous ships were anchored. The Saghalien and the Natal, among others, were the largest of the group.

Among the various boats that approached the sides of the ship there was one in which were embarked two men and a beautiful young lady. They inquired about Messrs. Ortíz and Godínez, and when these appeared, we learned that the young lady was Mr. Ortíz's sister. He did not recognize her, for they had not seen each other for seventeen years. It was a happy meeting. The young lady cried for joy, but she could not go aboard, permission not having been granted yet by the government. Happy are those who go to their homes and meet on the way, as a prelude to their happiness, their brothers!

I took leave of my friends Nievenhing, Standinitzky, and Vesteros, wishing them happiness, and I left. I shall not see them again. I don't want to describe my sadness when I proceeded to land alone. I, accustomed to a large family, many companions, was going alone to a great city. I bade goodbye to the Djemnah ...

At the customhouse its agents treated me with much courtesy and asked me first for a declaration. They were very polite in inspecting my luggage and afterwards they told me I could go. I left and Marseille was before me.

It was still early. Marseille: République Avenue, big houses with statues and caryatids largely of Renaissance style; many well-paved streets; very clean and bright shops; Rue Cannebiere, more beautiful still, if that is possible; the Palace of the Bourse; Hotel Louvre; and finally the Hotel Noailles where I stopped.

The coach cost me 2.50, like the boat. A servant or a page, decently dressed in black, had my luggage taken up and he took me to a room on the first floor. The hotel is beautiful, elegant, and clean. Glass everywhere; a marble stairway covered with rugs like the halls. My room was on the street side; a large dressing table, a bureau, small marble-topped tables, toilette, towels, a bed comme il faut, [34] velvet chairs and the whole room covered with rugs. Large and embroidered red curtains decorate the room.

After my haircut, I took a walk in the environs and everywhere I found gaiety and activity. The tall and beautiful houses attracted my attention. Vendors of newspapers and flowers swarmed in all places.

On the street in front of the Hotel de Geneve I met Mr. Mulder who made me believe that he lived there as well as La Cetentje. In front of Hotel Noailles I met the young sailor, and in the hotel itself, the Portuguese Folgue with Messrs. Buil and Pardo.

From there I went to the Customhouse to get my trunk and again I was shown French politeness and gentility.

Once back in the hotel with my luggage, I looked for a companion, but all the Spaniards had gone out. I hear a young voice speaking Dutch and I go out and I meet Celiene Mulder going down the stairs. I greeted her affectionately, for our conversations did not go beyond that; she does not speak anything else but Dutch. She answered me in her charming and innocent manner, and how sorry I was to see her go down and disappear. When I raised my eyes I saw the two sisters, the friends of Mulder, and I talked with them. They were on the 2nd floor. The older, Sientje, told me that they were leaving the following day for The Hague and would live with their grandmother, but they preferred Batavia, their native country. I replied: "I too love my native land and no matter how beautiful Europe may be, I like to return to the Philippines." I learned from her also that she was only 12 years old, that Mientje, 9, and that she had already been in Europe once.

After a short conversation I went down. While I was going down, Sientje was bidding me goodbye from the top of the stairs. I was sorry to leave them and when I found the rooms of my companions empty, I returned upstairs to look for the Dutch girls. I did not find them. Then, in order to find an excuse for my frequent visit to that floor, I asked the page for an old Spaniard. He replied that there was one with his wife. I supposed it might be Mr. Salazar. I went then to call on him.

I knocked at a door to which the page had led me, and having been given permission, I entered. In effect I found the kind couple who welcomed me with their usual and affectionate cordiality. Mr. Salazar, who is known as enthusiastic and kindly, asked me many things and even wanted to take the trouble of accompanying me to the house of a tailor; and as I had not yet taken breakfast, he himself conducted me through the elevator to the garden and the dining room where he recommended me to the waiter. And from there, after asking my permission, he went away to attend to his business. This gentleman deserves all the praises of those who know him.

When I went upstairs, I found my companions to whom I suggested that we visit Chateau d'Eau. They agreed gladly. We talked a long while, asking ourselves where the others might be and what they would do. We visited afterwards Doña María [35] and from there we went out to the street.

We take a streetcar which goes to Longchamp and we admire the building, the gigantic statues, the bulls, and the water which falls in a grand cascade. We went up; we saw the grottoes, the Panorama; we saw the botanical garden; the zoological garden with its bears, lions, leopards, elephants, etc. The monkeys amused me the most.

We visited the Museum. It was the first time that I saw a museum. The pleasure it gave me was indescribable, so much so that I thought of spending the whole day there. I devoured with my eyes all that I found there. After the visit to the first hall, my companions left me to go home, so tired were they of so much walking. I then continued my excursion. I visited the hall of statues; from there I went home. There were many visitors there.

On the way I bought a pair of candles and soap. And at the hotel I visited Mr. and Mrs. Salazar in whose room I found my companions.

From there I went to a restaurant where I ate. I strolled a little and returned to the hotel. My companions were not there. At nightfall I wished to take a stroll again and went out with a coat and a frock-coat, but it was so cold that I had to go back to the hotel. I went to bed to sleep.

Since I left the ship, whenever I was left alone ordinarily I felt a void that I would like to fill up. Naturally, having been brought up among family and friends, reared in the warmth of love and affection, now I find myself suddenly alone, in a hotel magnificent indeed, but silent nevertheless. I thought of going back to my country for at least there I am with companions and the family.

I slept then half-tearful and steeped in profound melancholy.

2nd day in Marseille -- 14 June, Wednesday

A call on my companions -- A stroll -- The Panorama -- Stroll -- Farewell of the Dutch -- A joy -- The Café

The following day I woke up a little late. I dressed and took my breakfast in the garden in the soft light of the morning sun. Afterwards I called on my companions. I found the Portuguese, who had shaved his mustache and was self-conscious because of that. Mr. Buil and Mr. Pardo were already up and in good humor. We talked pleasantly of a thousand different matters and we went to call on Mrs. Salazar.

Afterward we took a stroll and my companions bought themselves gloves and mufflers. Going through the Cannebiere we turned to the Avenue of the République and went to see the Panorama. We enjoyed ourselves very much and we spent a pleasant time on Belfast Place. On our return, we lost our way but finally we found it.

We lunched together and afterward Mr. Buil and I again took a stroll. We went shopping until four o'clock. Upon our return, I saw the preparations of the Dutch for their departure. I wished then to bid my little friends goodbye. I hesitated whether to see them or not, fearful that I might make a display of my emotions. But, at last, my affection prevailed and I waited for them in the corridor or vestibule. They came from the dining room, Mr. Kolffne asked for the name and address of the Governor and he gave me his so that I could give them to Mr. Salazar. My little friends bade me farewell repeatedly. I lost sight of them when their coach turned around the corner. One affection less and more pain.

Thoughtful and walking slowly, I went to look for my companions and to seek noise and bustle which might stun me and drive away my sad thoughts. I found my friends in Mr. Salazar's room, chatting merrily. I too shared in the general liveliness and human weakness. Already I was laughing, thinking still of the farewell. Mr. Salazar invited us to supper, but, as we had agreed in the morning to take supper at the Café Maison Dorée, we had to decline, giving our excuse. We went to our rooms and in our inexplicable hilarity; we forgot the invitation of our neighbor. We hesitated whether or not to dine in such and such a restaurant until Mr. Buil decided that we would do it at the hotel itself. Seated at the table we noticed Mr. and Mrs. Salazar. Instantly we remembered their invitation and we felt ashamed. Then excuses, etc.

After the supper we went out for a walk, afterwards going to a café where there were a concert, songs, and drama.  That entertained us until midnight.

3rd day [in Marseille] (15 June -- Thursday)

We woke up late, and spent the morning putting in order our luggage and suggesting a luncheon to Mr. Salazar, this being our last day in Marseille. At a quarter past eleven then we lunched -- Mr. and Mrs. Salazar, Messrs. Buil, Pardo, and Folgue, and I.

After this, we all took a last stroll, except the Portuguese who went after his business. We went to see the shops, buying this and that and at about a quarter past three, we returned to the hotel to prepare for our departure.

About half an hour later, Mr. and Mrs. Salazar, whom we had left at the shops, arrived to bid us farewell. Mrs. Salazar wished me many good things and I noticed that she was speaking sincerely and not out of pure compliment. I also expressed to them my desire, born of my friendliness towards Mr. Salazar, to see them in my native land...But this was not all. After finishing our preparations, we went up to bid Mrs. Salazar, who was alone, a last farewell, and then we left.

I have spent much. Of the seventy-six pesos which I had brought from the Philippines only twenty-eight or twenty-nine pesos are left. Now I have to buy a first-class ticket which costs 12 and pay for my luggage. The hotel's interpreter followed us to the station and was very useful. Mr. Folgue had to separate from us to take the train that went directly to Boudreaux. We departed then.

The trip [to Barcelona] -- 5:00 p.m. 15 June -- 11:30 a.m. 16 June

Seated in a first-class coach Messrs. Buil, Pardo and I traveled from Marseille to Port Bou. I, who was traveling for the first time in an express train, was surprised by the speed, which increased whenever two trains met going in opposite directions. They seemed to be two lightning bolts. We passed various towns, fields, olive groves, vineyards. By night we were in Tarascon.

Something peculiar happened to me. At one station we were told that the train was stopping thirty minutes. Messrs. Buil, Pardo, and I went down. At the end of about six minutes, I saw the train pullout and I tried to follow it. I ran, but in vain. I was going to continue running, when fortunately a guard informed me that it would return after twenty minutes as it had left just to change tracks. We passed Montpellier, a city famous for its medical school.

I arrived at Barcelona on 16 June 1882.

The train on which I traveled with Pardo and Buil left us at Port Bou. After having been inspected and treated rudely by the Spanish carabineers, we boarded a smaller, though beautiful coach, upholstered with red cloth. Upon entering Spanish territory one cannot fail to perceive the fact in the air, landscape, and manner. A lad dressed half Spanish and half French said emphatically that the boundary was there. We passed through numerous tunnels, the only magnificent works that until now I have seen in this country. It was morning...The sun was scarcely tinting with soft colors the fresh clouds in the East. My companions were sleeping; I, steeped in melancholy reflections on my future, was looking far away, and my mind wandered, thinking of a million beings and things.

I am arriving in Spain, alone and unknown; the first stage of my unknown journey is there. What am I going to do and what is going to become of me in the future? My money is dwindling. I know I would meet friends, but despite this, no one is capable of overcoming the emotions that a new country produces in a young heart.

Near the railroad could be seen olive groves, vineyards, pine groves, and highways; in the distance some ruins of a crumbling castle, huts, small towns consisting of some gray houses. Now and then could be seen a worker or country folk. One would say that the country was deserted. The sharp curves of the mountains covered with pines and chestnut, if not as green as those in my country, nevertheless reminded me of it. Until Barcelona the only cities that attracted my attention were Gerona, memorable for the siege that it endured, and Figueras, for its large size. Now and then the railroad passes beside the sea. I gazed at it as an old friend from whom one is separating for a long time. Very soon, at about half past ten, I sighted in the distance, beside the waves of the sea, a large city with a small mountain on the side. I presumed it must be Barcelona. In effect the brother of Mr. Vicente Pardo, who came to meet him at the train together with a daughter of his -- a precious blonde girl of about 10 or eleven years with large eyes, fine features, and a spiritual and contemplative look -- told me that that city was Barcelona and that mountain was the fortress of Montjuich. A few minutes later we arrived at Barcelona where Pardo left us to join his brother. Buil and I remained and agreed to stay together until our departure.

In effect we took a coach, put our luggage in it, and went to the Fonda de España, San Pablo.

Barcelona made an unpleasant impression on me. Accustomed to the elegant and magnificent buildings of the cities I have seen, the polite and refined manner, not having stayed anywhere except in beautiful and first-class hotels, and then enter a city through its most ugly section and stop at an inn located on a narrow street where everyone was indifferent. I don't know if it was the state of my mind that gave this nostalgic aspect to things.


[01] This is a translation of the diary published in Unitas, Manila, October-December 1953, pp. 854-872. Obvious errors in the transcription have been corrected.

[02] Light two-wheeled covered vehicles, usually horse-drawn, and more spacious than a calesa.

[03] Mariano Herbosa

[04] José M. Cecilio

[05] Henry, a Frenchman, owner of Bazar Filipino located on the corner of Escolta and T. Pinpin, and agent of the Messageries Maritimes.

[06] The godfather and the father of a child address each other as compadre.

[07] Feminine of capitán; a form of address for the wife of a capitán or gobernadorcillo or alcalde, the town executive.

[08] Leonor Valenzuela.

[09] Leonor Rivera and Leonor Valenzuela.

[10] Dolores Habaña.

[11] Indio was the name given by the Spaniards to an inhabitant of the islands in Oceania.  In the Philippines it had a derogatory connotation.

[12] Casco is a Philippine river craft, made of wood, used for passengers and freight.  The catig is the vessel’s outriggers made of bamboo canes.

[13] Free translation:

When in the waves

Of the vast seas

Golden Apollo

Would run to bury

His beautiful rays, etc.

[14] The name of the mountain on Talim Island in the middle of Laguna de Bay (Lake of Bay or Baé).

[15] The name in Rizal’s passport.  “Mercado” being the old family name of Rizal’s father, Francisco Mercado, and Rizal a later addition.

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

[17] An old elegant vehicle in the Philippines once used for pleasure.

[18] The duro is the hard peso.  It is the Spanish and Spanish-American peso or dollar.

[19] Lala-Ary was an Indian, owner of Fonda de Lala-Aray, a famous restaurant, formerly in what is now called Plaza del Conde and lastly on the Escola, 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.

[20] Punka in India is a large portable fan or canvas-covered frame suspended from the ceiling for fanning a room.

[21] Dora, the name of a character in Charles Dicken’s David Copperfield.

[22] A painting of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception.

[23] A vara is a measure of length, about 32 inches.

[24] Tagalog name for Artocarpus heterophyllus.

[25] Areca catechu Linn.

[26] Also written “Kamanchile.”  This is a Tagalog word for Pithecolobium dulce (Roxb.).

[27] Paul Gustave Doré (1833-1883). French illustrator and painter.

[28] At different places in his diary Rizal pauses to address a prayer to his Creator, revealing his profound religiosity.

[30] This passage reveals Rizal’s poetic imagination and intense love of country.  Although prose, it has a poetic sense to it.

[31] He was Arabi Pasha, an army officer, who led a revolt against the foreigners in Egypt with the slogan “Egypt for the Egyptians.”  The anti-foreign agitation began with riots in Alexandria in June 1882 in which 50 Christians were killed.  The disorder spread and the British intervened with armed force. They bombarded Alexander on 11 July 1882 and then landed troops which clashed with those of Arabi.  On 13 September Arabi was finally defeated at Tel-el-Kebir.  He was captured and sent to Ceylon.

[32] Viscount Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps (1805 – 1894), French developer of the Suez Canal.

[33] Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821), emperor of the French (1804-1815).

[34] Literally, “as it should be,” that is “suitable.”

[35] “Doña,” feminine, and “Don,” masculine, are polite forms of address in Spanish used only with the given or first name, thus “Doña Maria,” or Doña María Salazar,” but never “Doña Salazar.”


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The Life and of Dr. José Rizal
Dr. Robert L. Yoder