|Entitled "A native nipa shack." From the Everett E. Thompson Photograph Collection at the University of Michigan Online Digital Collections.
“The situation in our town of San Juan de Bokbok, province of Batangas, is a matter of deep concern to those who, like ourselves, are charged with responsibility for the prosperity and tranquility of the inhabitants.
“When peace was declared in 1902 all of the inhabitants, spurred by the desire to avoid the impending distress and famine, gave themselves over with an energy such as never before to the work of cultivation; and, although their means of doing this were of the scantiest, indeed were almost absolutely wanting, nevertheless, with great sacrifices they were able to sow a part of their lands, without other implements than the hoe and the bolo under the method called “caiñgin," a hard method, but one to which circumstances compelled them to resort. But when the time came when they could expect to use the product to mitigate the rigors of their condition, immense clouds of locusts came to devastate their fields and the castle of the hopes of the zealous agriculturist fell like a house of cards. Finally, consternation came upon the neighborhood, when, as a climax to calamity, appeared the scourge of Asiatic cholera3.”
“The only resource of these Islands and the only resource particularly of the town of Balayan is agriculture, which at the present date finds itself in a most deplorable condition, as can be seen from the accompanying statistical tables, consequent upon incessant calamities such as the wars that have been fought, the plague of locusts, the drought, the rinderpest7, which still prevails, the lack of laborers, part of whom have succumbed to Asiatic cholera, hunger and malaria, while others have emigrated, and consequent finally on many other drawbacks which it would take too much room to enumerate here8.”
2 “Philippine Organic Act (1902),” Wikipedia.
3 “Letter of the San Juan Town Committee to the Civil Commission of the United States in the Philippine Islands,” as quoted by Clemenia Lopez in “A Farewell Luncheon in honor of Señorita Clemencia López, October 5, 1903 in the rooms of the Twentieth Century Club,” published 1904.
4 “Historical Data of Ibaan,” submitted by the Department of Education District of Ibaan to the Division of Batangas, 1952 or 1953.
5 “Great Famine (Ireland),” Wikipedia.
6 William Howard Taft was sent the Philippines by United States President William McKinley to head a commission that would set up American governance of the Philippines. “William Howard Taft,” Wikipedia.
7 Rinderpest is otherwise known as the cattle plague, a serious viral disease. “Rinderpest,” Wikipedia.
8 “Petition from Balayan,” by Felix Unson, Vivencio Ramos, Vicente Paz Rillo and Vicente Almanzor, as contained in “The Calamities of Balayan, P.I., Reply to a Criticism of a Petition Made to the Taft Expedition of 1905 by the Petitioners,” published in Boston, USA in 1907.