Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Benguet Paradise

In 1898, Benguet was pristine. The forest was endless and the villages full of warriors and care-free women. Or so we think. Here is Wm Henry Scott's part of Igorot Ethnography 1898 from his "Discovery of Igorots."

The lower Agno Valley had a generally miserable appearance. The forests were thinned out or the hillsides actually denuded by swidden-farming techniques, and erosion was extreme. The tiny villages of reed huts shifted their locations regularly over an area of several square kilometers while keeping the same names. So, too, the people were smaller and less muscular than those further North – 106 Igorots measured altogether averaged 5’1” or 5’2”. Lutab and Kabayan were obviously more prosperous, with stone-walled irrigated rice fields, houses of solid pine boards surrounded by low stone walls which either kept pigs or kept them out, and herds of fat-bellied carabaos, European-type cattle, and small horses pastured nearby for their meat. But the settlements themselves numbered only ten or twenty houses, with large towns running to no more than 40 or 50, and in no place did Dr. (Hans) Meyer encounter a population of no more than 250. (Official Benguet census figures of the period estimated a population of 20,000 divided into 144 villages – or an average of 153 each). If the German scientist’s observations of public health are accurate, this population must have been literal survivors by natural selection, for he found tuberculosis, asthma, varicose veins, skin eruptions, mange, coughs, common colds, and eye infections common everywhere, and saw few old folks in Benguet who were not covered with deep pockmarks. At that, Benguet have been better off than Lepanto, for “in every place where Spanish military posts stand or have stood, one encounters syphilis, and, moreover, in its most loathsome forms; gonorrhea and leucorrhea are likewise found, and in low-lying districts one can add dysentery and diseases of the liver.” From Igorot Ethnography, 1898 WH Scott

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1 Comments:

Blogger Sören said...

este blog es una masa, nunca vi algo asi hecho con el diseño

1:21 PM  

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