National Geographic : 1900 Jan
THE PHILIPPINEISLANDS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT 3 lion dollars, of which America should eventually have the controlling share if she will hold the great advantage which she now possesses by the occupation of the Philippines, where she can have a distribut ing and receiving point to come in close contact with these millions of people and of commerce. I contend that Manila occupies a position of immeasurable oppor tunity in comparison with the other great ports or cities of the Asian and Australian coast line. That you may obtain a concrete idea of what I mean, let me picture how Manila stands with reference to neighboring points. Let us draw a circle on a radius of two thousand miles, with Manila as the center. As we swing it around we find that this charmed circle takes in such distantly separated points as Yokohama, Vladivostok, and Tientsin on the north and Port Dar win, in Australia, and Batavia, in Java, on the south. It reaches east to include Guam and the Carolines and west to include Bangkok, in Siam, and Rangoon, in Burma. A similar circle drawn around any other port does not include so many important points. I would not imply that Manila will ever take the place of Hongkong, Shanghai, or Singapore, or even equal them in the race for commercial and political supremacy, because they already have a wonderful start; but there is abundant reason why Manila should become a great trade center to divide their business, and at least be the chief point through which America shall carry on her growing transactions with Asia's millions. It must be remembered that we have only recently entered this vast arena with any prospects of being the chief factor in trade. When we fully realize and improve our opportunities, then we should build up a great American city at Manila as the English have prosperous ports at Hongkong and Singapore, the Dutch at Batavia, and the French at Saigon. Manila Bay opens on the South China Sea, which is teeming with the commerce of the Orient as the Great Lakes of America are busy with the trade of our interior. But more than that, there pass up and down through this sea,within hail as it were of Manila, the mighty fleet of ocean craft that crowd through the Suez Canal and pass Singapore to and from Europe and the far East. Formerly these vessels never thought of stopping at Manila or having regular connections. It was always Spain's policy to keep the Philippines in the background. They were enshrouded in mystery; and even at Hongkong, only 630 miles away, with her great trade of $250,000,000 per annum, there was no just appreciation of the opportunities in the Philippines.