Friday, May 27, 2005

Ancient history of Zambales according to Morga

In a province called Zambales, they wear the head shaved from the middle forward. On the skull they have a huge lock of loose hair. The women throughout this island wear small jackets (sayuelos) with sleeves of the same kinds of cloth and of all colors, called varos. They wear no shifts, but certain white cotton garments which are wrapped about the waist and fall to the feet, while other dyed cloths are wrapped about the body, like kirtles, and are very graceful. The principal women have crimson ones, and some of silk, while others are woven with gold, and adorned with fringe and other ornaments. They wear many gold necklaces about the neck, calumbigas on the wrists, large earrings of wrought gold in the ears, and rings of gold and precious stones.
Their black hair is done up in a very graceful knot on the head. Since the Spaniards came to the country many Indians do not wear bahags, but wide drawers of the same cloths and materials, and hats on their heads. The chiefs wear braids of wrought gold containing many designs, while many of them wear shoes. The chief women also wear beautiful shoes, many of them having shoes of velvet adorned with gold, and white garments like petticoats.

Men and women, and especially the chief people, are very clean and neat in their persons and clothing, and of pleasing address and grace. They dress their hair carefully, and regard it as being more ornamental when it is very black. They wash it with water in which has been boiled the bark of a tree called gugo. They anoint it with aljonjoli oil, prepared with musk, and other perfumes. All are very careful of their teeth, which from a very early age they file and render even, with stones and iron. They dye them a black color, which is lasting, and which preserves their teeth until they are very old, although it is ugly to look at. They quite generally bathe the entire body in the rivers and creeks, both young and old, without reflecting that it could at any time be injurious to them; for in their baths do they find their best medicines.

When an infant is born, they immediately bathe it, and the mother likewise. The women have needlework as their employment and occupation, and they are very clever at it, and at all kinds of sewing. They weave cloth and spin cotton, and serve in the houses of their husbands and fathers. They pound the rice for eating, and prepare other food. They raise fowls and swine, and keep the houses, while the men are engaged in the labors of the field, and in their fishing, navigation, and trading. They are not very chaste, either single or married women; while their husbands, fathers, or brothers are not very jealous or anxious about it. Both men and women are so selfish and greedy that, if they are paid, they are easily won over. When the husband finds his wife in adultery, he is smoothed and pacified without any trouble--although, since they have known Spaniards, some of those who assume to be more enlightened among them have sometimes killed the adulterers. Both men and women, especially the chiefs, walk slowly and sedately when upon their visits, and when going through the streets and to the temples; and are accompanied by many slaves, both male and female, with parasols of silk which they carry to protect them from the sun and rain. The women walk ahead and their female servants and slaves follow them; behind these walk their husbands, fathers, or brothers, with their man-servants and slaves.

Their ordinary food is rice pounded in wooden mortars, and cooked --- this is called morisqueta, and is the ordinary bread of the whole country--boiled fish (which is very abundant), the flesh of swine, deer, and wild buffaloes (which they call carabaos). Meat and fish they relish better when it has begun to spoil and when it stinks [Note: This is probably the dried or tinapa for they used to hang meats sprinkled with salt]. They also eat boiled camotes (which are sweet potatoes), beans, quilites and other vegetables; all kinds of bananas, guavas, pineapples, custard apples, many varieties of oranges, and other varieties of fruits and herbs, with which the country teems. Their drink is a wine made from the tops of cocoa and nipa palm, of which there is a great abundance. They are grown and tended like vineyards, although without so much toil and labor. Drawing off the tuba, they distill it, using for alembics their own little furnaces and utensils, to a greater or less strength, and it becomes brandy. This is drunk throughout the islands. It is a wine of the clarity of water, but strong and dry. If it be used with moderation, it acts as a medicine for the stomach, and is a protection against tumors and all sorts of rheums. Mixed with Spanish wine, it makes a mild liquor, and one very palatable and healthful.

In the assemblies, marriages, and feasts of the natives of these islands, the chief thing consists in drinking this wine, day and night, without ceasing, when the turn of each comes, some singing and others drinking. As a consequence, they generally become intoxicated without this vice being regarded as a dishonor or disgrace.

The weapons of this people are, in some provinces, bow and arrows. But those generally used throughout the islands are moderate-sized spears with well-made points; and certain shields of light wood, with their armholes fastened on the inside. These cover them from top to toe, and are called carasas (kalasag). At the waist they carry a dagger four fingers in breadth, the blade pointed, and a third of a vara in length; the hilt is of gold or ivory. The pommel is open and has two cross bars or projections, without any other guard. They are called bararaos. They have two cutting edges, and are kept in wooden scabbards, or those of buffalo-horn, admirably wrought. With these they strike with the point, but more generally with the edge.
When they go in pursuit of their opponent, they show great dexterity in seizing his hair with one hand, while with the other they cut off his head with one stroke of the bararao, and carry it away. They afterward keep the heads suspended in their houses, where they may be seen; and of these they make a display, in order to be considered as valiant, and avengers of their enemies and of the injuries committed by them.

Since they have seen the Spaniards use their weapons, many of the natives handle the arquebuses and muskets quite skilfully. Before the arrival of the Spaniards they had bronze culverins and other pieces of cast iron, with which they defended their forts and settlements, although their powder is not so well refined as that of the Spaniards.

Their ships and boats are of many kinds; for on the rivers and creeks inland they use certain very large canoes, each made from one log, and others fitted with benches and made from planks, and built up on keels. They have vireys and barangays, which are certain quick and light vessels that lie low in the water, put together with little wooden nails. These are as slender at the stern as at the bow, and they can hold a number of rowers on both sides, who propel their vessels with bucçeyes or paddles, and with gaones on the outside of the vessel; and they time their rowing to the accompaniment of some who sing in their language refrains by which they understand whether to hasten or retard their rowing.

Above the rowers is a platform or gangway, built of bamboo, upon which the fighting-men stand, in order not to interfere with the rowing of the oarsmen. In accordance with the capacity of the vessels is the number of men on these gangways. From that place they manage the sail, which is square and made of linen, and hoisted on a support or yard made of two thick bamboos, which serves as a mast. When the vessel is large, it also has a foresail of the same form. Both yards, with their tackle, can be lowered upon the gangway when the weather is rough. The helmsmen are stationed in the stern to steer. It carries another bamboo framework on the gangway itself; and upon this, when the sun shines hot, or it rains, they stretch an awning made from some mats, woven from palm-leaves. These are very bulky and close, and are called cayanes. Thus all the ship and its crew are covered and protected.
There are also other bamboo frameworks for each side of the vessel, which are so long as the vessel, and securely fastened on. They skim the water, without hindering the rowing, and serve as a counterpoise, so that the ship cannot overturn nor upset, however heavy the sea, or strong the wind against the sail. It may happen that the entire hull of these vessels, which have no decks, may fill with water and remain between wind and water, even until it is destroyed and broken up, without sinking, because of these counterpoises. These vessels have been used commonly throughout the islands since olden times. They have other larger vessels called caracoas, lapis, and tapaques, which are used to carry their merchandise, and which are very suitable, as they are roomy and draw but little water. They generally drag them ashore every night, at the mouths of rivers and creeks, among which they always navigate without going into the open sea or leaving the shore. All the natives can row and manage these boats. Some are so long that they can carry one hundred rowers on a side and thirty soldiers above to fight. The boats commonly used are barangays and vireys, which carry a less crew and fighting force. Now they put many of them together with iron nails instead of the wooden pegs and the joints in the planks, while the helms and bows have beaks like Castilian boats.

The land is well shaded in all parts by trees of different kinds, and fruit-trees which beautify it throughout the year, both along the shore and inland among the plains and mountains. It is very full of large and small rivers, of good fresh water, which flow into the sea. All of them are navigable, and abound in all kinds of fish, which are very pleasant to the taste. For the above reason there is a large supply of lumber, which is cut and sawed, dragged to the rivers, and brought down, by the natives. This lumber is very useful for houses and buildings, and for the construction of small and large vessels. Many very straight thick trees, light and pliable, are found, which are used as masts for ships and galleons. Consequently, vessels of any size may be fitted with masts from these trees, made of one piece of timber, without its being necessary to splice them or make them of different pieces. For the hulls of the ships, the keels, futtock-timbers, top-timbers, and any other kinds of supports and braces, compass-timbers, transoms, knees small and large, and rudders, all sorts of good timber are easily found; as well as good planking for the sides, decks, and upper-works, from very suitable woods.

There are many native fruit-trees, such as the sanctors, mabolos, tamarinds, nancas, custard-apples, papayas, guavas, and everywhere many oranges, of all kinds --- large and small, sweet and sour; citrons, lemons, and ten or twelve varieties of very healthful and palatable bananas. There are many cocoa-palms bearing fruit of pleasant taste --- from which is made wine and common oil, which is a very healing remedy for wounds; and other wild palms of the forests --- that do not yield cocoa-nuts, but serve as wood, and from whose bark is made bonote, a tow for rigging and cables, and also for calking ships. Efforts have been made to plant olives and quinces, and other fruit-trees of España, but as yet they have had no success, except with pomegranates and grapevines, which bear fruit the second year. These bear abundance of exceedingly good grapes three times a year; and some fig-trees have succeeded. Vegetables of every kind grow well and very abundantly, but do not seed, and it is always necessary to bring the seeds from Castilla, China, or Japon.

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