Interesting Facts about the Philippine-American War

The First Philippine Republic, led by Emilio Aguinaldo, was destroyed on March 23, 1901, when the Philippines were attacked by the United States as part of America’s imperialistic policy. The US won the war and occupied the Philippines. This intimate war had significant effects on both sides. Check this list to know more interesting facts about Philippine-American War.

1. The Casualties in the Independence Struggle of the Philippines Were High 

It is estimated that the Philippines-American war left about 20,000 combatants dead. Also, the count of civilian casualties went way over 200,000 as extreme hunger and various diseases resulting from long periods of combat affected the Filipinos adversely. [1]

2. Members of the Anti-Imperialistic League included Mark Twain 

An Anti-Imperialistic League was formed in 1898 to fight the US occupation of the Philippines. The prominent members of this league included one of the finest authors of all time, Mark Twain, Andrew Carnegie, David Starr Jordan, William James, and Samuel Gompers.

George S. Boutwell, the former Treasury secretary of Massachusetts, was the president of this league. [2]

3. The Youngest Filipino General Fought For the Philippines and Died at the Battle of Tirad Pass 

The battle for independence is not easy for any country. It was not a piece of cake for the Philippines too. Gregorio del Pilar had the honor to be the youngest General who served as a combatant and gave his life for his country. 

He was 24 years old when he died during the Tirad Pass Battle on December 2nd, 1899. He is famous by the nickname “Goyong,” meaning “The Boy General.” [3]

4. Antonio Luna Did Everything He Could to Save His Country from American Colonization 

Antonio Luna is well-known for his prudent judgment of the lack of any commitment by the US naval forces to evacuate from the Philippines after it gained independence from the Spaniards. He warned the then president of the Philippines, Emilio Aguinaldo, about the US troops in Manila in 1898. 

However, his warnings and Intel went in vain, and the president did nothing. Antonio Luna was then promoted to the rank of General. Government officials ruthlessly killed him on June 5th, 1899. His age was 32 when he was shot by one of the Cavite officers. [4]

5. Macario Sakay Was the Last Filipino General to Surrender to the US 

Most people know General Emilio Aguinaldo as the last Filipino general to surrender to the US. However, the struggle for independence of the Philippines did not end when Aguinaldo was captured. Macario Sakay was another prominent revolutionary force that remained active at large. 

After Aguinaldo was captured, Sakay seized the leadership and declared himself the president of all the islands of the Philippines. The Filipinos highly regard him as he was the last to give in to the US troops in 1906. He died a year later as he was imprisoned and hanged in prison in Manila.

6. President Emilio Aguinaldo Designed the First-Ever Flag for the Philippines 

President and General Emilio Aguinaldo designed the first-ever flag to represent the Philippines in 1892. He was in Hong Kong at the time, and requested Doña Marcela Mariño de Agoncillo to sew the flag. Marcela Agoncillo was a famous seamstress in the country. She was highly well-educated and had married a well-known Filipino lawyer. 

She was exiled to Hong Kong with her husband and family when General Aguinaldo requested her to sew the first flag for the Philippines. Her eldest daughter, Lorenza, and a dear friend, Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, helped her in the task. 

7. Independence Celebrations of the Philippines Were Moved to June 12th 

President Diosdado Macapagal effectively moved the date of independence of the Philippines from July 4th to June 12th. It was moved to remember and celebrate the day the Philippines actually gained independence from the Spaniards in 1898, after 300 long years of Spanish occupation. 

8. The Philippines welcomes more than 650,000 US visitors every year

Even with the two countries’ history, the relationship between the US and the Philippines has never been affected. According to the state government’s data, more than 650,000 US citizens visit the Philippines every year. [5]

9. Jeepneys Are the Most Popular Public Transportation Means in the Philippines 

“Jeepney” is the “King of Roads” in the Philippines. They are like small buses that originated from the Willys jeeps of America in the Second World War. After the American occupation of the Philippines ended, these Willys jeeps left by American soldiers were redesigned with several extensions added to them. 

These jeeps then became the most famous means of transportation in the Philippines, seating many passengers and decorated with kitsch – a significant cultural symbol. 

10. Trade Relations between the US and the Philippines are excellent 

Even with the history between the two countries, one of the most prominent Philippines’ foreign investors is the US. They have the best trading relations comprising two-way goods and service trade, reaching about $24 billion in 2013. [6] 

11. American Soldiers came to the Philippines in 1901 to Start and Establish a Public School System in the Country 

About 600 American soldiers, called the Thomasites, arrived in the Philippines to train the teachers in the English language. They aimed to establish a public school system in the country. They were called Thomasites as Thomas was the ship’s name that brought them from the US to the Philippines. [5]

12. Filipino Sailors were the first Asians to arrive in the US 

According to the historical narratives, Filipino sailors were the first-ever Asians to land anywhere in the US. The US land, now known as Morro Bay, California, was the harbor where a Spanish ship carrying Filipinos was docked in 1587. 

13. There are some Filipino-American artists famous in the Hollywood 

Hollywood has some famous artists who are Filipino-Americans, including Bruno Mars, Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas, and Vanessa Hudgens. Filipino-Americans are quite talented and show great enthusiasm and passion for music. [7]

14. The Symbolic Meaning of the Philippines Flag is deep 

The white triangle in the Philippines flag represents equality and fraternity, while the blue space denotes peace, truth, and justice. However, red in the flag stands for patriotism and valor. The sun’s eight rays on the flag symbolize the eight provinces that were under martial law during colonization.

Moreover, the three stars on the country’s flag symbolize Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Also another explanation holds that the blue, red, and white colors of the flag dedicate acknowledgment to the US forces for helping natives gain independence from Spanish troops. [8]

15. October is declared to be the National Filipino-American History Month 

In 1988, the US government declared October as National Filipino-American History Month. It marks the arrival of the first Filipino-Americans in 1587 via a Spanish galleon. 

16. Hawaii has the Most Population of Filipino-Americans in the US 

According to the census data by the US government, Hawaii has the most number of Filipino-Americans (about 14.5%). Nevada has the second-highest Filipino-American population (3.6%), while California (3.5%), Alaska (2.7%), and Washington (1.4%) are in the third, fourth, and fifth positions.  

17. The War was Actually Called an Insurrection

This war was not even called a “war” by many people; instead, it was called an insurrection or rebellion because Americans didn’t want to acknowledge that they were at war with a foreign country.

18. Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States for $20 million

When the Spanish-American War ended in 1898, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. However, this move was opposed by Filipinos who wanted independence for their country. They fought against the Americans until their leader, Emilio Aguinaldo, was captured by an American soldier in 1901.

19. Filipinos Were Not Well-Equipped

The Filipinos were not well-equipped to fight against the Americans due to a lack of arms and ammunition. Their weapons consisted mainly of machetes and guns made from metal pipes filled with gunpowder and bullets.

20. Emilio Aguinaldo was paraded through the streets like a Criminal

After a few days of fighting in Manila, American forces took control of the city and continued searching for Aguinaldo. When they finally tracked him down and brought him to Manila, he was paraded through the streets like a criminal before being imprisoned at Fort Santiago for four months.

Conclusion

Obviously, the war was about territory, commerce, and strategic importance. If we do not get a chance to know the Philippine-American War more deeply, we will lose many precious things in our history. Such as, what happened to Emilio Aguinaldo? What happened to the Philippines after American colonization? We suggest this blog to everyone who’s interested in Philippine-American War.

References 

  1. https://www.britannica.com/event/Philippine-American-War 
  2. https://www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/1898/league.html 
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorio_del_Pilar#In_popular_culture 
  4. https://www.thoughtco.com/antonio-luna-philippine-american-war-hero-195644 
  5. https://2017-2021.state.gov/u-s-relations-with-the-philippines/index.html 
  6. https://ph.usembassy.gov/business/why-the-philippines
  7. http://www.happysammy.org/2011/01/ 
  8. https://www.philembassy.org.au/the-philippines/flag