February 1901
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Month February 1901

24th of February 1901

We experienced another minor earthquake at nine o’clock in the morning.

Our life is so boring. Since we are incommunicado, even the servants are not allowed to leave to buy something.

Once in a while, Mayor Orwig drops by to engage some of us in a conversation. Some officials of the Navy in Agaña have also come to visit us. Some are Spanish mestizas from the prominent families of the district. Mr. Pedro Duarte, who ws the captain of the civil guards and an old friend of mine from Manila, likewise came.

19th of February 1901

At 6:30 A.M. there was a slight tremor of brief duration.

17th of February 1901

Having been informed that a ship will soon arrive from America and bound for Manila, I wrote my brother, Alejandro Mabini, the following letter with the same date as above.

MY DEAR BROTHER: I guess you have been waiting to hear from your Kuya and me, so let me give you a brief account of what happened.

We boarded the ship Rosencrans in the morning of Tuesday, last January 18 and left Manila Bay in the afternoon of the next day. We sailed toward the south, passing in front of Camarines and Albay. We crossed the strait of San Bernardino and finally we reached the Pacific Sea, heading for the island of Guam toward the east, if I am not mistaken, where we arrived at about noontime on the 24th day.

Don’t ask me about the details of our trip, since I could not leave my cabin even once, during the journey. I do not know of any accidents that happened, except an engine trouble of the ship, which constrained us to stop until past noon in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. I got a little seasick when I inhaled its saline sea breeze. Kuya has no news to tell you.

According to them, for lack of accommodation, we had to stay on board for a period of 28 days. We disembarked in the afternoon of the 12th of this month in a barrio called Piti. Then we started to walk, which we did most of the time, while the others were carried in carts, towards the direction of Agaña, the former capital of the Marianas Islands. Now it is Guam. After a road’s journey for three fourths of an hour, we came to a barrio called Asan, which they claim, is an hour’s walk from Agaña (4 miles approximately), where we had encamped.

(In spite of having remained on board the ship for quite sometime, the prison house is not constructed yet. In view of this, we are temporarily housed in tents. We are occupying a place which used to be a hospital for the lepers during the Spanish rule. This was burned when the Americans took over the island. Apparently, they are telling us that this place is just the most appropriate for us, for our mind is afflicted with a contagious illness forcing them therefore, to isolate us and prevent us from mingling with our own kind, just like the lepers. I hope our isolation contributes to the pacification of our beloved land, because notwithstanding my exile, I think not of myself, but of all of you out there, who are exposed to so much risk while the war is going on.)

At first glance, this is an arid land. As we took the road from the time we disembarked, we have seen only a few houses. The mountains, as well as the plains we saw have scarce vegetation and the little that we have seen seems to have been scorched by the sun. Seeing it, one is tempted to say that the summer season is just about to end, rather than begin.

Nevertheless, we are occupying a beautiful lot. Can you imagine a land covered with very fine sand? It is even planted with coconut trees all over, whose trunks, I would wish were well-formed and whose foliage more lush and luxuriant, to prevent the scorching sun from penetrating through the canvas roofs of our tents. Facing the North, I behold the ever raging sea; a steep hill hides my back and my left side, and to my right, I could figure out a street, the little huts in the barrio, hidden among the coconut trees and half-destroyed by the last storm. Yonder is another almost shaven hill and behind which, they say, is Agaña hiding, toward the northeast.

At first glance, the natives of this island seem to belong to our race and their climate is the same as ours.

For one who views life not in terms of comfort and ease, our situation is bearable. We have good food, which is indispensable for one’s survival. The Prison’s commanding officer has so far done everything possible that would give us embarrassment and unnecessary work. Since this letter has to pass through him, I don’t want to praise him lest he thinks I’m flattering him. Besides he doesn’t need praises from any one of us.

The next day, after handing over the preceding letter to Mayor Orwig, he came to see me. There was annoyance in his face because he did not like what I’ve written in the paragraph marked with parenthesis. I said I did not mind erasing it, which in fact, I did, sending him the letter again which has not been returned to me. Because of this incident, I have decided not to write anymore, except in extreme cases, so as not to offend the sensibilities of these people.

16th of February 1901

His condition having worsened each day, Mr. Lucas Camerino was transferred to Agaña Hospital yesterday.

Today, we were informed of his passing away at past 6:00 o’clock this morning. With prior permission from the Commandant, Messrs. Trías and Legaspi went to attend the funeral this afternoon in the cemetery for the natives or in the Catholic Cemetery of Agaña. R.I.P.

13th of February 1901

The following order was issued for compliance by our group:

 

General Order No. 3

Prison’s Detachment of Asan, Guam

February 12, 1901.

The following regulations for prisoners shall be observed, subject to the approval of the Governor of the Island:

1. Meal time for prisoners, as prescribed by General Order No. 1, current series of this headquarters, shall be as follows: Breakfast — 6:30 A.M., lunch — 12:00 o’clock (noon; and dinner — 5:30 P.M.

2. The prisoners shall be allowed to write and receive correspondences from their family. Letters shall be handed over to the officer in command, for inspection before they are mailed. No correspondence that is political or public in nature shall be allowed.

3. Prisoners of good conduct may be issued passes by the officer in command, allowing not more than one fifth of the prisoners to leave the enclosed premises between 7:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. These passes do not authorize the bearer to be away for more than four hours all at the same time. Neither shall anyone be permitted to leave the premises with a pass, without being accompanied by a guard or any person authorized by the officer in command. No prisoner nor a prisoner’s servant shall be allowed to go east, that is, at a distance of more than forty yards from the Prisons’ gate. Neither shall he be permitted to go west, from the first bridge from Agaña road to Piti, nor to the south through the same road at a distance of more than one hundred yards. He shall be allowed to go north only by the seashore.

4. The enclosure (fence) is a permanent fixture and whosoever attempts to pass through the same without due authorization shall be arrested. The guards shall be instructed to use force, if necessary, or to shoot the offender, if need be.

5. The prisoners and their servants of good conduct shall be allowed to move freely within the enclosed premises from daw to 9:00 o’clock P.M.

6. The sick prisoners shall attend the corresponding bugle call at 9:30 A.M.

7. A roll call shall be done religiously, three times daily by the officer on duty, one at 6:15 A.M., another at 4:00 P.M. and the last, at 9:00 P.M.

8. The officer in command or his representative, accompanied by an interpreter, shall visit the Prisons house once a day, to look into the prisoners’ complaints and attend to their requests concerning solely their welfare and comfort.

9. The prisoners and their servants shall be required to bathe at least twice a week and to be neatly dressed at all times.

10. The prisoners and their servants shall assist in the preparation of food, in setting the table, in assisting during mealtime, in washing the dishes and performing the general task of policing within the prisons’ premises.

11. It shall be the right of prisoners to appeal in writing to the Governor of the Island all matters internal or external, through the Commanding Officer of the Detachment, who shall file the appeal with all pertinent details as he understands them.

12. A copy of these regulations shall be translated to Spanish and read to the prisoners, after which it should be posted at a conspicuous place within the premises.

Mayor H.B. Orwig, commanding officer of the establishment, issued the preceding order. At the same time, he appointed Artemio Ricarte president of the prisoners, whose duty was to ensure compliance with the said order.

We were also informed that our being incommunicado was due to a petition by the natives of the Islands, who were aware of all types of abuses committed by the natives against the Filipinos imprisoned during the Spanish administratiob. We are more likely to believe this and we thank Mayor Orwig for his promise to defend us against the aggression of the natives, even at the risk of losing his life.

12th of February 1901

This afternoon, we landed in the barrio of Piti. Then we walked toward the direction of Agaña. Upon reaching the barrio of Asan, we went to a place which used to be the hospital site for lepers during the time of the Spaniards. Here we stayed in tents which were prepared for this purpose.

We felt some relief after having been confined for 28 days in a big cabin intended for the soldiers, unable to stay on deck except during mealtime and a few minutes alloted for smoking. I have gone up the deck only once, when we were already at Agaña port.

Our companion, Lucas Camerino, is still sick, having caught a fever on board the ship, a week ago.

1st of February 1901

Today, they boarded 11 deportees from Ilocos Norte on our ship. They embarked on the Marine ship Solace, which they say, is sailing for the United States. These men are the following: Roberto Salvante, Marcelo Quintos, Jaime Morales, Pancrasio Palting, Gabino Domingo, León Flores, Florencio Castro, Inocente Cayetano, Pedro Hernando, Pancrasio Adiarte and Faustino Adiarte.

With this last batch of deportees, there are now 57 of us, including the servants. This is not to count an Ilocano relative of Ricarte, Antonio Bruno, who came as our cook with a salary of 30 Mexican pesos.