Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
One of the principal things that they grow here is hemp, from which Manila rope is made. It is really the fibre of a sort of banana tree which will not grow anywhere but in the Philippine Islands. They also grow a lot of sugar and tobacco and cocoanuts.
Cocoanuts are valuable, not so much for their milk on a hot day or for throwing balls at a fair, as for their use when pounded up and made into oil and grease. In the trade for this purpose they are called “copra.”
The British merchants deal in these things and also bring into the country the machinery and tools, clothing, and stores needed by the inhabitants.
It is by men of business being something of Scouts that they increase their commerce and prosperity. They go to the far-away corners of the earth with their eyes open; they face difficulties and often dangers; they endure bad climates and early disappointments: but by pluckily sticking to it and by looking out for all chances of trade and seizing them; by being energetic instead of lazy, they get on and make their business a success.
Bridge Makers Bejuco is another thing that is produced in the Philippine Islands.
Do you know what bejuco is? No. Well, nor did I till I went there. It is a plant, a kind of cane that grows on a creeper or vine. Sometimes it has been known to grow to a length of 600 and 700 feet. It is used by the natives for rope, and can be split up and made into fine strong cord.
It is much used for their kind of house building, that is, for tying together the bamboo of which the framework is made.
The Filipinos are wonderfully clever at building bamboo and cane bridges over rivers, very much like what I have seen some Scout troops make. Probably a Philippine Scout could tell you all about them.
The Filipinos are very fond of music, and almost every boy would get our Musician’s Badge. There are bands everywhere; even in the big gaol there is a convict band which plays from four to five o’clock daily. Many of their instruments look odd because they are made of bamboo instead of brass, but they give out a very good tone.
. A Filipino musician with his bamboo trumpet
In one of their churches there is an organ, over a hundred years old, whose pipes are all made of bamboo.