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Manila History - American period (1898-1942)

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U.S. Troops invaded Manila in 1898 and waged war with the Spaniards and Filipinos in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War. Following the defeat of Spain, U.S. forces took control of the city and the islands in one of the most brutal and forgotten chapters of Philippine American history.

The American Navy, under Admiral George Dewey, defeated the Spanish squadron in the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898. Admiral Dewey testified that after the battle the Spanish Governor wished to surrender to the Americans rather than the Filipinos, whom he feared.

Having just won their independence from Spain, the Filipinos were fiercely opposed to once again being occupied. Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the First Philippine Republic at the Malolos Congress and had begun to build the foundations for an independent nation. Admiral Dewey, however, claimed he never recognized the Philippine Republic, as he did not have the authority to do so and did not consider it an organized government. War broke out between the Filipinos and the Americans on February 4, 1899, when an American soldier shot and killed a Filipino in Manila. The Americans pursued the retreating Filipino forces province by province, until General Emilio Aguinaldo (then president of the Republic) surrendered in Palanan, Isabela, on March 23, 1901.

American high command at that time was headed by General Otis who ordered invasion and occupation. By that time the Filipino troops had taken classic defensive positions around Manila to attempt to keep them out. However, the poorly armed, ill-trained soldiers could not compete with the superior firepower of the Americans and they lost and were severely beaten; so much so that it has been reported that the dead were used as breastworks.

Under the command of Aguinaldo the Filipinos began a guerrilla campaign to resist the new occupiers. This campaign had limited success in the early days following the initial occupation of the Americans although any successes were short-lived. The replacement of General Otis by General Arthur MacArthur, Jr. began an extensive campaign to suppress the local population.

This campaign by the USA has been reported as being a particularly bloody suppression with wild reports of commanders ordering the murder of everyone over 10 years old. Several books have been written on this war and its implications for both the local peoples and the US.

In the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain handed over the Philippines to the United States of America for US$ 20,000,000 and ending 333 years of Spanish rule in the islands.

Manila continued under an American military government until civil government was established for the city on July 31, 1901. During the American Period, some semblance of city planning using the architectural designs and master plans by Daniel Burnham was done on the portions of the city south of the Pasig River. The Philippine-American War continued through 1903 at the cost of many lives both in Manila and elsewhere in the Islands. In 1935, the United States government committed itself to granting the Philippines Independence after a ten-year transition, a period that was extended by one year due to World War II.

Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia


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Traveling, you realize that differences are lost: each city takes to resembling all cities, places exchange their form, order, distances, a shapeless dust cloud invades the continents. Italo Calvino

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Main Dishes Philippine Cuisine

Adobo is one of the most popular Filipino dishes and is considered unofficially by many as the national dish. It usually consists of pork or chicken, sometimes both, stewed or braised in a sauce usually made from vinegar, cooking oil, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, and soy sauce. It can also be prepared "dry" by cooking out the liquid and concentrating the flavor. Bistek, also known as "Filipino beef steak," consists of thinly sliced beef marinated in soy sauce and calamansi and then fried in a skillet that is typically served with onions.

More details at Main Dishes Philippine Cuisine

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