brutality of the war was best exemplified by the Balangiga
Massacre. In August 1901, Balangiga was a small seaside
village of 200 nipa houses in Samar, Visayas.
The US Army 9th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. army was
sent to the town to establish a garrison and assist
in the pacification of the Visayan Islands. Upon arrival,
the American soldierrs took over the affairs of the
town and forcibly occupied some of the local huts. All
male residents, eighteen years and above, were ordered
to leave their families to clear the surrounding forests
that were suspected to be the refuge of guerrillas.
At night, these men were hauled into open wooden pens
unsuitable for lodging. To aggravate matters, an American
even raped a village lass.
on September 28, 1901, while all 74 American soldiers
were eating their breakfast, they were suddenly attacked
by the townsfolk, resulting in 54 deaths and 18 wounded.
So grisly were the deaths that it was prominently played
up in the news. Survivors recounted how the night before
there was a procession of women followed by baby coffins.
The women turned out to be men and the coffins contained
rifles. At 6:30 a.m., the bells of Balangiga were rung,
signaling the attack of 400 men led by the highest town
deaths of the Americans resulted in a punitive expedition
and a reign of terror. General Jake Smith ordered the
American soldiers to "kill and burn", to shoot
down anybody capable of carrying arms including boys
over ten years old." When the smoke had cleared,
Samar had been turned into a "howling wilderness."
The American forces completed the pillaged by taking
the two Balangiga church bells and a rare 1557 cannon
as war booty and shipping them to Wyoming. Almost a
hundred years after the Balangiga incident, the current
Philippine government is making representations to retrieve
these national treasures.