Contrary to the expectations of the Americans, the occupation of the Philippines and its control took
more time and violence to accomplish. The Filipinos, though lacking in arms and munitions, fought valiantly
throughout the country. As Mariano Santos, a veteran of the Revolution of 1896 and the Philippine
American War, recalled when interviewed in 1976 at age 101. The colonial motives of the United State over
the Philippines were economic, Politico-military, and religious. Aguinaldo an the Revolutionary Army in
Malolos, who by then were convinced of American take-over,prepared for war. The Filipinos, facing a fully-
equipped and trained army for conventional welfare, were badly beaten. But the Filipinos ably sustained the
resistance through guerrilla warfare. The U.S responded with repressive and violent measures to end the
war---using water cure, reconcentration, and scorched-earth tactics. The people, threatened by starvation and
diseases that were related to the war, opted for peace.
Before the signing of the TREATY OF PARIS, President McKinley said he did not know what to do with the
Philippines. He added that one night he fell on his knees to pray to God to enlighten him on what to do with the
Philippines. But he was surrounded by men who had interest in making the Philippines an American colony. These
men, representing PRESSURE GROUPS were:
(1) The American businessmen whose interests included the Philippines not only as a market for American product, but
also as a stepping stone to Asia’s markets.
(2) The military and naval pressure group- who wanted the Philippines as a base for American ships and as a first line
(3) The religious pressure group- who wanted the Philippines as a base for Protestant missionaries.
After the signing of Treaty of Paris, President McKinley issued the so-called “Benevolent Assimilation”
Proclamation. For the first time, McKinley officially announced the AMERICAN POLICY regarding the
Philippines. General Elwell Otis, who succeeded General Merritt, did not publish the full text of McKinley’s
proclamation for fear of arousing the anger of the Filipinos. Instead, he changed some words to soften the language
of the proclamation so as not to antagonize the people.
General Marcus P. Miller, who was in Iloilo, published the original text of the proclamation. Copies of this
unchanged version fell into the hands of Filipinos. Antonio Luna, editor of La Independencia, attacked the
proclamation severely and said that it was a trick to make the Filipino people quiet. On January 5, 1899, Aguinaldo
issued strongly worded proclamation saying that “my government is disposed to open hostilities if the American
troops attempt to take forcible possession of the Visayan Islands.”
Attempts to Relax the Tension
Otis appointed his representatives which were composed of three military officers. Aguinaldo also appointed his
Three Representatives. The Six representatives met for almost one month in January but nothing came out of the
meetings because the Americans representatives were stalling, which heightened the tension between the two panels.
The Shot That Started The War
On February 1, 1899 a group of American engineers was arrested by Filipinos troops. Otis protested, but
Aguinaldo replied that the Americans were not arrested but merely detained because they were found within the
Filipinos lines. On February 2, General Arthur MacArthur protested the presence of some Filipino soldiers within
the American lines. February 4, 1899, Private Willie W. Grayon shot a Filipino soldier on the corner of Sociego and
Silencio Street in Santa Mesa, Manila. The Filipino answered with rifle fire and the Philippine-American War was
Captain Fernando Grey sent a telegram to Malolos saying that the Americans had commenced hostilities .
Aguinaldo sent an emissary to inform Otis that the “firing on our side the night before had been against my order.”
But Otis haughty and arrogant, said that the “fighting, having started, must go on to the grim end.” February 2 and 3,
the Filipino employees in the service of Americans ships had been dismissed; morning of February 4, between 200
and 300 American soldiers boarded two cascos for Cavite.
The American Drive To The North
The American troops easily captured town after town in what is now Rizal Province. Earlier in the north of Manila,
Americans won victories in the Battle of La Loma, near the Chinese cemetery, where Major Jose Torres Bugallon
died in combat. With La Loma in his hands. Mac Arthur Proceeded to Caloocan, where he was met by General
Antonio Luna’s force. On March 22, he led the attack on the city, Two days later, he reached Azcarraga Street.
The significance of Luna’s victory in this sector, fought hard and succeeded in forcing the intrepid Antonio Luna to
retreat to Pulo, Bulacan. American reinforcements arrived in February and March . Otis took the offensive in North,
while General Henry Lawton started his offensive in the South. In few days, Pulo fell to the Americans and by
March 30, they were at the door of Malolos. Aguinaldo evacuated Malolos and transferred the capital to San Isidro,
Nueva Ecija. Otis ordered MacArthur to rest in Malolos, while Lawton was ordered to continue his offensive against
Cavite. On March 25, the Filipino troops repulsed General Lloyd Wheaton in the Battle of Pulo and killed an
American colonel. In Quingua(now Plaridel), Major Bell of the American cavalry was killed in combat with the
troops led by the “boy” general, Gregorio Del Pilar. In a battle fought on April 23, Colonel Stotsenberg was killed.
On December 18, General Licerio Geronimo’s group defeated the Americans under General Lawton in the Battle of
San Mateo. General Lawton killed in this battle,
The capture of Malolos by MacArthur led General Luna to retreat father north of Luzon. He established
his headquarters in Calumpit, the town immediately north of Malolos. He prepared his defenses against the
Americans who where pursuing him. Luan sent a telegram to General Thomas Mascardo in Guagua asking
for reinforcements. Mascardo who was under Luna’s jurisdiction, refused. This angered Luna and ordered
his officers to leave for Guagua to punish Mascardo. General Gregorio Del Pilar commanded the sector at
Bagbag, a barrio of Calumpit. When Luna returned to Calumpit at twilight, the Americans had already
captured a large portion of the town. Luna retreated father north, to Pampanga.
The Fall Of The MABINI CABINET
Mabini was the next most powerful man in the country, after Aguinaldo. He was president of the Cabinet
and, He was Prime Minister. He was also Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Aguinaldo depended on him
because he was honest, hardworking and incorruptible.
When the Americans tried to win over the Filipinos by promising them freedom and autonomy, His
enemies, like Pedro A. Paterno, Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, Felipe Buencamino, and may other who
belonged to the wealthy and the powerful, opposed him. On May 7, Aguinaldo informed Mabini that Paterno
was forming a new Cabinet. So he sent in the resignation of the entire Cabinet he was heading.
General Antonio Luna was the most brilliant among the Filipino military officers, Belonging to an educated
and a wealthy family of Ilocos Norte, Luna was born in Manila, in the district now known as San Nicolas. He
studied pharmacy in Manila and in Spain, where he identified himself with the propagandists. He was also a good
writer in Spanish. He had one defect, which the members of the Luna family had in common; he was short-
tempered. He was exiled to Spain by the colonial government on his way back to the Philippines in 1898, He
passed by Hongkong. He asked Felipe Agoncillo, a family friend, to give him a letter of f recommendation to
General Aguinaldo. Agoncillo gave him the necessary recommendation and a revolver.
Aguinaldo recognized his brilliance and appointed him to a high position in the army. Luna saw that the army
had no discipline. So he tried to instill discipline in the army, But the common soldiers particularly the Kawit
regiment did not like him for it. When the Philippine-American War broke out, Luna was chief of the military zone
that included many provinces of Central Luzon. He slapped Felipe Buencamino, Aguinaldo’s Secretary of Foreign
affairs, who disagreed with his (Luna’s) strong opposition to any negotiation or compromise with the Americans.
He Also used to slap soldiers due to their inefficiency or if they failed to meet his standard. While he was in
Bayambang, He received a telegram from Cabanatuan saying that he was wanted there. Colonel Francisco Roman,
and some soldiers went there. When he reached Aguinaldo’s headquarters in Cabanatuan on June 5, 1899, he did
not find the president there , he got angry. Then he heard a rifle shot, rushed downstairs, cursed the soldiers, and
slapped one of them. Pedrong Kastila from Cavite, hacked Luna with a BOLO, some even fired gunshots at him.
Luna drew his revolver but fell outside, Luna died saying “Coward! Assassins!” He died more than forty wounds
in his body and head.
Otis instructed Miller to invade Iloilo, the Visayan patriots under the leadership of General Martin
Delgado decided to fight instead. Delgado ordered his men to burn it. Americans landed with full force and
on February 20. 1899 Jaro fell, followed by Santa Barbara, Oton, and Mandurriao. With Iloilo in their
hands, the Americans sent an expeditions force to Cebu and on February 22, the city surrendered to the
enemy. They restored to guerrilla warfare under the commando of General Arcadio Maxilom and Leandro
Meanwhile in Negros, many wealthy Negrenses sympathized with the Americans. When the enemy
came, they raised the American flag. On March 1, Otis issued an order providing for the creation of a
military district to included Panay, Negros, and Cebu. This was known as the Visayan Military District.
The Kiram-Bates Treaty
General John C. Bates tried to win the friendship of the Muslims by negotiating with them and treating
them as equals. The Sultan of Jolo, Datu Kiram, instead that the Americans must not be allowed to occupy
any other part of Sulu expect the town proper of Jolo. On August 20, 1899 an agreement was signed by
General Bates, representing the United States, and the Sultan of Jolo and his datus, representing the Sulu
Sultanate. Known as the Bates treaty, it provided that the “Sovereignty of the United States over the whole
archipelago of Sulu and its dependencies is declared acknowledge” “the rights and dignities of His
Highness, the Sultan and his datus shall be fully respected” The Americans also agreed to pay the Sultan and
his leading datus monthly salaries. The Americans proceeded with the so-called pacification of the Christian
areas of the Philippines.
With the death of General Luna, many Filipino field commanders were demoralized. A number of
Aguinaldo’s generals surrendered to the enemy. Aguinaldo together with some selected men, his son, wife,
mother, and sister, field to Pangasinan. The Americans followed him and tried to catch him. But they failed,
because the people warned him about the approaching Americans. They contributed money, food, and other
supplies to the Revolutionary Army. Later, he left his family behind in order to spare them from the
hardships of travelling on foot over the rivers, valleys, mountains, and streams. Aguinaldo and handful of
faithful followers walked to Tierra Virgen, Cagayan. On September 6, 1900 he and his men reached Palanan,
Isabela where he established his headquarters.
The Battle Of Pasong Tirad
Aguinaldo reached the Mountain Province. He ordered his trusted general, Gregorio Del Pilar, to remain
behind as they continue to advance. Del Pilar was to intercept the Americans who were tracking them. Del
Pilar, after the departures of Aguinaldo, chose to delay the enemy at Pasong Tiras, a narrow pass of 4,500 Ft.
high where he hd a good view of the surroundings country. So narrow was the trail that only one man at a
time could climb it. It was in this place that Del Pilar and sixty loyal soldiers positioned themselves. Major
Peyton March pursued Aguinaldo. In the morning of December 2, 1899. March and his well-armed men
proceeded toward Del Pilar’s position. Unfortunetly, an Igorot guided the Americans to a secret trail leading
to Del Pilar’s men. A fierce battle ensued and Del Pilar was killed by a bullet that passed through his neck.
American soldiers rushed to the dead body of the young general and looted his personal belongings for
souvenirs. American left the body there and for two days it remained unburied. On the third day, the Igorots
buried his remains in a shallow grave.
Americans used cruel methods to persuade the Filipinos to cooperate with them. For example
Water Cure – this form of torture was done by forcing water into the stomach of a person until it gets
filled. Then the person would lie on his back and an Americans soldier would jump on his stomach.
Another form of torture was placing a rope around a person’s neck and then twisting it to choke him.
Another form of torture was beating the victim until he became blue in his face.
In Samar, the Americans also restored to massacre to avenge the death of their comrades who were
killed by the Filipino guerrillas under the command of General Vicente Lukban. The Americans also burned
down the whole town of Balangiga and killed all men and even boys over ten years old. The Americans
burned houses, blockaded food from getting to guerrillas, reconcentrated pueblos where diseases like
cholera and malaria reached epidemic proportions.
The Capture of Aguinaldo
• Lazaro Segovia – joined the Filipino forces against the Americans.
• Colonel Frederick Funston – planned the captured of Aguinaldo
The Spaniard led some men from Macabebe and pretended to have captured some American
soldiers. Funston and his men told Aguinaldo to surrender. Aguinaldo was brought to Manila where, on
April 1. 1901, he took the oath of allegiance to the government of the United States. In a proclamation of
April 19, he appealed to the Filipino people to accept the “sovereignty of the United States”
Many Filipino field commanders surrendered. But there were still a few Filipino generals who refused to
give up the fight Like;
• Simeon Ola – in Bicol
• Roman Manalan – in Pangasinan and Zambales
• Manuel Tomines – in Isabela and many more.
General Miguel Malvar of Batangas took over the leadership of the Filipino Government and fought
the enemy in running battles. RINDERPEST killed over 90% of carabaos. Rice Planting was greatly
affected causing severe shortage of food. On February 27. 1902, they captured General Vicente Lukban in
Samar. On April 16, General Malvar surrendered in order to save his people from the brutality of the enemy
and from hunger. The case of Macario Sakay, patriots refused to surrender.
Pacifying the Ladrones, Non-Christian and Moro People
President Theodore Roosevelt on July 4, 1902, recent studies point to the continuation of the fight against
the colonizers by Politico-Religious group called Ladrones , which means Thieves and Bandits. Composed
of the poor and uneducated peasants. The groups who believed in the power of prayers, rituals, and amulets
(anting-anting) were not only anti-foreigners (friars, Spanish, and Americans) but also anti-caciques and
landlords. Among them were samahans and confradias of Ruperto Rios in Tayabas, Apo Ipe Salvador, in
Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ejica, Tarlac, and Pangasinan; and Papa Isio of Negros who was greatly feared
by the elite who welcomed the Americans and put their own Republic.
There was also The PULAJANES in Cebu (led by the Tabal brothers), “Dios-
Dios” in Leyte led by Faustino Ablan and by Papa Pablo in Samar. War was ended in
these places in piecemeal fashion from 1903 to 1913, using violent means.
The Non-Christian Filipinos like those in the Cordillera of Luzon and the
Muslims in the Sulu archipelago on the south were “pacified” through the creation of
two special provinces in 1908. The brutal military campaigns of the U.S. against
them was revealed in the massacre at Bud Dajo in 1906 in Sulu, after four days of
fierce fighting, 20 casualties and 70 men wounded, All the Tausugs---Men, women,
and children, about a thousand of them, were all killed