Remembering: Balangiga’s Scar of the Philippines

by Manuel Manolo G. Magracia Jr. September 22, 2021 “Kill every one over ten!” instructed by Gen. Smith. This is the depiction from The New ...

by Manuel Manolo G. Magracia Jr.
September 22, 2021



Remembering: Balangiga’s Scar of the Philippines
“Kill every one over ten!” instructed by Gen. Smith. This is the depiction from The New York Evening Journal’s on how American troops killed Filipinos in Balangiga, Samar ca. 1902 | Credit: Pininterest.ph.



It was a frightening truth transmitted to the realm of reality, where the ember's cause is independence. That is a remarkable scar, but it is the result of a radical sadistic assimilation. Colonialism and imperialism were the most painful experiences in the Philippines' history, putting a heavy burden on the early freedom fighters. In terms of the Balangiga tragedy, we must be aware of the gruesome memory in order to be remembered in the modern era.

The fateful events of September 28, 1901 were known as the "Balangiga Massacre" in American history textbooks. Yes, that American known as "massacre" has had a greater impact on the public from time to time and has turned out to be an American arrogance after stealing our bells as war booty.



Even the conflict between the Philippines and the United States, dubbed the "Philippine-American War," was not semantically honored by American historians, who instead referred to it as the "Philippine Insurgency" because they did not recognize the infant Philippine Republic. Many scholars, particularly our Filipino nationalists, disagreed with these norms, believing that the true massacre was the Samar campaign, which was a hell butchery led by General Jacob H. Smith that followed.

Let us summarize. Despite the long story, it was originally referred to the killing of about 48 US 9th Infantry soldiers by the Filipino townspeople led by Valeriano Abanador, the Balangiga's police chief, and Captain Eugenio Daza in the Balangiga town of Samar Island during the surprise attack on September 28, 1901. This was described as the US Army's worst defeat (or whatever they called it) since the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. It was described by the Filipinos as one of the bravest actions in the Philippine-American War, using only native bolos.



The Americans seized Samar in order to complete their mission to Filipino General Vicente Lukban, who was appointed governor of Samar under Aguinaldo's 1st Philippine Republic. When President Aguinaldo surrendered to the Americans on March 23, 1901, some Filipino commanders, including Gen. Lukban in Samar, continued the war. Captain Thomas Connel was chosen to command the Samar from then on. He sincerely believed in the country's benevolent assimilation as the new truthful reform to become a civilized society.

Captain H. L. Jackson unexpectedly discovered General Lukban's hideout on August 18, 1901; however, Connell ignored the secret information and continued to be friendly. Until, on September 28, 1901, the townspeople, enraged, launched an attack in the mess hall where the American soldiers were eating their breakfast without taking their arms. Soon after, the Filipinos launched a brutal attack on the stunned Americans, using bolos in sudden death. As a result, there was a slaughter in confusion.



Then came a furious retaliation against the people of Samar, led by the merciless Gen. Jacob H. Smith as his "howling wilderness." Officers were justified in using harsher methods after the massacre.

"I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better you will please me. I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States," firm instructed by Gen. Smith.

Then, when Major Littleton Waller interrogated about the age limit, Smith replied, "Ten years." They were forced to commit atrocities such as burning towns, stealing food and other items, and killing or transporting people for internment. As a result, tens of thousands of Filipinos, mostly civilians, were killed during the Samar Campaign, which became known as the "Balangiga Massacre." When they were finished, they began to take the church bells that signaled the attack to their comrades and send them to US military bases as war trophies. After more than a century, the Balangiga bells were finally returned to their rightful place on December 15, 2018, thanks to the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

What is the current mood? We were once in the hands of imperialists who used such fine trickery to scare Filipino souls into submission. So, where is the true scar? I made a simple wish here, not just remembering, but emphasizing the much-needed restoration of our past, and that scar will never fade as long as Filipinos remember that tragic time.

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