BECK index

Philippines to 1949

by Sanderson Beck

Philippines under Spain to 1800
Philippines under Spain 1800-80
Rizal and Filipino Reformers 1880-96
Filipino Revolution 1896-98
US Intervention and Filipino Independence 1898
Filipino-American War 1899-1902
Philippines under US Republicans 1902-10
Philippines under Americans 1910-33
Philippines and Quezon 1933-41
Philippines, Japan, and MacArthur 1941-45
Philippines American Independence 1945-49

This chapter has been published in the book EAST ASIA 1800-1949.
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Philippines under Spain to 1800

On their voyage that was the first circumnavigation of the globe, the Spanish ships led by Magellan discovered the islands east of Vietnam in 1521. While attacking natives on the island of Cebu, Magellan was killed by an arrow. Juan Carvallo went to the Moluccas and established a factory for collecting cloves at Tidore. Despite their 1529 treaty with Portugal, Spain sent ships to these islands. A voyage of five ships from Mexico in 1542 named the islands after Prince Philip, and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi led the first permanent Spanish settlements of 1565 that were extended to the islands of Cebu, Leyte, Pany, Mindoro, and the plain of Luzon before his death in 1572. Manila was founded in 1571, and the local chief agreed to let the Spaniards propagate their religion. The natives had no concept of land as property until the Spaniards started buying it from their chiefs. The Spaniards found this conquest did not help them in the spice trade, nor did it give them access to Japan and China; but their third purpose of converting the natives to Christianity was fairly successful. The Christians had arrived before Islam had spread beyond the southern islands, and those religious conditions tended to remain.

The Chinese Limahong led the pirates that killed Martin de Goiti. The Chinese had been trying to catch these pirates; so after they were defeated by the Spaniards, interim Philippines governor Lavezares was able to arrange trade relations between the Spaniards and the Chinese before he was replaced by Francisco de Sande in 1575. Spanish efforts to invade the Moros in the southern region in 1578 and Mindanao in 1596 both failed miserably. In 1578 fifteen Franciscans arrived in the Philippines to join the Augustinians, and Domingo de Salazar became the first bishop of Manila three years later. He called a synod in 1582 that questioned the Spaniards’ legal right to take possession of the Philippines, and the synod decided that they had no right to collect tribute from the Filipinos. Bishop Salazar later returned to Spain in order to ask for a royal decree to prohibit the forced labor of the Filipinos for building churches and other public works. He also requested that military escorts for missionaries be abolished. The Jesuits came in 1581, followed by Dominicans in 1587 and Recollects in 1605. By 1595 some 134 missionaries claimed they had baptized 288,000 Filipinos. Education was dominated by Christian theology; but key terms were not translated so as not to be confused with indigenous beliefs. In 1585 Philip II banned Chinese trade with Manila, but Mexico’s viceroy would not enforce this. In 1593 Spain required all commerce from the Philippines to go through Acapulco in Mexico, and this policy continued until 1815.

Forces from Manila were sent to attack Ternate; but in 1593 Spaniards in a hundred ships were massacred when their Chinese rowers mutinied. In 1600 Oliver van Noort lost one of his five Dutch ships while attacking Chinese and Filipino ships in Manila Bay. In 1603 the Dutch helped Ternate repulse an attack by the allied Portuguese and Spaniards. Two years later Dutch aid also enabled Ternate sultan Zaide to drive the Portuguese out of his island and Tidore; but in 1606 Manila governor Pedro de Acuña led an expedition that defeated Zaide and the Dutch and garrisoned Ternate with Spaniards and Filipinos. The Philippines were organized into fifteen provinces under alcalde-mayors responsible to the Spanish governor-general; but the pay of the mayors was so low and their local power so despotic that corruption was rampant. The governor-general had autocratic power and established a supreme court called the Royal Audiencia in 1583. Native customs were respected unless they violated the Spaniards’ Catholic morality. Spanish adventures to get involved in Cambodia by helping defend them against Siam began in 1593, and in the next ten years Cambodia had six different kings before they decided that Spanish aid was not worth the trouble and agreed to become a vassal state of Siam in 1603. Admiral Wittert blockaded Manila Bay for five months in 1609, but in April 1610 Spanish ships defeated and killed him.

European traders had often found concubines, who were paid to be temporary wives during visits; but about 1600 the Spanish and Dutch noticed that slave women of kings or nobles were being used as prostitutes. The Malay epic Sejarah Melayu of 1612 portrayed abortion as a common occurrence. Because divorce in southeast Asia was usually easy, many observed that husbands had to be more attentive to their wives. They usually married much younger than in Europe. Yet virginity was considered such an obstacle to marriage that it might be ritually removed, probably because blood was believed to be polluting by men.

Governor-General Juan de Silva ventured into the Moluccas in 1616; but his Portuguese allies did not show up, and the fleet returned because of de Silva’s death. The next year the Dutch defeated the Spaniards at Playa Honda and plundered shipping in Manila Bay for the next three years. An Anglo-Dutch blockade of Manila lasted sixteen months until May 1622. The Dutch built a fort in the Pescadores Islands and in 1624 started using Formosa to divert trade from Manila. The Spaniards won a third naval battle against the Dutch at Playa Honda and built two forts on Formosa. In 1637 Governor-General Corcuera conquered some Muslim bases in Mindanao and the next year took over Jolo. Corcuera decreed the obligation of personal service, and in 1639 the Chinese in Laguna revolted against this and abusive tax collectors. Thousands of Chinese were killed before the revolt was subdued the next year. In 1642 the Dutch captured the Formosa forts, and three years later they bombarded the Spanish fort at Jolo. After his term of office, Corcuera was put on trial in a residencia, but he was acquitted. A Jesuit negotiated a peace treaty with Jolo’s Sultan Bungsu in 1646. The Spaniards used two old galleons to win several naval victories over the Dutch. In 1647 Martin Gerretsen with twelve ships invaded Manila Bay and bombarded the fort at Cavite; but his flagship was sunk by artillery, and he was killed. The Dutch fleet went to Corregidor and plundered Bataan until they encountered resistance and suffered disease.

In 1648 Spain and the Netherlands made a treaty at Munster. Some raiding went on until 1662 when Coxinga threatened to attack Manila; but the Spaniards withdrew from Zamboanga, the Muslim Moros region, and Ternate. This retreat allowed Moro raids, but Jesuit requests to reoccupy the fort were denied as too expensive. When Governor-General Fajardo drafted workers to build the Cavite Arsenal, many protested. Juan Ponce Sumoroy led the violent rebellion that spread in 1649, but it was quelled the next year. Rebellion spread again in 1660, and Andres Malong proclaimed himself king of Pangasinan. The next year Pedro Almazan was named king of Iloscos, but all these rebel leaders were crushed and executed in 1661.

Spain’s queen Mariana sponsored the missionaries sent to the islands that were named the Marianas after her and became part of the Philippines in 1669. On the island of Guam, Jesuit missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores baptized Chief Kapuha (Quipuha), who granted land for a Catholic church. San Vitores baptized 13,000 native Chamorros in the first year. Kapuha died in 1669, and two years later war broke out between the Spaniards and the Chamorros. After their most destructive war, the Chamorros asked for peace, and the Spaniards insisted that they attend mass every Sunday. San Vitores solicited money from Queen Mariana, and churches were constructed. In April 1672 Chief Matapang and his war chief Hirao murdered San Vitores for having baptized his baby daughter without his permission. This provoked another war, and Matapang was mortally wounded in a battle on the island of Rota in 1680. The Spaniards conquered the Chamorros of the Marianas, forcing them to live in five villages after 1695. The Chamorro population was reduced from nearly 200,000 to 5,000 by 1740 when they were moved to Guam from all the northern Mariana Islands except Rota.

The Palaus and Carolines became dependencies of the Philippines in 1696. Late in the 17th century the private encomiendas, which could collect taxes, were abolished. Friars were allowed to borrow money from the Government and the Obras Pias (charitable foundations), and in 1717 Governor Bustamente learned that both the Government and the Obras Pias were bankrupt. After he urged them to return the money, friars murdered him in 1719.

The Muslim Malays developed confederacies, and in 1704 a Jesuit priest from Manila arbitrated a dispute between Madindanau and Sulu. Zamboanga was finally fortified again in 1718 for campaigns against the Moros. In 1722 the sultan of Sulu agreed to release Christian captives and tolerate Christianity, but such alliances did not prevent Moro raiding at sea. Sultan Alimud Din revised Sulu laws and translated Arabic texts and part of the Qur’an into Sulu. In 1744 he opened his dominion to Jesuit preaching and even allowed a church and a Spanish fort. Complaining Muslims compelled the Jesuits to take refuge in Zamboanga, and in 1749 his brother Bantilan seized the throne as Sultan Muhammad Mu‘izzudin. Alimud Din fled with his family to Manila, where he was baptized and named the Catholic king of Jolo. An expedition in 1751 to restore him was aborted after he was suspected of treason for having written to the Mindanao sultan saying he had been forced to allow the Catholic religion in his domain. Governor-General Obando issued a decree permitting acts of war against Filipino Muslims, but such plunder and slave-holding was prohibited by other laws. In 1752 Alimud was imprisoned at Manila, and other captives were branded on the face as slaves. Alimud was allowed to marry his former concubine in 1755 and was given a pension.

Also in 1744 Francisco Dagohoy, irritated that a priest would not give his brother a Catholic funeral, led a popular revolt with 3,000 followers; they held out in the Bohol mountains, and their community of 20,000 people lasted until 1829, when they were given amnesty and resettled. A series of agrarian uprisings around Manila began in 1745. Philip VI ordered the ecclesiastics investigated for usurping land, but the Audiencia and the Council of the Indies in Madrid refused to remedy the injustice. A royal decree in 1751 allowed the alcalde-mayors to engage in trade and business; this corrupt policy was not abolished until 1844. By the middle of the 18th century less than one thousand Spaniards lived in the Philippines, but 904,110 Christian Filipinos were counted. Governor Arandia (1754-59) reorganized the military, but Muslim raids killed and enslaved thousands on the coasts of Luzon and the Bisayas. To neutralize Chinese economic influence, Arandia expelled non-Christian Chinese in 1755, but the Chinese mestizos retained their higher social status.

After Spain gave up its neutrality in the Seven Years War to become an ally of France, in 1762 the British with 6,700 men and thirteen ships seized Manila, overcoming the defense by a thousand soldiers and 5,000 Filipino civilians. Despite General Draper’s promises, the British spent forty hours sacking Manila. Archbishop Rojo signed the capitulation, but Simon de Anda organized resistance outside the capital, proclaiming himself captain-general and governor. General Drake and Rojo governed the British occupation in Manila. The British released Alimudin and gave him a boat to return to Jolo, where he was restored to his throne but soon abdicated so that his son Israel could rule. The division between Rojo and Anda and this blow to Spain’s military prestige stimulated rebellions by Filipinos in Pangasinan, Laguna, Cavite, Tondo, Iloilo, Zamboanga, Samar, Cebu, Panay, and Ilocos against the Spanish authorities, who were never popular because of their dictatorial exploitation of natives. Diego Silang led the largest rebellion in Ilocos, refusing to pay taxes because the Spaniards had not defended the country. The British appointed Silang governor of Ilocos. Silang had Bishop Ustariz and twelve Augustinian missionaries arrested, but he was killed by Miguel Vico to free them. Governor-General Anda suppressed the uprisings, and he also complained to the king about friars meddling in worldly affairs and owning estates. After news of the European peace treaty arrived, the British evacuated Manila in March 1764.

The Philippines lost its monopoly over the China trade as Europeans began to compete. Moro raids began capturing about 500 Filipinos a year to sell as slaves. Spain’s new imperial policy caused the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767, and the Dominicans agreed to submit to some investigations. King Carlos III declared in 1773 that parishes could be filled with Filipino secular priests, but they were not yet well educated. Friars complained, and the King suspended secularization three years later. Governor-General Jose de Basco (1778-87) founded the Economic Society of Friends of the Country in 1781 to develop the natural resources of the Philippines. He encouraged the cultivation of indigo, cotton, tobacco, cinnamon, pepper, sugar, silk, hemp, tea, coffee, and the opium poppy, and the next year tobacco became a government monopoly. Compulsory labor on tobacco plantations sometimes prevented workers from growing enough food. Carlos III (r. 1759-88) sponsored an annual ship going around the Cape to Manila, and in 1785 he became the principal shareholder in the Royal Company of the Philippines; but this enterprise failed because merchants preferred their galleon trade. In 1788 Historia General de las Islas Filipinas in 14 volumes by the Franciscan missionary Juan de la Concepcion was published. The Philippines government wasted 1,500,000 pesos fighting the Muslims between 1778 and 1793.

Philippines under Spain 1800-80

In the 18th century most non-Catholic Chinese had been expelled from the Philippines, and by 1800 the Chinese mestizos had taken over their commercial activities. The wine monopoly begun in 1786 forbade Ilocanos from even drinking their own wine, and in 1807 they rebelled in Piddig, Ilocos Sur. The tobacco monopoly also enabled government officials to exploit the farmers, who were fined if they did not meet production quotas. Agents cheated them by certifying their tobacco as lower grade and then reporting it to the government as higher grade. In 1814 foreign traders were allowed to reside in Manila, and the Philippines began trading with Mexico, California, Peru, and Ecuador. In 1815 King Fernando VII cancelled the liberal Spanish constitution of 1812.

Some peasants revolted against the wealthy principales. In Sarrat the principales cheated weavers by refusing to pay for cloth they claimed was inferior. On March 3, 1815 a crowd of 1,500 armed with swords, bows and arrows, and pikes protested in the plaza. They ignored a speech by a priest and attacked the biggest houses, killing a principal and pro-Spanish residents. The rebels took 1,200 pesos fuertes from a convent and destroyed images, and they looted the houses of the rich. Simon Tomas blamed the principales for their loss of rights; but a priest explained that the Cadiz constitution had been abrogated, and an execution was halted. At San Nicholas they killed two principales and captured nine, but on their way to Laoag the rebels were stopped by a force gathered by some principales. Other principales organized a force of six hundred armed men, and the alcalde mayor sent the infantry and cavalry. A priest persuaded the rebels to release the principales. The Spanish forces set Sarrat on fire, and those rebel leaders not escaping to the mountains were imprisoned.

In 1820 the Mexican revolutionary Agustin Iturbide seized Manila goods sold for two million pesos, devastating the galleon trade. Governor-General Juan Antonio Martinez brought in Spanish officers who no longer could serve in Mexico, and Filipino officers resented the new Spaniards being given higher ranks. (At this time the term “Filipino” still referred to Spaniards born in the Philippines, but it was beginning to include Spanish and Chinese mestizos with Spanish culture. By 1898 it came to mean anyone born in the Philippines.) In 1823 Captain Andres Novales organized a mutiny in Manila and was executed with some other officers. Indio priests were demoted when Fernando VII returned the parishes to the friars in 1826. That year Governor-General Ricafort issued a series of rules prohibiting various vices such as profane language, lewdness, working on Sundays or holy days, gambling, having guns and knives, idleness, fireworks, and being out after hours. Two years later foreigners were prohibited from engaging in retail trade, and this was renewed in 1857. From 1835 until the end of the Spanish rule in 1898 the Philippines had fifty different governors-general.

The Royal Philippine Company was abolished in 1834, and Manila was opened to world trade. The export of hemp (abaca) to the US Navy began in 1820, and by 1842 the American companies of Sturges and T. N. Peale had a monopoly. Filipinos were represented in the Spanish Cortes, Spain’s parliament in Madrid, during three periods— 1810-13, 1820-23, and 1834-37, but after 1837 the Philippines was no longer represented in the Cortes. In 1838 Francisco Baltazar, known as Balagtas, published his poem Florante at Laura in the Tagalog language. He criticized Spanish rule but avoided censorship by using allegory, symbolism, and satire. In 1839 the Chinese were allowed to live wherever they wanted; after 1844 they could choose any occupation, as their ability in commerce helped the economy; and in 1850 Chinese immigration was allowed again. Spanish law did not allow indios to owe more than 25 pesos, and so mestizos would buy land for them and collect rent. In 1842 the Spanish government sent Sinnibaldo de Mas to study the Philippines economy, and he advised them to avoid making liberals and insurgents by denying them higher education.

In 1839 Apolinario de la Cruz was not allowed to join a monastic order because he was a native. Called Hermano Pule and king of the Tagalogs, he led a rebel sect in Tayabas in 1841 that stimulated the Tagalog regiment mutiny two years later. The Governor-General sent two infantry companies and the cavalry. As his followers fled, Pule and his aide Purgatorio were captured. After a quick trial they were executed. Some of his followers lived in the mountains and were called Colorum after the phrase used in their mass—et saecula saeculorum. Although this resistance was squelched, Filipino resentment of Spanish arrogance and religious intolerance increased.

In 1843 the Philippines purchased four steam-powered gunboats from the British, giving them the advantage they used to defeat the Muslims of Mindanao in 1848. The rajas of the islands of Pilas and Basilan also accepted Spanish sovereignty. Sultan Muhammad Paralung of Jolo signed such a treaty in 1851. That year the Banco Español-Filipino de Isabel II was founded to promote the use of savings for commercial investments. In 1855 the port of Iloilo was opened to foreign shipping, and the British consul Nicholas Loney began selling sugar machinery to planters for a percentage of the profits. Sugar production in Negros began increasing rapidly, growing from 14,000 piculs in 1859 to 1,800,000 piculs in 1893. A previous royal decree was implemented with a Permanent Board of Censorship in 1856. That year a smallpox epidemic wiped out 60% of Guam’s population and most of the native Chamorros, leaving only 3,241 people. In 1857 the Spanish government made the Mariana Islands into a prison for civilian convicts.

Because of the Jesuits and other missionaries, the Philippines became the best educated country in Southeast Asia. The Jesuits had opened the first college in Manila in 1589, and the Dominicans founded the University of Santo Tomas in 1645. In the 1850s girls schools with female teachers were established on an equal basis with boys schools. A public system of primary education was implemented in 1863 with compulsory attendance from age seven to twelve, and it was free. The curriculum for both sexes was Christian doctrine, reading, writing, Spanish, arithmetic, good manners, and music, but the girls learned sewing and embroidery instead of agriculture and geography. Also in 1863 the Council of the Indies was replaced by the Overseas Ministry, and Spanish laws were extended to the Philippines.

The Jesuits were allowed to return to the Philippines in 1859, and many native priests lost their parishes. Two years later the Recollect friars, who were transferred from Mindanao to Manila, were given the places of secular Filipinos. The learned priest Pedro Pelaez complained about this racial discrimination to Queen Isabella II. After he died in the Manila earthquake of 1863, his pupil Jose Burgos, who was three-quarters Spanish, published the Manifesto to the Noble Spanish People calling for racial equality in the priesthood. In 1864 the Philippines had 4,050 Spaniards—3,280 government officials, 500 clergy, 200 land-owners, and 70 merchants. The export of textiles from the Philippines declined after 1864. The telegraph and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 improved communication and transportation between Spain and the Philippines. By 1870 the total population of the Philippines was estimated at five million with 3,700,000 native Filipinos, 240,000 Chinese mestizos, 100,000 Muslim Filipinos, 25,000 pagans, 20,000 Spanish mestizos, 10,000 Chinese, 4,000 Spanish-Filipinos, and 2,000 Spaniards. In 1872 Filipinos administered only 181 out of 792 parishes.

After Isabella II was deposed on September 19, 1868, laws and religious customs were reformed at a constitutional convention in Madrid, opening the way for universal suffrage and a free press. The new Constitution went into effect in the Philippines on September 21, 1869. Newspapers began to circulate openly as the liberal Governor-General Carlos Maria de la Torre abolished censorship and flogging. He also secularized public education; believing that too many youths were studying law and for the priesthood, he encouraged the pursuit of medicine, pharmacy, and other vocations.

In November 1870 Amadeus was elected king of Spain, and General Prim was assassinated. De la Torre was replaced by Governor-General Rafael de Izquierdo (1871-73), who had supported the revolution but believed the Philippines needed a “conservative liberal policy.” He ordered that more lay teachers should be hired, that teacher salaries should be increased, and that primary instruction should be compulsory. Workers at the Cavite Arsenal learned that in January 1872 they would have to pay tribute and be subjected to forced labor. Protesting workers were joined by 200 mutinying Filipino soldiers; seven officers, thirteen soldiers, and some civilians were killed. Suspected leaders were arrested. After a quick court martial, thirteen were executed, and 28 were sentenced to ten years in prison. Three innocent Filipino priests—Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomez, and Jacinto Zamora—were put to death and became famous martyrs for the cause of Filipino independence. Lawyers appealed, and the 28 prisoners in the Marianas were granted clemency in November 1874 but were not allowed to return to the Philippines until April 1876. The magazine El Eco Filipino was banned after the 1872 mutiny, and intellectuals fled to Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Europe to develop their ideas for reform.

Rizal and Filipino Reformers 1880-96

By the 1880s English countries and the United States were the main trading partners of the Philippines. Spain abolished the tobacco monopoly in 1881, and the Chinese began taking over the market for lower-grade tobacco by bartering with farmers. They set up two hundred cigar and cigarette factories in Manila that employed 20,000 workers. Chinese mestizos also moved into agriculture, and the pacto de retroventa allowed lenders to take over land from borrowers who could not pay or who were cheated because they could not go to court. Royal decrees in 1880 and 1894 gave landowners only one year to register their lands; more than 400,000 small landowners lost their lands because they did not acquire the titles. These land grabs caused resentment among farmers who had to work as tenants on land their ancestors had owned. Dominicans dispossessed the tenants of Calamba in 1888.

Lopez Jaena wrote a satire about a fat and greedy friar and then went to Spain in 1880 to study in Madrid. Two years later he defended Filipinos during the International Congress of Commercial Geography. Marcelo de Pilar completed law school at the University of Santo Tomas in 1880. He began editing the journal Dariong Tagalog in 1882. He wrote in Tagalog and parodied the catechism and religious formulas in pamphlets. He fled to Spain in October 1888, and the next year he published La Soberaria Monacal en Filipinas, exposing the hypocrisy of the friars and their monasteries. In December 1888 the Filipino organization La Solidaridad was established in Barcelona, and Rizal’s cousin Galicano Apacible became president. Professor Miguel Morayta founded the Hispano-Filipino Association in January 1889. They lobbied to suppress inhuman punishments and taxes on agricultural produce and taxes for the church while encouraging education in Spanish, a civil register, secondary schools, university reforms, agricultural banks, administrative reforms, and construction of roads and railways.

The publication La Solidaridad was financed by Pablo Rianzares in February 1889 with Lopez Jaena as the first editor. They used pen names and smuggled copies into the Philippines. In July the Spanish Civil Code was applied to the Philippines, and in November the Becerra law authorized the main towns to govern themselves with elections; but Governor-General Weyler and friars did not implement these reforms. Pilar took over as editor in December, and for the next five years La Solidaridad was the principal organ for the reform movement. They called for equal rights, competitive examinations for recruiting officials, abolishing the civil guards, and Filipino representation in the Cortes. After La Solidaridad lost its funding in November 1895, Lopez Jaena wandered the streets of Barcelona hungry and died on July 4, 1896. The friars counteracted La Solidaridad in the influential La Politica de España en Filipinas.

The first Filipino Masonic lodge called La Revolucion was founded at Barcelona in April 1889. Lodges were established in the Philippines, and they also worked to make the Philippines a province of Spain with representation in the Cortes. By 1893 the Philippines had 35 Masonic lodges with nine in Manila, and in July they began admitting women as members.

Jose Rizal was born at Calamba in the Laguna province on June 19, 1861. His father Francisco Mercado was a Chinese mestizo and wealthy sugar planter. His mother Teodora Alonso was from a prominent family and was well educated, but she was imprisoned unjustly for two and half years. Jose was educated by Jesuits and at the University of Santo Tomas. He was drawn to literature and wrote poetry. His A la Juventud Filipina in 1879 suggested that the Philippines could be a separate nation while giving Spain credit for benefiting them. However, in his one-act verse comedy Junto al Pasig, performed in December 1880, the Devil says that their prosperity is withering because of the influence of Spain. His allegorical play El Consejo de los Dioses won a contest in 1880, but as a Filipino he was denied the prize.

Rizal believed he had a mission to relieve suffering and studied medicine at the University of Madrid. He learned Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and he spoke and read Spanish, French, German, English, and Italian. To help the Propaganda Movement he wrote letters to liberal newspapers about the Philippines. He earned his licentiate in medicine in June 1884, and that month he made a speech in praise of the artists Juan Luna and Felix Hidalgo that made him a leader of the Filipinos in Spain. Rizal went to Paris and Heidelberg to study ophthalmology. In Berlin he met the Tagalog scholar Ferdinand Blumentritt, and he was admitted into the Berlin Anthropology Society. Lacking money, Rizal gave up eating meat.

In 1887 Rizal published his Noli Me Tangere, translated as Touch Me Not, the words the resurrected Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene. After gaining a university education in Europe, Ibarra returns with zeal to reform the Philippines using education. He is in love with Maria Clara but is blocked by her father, the friar Damaso, and the friar Salvi, who also wants her. Salvi instigates an uprising, and Ibarra is blamed for financing and leading the rebels. The outlaw Elias had been saved by Ibarra, and he helps Ibarra escape but is shot to death. This novel criticized friars and Philippine society so severely that the Archbishop wanted it banned. Most of the 2,000 copies were sent to Spain and the Philippines, where anyone caught reading the book could be punished. Rizal wrote to a friend that this book was intended to unmask the hypocrisy of the false religion that impoverished and brutalized the people. Friar Jose Rodriguez wrote a pamphlet to warn people not to read the novel, and Rizal published a reply satirizing the ignorance of the friar. He did not call for separation from Spain but better education and government with one or two deputies in the Cortez and more safeguards.

In August 1887 Rizal returned to Manila, where second-hand copies of Noli Me Tangere were selling for six times the original price. He performed several cataract operations. Governor-General Emilio Terrero y Perinat asked Rizal for a copy of his novel, and by the end of the year the Censorship Commission recommended it be banned for advocating independence. In Calamba the Dominican hacienda had increased in size without benefiting the people, and Rizal wrote a report on the issue in January 1888, revealing Dominican corruption for 54 years. Rizal was advised to leave the Philippines, and he went to Hong Kong in February even while ill. On March 1 some ward leaders in Manila petitioned the Governor to expel the friars from the Philippines; 28 people who signed the petition were imprisoned. Terrero left the Philippines in May and was replaced by Valeriano Weyler a few weeks later. Rizal’s brother-in-law Manuel Hidalgo was arrested and deported to the island of Bohol for being a subversive (filibustero). In Calamba the low sugar prices and high rents and fees charged by the hacienda caused families to go hungry, and cholera broke out.

Rizal sailed to Yokohama and San Francisco; he traveled by train to New York and then on a ship to Liverpool. In London he wrote about Calamba in La Solidaridad. The Laguna court decided in favor of the Dominicans, but his brother Paciano Rizal appealed to the Real Audiencia. Jose Rizal became a freemason in Paris. In January 1890 he published his annotated edition of Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, which was written in 1609 and described Filipino culture before the Spaniards came. Blumentritt translated Noli Me Tangere and Rizal’s book on Tagalog orthography into German. Rizal went to Madrid in August to complete his second novel, El Filibusterismo. The title suggests revolution as a nearly hopeless cause. On September 6 troops entered Calamba and gave the Rizals and thirty families one day to leave. Their houses were pulled down; forty heads of families were deported, and three hundred families were left destitute. Rizal revised his novel, making it a clearer call for revolution. He also learned that his fiancée’s mother withheld their letters and persuaded her daughter to marry an Englishman, who was working on the railroad in the Philippines. Del Pilar complained that Rizal was not writing articles for Solidaridad, and the Propaganda in Manila ordered them to reconcile.

Rizal’s El Filibusterismo was published in 1891, and it was dedicated to the three priests executed in 1872. Valentin Ventura loaned him money to pay for the printing. The hero of Noli Me Tangere, Ibarra, returns to the Philippines in disguise as Simoun to foment a revolution for the oppressed. He uses money to expose the corruption of friars and officials while organizing an armed rebellion. Ibarra tries to rescue Maria Clara from a convent, and in the last chapter while dying he goes to the priest Florentino, who explains that the violent methods based on hate fail, making the novel a warning. Crimes cannot be ended by more crimes, and the country cannot be given to those who cause its ruin. Hate creates monsters, and only love works wonders. Their country will not be freed by vice and crime but by virtue, sacrifice, and love. Florentino says,

I do not mean to say that our liberty
will be secured at the sword’s point,
for the sword plays but little part in modern affairs,
but that we must secure it by making ourselves worthy of it,
by exalting the intelligence and the dignity of the individual,
by loving justice, right and greatness,
even to the extent of dying for them,
and when a people reaches that height
God will provide a weapon, the idols will be shattered,
the tyranny will crumble like a house of cards
and liberty will shine out like the first dawn.1

Florentino asks what value is independence if the slaves of today become tyrants tomorrow.

Rizal wrote to Blumentritt that he had to return to the Philippines to be an example without fearing death. He arrived in Hong Kong in November 1891 and learned that his mother Teodora Alonso had been imprisoned again for not using her name Realonda de Rizal even though she had been forbidden to use the name Rizal. He planned a nationwide society that would have regional councils. Many copies of his new novel were seized by customs at Iloilo. Rizal abandoned the hope of assimilation and wanted liberation from Spain. In March 1892 he wrote to Governor-General Despujol y Dusay asking permission to start a Filipino colony in North Borneo. He visited Sandakan and talked with British officials. Alexander Cook offered him 5,000 acres free of rent for three years, but he learned that Despujol did not approve the project.

Rizal returned to Manila on June 26, 1892, and in the next week he met with Despujol several times. On July 3 Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and others organized the Philippine League (La Liga Filipina). Their goals were to unite the Philippines; provide mutual assistance and defense against violence and injustice; encourage education, agriculture, and commerce; and study and practice reforms. Four days later Rizal was arrested, and on July 14 he was deported to Dapitan, a remote Jesuit town in Mindanao. On the same night they learned of the deportation Bonifacio and six others formed the secret society called Katipunan.

After a while Bonifacio and Domingo Franco revived Liga Filipina to support La Solidaridad. Bonifacio organized chapters in Manila among the middle and lower classes that were more radical and stopped sending funds to Madrid. The Liga split into the conservative Cuerpo de Compromisarios who supported La Solidaridad and Bonifacio’s radicals in the Katipunan. The former lasted only a few months, and the latter no longer sought assimilation with Spain but rather advocated separation and armed revolution.

Bonifacio continued to work for the Liga and organized Katipunan in October 1892. A women’s chapter was formed in 1893. They used secret codes to hide their writings. In addition to the political goal of separation from Spain, Bonifacio advocated better morals without religious fanaticism or weakness of character. Civic aims included self-help and defending the poor and the oppressed. All members were encouraged to aid sick comrades and their families. Bonifacio did not take the leadership office until 1895 after others had failed. He wrote “The Duties of the Sons of the People” to encourage loving God and country and self and family and others, brotherly cooperation, responsibility, and better attitudes toward women. Emilio Jacinto supplemented this with thirteen teachings in the Kartilla that included doing good deeds rather than seeking profit, racial equality, honesty, not wasting time, defending the oppressed, keeping secrets, respecting women, and loving one’s country. Jacinto edited the first edition of their newspaper Freedom (Kalayaan) that came out in March 1896 and advocated revolt against the Spaniards. Marcelo del Pilar was listed as editor, and two thousand copies were printed. Before the second issue could be published, the Government raided them and put their press out of business. Just one issue of Kalayaan increased the membership of Katipunan from 300 to an estimated 30,000.

Meanwhile Rizal taught school and worked in a hospital in Dapitan for four years. Josephine Bracken became his common-law wife and had a stillborn child. Revolution had erupted in Cuba in February 1895, and the Spanish Government asked for young doctors to serve in the military because of the yellow fever epidemic. Rizal sent an application to Governor-General Ramon Blanco y Erenas. In July 1896 Dr. Pio Valenzuela came and told him that revolution was imminent in the Philippines. Rizal believed the revolution was premature and warned that it would fail, that Bonifacio was leading people to suicide. At the end of the month Rizal was given permission to serve as a medical officer in Cuba. The next day nearly the whole town said goodbye to the man who had taught and healed them.

The ship that Rizal took to Manila arrived a day late, and so he had to wait a month for a ship to Barcelona. He was detained on the cruiser Castilla at Cavite, and only his family could visit him. Governor-General Blanco arrested 22 people in August who were connected to anti-national secret societies. Bonifacio began the revolution on August 30 by attacking the fort San Juan del Monte in Manila. Rizal told Blanco he could use his name to help stop the revolution, and on September 2 he was transferred to a ship going to Spain. At Singapore a filibustero suspect escaped; but Rizal had given his word to Blanco he would go to Cuba.

Rizal was put under arrest before they arrived at Barcelona, and from there he was sent back to Manila for trial. His brother Paciano was tortured so severely that he could not move; but he kept silent. Col. Francisco Olive, who had commanded the troops that drove the Rizals from their home in 1890, was the judge advocate, and he interrogated Rizal for five days. Dominicans were determined to get Blanco removed, and General Camilo de Polavieja replaced him on December 13. Two days later in prison Rizal wrote a “Manifesto to Certain Filipinos” he considered misguided in order to save lives. His name was being used as a rallying cry to take up arms, but this surprised and grieved him. He believed the insurrection was absurd and disastrous. Rather he urged educating people, hard work, and civic virtues, and he condemned the “ridiculous and barbarous uprising.” Olive and Polavieja did not release this message because they did not think it went far enough in that it held out hope for a future revolution.

Rizal was prosecuted as “the soul of the revolution.” His lawyer, Luis Taviel de Andrade, argued that the only evidence against Rizal was from his past writings and work. Rizal also spoke in detail, and neither he nor his lawyer begged for mercy. With the rebellion raging, the public mood was strong. Rizal was convicted and sentenced to death. Polavieja approved the sentence and scheduled the execution for December 30. Rizal foresaw that his death would mean the end of Spain’s rule in the Philippines, because they had lost their moral right to rule. Dominicans tried to get Rizal to retract his previous writings, and Vicente Balaguer even perpetrated a fraud that he had done so and had married Josephine on his last day. Rizal was not allowed to send messages, but he composed the poem Ultimo Adios in his head and wrote it down during his last night and hid it in a lamp, telling his family about it in English. He sang to his beloved country and concluded,

I go to where there are no slaves, no hangmen, no oppressors,
Where faith does not slay, where he who reigns is God.
 Farewell, my parents and family, fragments of my soul,
Friends of childhood in the home we have lost;
Give thanks that I take rest after the oppressive day;
Farewell, sweet stranger, my companion, my happiness;
Farewell, friend, whoever you may be.
To die, to rest—it is the same.2

The firing squad was Filipino soldiers, but behind them were Spanish soldiers ready to shoot the squad if they disobeyed. Rizal was shot in the back as a traitor, but he managed to turn and fall with his face up. His family sent his last poem to Hong Kong, where J. P. Braga published it in a monthly journal. The philosopher Miguel de Unamuno called Rizal the Tagalog Christ.

Filipino Revolution 1896-98

After the Katipunan press was destroyed, Andres Bonifacio and Jacinto tried to raise money for the revolution by listing rich Filipinos as donors. When they failed to contribute, the documents were leaked to the Government. Francisco Roxas pleaded his innocence but was executed, and others were imprisoned or were saved by bribery. Bonifacio met with Admiral Kanimura on a ship in Manila Bay, but the Japanese declined to support the revolution. After locusts destroyed the rice fields in Central Luzon in the summer of 1896, the friar landowners refused to allow rent remittance while some even demanded an increase. By August many of the poor were so enthusiastic about Katipunan that they were meeting every night. Friars became aware of them, and Teodoro Patiño revealed the secrets to his sister and then to the priest Mariano Gil, who informed the authorities on August 19.

Hundreds of people in Manila were arrested for illegal association and treason. On August 21 Bonifacio changed the code and led about five hundred rebels from Balintawak to Pugadlawin. There they vowed to fight to the end and then burned their cedulas. A skirmish with civil guards took place on August 24, killing one guard and two rebels. The rebels had few guns and retreated. Six days later Bonifacio and Jacinto led an attack on the powder magazine at the San Juan del Monte fort in Manila. Governor-General Blanco declared martial law in the provinces of Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija. In the south a thousand men attacked the civil guards at Pasig, and four hundred rebels captured the church at Pandakan. Bonifacio and his men were able to take San Mateo, Mariquina, and Montalban, but the Spaniards recaptured them.

The Government tortured prisoners until they revealed names of others. Hundreds more were arrested, and heads of families were deported to the Carolines or the Spanish penal colony in Africa. Fort Santiago became overcrowded with Filipino suspects. When a Spanish soldier covered the only vent with a rug, hundreds died of suffocation. Prisoners were hanged by the hands and dropped to the floor, and electric wires were connected to their hands or feet to make them talk. Four Katipuneros were shot to death at the Luneta on September 4, and thirteen in Cavite were executed eight days later. Spaniards executed an unknown number of Filipinos in Mindanao in October. Under Governor-General Polavieja twelve Bicolano rebels were executed on January 4, 1897, and more than four thousand died in Manila jails.

On September 2 Mariano Llanera led two thousand revolutionaries against the Spanish garrison at San Isidro in Nueva Ecija, and they held the town three days before retreating. People killed a priest in Hermosa, Bataan, and three thousand revolutionaries from there and Pampango towns did battle. Emilio Aguinaldo, the mayor of Kawit, took command of the rebels in Cavite as Captain Miong. After they defeated General Aguirre’s forces on September 5, the Caviteños called him General Miong. On October 31 General Aguinaldo decreed that the goal of the revolution was the independence of the Philippines, and the watchwords were liberty, equality, and fraternity. His decrees implied that a new revolutionary government had replaced the secret Katipunan, but the Magdiwang Council in Cavite disagreed with this and his Magdala Council. General Blanco launched an offensive in Cavite in early November, but at the urging of the Dominicans he was replaced on December 13 by the more brutal General Camilo de Polavieja. His Cavite campaigns began in early January 1897.

The divided revolutionaries suffered reverses, and Bonifacio was asked to mediate the conflict. An assembly of revolutionaries met at Imus on December 31, but the Magdala and Magdiwang factions could not agree. They met again at Tejeros on March 22, 1897. Bonifacio got the convention to agree to elections. Emilio Aguinaldo was elected president and Bonifacio director of the Interior. However, Daniel Tirona said that the Interior director should be an educated lawyer. When he refused to retract his statement, the insulted Bonifacio annulled the elections and dissolved the assembly. The next day Aguinaldo and the others elected took their oath of office at Santa Cruz de Malabon while Bonifacio and 45 men met again in Tejeros. Bonifacio and his followers went to Naik and established a separate government with General Pio del Pilar as commander-in-chief.

Many of the elite from Cavite did not like Bonifacio because he was not formally educated and was a mason and an employee of a German firm. They persuaded Pio del Pilar, General Mariano Noriel, and Severino de las Alas to abandon Bonifacio and join Aguinaldo. Alas falsely accused Bonifacio of accepting bribes from friars to start a war while poorly armed. While they were arresting him, Andres Bonifacio and his brother Procopio were wounded, and their brother Ciriaco was killed. Their trial before a Council of War lasted five days. President Aguinaldo commuted the death sentences to banishment on May 8, but several men persuaded him to withdraw his order. Two days later Andres and Procopio Bonifacio were executed by the revolutionary government.

Meanwhile the Spanish Government’s campaign was reclaiming territory. Governor-General Primo de Rivera arrived in Manila on April 23, 1897 and offered amnesty to those rebels who surrendered their weapons by May 17, but most Filipinos ignored the decree. Aguinaldo suffered defeats and lost Cavite by May 17. He joined General Miguel Malvar at Talisay, but their combined forces were defeated on May 30. Aguinaldo was attacked at Mount Puray on June 14, but he was victorious. He moved his headquarters to Biacnabato in San Miguel, Bulacan. On July 2 Rivera ordered “war without quarter” on the Filipinos and prohibited them from leaving their villages and towns. That month President Aguinaldo demanded expulsion of friars and the return of the Filipinos to their lands, representation in the Cortes, a free press and religious tolerance, equal pay for Filipino civil servants, ending the banishment of citizens, and equality before the law.

Six thousand men fought under Ramon Tagle in Tayabas for six days in early September; but they were defeated, and Tagle was captured and executed. At the same time three generals led an attack on Aliaga in Nueva Ecija, but they were pushed back by 8,000 Government troops. Guerrillas continued to fight in several provinces. In October the Government recruited Filipinos into the army by offering them high salaries, land grants, and perpetual exemption from forced labor. The Biacnabato Constitution was signed on November 1, and the next day Emilio Aguinaldo was elected president of the Supreme Council for the Philippine Republic. Tagalog was made the official language, and exiles in Hong Kong formed a Central Revolutionary Committee. Aguinaldo had been negotiating with the Spanish Government through the mestizo scholar Pedro Paterno since August, and on December 15 they signed a truce in which Aguinaldo and nineteen companions agreed to go into exile for 800,000 pesos in three installments and 900,000 pesos for the Filipino families who suffered during the war. On December 27 Aguinaldo and his associates with a check for 400,000 pesos sailed for Hong Kong, where they lived frugally off the interest. The insurgents still at Biacnabato led by Isabelo Artacho petitioned the Governor-General for the other 400,000 pesos and were given 200,000, which they divided up in January 1898.

Many Filipinos did not trust the Spaniards and refused to surrender their weapons, and so the revolution continued. General Francisco Makabulos of Tarlac refused to go to Hong Kong and distributed his share of the money to his soldiers. When the Government continued the persecution, he set up a Central Executive Committee and reorganized the army in Central Luzon. In February 1898 revolutionaries cut the railway lines to Dagupan, and in March they seized the telegraph and cable lines in Northern Zambales. Cebuanos also rose up and formed a revolutionary committee. Friars had organized the counter-revolutionary Guardia de Honor, and they were attacked in local actions. In Manila the civil guard raided houses, killing and arresting suspected revolutionaries. Jacinto was organizing in Laguna and published a document, and in Central Luzon a committee adopted a constitution in April.

US Intervention and Filipino Independence 1898

On February 15, 1898 an explosion on the American warship Maine in Havana harbor killed 246 men, and it was blamed on Spain. Ten days later Theodore Roosevelt, assistant secretary of the US Navy, cabled Commodore George Dewey to move his squadron to Hong Kong. There Felipe Agoncillo had been trying to negotiate a Filipino-American alliance with the American consul-general Rounseville Wildman. Aguinaldo met with the American gun-boat commander Edward P. Wood. To avoid a lawsuit by Isabelo Artacho, who was demanding half the 400,000 pesos for another group, Aguinaldo went to Singapore. There the American consul E. Spencer Pratt on April 24 told him that the United States had promised Cuba independence and would not try to possess the Philippines, which is 10,000 miles away. Dewey instructed Wildman to help Aguinaldo return to the Philippines, and Wildman advised Aguinaldo to take dictatorial control and then later set up a constitutional government. Aguinaldo paid Wildman 50,000 pesos for 2,000 rifles and 200,000 bullets and gave him 67,000 pesos for another shipment that was never delivered.

The Liberal Party gained power in Spain and sent General Basilio Augustin to replace Rivera as governor-general. He arrived in Manila on April 9 and announced the continuation of the pacification policy. On April 19 the United States Congress authorized war against Spain. The neutral British governor of Hong Kong ordered the American ships to leave, and President McKinley told Dewey to go to the Philippines. On May 1 Dewey’s fleet sailed into Manila Bay and attacked the Spanish fleet of twelve warships, sinking all but one in a few hours and killing nearly two hundred Spaniards. The American ships were not damaged and remained to blockade Manila.

After Dewey sent his authorization, the McCullough took Aguinaldo and thirteen others from Hong Kong to Cavite, where they landed on May 19. News of their return spread rapidly, and many Filipinos, who had volunteered to fight for Spain, defected to the revolution. Americans on the Petrel gave them arms, and Aguinaldo’s forces captured 5,000 prisoners by the end of May. General Mariano Noriel captured 3,000 prisoners in Cavite in a few weeks as the insurgents took over land from Spanish monastic orders. They took rifles and ammunition from Spanish outposts or bought them from Chinese smugglers. On May 24 Aguinaldo announced that he was taking command as a temporary dictator; but he promised a constitutional republic after they gained control. He reversed his previous capitulation and pronouncement that those who did not surrender were bandits. He promised Dewey that the Filipinos would “respect foreigners and their property, also enemies who surrender” so that Americans would not divide up their territory. Revolutionaries captured Imus, Parañaque, Bakood, and Las Piñas, and the provinces of Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Tayabas (Quezon), and Camarines declared for Aguinaldo. Filipinos began a siege of Manila on May 31, cutting off food and water.

On May 4 Governor Augustin had decreed a Filipino Voluntary Militia and a Consultative Assembly. On the 28th he called together wealthy and influential mestizos for the Consultative Assembly with Pedro Paterno as its president. Three days later Paterno promised the people home rule, and the Assembly adjourned on June 13. On June 6 Aguinaldo had asked Augustin to surrender, but he declined. The Governor offered Aguinaldo a salary of 5,000 pesos to be a brigadier-general in the Spanish army, but he declined too.

On June 12 Aguinaldo declared the Philippines independent “under the protection of the mighty and humane North American Union.”3 The declaration was signed by 97 Filipinos and one retired American artillery officer. Admiral Dewey had been invited but did not attend. On June 18 Aguinaldo said he wanted the most distinguished persons in each province to take over local governments. The chiefs of the towns were to elect delegates to the Congress, and military commanders who liberated towns became their commissioners. The lawyer Apolinario Mabini, whose legs were paralyzed, became Aguinaldo’s liberal advisor. He thought the declaration of independence was premature, and on June 23 they announced that the dictatorship was changed to a Revolutionary Government. The orders of the previous Biacnabato Republic were also revoked. Emilio Jacinto was operating independently, but Mabini invited him to join the government in Malolos. Aguinaldo appointed delegates for those provinces not yet pacified. By the end of June the rebels controlled all of Luzon except Manila, which was besieged.

On July 15 Aguinaldo chose his cabinet that included his brother Baldomero as secretary of War and Public Works; several recently had been in the Spanish camp. Aguinaldo was proclaimed the chief general on July 23, and he placed 14,000 Filipino soldiers between the Spaniards and the Americans outside Manila’s walls. American forces were arriving. General Thomas Anderson brought 2,500 on June 30, General Francis V. Greene 3,500 on July 17, and General Arthur MacArthur 4,800 on July 31. General Wesley E. Merritt now commanded 10,964 men and 740 officers. On the night of July 31 the Spaniards attacked the Americans, killing ten.

Governor Augustin was removed for negotiating surrender and was replaced by General Fermin Jaudenes, who preferred to surrender to the white Americans rather than the brown Filipinos. Merritt and Dewey made a secret deal with him that they would stage a mock battle and then the Filipino rebels would be excluded from the surrender of Manila. Dewey promised to hold back the Filipino troops. General Greene offered General Noriel fine artillery pieces to yield the sector south of Manila. Aguinaldo obeyed Greene’s verbal order to give way, and he yielded to additional pressure from General Anderson. Less than two hours after the “battle” began on August 13 the Spaniards hoisted a white flag. The Americans promised to protect the city, its inhabitants, and its churches. The next day the surrender was signed, and General Merritt proclaimed a military government. President McKinley had ordered all military operations suspended because the United States and Spain had signed on armistice on August 12; but Dewey had cut the cable to Manila. Spanish jurists argued that according to international law the United States should give back what they took after the treaty was signed. The Spanish Government moved to Iloilo to try to save Visayas and Mindanao.

On September 15 the Revolutionary Congress met in Barasoain, Malolos, but only 50 of the 136 delegates attended. The Congress included 43 lawyers and 18 physicians, and they elected Pedro Paterno as their president. They created the Permanent Commission of Justice and ratified the independence declaration. Felipe G. Calderon led the drafting of a constitution that was based on those of Mexico, Belgium, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, and France. Many objected to making Catholicism the religion of the state, and after an acrimonious debate the separation of church and state with freedom and equality for all religions won by one vote. The Malolos Constitution gave extra power to the Assembly, which elected the president and controlled the cabinet. Even when the Assembly was not in session, the Permanent Commission of Assembly delegates governed. Aguinaldo claimed that this constitution was “the first crystallization of democracy” in Asia. They sent ambassadors to the United States, Japan, England, France, and Australia to seek recognition for the Philippine Republic. Felipe Agoncillo met with President McKinley on October 1, but his request that Filipinos be represented at the Paris peace talks was rejected.

General Antonio Luna began publishing La Independencia on September 3, and Pedro Paterno started La Republica Filipina on the 15th. General Otis suppressed La Independencia in October in Manila, but they moved their offices to Malolos. Schools were reestablished, and Aguinaldo founded the Literary University of the Philippines on October 19. Meanwhile the revolutionary armies were taking over the Philippines. General Manuel Tinzio’s army took over the Ilocos provinces in August while General Miguel Malvar’s Tagalog revolutionaries won Tayabas. General Paciano Rizal liberated Santa Cruz, Laguna on August 31. Spaniards fled from Cagayan Valley and Batanes in September, and the Bicol provinces revolted against Spain in October. A revolutionary government was established in Santa Barbara, Iloilo and on Negros in November. Spaniards left Cebu in December. Everywhere except in Manila the Filipino people had won their revolution and accepted the government in Malolos.

General Elwell Otis replaced Merritt on August 29. Otis ordered Aguinaldo to remove Filipino forces from the suburbs of Manila within a week or he would face forcible action. Aguinaldo got Otis to moderate his language, and 2,000 Filipinos marched out of the zones on September 14. Otis talked with Trinidad Pardo de Tavera and the rich Florentino Torres and then cabled McKinley that the insurgents favored American annexation. Tavera and Cayetano Arellano led a group from the Congress at Malolos that wanted an autonomous Philippines under an American protectorate. Dewey sent naval officers W. B. Wilcox and L. R. Sargent to inspect Luzon in October and November, and they reported that the people were happy with the Filipino government. Governor-General Augustin and Archbishop Bernardino Nozaleda had ordered the priest Gregorio Aglipay to confer with the revolutionary leaders; but he went over to their side, and on October 20 Aguinaldo appointed him Military Vicar General. Aglipay issued a manifesto for the Filipino clergy to take over all the vacant parishes.

The Peace Commission began meeting in Paris in October without the Filipinos, and the Americans insisted that the Spanish cede them the Philippines. They signed the Treaty of Paris on December 10 that ceded the Philippines to the United States for $20,000,000 and free trade with Spain for ten years. On December 13 General Otis learned that Filipinos were attacking Spaniards at Iliolo, and he sent Brigadier General Marcus Miller with 2,500 men; but Dewey refused to send ships until McKinley authorized the venture to “protect life and property” in Iloilo. The Spanish garrison surrendered to the Filipinos on Christmas Day, and their commander refused to let Miller’s forces land without orders from Aguinaldo. He warned Otis that an attack on Iloilo would open hostilities, and the American forces remained on the ships off Iloilo for six weeks.

President McKinley announced on December 21 that he wanted to “win the confidence, respect and affection” of Filipinos by coming “not as invaders and conquerors but as friends” and show them that “the mission of the United States is one of benevolent assimilation.”4 Yet he instructed his commanders to claim sovereignty over all of the Philippines. Otis removed the language claiming sovereignty, but McKinley’s original proclamation was made public and angered Filipino leaders. Aguinaldo proposed a united Philippines under US protection with an American-Filipino Commission to draft a treaty of alliance, but his offer was ignored. Americans wanted to use the Philippines to develop business in Asia, to provide naval and military bases, and to open it to Protestant missionaries.

On January 4, 1899 General Otis proclaimed himself military governor of the Philippines. The next day Aguinaldo warned that if the Americans forcibly took the Visayan islands, hostilities would begin; he prepared for war. On January 10 two commissions appointed by Otis and Aguinaldo met to try to find mutual understanding; but the American officers stalled without negotiating so that their reinforcements could arrive. Otis moved the Nebraska regiment into the eastern suburb of Manila at the strategic juncture of the Pasig and San Juan rivers inside territory claimed by the Filipinos.

Aguinaldo had appointed Mabini premier of his cabinet and secretary of Foreign Affairs on January 1, and the Constitution was promulgated on January 21. Two days later the Philippine Republic was inaugurated, and Aguinaldo was sworn in as president. He released Spanish prisoners except for soldiers and allowed all foreigners including Spaniards to engage in business. The learned (ilustrados) dominated the government and restricted suffrage to leading citizens even in local elections. The land confiscated from friars was turned over to local chiefs and men of means.

On January 25 the United States Senate resolved to vote on the Paris treaty on February 6. Aguinaldo presented to them a moderate memorial claiming Philippine independence on January 30. Rudyard Kipling wrote his imperialist poem “The White Man’s Burden” to influence the debate in the Senate. Many Senators opposed the treaty as being unfair to the Filipinos; but after they were told (falsely) that the Filipinos had started hostilities on February 4, 1899, the Senate ratified the treaty two days later. Mabini refuted the claims that the Filipinos had started the hostilities, noting that at the time most senior Filipino officers were away from Manila for a celebration at Malolos.

Filipino-American War 1899-1902

On February 4, 1899 the American sentry William Grayson shot a Filipino soldier, and then he and another American killed two more Filipinos. Col. John Stotsenburg immediately ordered his Nebraska volunteers to move forward. After hearing of the fighting, Aguinaldo ordered his men to stop. The next day at 4 a.m. Admiral Dewey ordered his navy artillery to begin firing. The American armies led by General Arthur MacArthur advanced and killed about 3,000 Filipino soldiers while 59 Americans were killed. Aguinaldo sent General Carlos Mario de la Torres to General Otis to propose peace talks and a demilitarized zone. After Otis replied that the fighting had begun and “must go on to the grim end,” Aguinaldo declared war. He ordered an investigation, but the Americans did not examine how the war started. Foreign Affairs Secretary Mabini hoped that Filipino resistance and sacrifice would remind the Americans of their struggle against the British for their own independence. He also accused President McKinley of provoking armed conflict in order to get the Senate to ratify the treaty on February 6.

The Filipinos lacked weapons and trained soldiers and won few victories. General Martin Delgado ordered the city of Iloilo burned so that the Americans could not use it as a base. The American troops advanced and took over Visayas, Iloilo, and Cebu by the end of February. The leaders on Negros wanted to be under an American protectorate, and they gained permission from Otis on February 21 to help defend their own republic; he created the Visayan Military District on March 1. The US Congress authorized 35,000 volunteers to fight in the Philippines. The American army reached Malolos on March 30 while the Philippine government retreated to San Isidro in Nueva Ecija.

The Schurman Commission arrived in Manila on March 4. They interviewed Filipino landlords, money-lenders, and businessmen in Manila without trying to learn the views of the Filipinos who were resisting the Americans, and they published their report on April 4. Mabini sent a message on April 29 to the Commission asking for a three-month cease-fire in order to learn Filipino public opinion, but the Americans rejected his offer. On May 5 the Schurman Commission proposed what they called “autonomy” for the Philippines, but the US President would hold absolute power. About fifteen remaining members of the Malolos Congress met, accepted the offer, and asked Aguinaldo to appoint a new cabinet. He agreed and replaced Mabini with Pedro Paterno.

Gregorio Aglipay was the ecclesiastical governor of the Nueva Segovia diocese, and in January he had issued a circular calling upon every true citizen to defend independence against all foreign domination. On May 5 Archbishop Nozaleda excommunicated him, but Aglipay responded by excommunicating Nozaleda for starving the people and collaborating with the Spaniards and Americans in oppressing them.

General Antonio Luna opposed the capitulation to the Americans and published an interview in La Independencia on May 20, calling for a plebiscite to affirm independence. At a cabinet meeting the next day Luna slapped the new Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Felipe Buencamino, and called him a traitor and his son a coward. Luna arrested the new cabinet and wanted to banish them, but Aguinaldo released them. Luna left Cabanatuan, and rumors spread that he planned a coup d’état for June 13. Luna believed that his attack on Manila a few months before had failed because the Kawit Company had not cooperated; but Aguinaldo had refused to punish them. Aguinaldo summoned Luna back to his headquarters. While Luna was arguing with Buencamino on June 5, he was stabbed and shot to death by the Kawit Company. No one was charged for killing Luna, and Aguinaldo took over operations in Central Luzon.

Pardo de Tavera founded La Democracia in May as a pro-American newspaper; but General Otis had it shut down, and he charged the American editor of Freedom with treason and sedition. On May 29 Otis appointed Cayetano Arellano chief justice of the Supreme Court with Florentino Torres and Victorino Mapa as associate justices. Under US direction Arellano organized the lower courts. Arellano and Tavera were early supporters of American annexation. On June 10 Generals Henry Lawton and Lloyd Wheaton moved their soldiers south from Manila to Cavite, and they were supported by the navy. General Otis censored the American war correspondents, but on July 17 they sent a cable from Hong Kong to correct the distorted views being dispatched by Otis. This aroused the Anti-Imperialist League in America that had been formed in November 1898.

Paterno and others hoped that the Democratic Party in the US would grant them their rights. Negros submitted a constitution to President McKinley on July 20, but the poor Babaylanes revolted against the elite government, burned their haciendas, and destroyed their sugar mills. In the south Jolo signed a treaty with the Americans on August 20. Aguinaldo retreated to the mountains and went north until he reached Palanan, Isabela on September 6. On the 29th General Otis appointed Tavera to the Board of Health. Yet two days later Aguinaldo made Tavera his director of diplomacy, though he later resigned and went over to the Americans. The Americans began a major offensive on October 12, and by December their forces numbered 55,000. On October 22 Mabini published a manifesto organizing a Filipino National Church. The next day Vicar General Aglipay spoke to an ecclesiastical assembly at Panaqui in Tarlac, and they framed a provisional constitution for the Filipino Catholic Church that still recognized the Pope but insisted on choosing their own bishops. An American named Placido Chapelle arrived as the apostolic delegate to the Philippines on January 2, 1900, and he advocated independence from Rome; but he favored the friars and insulted the Filipino clergy by calling them incompetent. Aglipay went to Ilocos to fight the Americans as a guerrilla general, but he eventually surrendered on April 30, 1901 and took the oath of allegiance.

After Tarlac fell on November 12, 1899, Aguinaldo went to Northern Luzon. Young General Gregorio del Pilar tried to defend the mountain pass at Pasong Triad with sixty men, but the Americans killed him and defeated them on December 2. Mabini, Paterno, and other cabinet officials were captured in December. On the 18th General Lawton, who was famous for having captured the Apache chief Geronimo, was killed by a sniper while confronting forces under General Lucerio Geronimo. Aguinaldo let the women leave, and they surrendered to the Americans on Christmas Day.

General MacArthur replaced Otis as commander in May 1900, and he requested 100,000 soldiers to pacify the Filipinos. On June 3 William Howard Taft arrived with the second Philippine Commission. MacArthur got permission to offer amnesty, which he proclaimed on June 21. Before it ended three months later, about 5,000 mostly poor Filipinos surrendered. Paterno and others, but not Mabini, took the oath of allegiance. General Artemio Ricarte planned an uprising in Manila; but the plot was discovered, and he was captured on July 1 and sent to Guam six months later. Former members of the Katipunan led by Aurelio Tolentino organized the secret society Junta de Amigos; they followed the orders of Aguinaldo and attacked Americans until they were crushed. On August 10 Aguinaldo gave Mabini full power to negotiate with the Americans. He held discussions with Taft, but they could not agree. On September 1 the Taft Commission assumed the legislative powers to tax, fix tariffs, and establish law courts. Mabini told Aguinaldo in November that the imperialistic Republican McKinley had been re-elected. On December 20 General MacArthur proclaimed martial law and announced that anyone helping guerrillas would be severely punished, warning that brigands, “war rebels” and traitors would not be given the “privileges of prisoners of war.”

Paterno and Buencamino had organized the Asociacion de Paz with Arellano, Tavera, and others, and on December 23 it became the Partido Federal with the goal of becoming a federated state in the United States. They elected Tavera president, and directors included Arellano, Torres, and the American Frank S. Bourns. The Filipino nationalists called them Americanistas. In the next six months the Federal Party grew to 200,000 members and claimed that they brought about the surrender of 220 officers and 2,640 soldiers. The Americans appointed officials from the Federal Party.

Mabini criticized Americans in El Liberal and was arrested again in January 1901. In February some Spanish mestizos organized the Partido Conservador, and they also acknowledged American sovereignty. Isabelo de los Reyes was a radical scholar who wrote for Filipinos Ante Europa and returned to the Philippines early in 1901 to support the new Filipino Church. In July he founded the Union Obrera Democratica, the first labor union in the Philippines. He proposed making the Filipino Church independent of Rome with Aglipay as the supreme bishop, but Aglipay was reluctant to cause a schism. Rafael Palma founded El Renacimiento in 1901, and his newspaper criticized dishonesty and corruption in government.

The Taft Commission report argued that the Philippines needed civil government in order to facilitate American investment. On January 2, 1901 Taft wired Secretary of War Elihu Root, urging passage of the Spooner bill so that public franchises could be granted, public lands sold, and mining claims allowed. The Spooner amendment began the legal colonization of the Philippines. On January 21 the Philippine Commission established a public school system with free primary education. Taft announced that his policy was “the Philippines for the Filipinos,” but it also was to be profitable for American merchants and manufacturers. In the first four months of 1901 the Taft regime set up 283 committees in provincial towns. In August the ship Thomas brought five hundred American teachers to the Philippines, and they were called Thomasites. They taught English and in the first two years under Fred Atkinson they emphasized vocational training.

Aguinaldo stayed in contact with guerrilla leaders, and in March 1901 he still was fighting for independence. General Frederick Funston used an intercepted message and forgery to trick him into accepting five American prisoners from 78 Macabebes, traditional enemies of Tagalogs who pretended to be insurgents; as they shot his bodyguards, the Americans captured Aguinaldo on March 23. Aguinaldo swore allegiance to the United States on April 1 and issued a proclamation on the 19th urging peaceful acceptance of American sovereignty. On July 4 the Americans established a government with Taft as the first civil governor, and two weeks later they formed the Philippine Constabulary. This national police of 6,000 men had many members from the hated Guardia Civil, and the Constabulary was led by American officers until 1917. In September 1901 the Americans appointed Tavera, Benito Lagarda, and the Negros sugar-planter Jose Luzuriaga to the Philippine Commission, but Americans were still the majority.

General Miguel Malvar took command, and the guerrilla war continued. On November 4 the Philippine Commission enacted the Sedition Law with a possible death penalty for anyone advocating independence or separation from the United States. In December 1901 the Americans had 126,000 troops and 639 military posts. Both sides used brutality. Americans burned towns and tortured prisoners with the “water cure” and the “rope cure” to get information. They poured several gallons of water down a prisoner’s throat until he talked, and at least one died after the third water-cure treatment. Two American officers were convicted of nearly hanging six Filipinos and were reprimanded. Prisoners were tied to trees and shot in the legs and left all night. If they did not confess the next day, the process was repeated until they talked or died. Earlier Col. Funston had ordered all prisoners shot, and Major Metcalf and Captain Bishop had enforced his orders. Nearly seventy American soldiers had been punished for crimes against Filipinos in the first year of the war.

The Americans herded many thousands of Filipinos into “reconcentration” areas. Any man found outside the reconcentration area after January 1, 1902 without a pass could be imprisoned or shot if he ran away. Some Filipino rebels under General Vicente Lukban mutilated and killed 59 American soldiers in Balangiga on Samar while about 250 Filipinos were killed. In revenge General Jacob Smith ordered villages burned and all males older than ten killed instead of taking prisoners. After this brutal campaign he was court-martialed and retired. Lukban was captured on February 27, 1902, ending resistance in Samar, and General Malvar surrendered on April 16.

Reverend W. H. Walker received a letter from his son and showed it to the Boston Journal, which reported about it on May 5. The letter described how 1,300 prisoners were executed over a few weeks. A priest heard their confessions for several days and then was hanged. Twenty prisoners at a time were made to dig their mass graves and then were shot. The young Walker wrote, “To keep them prisoners would necessitate the placing of the soldiers on short rations if not starving them. There was nothing to do but kill them.”5

President Theodore Roosevelt sent Taft to the Vatican in June 1902, and the US bought 410,000 acres of the friars’ land in the Philippines for $7,543,000. The land, which had about sixty thousand tenants, was gradually sold in small parcels to fifty thousand Filipinos over the next ten years. By the end of 1903 only two hundred Spanish priests remained in the Philippines. The Americans took over the capitalistic hacienda system from the Spaniards. Also in July the US Congress passed the Organic Act by which the sugar beet lobby prevented the sugar industry from purchasing large tracts of land by restricting corporations from buying or leasing more than 2,500 acres.

President Roosevelt proclaimed victory on July 4, granting amnesty to all insurgents, but 120,000 American troops were still occupying the Philippines and suppressing resistance. The Americans had 4,234 soldiers dead, 2,818 wounded, and spent $600,000,000 on the war. About 20,000 Filipino soldiers died in battle. American records showed a fifteen-to-one ratio between the dead and wounded Filipinos, indicating that most of the wounded were probably left to die or were shot. At least 200,000 civilians died from disease, hunger, torture, or execution. Ninety percent of the water buffalos (caraboas) died or were slaughtered; this hampered planting and harvesting, and rice production went down to a quarter of what it had been.

Philippines under US Republicans 1902-10

The US Tariff Act of 1902 reduced the duty on Philippine exports to the United States by 25% and removed the tariff on American products going to the Philippines. The US share of the import and export trade of the Philippines rose from 11% in 1900 to 41% by 1910. Because the US could import hemp duty-free, their advantage depressed the price paid to Filipino farmers from $170 per metric ton in 1902 to $97 per metric ton in 1911. The Filipinos suffered from mercantilism as they exported raw materials for low prices and imported expensive manufactured goods.

A cholera epidemic between 1902 and 1904 took another 200,000 Filipino lives, and in 1903 this was aggravated by a drought and locusts. In September 1902 Mabini and Ricarte were the only prisoners to refuse to take the loyalty oath to be released. Mabini finally took the oath in February 1903, but he was a broken man and died three months later. General Ricarte also returned to Manila in February, and he was exiled to Hong Kong. In Albay province Simeon Ola led a revolt with 1,500 men in 1902 until he surrendered on September 25, 1903. The Americans reconcentrated 300,000 Filipinos in Albay with a high mortality rate.

In September 1902 General Luciano San Miguel consolidated the resistance in Rizal and Bulacan under his command. In January 1903 he tried to unite the factions from the old Katipunan to revive the movement. He used a three-week truce to build up his forces to three hundred men with two hundred guns. American officers led hundreds of Constabulary and municipal police into Rizal and Bulacan, and they arrested many citizens they suspected of supporting the resistance. Farmers and their water buffalos were reconcentrated into the towns, disrupting their agriculture. The Amigo Act was passed because so many Filipinos were allowing the guerrillas to hide among the people. The Constabulary found San Miguel’s headquarters. After three attacks on his two hundred men, San Miguel was killed on March 28, 1903. New leaders scattered to different areas, and Faustino Guillermo was captured and publicly executed in May 1904.

In July 1902 Isabelo de los Reyes published an article calling the Pope the arch-enemy of the Filipino people and suggesting that they should form a new Catholic Church under Filipinos with Gregorio Aglipay as chief bishop. In September the new Filipino Church consecrated bishops, and Aglipay was elected their leader. They wrote a constitution in October, and seven bishops consecrated him supreme bishop on January 18, 1903. The Aglipayan church had about one and half million members, but their numbers stayed about the same in future decades as the overall Filipino population grew. The Filipino revolution had not only ended the Spanish empire in Asia, but it was also challenging the Catholic Church. On January 10, 1903 Taft proclaimed that whoever occupied church property by nonviolent means should remain there. Thus many priests who had adopted the Aglipayan faith peacefully transferred their properties. On November 24, 1906 the Supreme Court of the Philippines decided that the Spanish government had not owned the Church properties, and therefore they were still owned by the Roman Catholic Church. The US Supreme Court upheld this decision.

The Union de Impresores de Filipinas (UIF) had been formed on December 30, 1901, and on February 2, 1902 a labor congress founded the Union Obrera Democrata (UOD) with tobacco workers, carpenters, cooks, mariners, and laborers. On July 4 the UOD held a mass meeting with 50,000 people in Manila calling for independence, and on August 2 they demanded wage increases. The US cavalry intimidated strikers, and De los Reyes was arrested for sedition. The strike was broken, and the ilustrado Dr. Dominador Gomez became president of the Union Obrera Democratica de Filipinas (UODF), which had 150 unions and 20,000 members by February 1903. When Taft refused to declare May Day a holiday, the UODF turned out 100,000 people for a demonstration in Manila on May 1. Dr. Gomez was indicted for sedition and illegal association. The American judge John G. Sweeney sentenced him to fifty months hard labor and a fine of 3,250 pesos. Not until September 28, 1907 did the Supreme Court rule the evidence was insufficient. The Court may have been influenced because Gomez had recently persuaded Macario Sakay to surrender. Taft brought in Edward Rosenberg, a representative of the American Federation of Labor, and on June 13, 1903 he persuaded the UODF leaders to form the Union del Trabajo de Filipinas (UTF) under the leadership of journalist Lope K. Santos.

On November 12, 1902 Taft got the Brigandage Act passed, declaring any resistance activity robbery or disturbances. Membership in an armed band could be punished by death or twenty years in prison, and aiding “brigands” could get ten years. Prisons were overcrowded. The Americans administered the Billibad Prison in Manila, where the death rate went from 72 per thousand in 1902 to 438 per thousand in 1905. The Philippine Commission passed the Reconcentration Act in June 1903, authorizing the provincial governors to move all residents from outlying barrios into the towns. Taft left the Philippines in December 1903 to become secretary of War, and Luke Wright became governor.

The Muslims in the southern islands were called Moros, and in 1899 the US General John C. Bates made an agreement with the Sultan Jamalul Kiram II of Sulu that American sovereignty would not interfere with their religion and customs. The Moro Province was established in June 1903 with Major General Leonard Wood as governor, but the next year the US abrogated the Bates Treaty and imposed martial law. The Moros rebelled, and the climactic battle was at the Bud Dajo crater near Jolo on March 5-7, 1906. About nine hundred Moros fought the US Army, but only six survived the onslaught. The American press publicized the massacre that included women and children. General Wood argued that women fought and that children were used as shields, and Governor-General Ide claimed that they were killed by artillery. Wood was replaced by General Tasker H. Bliss, and the US became more conciliatory. Brigadier General John Pershing, who in 1903 had conducted diplomatic relations with the Moros, became the third governor in November 1909. He reformed the legal system while the economy prospered. In 1911 Pershing besieged Bud Dajo and disarmed the Moros, collecting 7,000 firearms. In August 1913 some Moros refused to pay road taxes and fortified Mount Talipao. The American army killed about a hundred Moros, and the last battle of the Moro wars was in October 1913. That year a civilian administration under Frank Carpenter was instituted.

In the outlying areas the resistance movements often had religious leaders who promised redemption or miraculous protection with amulets. Ruperto Rios led peasants in the hills of Tayabas, and the military governor, Col. Harry Bandholtz, had the Constabulary round up for reconcentration thousands of people suspected of aiding his guerrillas. His group diminished, and Rios fled to Laguna, where he was turned in and hanged in December 1903. After the US Army completed its withdrawal from Negros in January 1903, Papa Isio revived the revolt. Captain John R. White ordered the Constabulary to burn villages suspected of supporting him. As the sugar harvest improved in 1905, support for Isio declined. He tried to instigate an uprising in February 1907 by attacking Suay and burning houses. He gained a hundred new recruits but had to surrender in August, when he was tried and executed.

In Cebu the brothers Quintin and Anatalio Tabal led the pulajanes who wore red uniforms. They killed four American teachers and faced the vengeance of the Constabulary with their amulets. Because they had popular support, about 5,000 people were reconcentrated into fourteen barrios guarded by Constabulary forces. Eventually Governor Sergio Osmeña negotiated the surrender of the Tabal brothers. For five years until he was captured on June 11, 1907 the peasant Faustino Ablen was called Pope (Papa) and led the Dios-Dios revolt on the island of Leyte. The pulajanes and the Dios-Dios believers were also active on Samar. They were led by Papa Pablo, and by 1905 they dominated much of the island. In 1906 Nazario Aguillar led a group that pretended to surrender to Governor Curry but then started fighting. However, in November the pulajan chief De la Cruz and other officers were captured, and a few days later the constables surprised and killed Papa Pablo. Papa Otoy eluded them for four more years, but the Constabulary force finally found his band and killed him in October 1911. About seven thousand pulajanes died in the resistance movement on Samar.

On February 26, 1904 General Ricarte called for a Filipino uprising, but Ricarte was captured again on June 7 and was put in solitary confinement for six years and then banished again to Hong Kong. Macario Sakay issued a manifesto in April 1904 urging the patriotic duty to fight for independence. In September the resistance groups in Cavite joined with Sakay, Julian Montalan, and Cornelio Felizardo. They established the Tagalog Republic with Sakay as president. They raided Cavite and Batangas to steal arms and ammunition. Constabulary troops were sent in, and on January 31, 1905 the writ of habeas corpus was suspended in those two provinces. Montalan taxed merchants, farmers, and laborers ten percent of their income. Sakay ordered those who could pay but refused to do so to be arrested and put to work. Suspected informers were tortured or had their ears and lips cut off as a warning to others. Felizardo was captured and killed by two men pretending to be deserters, and they collected 5,000 pesos reward money from the Americans. Manuel Tomines led the resistance in Isabela, but he was captured and hanged on April 10, 1905. Sakay was invited to negotiate in Manila in July, but he was treacherously captured, tried, and then hanged with Col. Lucio de Vega on September 13, 1907.

Felipe Salvador was also known as Apo Ipe. He treated the peasants well and promised them land. His Santa Iglesia movement spread in Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija. A reward of 2,000 pesos was offered for Salvador’s capture. By May 1906 he had an army of three hundred men with a hundred rifles. However, Santa Iglesia suffered a major defeat in July, and for the next four years Apo Ipe fled alone from place to place. Salvador was finally caught, prosecuted, and executed in August 1910.

In 1900 Juan Abad had written the controversial plays Long Live the Philippines! (Mabuhay ang Filipinas!) and Sad Remembrance (Mapanglaw na Pagka-alaala), and he was imprisoned for not taking the oath of allegiance to the United States. After being released in 1901 he wrote The Golden Chain (Ang Tanikalang Guinto) in July 1902, a play satirizing American sovereignty. In May 1903 Abad was prosecuted again and sentenced to two years and fined $2,000, but the Supreme Court of the Philippines overturned the lower court. Abad staged A Bullet of the Enemy (Isang Punlo ng Kaaway) in 1904 and was imprisoned again until early 1907. By then the political climate and tastes in theater had changed.

Federalistas believed that Dominador Gomez instigated the agitation that erupted in the theater between 1902 and 1904. Aurelio Tolentino wrote the play Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas) in early 1903, criticizing the American occupation and warning that the Filipinos would take up arms. When the American flag was taken down, the actors shouted, “Long live freedom! Long live Motherland!” Tolentino translated his play into Pampango and Biko so that it could be shown in the rural areas where the resistance was still strong. In June 1904 he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison, and the Supreme Court confirmed it in 1906; but he was paroled in February 1907, and in 1912 Governor-General William Cameron Forbes pardoned the playwright. Tolentino wrote another patriotic play called Tagalog Tears that showed the conquest of an independent Philippines. Juan Matapang Cruz also aroused nationalist feelings with his play I Am Not Dead (Hindi Aco Patay) that dramatized the Filipino struggle for independence against the American occupation; the reaction was so emotional that American military police monitored the theater. Cruz was also arrested in 1903, and three other plays, including one called Katipunan, were also banned in 1904.

In 1904 Elihu Root informed the Federal party leaders Tavera and Legarda that Americans would not accept the Philippines as a state because “Negroes are a cancer on our body politic.” When Governor Luke Wright taxed cigars and alcohol to balance the budget, Tavera, whose wealth came from tobacco, and Legarda, who owned distilleries, complained and lost their patronage. Secretary of War Taft visited the Philippines in 1905 and replaced Wright with James F. Smith. The Federal Party became the Progressive Party (Progresistas), and on May 21, 1905 they abandoned the lost hope of becoming a state in the US and favored “eventual” independence. No party was allowed to mention independence until Governor Henry C. Ide lifted the ban in early 1906. In January the radical leaders Justo and Vicente Lukban, Alberto Baretta, Fernando Ma Guerrero, Sergio Osmeña, and Manuel L. Quezon founded the Partido Independista Inmediatista, but later in the year they merged with two more conservative parties to form the Union Nacionalista party. The Philippines had increasingly important provincial elections in 1902, 1904, and 1906.

By the first national election of 1907 every party had independence as a top priority. Out of eight million Filipinos only about 150,000 in the upper class were eligible to vote. To qualify one had to be male, 21, a resident for six months, and either an office-holder prior to August 13, 1898 or an owner of real property worth 500 pesos or be able to read, write, or speak English or Spanish. In the 1907 election 98,251 voted out of the 104,966 registered. The Nacionalistas got 34,277 votes and the Progresistas 23,234 votes, giving the Nacionalistas 58 delegates and the Progresistas 16 delegates in the new Assembly. Of the eighty new delegates 48 were lawyers.

Manuel Quezon, a Spanish mestizo and dashing womanizer, left the resistance in 1901 and became Tavera’s protégé. Quezon was accused of nine felonies in Mindoro, including rape and armed assault; but he claimed he was framed by an American commander and got off. His patrons, Harry Bandholtz and Paul Linebarger, helped him become a prosecutor for Tayabas. He prosecuted rebels captured by the Constabulary and was the first Filipino to defeat an American lawyer in court. Quezon was elected governor of Tayabas in 1906. Sergio Osmeña, a Chinese mestizo, rose from being a prosecutor to be governor of Cebu, and he gained national status as the leader of the governors’ league.

In 1907 Quezon nominated the 29-year-old Osmeña, who was unanimously elected the first speaker of the Assembly. Because the American governor-general could veto legislation, most of the bills were decided by him in consultation with Speaker Osmeña. The Assembly began by increasing their per diem pay and by passing laws favoring landlords such as the five-year tax exemption for uncultivated land outside Manila. Osmeña and Quezon believed in mutual friendship and cooperation with the Americans, and they managed to block any attempt to propose an independence resolution. The number of Filipinos in the civil service increased from 2,697 in 1903 to 6,791 in 1914. In 1907 in the civil service Americans had an average income of $1,504, but the average Filipino civil servant earned only $419. Local governments spent almost all their funds on salaries with little left for public works. Governor-General James F. Smith explained to Taft in a letter that the real political parties in the Philippines were the Ins and the Outs. Those in power were conservative to preserve their positions while those out of office were radical to impress the people.

The Taft administration sent a hundred Filipino students to the United States in 1903, and by 1912 two hundred had earned degrees. David Barrows ran the education program in the Philippines from 1902 until he was succeeded by Frank White in 1909. By then the Philippines had 4,000 elementary schools with 355,722 pupils but only 3,404 high school students. Five-sixths of the students dropped out before reaching the fourth grade. In 1910 the Americans claimed that more Filipinos could read, write, and speak English than any other language, but critics argued that the level of English of most was poor. White emphasized training in basketry, weaving, embroidery, pottery, and raising poultry until he died of tuberculosis in 1913.

Americans did much to improve public health. They implemented the first sewage system in Manila and built a new reservoir. A modern hospital was constructed and had a free clinic that treated eighty thousand outpatients each year. American doctors practically eliminated cholera by teaching Filipinos to boil water; controlling mosquitoes reduced malaria; and compulsory vaccination wiped out smallpox. By 1914 Manila’s death rate had been cut in half.

Philippines under Americans 1910-33

The ten-year free-trade agreement with Spain expired on April 1, 1909. The US Congress passed the Payne-Aldrich Act freeing all American goods going to the Philippines from duties and restrictions; but American sugar and tobacco companies got quotas imposed on those, and American rice growers blocked Philippine rice from entering the US. Governor-General James F. Smith and Vice-Governor William Forbes persuaded the powerful Manuel Quezon that opposing this would be dangerous to his career. In 1913 the Underwood-Simmons Act abolished the quotas, and free trade continued until 1934.

Delegates from 36 unions met and formed the Congreso Obrero de Filipinas (COF) on May 1, 1913. They demanded an eight-hour day, labor laws for women and children, and an employer’s liability law. In 1913 there were six strikes involving 1,182 workers, but by 1918 there were 84 strikes by 16,289 workers. The Union of Philippine Peasants was organized by Jacinto Manahan in 1919. Gradually the landowners dispossessed more farmers, who were forced to give them half their crop as sharecroppers. Many tenants had little contact with their absentee landlords who often lived in Manila. Interest rates on loans were between 50% and 100%.

English was the language used in schools and by the government. Filipinos resisted replacing Spanish with English as the official language of the law courts until 1911, when English became the primary language. Spanish was no longer an official language after January 1, 1920.

Quezon joined Legarda as a Resident Commissioner in Washington and held that office for seven years until January 1917. He spoke before the House of Representatives in 1910, thanking them for more political freedom than they had had under Spain. In his second speech to the House he criticized the sale of a large tract of land to a sugar corporation. The sale was investigated and not cancelled, but it was the last of its kind. The first bill by Virginia Representative William Atkinson Jones proposed independence for the Philippines after eight years.

When the progressive Democrat Woodrow Wilson was elected President of the US in 1912, many Filipinos hoped that independence would come soon; but Resident Commissioner Quezon wanted to preserve his influence and tried to stall the Jones bill. He urged Francis Burton Harrison to accept the position of governor-general, and he was selected. Harrison increased the number of Filipinos in the government to 13,000 and reduced the number of Americans from 2,623 to about 600. Quezon asked Frank McIntyre to draft a bill calling for a census in 1915. If 75% of the male adults were literate or 60% knew English and if there was complete peace and a stable government, then the Philippine legislature could request independence. The House passed the Jones bill in October 1914. The Clarke amendment would have brought independence within four years; but Catholic Democrats influenced by Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore joined with Republicans to block this because they feared the Philippines might be dominated by Japan.

In August 1916 the Jones Law replaced the Philippine Commission with the Senate made of 22 members elected by districts and two members appointed by the Governor to represent non-Christian minorities. Quezon took credit for the new law and was elected President of the new Senate. The Philippine Assembly was replaced by a House of Representatives with 81 members elected and nine appointed. The Governor-General had a suspensive veto, and the US President still had an absolute veto over legislation. Until then the only executive position filled by a Filipino was the secretary of Finance and Justice. The Jones Law still required the Department of Public Instruction to be headed by an American; but Governor Harrison (1913-21) appointed Filipinos to other positions under the patronage system, and by 1921 most of the federal bureaus were headed by Filipinos. An American was in charge of education until 1935.

The Nacionalista party dominated the new legislature by winning 22 of 24 Senate seats and 75 of 90 House seats in 1916 and 21 Senate seats and 83 House seats in 1919. Governor-General Harrison founded a national bank, and it flourished during the economic boom of the war years; but then the incompetence and corruption of the director Venancio Concepcion caused a major scandal. Quezon and Osmeña defended Concepcion, and the financial crisis worsened. Finally in November 1920 he was replaced by an American and imprisoned for fraud. During World War I the Philippine exports expanded; coconut oil increased twelve-fold because it contains glycerin that is used for explosives. From 1911 to 1914 the annual exports averaged 98,111,508 pesos, but from 1915 to 1918 they increased to 177,274,487 pesos per year. This stimulated the domestic economy which saw the value of merchandise sold grow from 487,785,170 pesos in 1915 to 1,327,206,302 pesos in 1918. After the war plummeting prices caused a recession, but during the 1920s sugar exports increased 450%, coconut oil 233%, and hemp rope more than 500%. Education continued to expand, and in 1920 the Philippines had nearly one million students with 17,335 in high school. The Government spent nearly half its budget on education.

Republicans won the American elections in 1920, and they argued that the Philippines government was not stable enough for independence. Governor-General Leonard Wood replaced the compliant Harrison in 1921 and vetoed 124 bills. Wood had led the American forces against the Moros rebellions in the south. Before the 1922 election the Nacionalista Party split into the Unipersonalistas led by Sergio Osmeña and Quezon’s Colectivistas. Quezon was re-elected Senate president. The Partido Democrata had supported Osmeña so that Claro M. Recto could be elected speaker of the House; but Osmeña supported Quezon’s candidate Manuel Roxas for speaker and was reconciled with Quezon. The Democrata party gradually declined and folded in 1932.

In July 1923 Quezon accused Wood of breaking the American pledge to grant self-government, and he led the resignations by all the department secretaries in the Council of State. In October the Philippine legislature passed a resolution calling for Wood’s recall, and Speaker Roxas went to Washington asking for a Filipino governor-general or independence. The American auditor cut off his expense account, and Filipinos raised money and sent other leaders to Washington. In the 1923 special elections Quezon accused the Democratas of being pro-American and won a big victory despite his corruption. The Fairfield bill proposed independence, but businessmen filled it with provisions favoring large corporations and a twenty-year waiting period. The Democrata Representative Gregorio Perfecto exposed how an American mission with Quezon, Roxas, Osmeña, and Recto spent $150,000 in six months. When these leaders negotiated in Washington, they asked for any largess to come through them.

Osmeña headed another mission in 1926, and Quezon led one in 1930. Business interests opposed independence because they did not want to lose the advantages of the free trade begun in 1909. Governor Wood finally died during brain surgery in 1927. Henry Stimson served for a year and was popular because of his diplomatic skill; but he still was a “retentionist” who wanted the US to retain the Philippines. He believed the US needed to defend the Philippines against Japan.

In March 1923 Pedro Kabola organized the secret society Kapisanan Makabola Makarinag in Nueva Ecija, and by 1924 they had given 12,000 men some military training. The Constabulary arrested hundreds of Kapisanan members, and 76 were imprisoned for conspiracy and sedition. The Colorums secret society began an uprising in late 1923 in Surigao, and revolts spread to Samar, Leyte, and Agusan in 1924. Colorums tried to seize the government in Mindanao, and ten thousand peasants in Negros revolted in 1927.

Florencio Nativdad began in Iloilo and gained 26,000 followers in the six Visayan provinces on the central islands. He was crowned Emperor Flor Intrencherado, and they attacked towns in Negros Occidental, burned documents, and expropriated property from Chinese and Japanese businesses. Flor surrendered to avoid violence and was committed to a mental hospital while his lieutenants were imprisoned. In 1929 Pedro Calosa began organizing an Ilocano Colorum of peasants. In January 1931 they attacked Tayug and burned the records of taxes, land titles, debts, and tenancy contracts. The armed revolt only lasted one day, and Calosa was captured a few days later. All but three of the Colorums arrested were sentenced to prison for terms between fourteen and forty years. The Taliba columnist Patricio Dionisio founded the Tangulan secret society in 1930, and within a year they had 40,000 members. The Constabulary learned of a planned revolt in December 1931 and arrested him and his chief lieutenants.

Manahan continued to lead the National Confederation of Tenants and Farm Laborers, and in 1928 they affiliated with the Peasant International. When a Cigar Makers union leader was arrested during a strike in December 1928, about 100,000 left work for a general strike in Manila for one day. Strikes by urban workers continued to increase through the 1930s. Crisanto Evangelista had helped form a labor party in 1924, and on May 5, 1929 he and the leftists walked out of the COF convention and established the Proletarian Labor Congress of the Philippines (KAP) with 21 unions. On August 25, 1930 they organized the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Their chairman Antonino de Ora was arrested in January 1931, and while being transferred to another jail he died in an automobile accident. His funeral in Manila was attended by 10,000 people defying a ban. On March 6 the Manila mayor banned all CPP meetings. Those parading on May Day were stopped at the border of Manila by the Constabulary using fire hoses. CPP candidates trying to run in the June elections were arrested. Also at their first congress on May 30 all four hundred delegates were arrested; 27 CPP leaders were prosecuted and sentenced to prison for one to four years. They appealed to the Philippine Supreme Court, and their convictions for “illegal association” were upheld on October 26, 1932.

In February 1930 nearly two thousand delegates gathered in Manila for a five-day congress that adopted a resolution for independence. Recto was elected to the Senate in 1931, and he criticized the secrecy of the government that allowed the same graft that afflicted the Philippine National Bank. He noted how those benefiting from the patronage appointments helped the executive branch and the corporations. During the Depression the American agriculture and dairy interests demanded protective tariffs, and large corporations with investments in the Philippines sponsored propaganda to delay independence.

While Quezon was being treated for tuberculosis in California, Osmeña and Roxas led the ninth independence mission to Washington in December 1931. Senator Harry Hawes of Missouri had proposed a bill for drafting a constitution, and Rep. Butler Hare, a Republican from North Carolina, lengthened the transition to eight years. On January 13, 1933 President Herbert Hoover returned the Hare-Hawes-Cutting bill that would grant the Philippines independence after a ten-year waiting period; but four days later the US Congress over-rode his veto. The US President would control the currency and allow American goods free entry into the Philippines, but Philippine products imported into the US would be restricted. Recto criticized this “edition de luxe of colonialism.”

Philippines and Quezon 1933-41

In May 1933 President Franklin Roosevelt told Quezon, Osmeña, and Roxas that Filipinos had to act on the Hare-Hawes-Cutting bill before he would consider changes. Quezon wanted to maintain his leadership and accused Roxas and Osmeña of capitulating to unfair trade terms and accepting the American military and naval bases. The revolutionaries Ricarte, Aguinaldo, and Bishop Aglipay also opposed the bill. The Philippine legislature needed to ratify the agreement. The Nacionalistas divided into those favoring (Pros) and opposing (Antis) the Hare-Hawes-Cutting bill. The bill was rejected on October 17, 1933, and Quezon was sent to Washington again in November. He told the radicals he could get independence sooner while he assured the sugar owners he would guarantee their American market by delaying independence. Using sugar money, Quezon hired Hawes as a lobbyist to help him persuade Millard Tydings to draft a new independence bill with John McDuffie. The Tydings-McDuffie Law provided for elections in July 1934 to choose delegates to a constitutional convention. Only 28,000 people voted, and the Antis outnumbered the Pros 120-60. The constitution influenced by American institutions was signed by President Roosevelt on March 23, 1935, and the Philippine electorate ratified it on May 14.

Benigno Ramos worked as the Senate clerk for Quezon; but when he refused to stop supporting students who had walked out of school in a protest, he was fired. Ramos then wrote for the tabloid Sakdal under the motto “Independent with no matter but the people,” and he criticized Quezon and Osmeña for serving the Americans and postponing independence. Sakdal, which means “strike” or “accuse” in Tagalog, reported how the political and economic elite exploited the people, and it cited statistics showing an increasing gap between the rich and the poor. Dismissed from the Nacionalista party for participating in the teachers strike, in October 1933 Ramos was elected president of the new Sakdal party, which grew to 300,000. He advocated higher wages for police, teachers, and laborers, and he proposed using native dialects in public schools. He believed that using voting machines could prevent fraud in elections. Sakdalistas elected three candidates to the House in 1934 as well as a governor in Marinduque and municipal officials. They opposed the exploitation of Philippine resources by American capitalists and the American military bases, and they demanded independence by December 1935. After the new constitution was approved, Ramos went to Japan to ask for support. His followers were denied the right to speak in public and were harassed. So they planned an uprising and distributed thousands of copies of Free Filipino. The Philippine Constabulary quickly crushed their 60,000 poorly armed rebels, killing 59, wounding many more, and arresting about five hundred.

In September 1935 Filipinos elected Manuel Quezon president with 695,332 votes to 179,349 votes for Emilio Aguinaldo and 148,010 votes for Bishop Aglipay. Osmeña was elected vice-president with 812,352 votes. The Commonwealth was inaugurated on November 15. Governor-General Frank Murphy became the first High Commissioner and still outranked President Quezon even though the new constitution gave the president authority to declare martial law. Quezon called a special session of the Assembly on November 25, and they passed 18 of the 22 bills his administration proposed. His motto was “less politics, more government.” Quezon was advised by General Douglas MacArthur, and he tried to build up the army by imposing compulsory military service.

In 1934 about 80% of Philippine exports went to the United States while 65% of Philippine imports were American products. By 1935 Americans had invested a third of the total capital in the sugar business; they owned six of the ten factories exporting desiccated coconut, and they imported eight million pounds of rope from Philippine hemp. The excise tax on coconut oil brought in 223,000,000 pesos from 1934 to 1941, providing one-third of the Government’s revenues. The Commonwealth began with a debt of 95,076,799 pesos, but by the end of 1940 it was reduced to 72,778,840 pesos.

Pedro Abad Santos was a wealthy lawyer and become known as Don Perdico. He founded the Socialist party in 1929 and the Workers’ and Peasants’ Union in 1930. After the failed Sakdal revolt he became the main leader of the peasants. Santos criticized the peasants’ tendency to worship heroes and believed the masses could act to secure their own welfare. The Socialist party started becoming popular in 1932, and President Quezon tried to placate his movement by announcing his Social Justice Program. His government raised the minimum wage to one peso per day and got the eight-hour day mandated in some industries; but as usual the lawmakers in power passed laws that were implemented in ways that benefited the wealthy. The Share Tenancy Act was revised in 1936 to require written contracts; but because they were only for one year, the landlords could refuse to renew them. A Court of Industrial Relations was supposed to mediate labor disputes, but the economic exploitation with its consequent unrest continued.

Communist leaders were pardoned at the end of December 1936, and they were allowed to function legally. The General Workers Union combined 50,000 workers under Socialist and Communist leaders. The Philippine Confederation of Peasants had 60,000 members under Juan Feleo of the CPP, and KAP had 80,000 members under Communist leadership.

In 1937 President Roosevelt set up the Joint Preparatory Committee on Philippine Affairs to study what improvements in the government could be made. After two years of more active agitation, the Filipino women gained the right to vote on April 30, 1937. Quezon proposed independence by July 4, 1939, and he proclaimed Tagalog the national language on December 30, 1937. After the Japanese invaded China, Quezon proclaimed on February 3, 1938 that the Philippines was neutral. He visited Tokyo in June, and he hoped that Japan would respect their neutrality. In 1938 Quezon vetoed 44 bills, and in the election that year the Nacionalistas won every seat in the Assembly. Communists were released from prison, and they merged with the Socialists. In March 1939 Quezon requested independence from the Americans in 1940. He formed a Defense Department, restricted General Douglas MacArthur’s authority, and cut his military budget.

In the summer of 1939 landowners in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, and Pampanga tried to evict all the peasants who had joined organizations to insist on their rights. Quezon got 500,000 pesos appropriated to enforce violations of tenancy laws, and he spoke to 50,000 farm workers in San Fernando, Pampanga. Pedro Abad Santos and Guillermo Capadocia asked that the workers be allowed to arm themselves in self-defense because landlords were hiring thugs to kill tenants. Quezon called a conference and persuaded the landlords to abandon the mass evictions. However, Governor Sotero Baluyot had a hundred Socialists arrested and charged with coercion for supporting a strike by sugar-refinery workers. Sporadic violence occurred between the private armies of the landlords and the peasant organizations.

Many of the Catholic priests and wealthy elite admired the European Fascists such as Franco, and the right-wingers formed the Falangist movement. Jose Laurel was a justice on the Supreme Court, and his book Forces That Make a Nation Great expressed an authoritarian ideology. Quezon appointed Laurel secretary of Justice. Quezon proposed “partyless democracy,” but he was accused of trying to establish dictatorial rule and abandoned the idea. In response a coalition of left-wing unions, peasant associations, Socialists, Communists, and the Aglipayan Church founded the Popular Front. About half of their members were not eligible to vote, and so they were still unable to defeat the powerful Nacionalista Party. Yet eight of 21 towns elected Popular Front mayors, and Santos got 33,000 votes to 40,000 for Governor Baluyot. Quezon appointed the anti-Communist Leon Guinto secretary of Labor in 1940. The Philippines had 438 unions with 100,907 members by 1941. That year the Constabulary took over the municipal police in Pampanga, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Zambales, Cavite, Rizal, Batangas, and Laguna.

The Commonwealth Constitution only allowed the president to serve one six-year term, but in 1940 Quezon persuaded the Assembly to pass amendments allowing two four-year terms and adding a Senate. Filipino exporters wanted a five-percent annual decrease in tariffs starting in 1940, but instead the US reduced their duty-free quotas by five percent for each of the next five years. Literacy reached 49%, and about 27% of the people spoke English. By 1940 about 11,000 public schools had 1,750,000 students with 76,000 in secondary schools. Private secondary schools had another 63,000 pupils. Private universities had 36,000 students compared to 12,000 in the public universities, of which 8,000 were in the University of the Philippines.

General Douglas MacArthur was in charge of the American military in the Philippines, and he ordered Col. Dwight Eisenhower to prepare the Filipino forces for a possible invasion by Japan. Eisenhower was frustrated by the lack of Filipino training, and their reserve force of 100,000 men was only one-fourth of what MacArthur’s defense plan required. In April 1941 the Commonwealth organized civilian defense, and the CPP proposed a people’s army. Instead MacArthur was given command of the combined US and Philippine armies, and they were instructed to suppress subversive organizations. When the Japanese moved into Vietnam in July, the Philippine army had only 132,000 trained men. On July 26 President Roosevelt combined the US and Philippine forces as the US Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE) with MacArthur as commander. In November the Filipinos re-elected Quezon and Osmeña as voters were allowed to select the Nacionalista Party as a block. President Quezon abandoned his effort to negotiate with the Japanese and offered everything they had to MacArthur.

Philippines, Japan, and MacArthur 1941-45

Four hours after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese began bombing various places in the Philippines on the morning of December 8, 1941. Two hours before that, General Douglas MacArthur was officially notified that war with Japan had begun, and he was ordered to defend the Philippines. His air commander, Major General Lewis H. Brereton, hurried to his office, but MacArthur’s chief of staff, General Richard K. Sutherland, denied him access. Seven more hours went by before MacArthur authorized him to launch a reconnaissance mission. By then Japanese planes had devastated Clark Field, destroying thirty-six P-40 fighters and fourteen of the seventeen B-17 bombers while they were on the ground. The Japanese began landing on some of the islands. In the next two days the Japanese air force attacked Cavite naval base and Nichols Field near Manila, killing about eighty Americans while they lost only seven pursuit planes. Despite his negligence, MacArthur was considered too valuable to be subjected to an official inquiry, though the commanders at Pearl Harbor were investigated.

On December 22 General Masaharu Homma landed 43,000 Japanese troops at the Lingayen Gulf and started marching south toward Manila. General Jonathan Wainwright established a line of defense on the road, but thousands fled into the jungles. Two days later 10,000 more Japanese invaded at Lamon Bay in southeastern Luzon, the main island. MacArthur ordered his poorly equipped army of 80,000 men to retreat to the Bataan peninsula west of Manila Bay, and on Christmas Eve he, President Quezon, their families, and other officials went to the small island of Corregidor in Manila Bay. Quezon asked Chief Justice Jose Laurel to stay in Manila. MacArthur warned Laurel that if anyone swore allegiance to Japan, he would shoot them when he returned. Jorge Vargas also remained as mayor of Manila. On December 26 MacArthur declared Manila an open city to protect the civilians, withdrawing guns in accord with international law. Nevertheless the Japanese bombed the city. The police had turned in their guns, and people looted the stores. Two days later President Franklin Roosevelt announced his pledge to the Philippine people that their freedom would be redeemed and their independence protected. Quezon had been re-elected president, and he took the oath of office on December 30.

Japanese forces entered Manila on January 2, 1942, and the next day General Homma proclaimed that they had come to emancipate Filipinos from American domination. During the early days many Japanese soldiers raped women, and some Filipinos died defending their relatives. Three weeks later Homma appointed Vargas chairman of the Executive Commission, and the Council of State was formed on January 29. On February 17 the Japanese propagated their Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere with education and labor. On the last day of March their department of Education, Health, and Welfare announced that public elementary schools would begin in June, but enrollment reached only 267,977 by March 1943.

The Filipino and American army reached Bataan in mid-January 1942. Quezon had persuaded MacArthur to ban American officers from taking food and clothing from warehouses, and they were poorly supplied. Offers of $10 million induced few private shippers to risk running the Japanese blockade of the Philippines. MacArthur demanded reinforcements, believing that the Philippines was critical to the war; but General Eisenhower determined that enough forces could not arrive in time and that they were needed in the Atlantic. The Allies had made the war in Europe their first priority. President Quezon asked Roosevelt to declare the Philippines independent so that they could be neutral; but Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to stand and fight. Quezon agreed to stand by the Americans and transferred $500,000 to MacArthur’s bank account in the US. Eisenhower declined a similar offer because US Army regulations prohibited officers from accepting emoluments. MacArthur and 10,000 Americans were much better supplied on Corregidor, and during his 77 days there he visited nearby Bataan only once. MacArthur had previously dispersed throughout Luzon the supplies needed by the troops at Bataan. They suffered malaria, dysentery, scurvy, beriberi, and dengue fever. Roosevelt appointed MacArthur army commander in the Pacific and ordered him to go to Australia. MacArthur left on March 11, and in Australia he told reporters, “I shall return.”

While the Japanese were taking over more important resources in other parts of Southeast Asia, General Homma had older occupiers in the Philippines. Fresh Japanese reinforcements arrived in late March. General Wainwright reported that rations were down to a thousand calories per day, and supplies would run out in two weeks. Most of the men had malaria and dysentery. MacArthur ordered a counter-attack on the Subic Bay supply dump, and Wainwright passed the order on to Major General Edward P. King. General Homma’s assault began on April 3, and six days later King surrendered the largest American force that had ever done so. Homma attacked Corregidor on May 5, and the next day General Wainwright gave up to avoid useless human sacrifice. About 75,000 prisoners were herded by the Japanese on the Bataan death march north to Camp O’Donnell. On the way about 10,000 men died from disease, malnutrition, and brutality; the Japanese killed those who could not keep up. The Japanese commander at Camp O’Donnell announced that the survivors were not prisoners of war but captives. In the next three months about 25,000 Filipinos and 2,000 Americans died. Thousands were transported to Japan for slave labor, and some of these were killed en route by US submarines.

In June 1942 a Preparatory Commission for Philippine Independence was formed under Jose Laurel, Benigno Aquino, and Ramon Avanceña to draft a constitution, which was approved on September 4 and ratified two days later. The National Assembly elected Laurel president on September 25, but he and the Republic were not inaugurated until October 14, 1943. In June he had been seriously wounded by an assassin. The Japanese formed a legislature called the Association for Service in the New Philippines (Kalibapi) and selected Benigno Aquino to be its leader. President Laurel made Tagalog the official language and tried to encourage nationalism. Japanese was also an official language. Spanish was banned, but English was needed and allowed. Laurel required Filipino teachers, and for the first time Filipinos learned their history without a western viewpoint.

The Japanese planted cotton in place of rice and sugar, ruining the sugar industry without knowing how to grow the cotton. Most of the remaining rice production went to the Japanese army. Laurel urged people to grow vegetables. Consumers’ Cooperatives were organized in Manila to encourage private initiatives, and Laurel formed the National Distribution Corporation (NADISCO) to distribute commodities. Medicine was scarce, and thousands died of malaria, malnutrition, tuberculosis, and other diseases. The Japanese military police (Kempeitai) executed hundreds for stealing or having unregistered radios. The Japanese sent the gold and dollars they found to Japan, and the billions of pesos they printed were so worthless the Filipinos called them “Mickey Mouse pesos.” The Japanese army imposed forced labor and ran rackets in prostitution, drugs, and gambling. Laurel legalized divorce, but after the war the Catholic Church got it prohibited again. The Japanese avenged guerrilla attacks by executing ten Filipinos for every Japanese person who was killed. In August 1942 the Japanese formed the District and Neighborhood Associations (DANAS) for protection against guerrillas, and more than a million and a half Filipinos joined.

Many Filipinos fled to the mountains and organized underground resistance. Walter Cushing headed a guerrilla band that killed five hundred Japanese soldiers before he was killed on September 19. The guerrilla movements were estimated to have 260,000 men and even more supporters. On March 29, 1942 the Communists and Socialists organized the People’s Anti-Japanese Army (Hukbalahap), which had 30,000 guerrilla fighters led by Luis Taruc and Casto Alejandrino with thousands of supporters north of Manila. The Huk initiated an alliance with the Philippine-American guerrillas in June. The Hukbalahap fought two thousand encounters and claimed they killed about 20,000 Japanese troops. In addition to ambushing the Japanese, the resistance movement sent intelligence reports to MacArthur in Australia about Japanese troop movements and ships. They also killed Filipinos who spied for the Japanese. The Barrio United Defense Corps (BUDC) was organized to provide local government, and they tried to keep the harvests from the Japanese, who controlled only twelve of forty-eight provinces.

The Japanese broadcasted propaganda; but the Filipinos could get real news from Radio San Francisco, and underground newspapers circulated. Pedro de la Llana edited The Flash in Tagalog, Spanish, and English, but he was mistakenly killed as a collaborator by guerrillas. The Hukbalahap began Ing Masala (The Light) in October 1942, and The Thunderclap started publishing in 1943. Governor Tomas Confessor in Free Panay published Ang Tigbatas (The Common People) in Hiligaynon and English, and other provinces also had guerrilla newspapers. President Quezon went to Australia and then to America, establishing his exiled cabinet in Washington. His health declined, and he died on August 1, 1944. He was succeeded by Sergio Osmeña.

The American forces moved step by step across the Pacific Ocean and began the Battle of the Philippine Sea on June 19, 1944 by invading Guam. Planes from US carriers attacked Manila on September 21. MacArthur threatened to send a high commissioner back home, and Roosevelt let the arrogant general have his way in the Philippines. Americans landed on the beaches of Leyte on October 20, and three days later MacArthur set up the Commonwealth Government at Tacloban. The Battle of Leyte Gulf has been called the greatest naval battle in history and was fought October 23-26. The Japanese Southern Force was destroyed in the Surigao Strait, but the Americans suffered heavy damage off Samar. The Japanese fleet lost half its naval tonnage, including three battleships, four aircraft carriers, and ten cruisers. American planes sank 80% of the Japanese convoys, but Lt. General Tomoyuki Yamashita managed to triple his forces on Leyte to 65,000 men by December. The Americans had nearly four thousand killed and fifteen thousand wounded on Leyte, but Yamashita lost about 60,000 troops. MacArthur landed forces on Mindoro in mid-December, and they built an airfield to support invading troops.

On January 9, 1945 the Americans took the Lingayen Gulf by surprise. Kamikaze pilots dove their planes into US ships in the Lingayen Gulf, destroying 24 ships and damaging 70. MacArthur splashed ashore for the cameras and marched south with about 300,000 Americans and Filipino guerrillas. They killed about 200,000 Japanese while 8,000 Americans were lost. Three weeks later they took over Subic Bay without opposition. American forces entered Manila on February 3. Yamashita tried to spare the city of 800,000 people by ordering his troops to withdraw into the hills, but Rear Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi ignored him and sent 20,000 sailors into the city with automatic weapons. The Japanese fought furiously in Manila for twenty days, and about 100,000 civilians were killed. The Japanese took Laurel, Aquino, and other puppet leaders to Japan. The Americans began disarming the Hukbalahaps who had fought on their side. The Huks refused to disarm and left for Pampanga, where Casto Alejandrino had just become provisional governor. The US Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) arrested Taruc and other Hukbalahap members on February 22 in San Fernando, Pampanga; but after 40,000 peasants protested, they were released. That month guerrillas under Col. Adonais Maclang of Malolos shot 109 Huks with American approval and buried them in a mass grave; later Maclang was appointed mayor of Malolos.

General MacArthur governed the Philippines as Military Administrator, and on February 27 he turned the civil government over to President Osmeña. In his speech Osmeña recalled the contributions of Rizal, Bonifacio, Mabini, and Quezon. Osmeña ordered Corregidor taken back, and three thousand Japanese died defending it and blowing up the arsenal. MacArthur delayed the distribution of food, clothing, and supplies, causing Osmeña to be blamed. MacArthur lost more men in campaigns to reconquer the southern islands, which had little strategic value. They invaded Palawan on February 28, Zamboanga on March 10, Panay on March 18, Cebu on March 26, Negros on March 29, Bohol on April 4, and Mindanao on April 12. Yamashita refused to surrender and fought defensively in the mountains. The US bombed them with the largest napalm raids in the Pacific war. On July 4 MacArthur proclaimed that the Philippines had been liberated from the Japanese. Hundreds of B-29s took off and bombed cities in Japan. The Japanese empire surrendered in August, and MacArthur presided over the ceremonial signing of papers on September 2. As MacArthur took over Japan, High Commissioner Paul McNutt replaced him in the Philippines. Yamashita surrendered at Baguio on September 3, but some uninformed Japanese soldiers were still fighting in the jungles.

Philippines American Independence 1945-49

During the Japanese occupation the domestic assets of the Philippines had been reduced by at least $1.5 billion, the US Army estimate, and 65% of the livestock had been lost. The Philippine Bureau of Census and Statistics calculated the losses at 5,589,580,005 pesos, and the Government claimed that the reparations owed by Japan were 16 billion pesos ($8 billion). The US Army established the Philippine Civil Affairs Unit (PCAU) under Courtney Whitney to provide relief for the people. President Osmeña set maximum prices on rice, wheat flour, brown sugar, dried fish, fruit, eggs, petroleum, clothes, and so on, but some charged higher prices anyway.

Manuel Roxas began his campaign for the presidency on May 26, 1945, and Osmeña called a special session of the Congress on June 9. Roxas argued that collaborators were loyal to the Philippine government, but on June 29 President Truman warned that collaborators should be removed from political authority and economic influence. MacArthur exonerated most collaborators to keep conservatives like Roxas in power; but he had Japanese leaders such as Yamashita tried for war crimes, and he was hanged. Roxas had been captured by the Japanese, who spared him to make him president. Roxas declined but took charge of food distribution for the Japanese; later he secretly sent information to the Americans. MacArthur made Roxas a brigadier general in the US Army. Osmeña proposed a bill for a court of judges who had not collaborated, and with some amendments it passed. Various working-class organizations and peasants formed the Democratic Alliance (DA) in July. MacArthur released 5,000 collaborators in August.

In September the US Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) gave the Commonwealth Government a list of political prisoners, and Osmeña and Roxas agreed to free some of them. Hukbalahap leaders had been arrested again on April 8, but a march with 50,000 people to the presidential palace on September 23 organized by the DA got them released by the end of the month. The DA also demanded independence, removal of collaborators from public offices, protection of democratic rights, agrarian reform, and industrialization for economic development.

Senator Millard Tydings arrived in Manila on May 23, 1945 and returned to the US to recommend $100 million for reconstruction. The US Congress appropriated $120 million for public buildings, roads, and bridges, and $100 million more for administration and to redeem guerrilla currency. Army surplus worth a billion dollars was donated, and another $60 million was loaned to the Philippines. Roxas quit the Nacionalista Party in December and with High Commissioner McNutt’s help founded the Liberal Party.

General MacArthur pressured President Osmeña into convening the Congress on January 4, 1946, and they elected Roxas president of the Senate. The date for a general election was set for April 23 so that President Osmeña would have to face re-election before independence on July 4. The rich, including MacArthur’s former assistant Col. Andres Soriano, spent much money for Manuel Roxas and the Liberal party. Roxas and his running mate Elpidio Quirino ran a dirty campaign with help from the US Army and defeated Osmeña, who did little electioneering. These Liberals also won a majority in the legislature over the Nacionalista party. The United States wanted parity with Filipinos to access natural resources, but this required a constitutional amendment and a three-quarters vote in the Congress. The Liberals hypocritically excluded Luis Taruc, Jesus Lava, and five others in the Democratic Alliance (DA) and three Nacionalistas from their seats by accusing them of electoral fraud and violence even though Taruc had won by 29,000 votes.

Jasper Bell sponsored the Philippine Trade Act that the US Congress passed in April 1946. The Philippines was prohibited from competing against the United States in manufactured goods. The Philippines was allowed eight years of duty-free imports from the United States, and then tariffs would gradually increase over the next twenty years. Specific quotas were set on sugar, hemp, rice, tobacco, and coconut oil, but no restrictions were to be put on an any American products. The exchange rate was also fixed at two pesos per dollar. The Tydings Act provided $620 million in US aid for the Philippines that included $400 million in private compensation for the war damages. All but $500 of these funds was held back until the Philippines accepted the trade agreement, which was ratified on July 2, two days before independence. On July 4 the Philippines became an independent nation and agreed to a treaty with the United States.

Taruc tried to negotiate a cease-fire with President Roxas. On August 24 while the leftist leader Juan Feleo was monitoring the armistice under police protection he was abducted by men in uniforms and murdered. Roxas implemented a “mailed fist” campaign against the Huks. A 1946 law raised the tenants’ share of the harvest to 70%, but it was not enforced. The Americans continued various missions in the country for development, information, security, and education.

In March 1947 High Commissioner Paul McNutt negotiated with Vice President Quirino, who was also secretary of Foreign Affairs, for 99-year leases on 22 military installations including bases at Clark Field and Subic Bay. Americans would have jurisdiction over Filipinos working on the bases, and the adjacent towns of Angeles and Olongapo became havens for bars, massage parlors, and brothels. McNutt left government and became chairman of the Philippine-American Trade Council and a director with several Manila companies. The war had devastated the Philippines, and peasants found it difficult to farm without the water buffaloes that had been killed. Landowners preferred to hire workers rather than rent to tenants. The Philippines government was corrupt, and an inquiry revealed that $300 million in US military surplus was stolen. Crop loans for tenant farmers often ended up in the bank accounts of officials and big landowners. Representative Felixberto Serrano explained in December that the Hukbalahaps were not Communists but that they had been alienated because the United States failed to recognize them, because they were excluded after the 1946 election, and because the Government suppressed them for demanding agrarian reforms.

On March 6, 1948 President Roxas declared the Hukbalahaps and the National Peasants Union (PKM) illegal, and he ordered their members arrested. Manuel Joven, the executive secretary of the Congress of Labor Organizations, was murdered. Roxas also alienated the Huks by pardoning Filipinos who had collaborated with the Japanese. On April 15 after giving a speech at Clark Air Force Base saying that in a new war the Filipinos and Americans would fight together for freedom, Roxas died of a heart attack.

Elpidio Quirino became president, and he sent his brother Antonio Quirino, a former judge, to negotiate with Taruc. On June 21 President Quirino offered the Huks amnesty for laying down their weapons by August 15. Amid publicity Taruc took his seat in the legislature, and 3,820 Huks registered their arms; but only a few surrendered them. During the negotiation Taruc demanded agrarian reform, dismissal of officials hostile to Huks, and repeal of the American parity; but later Quirino denied these issues had even been discussed. Three hours after the August 15 deadline a company of military police attacked a band of fifty Huks in a barrio of Kabanatuan. Taruc accused the Government of duplicity and demanded permits for the weapons. Suspecting that he and the peasants would be massacred if they gave up their guns, he left Manila, announcing his membership in the Communist party. The Huks changed their name to the People’s Liberation Army and began using the tactics of Mao Zedong. In the next two years Taruc doubled the number of armed partisans to 17,000 with 50,000 in reserve. Some of them abused women, stole cattle, killed officials, and robbed merchants. On April 28, 1949 a guerrilla group murdered Quezon’s widow, daughter, and ten others. Taruc called them bandits, but the Government blamed the Huks.

The Philippines government was operating with a large deficit, but by 1949 the economy was recovering. A war profits tax had been assessed on 30,000 individuals and corporations, but less than 500 had paid anything. The breakdown of morality during the Japanese occupation seemed to continue after the war with much crime and many scandals. The Senate president Jose Avelino was removed for dealing in American stocks, and he tried to impeach President Quirino for violating the constitution and misusing funds. Avelino started a new party and ran for president against Quirino and Jose Laurel of the Nacionalistas. The Huks boycotted the 1949 election, but some were hired secretly as thugs for Quirino. He used his party machine, armed men, and money to win, but one-fifth of the votes were later found to be fraudulent. Quirino visited Washington, and President Truman told him to put his house in order if he wanted American aid.


1. Quoted in History of the Filipino People by Teodoro A. Agoncillo and Milagros C. Guerrero, p. 151.
2. Quoted in Rizal by Austin Coates, p. 323-324.
3. Quoted in A History of the Philippines by Renato Constantino, p. 205.
4. History of the Filipino People by Teodoro A. Agoncillo and Milagros C. Guerrero, p. 263.
5. Boston Journal, May 5, 1902, quoted in “Benevolent Assimilation” by Stuart Creighton Miller, p. 239.

Copyright © 2007 by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book EAST ASIA 1800-1949.
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Qing Decline 1799-1875
Qing Dynasty Fall 1875-1912
Republican China in Turmoil 1912-1926
Nationalist-Communist Civil War 1927-1937
China at War 1937-1949
Korea 1800-1949
Japan's Modernization 1800-1894
Imperial Japan 1894-1937
Japan's War and Defeat 1937-1949
Philippines to 1949
Pacific Islands to 1949
Summary and Evaluation


World Chronological Index
Chronology of Asia & Africa to 1800
Chronology of Asia & Africa 1800-1950
Chronology of East Asia to 1950

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