A Filipino Farmer with His Water Buffalo

A Filipino Farmer with His Water Buffalo Harrowing a Flooded Rice Field, Luzon, P.L.
This is an altogether Phillipine scene. Everything in it belongs to these Islands, and belongs to them almost exclusively. The lofty roofs of thatch on the native huts would alone mark the scene as belonging to the Phillipine Islands. The curious harrow has nothing to match it in any other land, except Hawaii, which has imported it from Luzon along with the buffalo. The water buffalo, or carabao, is the common, almost the only, beast of burden in the Phillipines. The manner of cultivating the ground under water is exceptional and very striking.

The water buffalo is amphibious. Left to himself he spends much of his time in water or mud. At work he must be released about every two hours in order to lie down in mud or water. This is necessary for his health and efficiency. He is not very rugged, but is the indispensable and universal hard worker of the archipelago. He has great strength, but not great endurance.

The harrow has teeth projecting from the horizontal iron bar, to which a handle resembling the frame of a buck-saw is attached. It does not turn the soil over, but stirs it up from a depth of four or five inches. The harrowing is carried on in the wet season, which begins about April 15, except on the Pacific Coast, where the seasons are reversed. Rice is planted in a seedplot early in June and transplanted to the field towards the end of July. This field is receiving the final harrowing preparatory to planting.

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