A historic site
On our way back from Sulangan to our base in Tacloban City, we made a small detour to visit Balangiga, a small town in the south of Samar.
Balangiga was the location of a guerilla attack in 1901, during the Philippine-American war, when almost fifty American soldiers lost their lives. A monument in front of the church reminds passers-by of this event.
The Balangiga incident
In the Philippines, Balangiga is famous as the location of a guerilla attack during the Philippine-American war. In 1901, guerillas attacked a group of American soldiers and killed almost 50 Americans. In retaliation, the American army burned down the (deserted) village when they returned, and American general Jacob H. Smith ordered the killing of everyone ten years old and over. Thousands of Filipinos perished, most of them civilians (American estimates are 2,000-3,000 casualties, Filipino estimates are much higher). Because of the killings, Gen. Smith was reprimanded (!) and forced into early retirement.
On the main square, in front of the church, there is now a large monument commemorating the initial guerilla attack and ensuing battle. The battle is now known as the Balangiga massacre, the Balangiga incident, or the Balangiga encounter. The latter phrase is used in the monument inscription.
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