Tag Archives: US colonial period in Philippines

#318 Balangiga Bells

Wikipedia Photo

The Balangiga bells are three church bells taken by the United States Army from the town church of Balangiga, Eastern Samar in the Philippines as war booty after reprisals following the Balangiga incident in 1901 during the Philippine-American War.

One church bell is in the possession of the 9th Infantry Regiment at Camp Red Cloud, their base in South Korea, while two others are on a former base of the 11th Infantry Regiment at F. E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. At least one of the bells had tolled to signal the surprise attack by the Filipinos while the Americans were eating breakfast. The attack claimed the lives of more than 40 soldiers of the US garrison posted in the town.

The bells, which symbolized Filipino revolutionary courage, is tied to the event of September 28, 1901, when the villagers of Balangiga ambushed Company C of the 9th U.S. Infantry Regiment, while they were at breakfast, killing an estimated 48 and wounding 22 of the 78 men of the unit, with only four escaping unhurt. The villagers captured about 100 rifles and 25,000 rounds of ammunition. An estimated 20 to 25 of the guerrillas had died in the fighting, with a similar number of wounded.

In reprisal, General Jacob H. Smith ordered that Samar be turned into a “howling wilderness” and that any Filipino male above ten years of age capable of bearing arms be shot if they refuse to surrender. From the burned-out Catholic town church, the Americans recovered three bells which they took back to the United States as war booty.

Despite efforts of Philippine presidents and politicians, the bells remain under US government control but efforts are ongoing to recover the bells and re/install in Balangiga, Samar (Wikipedia and other sources).

Mabuhay at ibalik ang Balangiga Bells sa Pilipinas!

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#290 Philippine National Anthem

What is guaranteed to send goose bumps or feelings of nostalgia to expat Pinoys and winning athletes than to hear the first few notes and strains of the country’s National Anthem?

Lupang Hinirang is the national anthem of the Philippines. Its music was composed in 1898 by Julian Felipe, with lyrics in Spanish adapted from the poem Filipinas, written by José Palma in 1899.

Originally written as incidental music, it did not have words when it was adopted as the National Anthem of the Philippines and subsequently played during the proclamation of Philippine independence on June 12, 1898. During the American occupation of the Philippines, the colonial government banned the song from being played with the passage of the Flag Law. The law was repealed in 1919 and the song was translated into English and legalized as the “Philippine Hymn.”

The anthem was translated into Tagalog in the 1940s. A 1956 Pilipino (standardised Tagalog) version, revised in the 1960s, serves as the present anthem. Lupang Hinirang is Filipino for “Chosen Land.” Some English sources erroneously translate Lupang Hinirang as “Beloved Land” or “Beloved Country.  The anthem is also colloquially known as Bayang Magiliw. (Source: WikiPedia).

Long live the National Anthem!

Click here for a preview of the Philippine National Anthem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH3D06UETI8


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#58 Philippine General Hospital

If there is an award for hospitals in the Philippines, the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) would surely deserve one for its long-running service to indigent Filipinos. Built in 1907 during the American colonial period, the PGH is a state-owned hospital administered and operated by the University of the Philippines-Manila and the University of the Philippines System’s Health Sciences Centre.

Also considered as the largest government hospital in the Philippines, the PGH has a 1,500-bed capacity with 1,000 beds for indigent patients and the rest for private (paying) patients. Located in Ermita, Manila, the PGH has seen the worst of epidemics during its early years and was the only hospital that remained open throughout World War II, administering to the wounded and the sick from both US, Philippine and Japanese camps.

As a public hospital with a goal to serve the lower classes, the PGH offers some of the lowest rates for patients. Some of the country’s best doctors and medical experts have trained at the PGH and the University of the Philippines medical school itself is known to produce some of the country’s finest medical researchers and doctors.

Mabuhay ang PGH!

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