So who adjusts, country or president? The Filipinos have not always been what they are. Why did they forget their proud past and become indolent? The galleon trade had cut off existing trade between the Philippines and China and Southeast Asia, the trade monopoly running Filipino traders and artisans out of business. Furthermore, the lure of the galleon trade led to the neglect of commerce and agriculture.
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DOCTOR Sancianco, in his Progreso de Filipinas, 1 , has taken up this question, agitated, as he calls it, and, relying upon facts and reports furnished by the very same Spanish authorities that rule the Philippines, has demonstrated that such indolence does not exist, and that all said about it does not deserve reply or even passing notice.
Nevertheless, as discussion of it has been continued, not only by government employees who make it responsible for their own shortcomings, not only by the friars who regard it as necessary in order that they may continue to represent, themselves as indispensable, but also by serious and disinterested persons; and as evidence of greater or less weight may be adduced in opposition to that which Dr.
Sancianco cites, it seems expedient, to us to study this question thoroughly, without superciliousness or sensitiveness, without prejudice, without pessimism. And as we can only serve our country by telling the truth, however bit, tee it be, just as a flat and skilful negation cannot refute a real and positive fact, in spite of the brilliance of the arguments; as a mere affirmation is not sufficient to create something impossible, let us calmly examine the facts, using on our part all the impartiality of which a man is capable who is convinced that there is no redemption except upon solid bases of virtue.
The word indolence has been greatly misused in the sense of little love for work and lack of energy, while ridicule has concealed the misuse. This much-discussed question has met with the same fate as certain panaceas and specifies of the quacks who by ascribing to them impossible virtues have discredited them. In the Middle Ages, and even in some Catholic countries now, the devil is blamed for everything that superstitious folk cannot understand or the perversity of mankind is loath to confess.
And just as in the Middle Ages he who sought the explanation of phenomena outside of infernal influences was persecuted, so in the Philippines worse happens to him who seeks the origin of the trouble outside of accepted beliefs.
The consequence of this misuse is that there are some who are interested in stating it as a dogma and others in combating it as a ridiculous superstition, if not a punishable delusion. Yet it is not to be inferred from the misuse of a thing that it does not exist. We think that there must be something behind all this outcry, for it is incredible that so many should err, among whom we have said there are a lot of serious and disinterested persons.
Some act in bad faith, through levity, through want of sound judgment, through limitation in reasoning power, ignorance of the past, or other cause. Some repeat what they have heard, without, examination or reflection; others speak through pessimism or are impelled by that human characteristic which paints as perfect everything that belongs to oneself and defective whatever belongs to another.
But it cannot be denied that there are some who worship truth, or if not truth itself at least the semblance thereof, which is truth in the mind of the crowd. Examining well, then, all the scenes and all the men that we have known from Childhood, and the life of our country, we believe that indolence does exist there.
The Filipinos, who can measure up with the most active peoples in the world, will doubtless not repudiate this admission, for it is true that there one works and struggles against the climate, against nature and against men. But we must not take the exception for the general rule, and should rather seek the good of our country by stating what we believe to be true. We must confess that indolence does actually and positively exist there; only that, instead of holding it to be the cause of the backwardness and the trouble, we regard it as the effect of the trouble and the backwardness, by fostering the development of a lamentable predisposition.
Those who have as yet treated of indolence, with the exception of Dr. Sancianco, have been content to deny or affirm it. We know of no one who has studied its causes. Nevertheless, those who admit its existence and exaggerate it more or less have not therefore failed to advise remedies taken from here and there, from Java, from India, from other English or Dutch colonies, like the quack who saw a fever cured with a dozen sardines and afterwards always prescribed these fish at every rise in temperature that he discovered in his patients.
We shall proceed otherwise. Before proposing a remedy we shall examine the causes, and even though strictly speaking a predisposition is not a cause, let us, however, study at its true value this predisposition due to nature.
The predisposition exists? A hot, climate requires of the individual quiet and rest, just as cold incites to labor and action. For this reason the Spaniard is more indolent than the Frenchman; the Frenchman more so than the German. The Europeans themselves who reproach the residents of the colonies so much and I am not now speaking of the Spaniards but of the Germans and English themselves , how do they live in tropical countries?
Surrounded by a numerous train of servants, never going afoot but riding in a carriage, needing servants not only to take off their shoes for them but even to fan them! And yet they live and eat better, they work for themselves to get rich, with the hope of a future, free and respected, while the poor colonist, the indolent colonist, is badly nourished, has no hope, toils for others, and works under force and compulsion! Perhaps the reply to this will be that white men are not made to stand the severity of the climate.
A mistake! A man can live in any climate, if he will only adapt himself to its requirements and conditions. What kills the European in hot countries is the abuse of liquors, the attempt to live according to the nature of his own country under another sky and another sun. We inhabitants of hot countries live well in northern Europe whenever we take the precautions the people there do.
Europeans can also stand the torrid zone, if only they would get rid of their prejudices. Nature knows this and like a just mother has therefore made the earth more fertile, more productive, as a compensation.
What wonder then that the inhabitant of tropical countries, worm out and with his blood thinned by the continuous and excessive heat, is reduced to inaction? Who is the indolent one in the Manila offices? Which is indolent, the native coadjutor, poorly paid and badly treated, who has to visit all the indigent sick living in the country, or the friar curate who gets fabulously rich, goes about in a carriage, eats and drinks well, and does not put himself to any trouble without collecting excessive fees?
With the exception of some porters, an occupation that the natives also follow, he nearly always engages in trade, in commerce; so rarely does he take up agriculture that we do not know of a single case. The Chinaman who in other colonies cultivates the soil does so only for a certain number of years and then retires.
Man is not a brute, he is not a, machine; his object is not merely to produce, in spite of the pretensions of some Christian whites who would make of the colored Christian a kind of motive power somewhat more intelligent and less costly than steam. The evil is not that indolence exists more or less latently but that it is fostered and magnified.
Among men, as well as among nations, there exist not only aptitudes but also tendencies toward good and evil. To foster the good ones and aid them, as well as correct the evil and repress them, would be the duty of society and governments, if less noble thoughts did not occupy their attention. The evil is that the indolence in the Philippines is a magnified indolence, an indolence of the snowball type, if we may be permitted the expression, an evil that increases in direct proportion to the square of the periods of time, an effect of misgovernment and of backwardness, as we said, and not a cause thereof.
Others will hold the contrary opinion, especially those who have a hand in the misgovernment, but we do not care; we have made an assertion and are going to prove it. The attending physician attributes the entire failure of his skill to the poor constitution of the patient, to the climate, to the surroundings, and so on. On the other hand, the patient attributes the aggravation of the evil to the system of treatment followed.
Only the common crowd, the inquisitive populace, shakes its head and cannot reach a decision. Something like this happens in the case of the Philippines. Instead of physician, read government, that is, friars, employees, etc.
Instead of patient, Philippines; instead of malady, indolence. And, just as happens in similar cases then the patient gets worse, everybody loses his head, each one dodges the responsibility to place it upon somebody else, and instead of seeking the causes in order to combat the evil in them, devotes himself at best to attacking the symptoms: here a blood-letting, a tax; there a plaster, forced labor; further on a sedative, a trifling reform.
Every new arrival proposes a new remedy: one, seasons of prayer, the relics of a saint, the viaticum, the friars; another, a shower-bath; still another, with pretensions to modern ideas, a transfusion of blood. The patient is near his finish! Yes, transfusion of blood, transfusion of blood! New life, new vitality! Yes, the new white corpuscles that you are going to inject into its veins, the new white corpuscles that were a cancer in another organism will withstand all the depravity of the system, will withstand the blood-lettings that it suffers every day, will have more stamina than all the eight million red corpuscles, will cure all the disorders, all the degeneration, all the trouble in the principal organs.
Be thankful if they do not become coagulations and produce gangrene, be thankful if they do not reproduce the cancer! While the patient breathes, we must not lose hope, and however late we be, a judicious examination is never superfluous; at least the cause of death may be known. We are not trying to put all the blame on the physician, and still less on the patient, for we have already spoken of a predisposition due to the climate, a reasonable and natural predisposition, in the absence of which the race would disappear, sacrificed to excessive labor in a tropical country.
Indolence in the Philippines is a chronic malady, but not a hereditary one. The Filipinos have not always been what they are, witnesses whereto are all the historians of the first years after the discovery of the Islands. Before the arrival of the Europeans, the Malayan Filipinos carried on an active trade, not only among themselves but also with all the neighboring countries. A Chinese manuscript of the 13th century, translated by Dr. Hirth Globus, Sept. The products which they in exchange exported from the islands were crude wax, cotton, pearls, tortoise-shell, betel-nuts, dry-goods, etc.
He describes the silk dresses, the daggers with long gold hilts and scabbards of carved wood, the gold, sets of teeth, etc. Among cereals and fruits he mentions rice, millet, oranges, lemons, panicum, etc. That the islands maintained relations with neighboring countries and even with distant ones is proven by the ships from Siam, laden with gold and slaves, that Magellan found in Cebu.
These ships paid certain duties to the King of the island. Might this captain, who was greatly feared by all his foes, have been the Rajah Matanda whom the Spaniards afterwards encountered in Tondo in ? In the warriors of Luzon took part in the formidable contests of Sumatra, and under the orders of Angi Siry Timor, Rajah of Batta, conquered and overthrew the terrible Alzadin, Sultan of Atchin, renowned in the historical annals of the Far East. Marsden, Hist. Colin, Chap.
Pigafetta tells us of the abundance of foodstuffs in Paragua and of its inhabitants, who nearly all tilled their own fields. A little later, these same survivors captured a vessel, plundered and sacked it, add took prisoner in it the chief of the Island of Paragua! They let him ransom himself within seven days, demanding measures cavanes? This is the first act of piracy recorded in Philippine history. The chief of Paragua paid everything, and moreover voluntarily added coconuts, bananas, and sugar-cane jars filled with palm-wine.
His conduct, while it may reveal weakness, also demonstrates that the islands were abundantly provisioned. A very extraordinary thing, and one that shows the facility with which the natives learned Spanish, is that fifty years before the arrival of the Spaniards in Luzon, in that very year when they first came to the islands, there were already natives of Luzon who understood Castilian.
Martin Mendez, op, cit Where did this extemporaneous interpreter learn Castilian? In the Moluccas? In Malacca, with the Portuguese? Spaniards did not reach Luzon until Gaspar de San Agustin, plenty of provisions, activity, trade, movement in all the southern islands.
The city was taken by force and burned. The fire destroyed the food supplies and naturally famine broke out in that town of a hundred thousand people, 12 as the historians say, and among the members of the expedition, but the neighboring islands quickly relieved the need, thanks to the abundance they enjoyed.
All the histories of those first years, in short, abound in long accounts about the industry and agriculture of the natives: mines, gold-washings, looms, farms, barter, naval construction, raising of poultry and stock, weaving of silk and cotton, distilleries, manufactures of arms, pearl fisheries, the civet industry, the horn and hide industry, etc. And if this, which is deduction, does not convince any minds imbued with unfair prejudices, perhaps of some avail may be the testimony of the oft-quoted Dr.
Morga, who was Lieutenant-Governor of Manila for seven years and after rendering great service in the Archipelago was appointed criminal judge of the Audiencia of Mexico and Counsellor of the Inquisition. His testimony, we say, is highly credible, not only because all his contemporaries have spoken of him in terms that border on veneration but also because his work, from which we take these citations, is written with great circumspection and care, as well with reference to the authorities in the Philippines as to the errors they committed.
And not only Morga, not only Chirino, Colin, Argensola, Gaspar de San Agustin and others agree in this matter, but modern travelers, after two hundred and fifty years, examining the decadence and misery, assert the same thing.
Hans Meyer, when he saw the unsubdued tribes cultivating beautiful fields and working energetically, asked if they would not become indolent when they in turn should accept Christianity and a paternal government. Accordingly, the Filipinos, in spite of the climate, in spite of their few needs they were less then than now , were not the indolent creatures of our time, and, as we shall see later on, their ethics and their mode of life were not what is now complacently attributed to them.
We have already spoken of the more or less latent predisposition which exists in the Philippines toward indolence, and which must exist everywhere, in the whole world, in all men, because we all hate work more or less, as it may be more or less hard, more or less unproductive.
Sobre la indolencia de los filipinos
Chapter 1[ edit ] Rizal acknowledges the prior work of [[Gregorio Del Pilar] and admits that indolence does exist among the Filipinos, but it cannot be attributed to the troubles and backwardness of the country; rather it is the effect of the backwardness and troubles experienced by the country. Past writings on indolence revolve only on either denying or affirming, and never studying its causes in depth. One must study the causes of indolence, Rizal says, before curing it. He therefore enumerates the causes of indolence and elaborates on the circumstances that have led to it.
The indolence of the Filipino
Pero ito ay dahil sa init ng klima sa ating bansa. Ang totoo, bago dumating ang mga Kastila, ang mga Pilipino ay may masiglang pakikipagkalakalan sa mga Instik, Hapon, Arabe at Malay. Ngunit ito ay naputol ng monopolya ng Galleon Trade. Sa Espanya lamang via Mehiko maaaring makipagkalakalan ang mga Pilipino. Dahil dito ay natigil ang mga mumunting industriya at mga gawaing kamay. Kaya sinira ng mga Kastila ang kasipagan at pagkukusa ng mga Pilipino. Dahil sa pakikidigma ng Espanya laban sa ibang bansang Europeo at sa mga Muslim sa Mindanao, ang mga Pilipino ay pilit na pinagawa sa paggawa ng barko, pagpuputol ng mga kahoy at paggawa ng mga kuta.