Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
Boy Scouts of the Philippines
But there are also some still more important products in Manila and other neighbouring towns. I think I need scarcely tell you these are Boy Scouts.
I went there at a bad time of the year, just when owing to the heat a great many of the white population are living at a town, Baguio, away up in the mountains. Still there was a Guard of Honour to receive me at Manila, and I had an interesting chat with some of them.
At a recent fire in Manila, which devastated acres of ground and rendered 3,000 people homeless, two patrols of the Manila Scouts reached the fire almost with the firemen, reported to the proper authorities, and worked for hours under very trying conditions, helping frightened natives into places of safety, removing valuables and other articles from houses that apparently were in the path of the flames, and performed cheerfully and efficiently all the tasks given to them by the firemen and Scoutmaster.
They were complimented in the public Press, and this kind editorial was written about their work. “During the recent carnival the services of the boys were requested by the carnival officials, and for a period of ten days they were on-duty performing all manner of canoes from other islands. These houses are handsomely decorated inside with painted carvings.”
The white people living on these islands are generally magistrates and traders. At Angaur there were about thirty German engineers and workmen working a quarry for phosphates – which are used for manuring fields in Europe.
When I remarked to them what a big work they were doing, they pleased me by saying it was not half so big as some other quarries of the same kind on other islands which were being worked by British engineers and workmen.
These people only get a visit from a mail steamer once in two months, but they seem very happy all the same.
It is said that, when the Americans had captured the Philippine Islands from the Spaniards, one of their men-of-war went round to visit some of their outlying islands. She anchored at one of these, and promptly a boat rowed out to her flying the Spanish flag and bringing a smartly uniformed Spanish officer.
He came on board to welcome the Americans in the name of Spain to his island, but they had to tell him what he had not heard before, that there had been a war between the two countries and that his island was now American, and he himself a prisoner of war. A nasty jar for him!
The Pacific Islanders are pretty good scouts in one way, and that is, they are resourceful – when they haven’t got the right thing they make something else do instead.
For instance, they have no iron on their islands, so they make their spears and arrows out of tough hard wood very carefully sharpened. I saw some spears with stone spearheads which were very sharp.
Captain Cook in his log says that in his time also they used very clever tools for hewing, trimming, and polishing wood, for building houses or canoes. Their axes and adzes were made of sharpened stone, while their chisels were made of bone- generally the arm bone of a man. For rasp or file they used a bit of coral.
Their rigging is made of rattan cane, and their finer cord of split cane. Their fishing lines are as good as European ones, and are made of the fibre of a kind of nettle.
The men have very ornamental wooden combs for combing their hair, and these they stick in their hair as ornaments when not using them. But they also have another use for them. We saw them at