Capitan Valeriano S. Abanador, hero of Balangiga, in his old age.
(Photographed by Rolando O. Borrinaga from a museum photograph.)

100 Years of Balangiga Literature:
A Review

Prof. Rolando O. Borrinaga
School of Health Sciences
University of the Philippines
Palo, Leyte

(The research and writing of this paper received a grant from Prof. Tomoe Shitaba and his seminar students from the School of International Relations, Tokyo International University in Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan, through Peace Development Fund (PDF). This paper was published in ICHTHUS
(Vol. 2, No. 1, 2001), pp. 59-81. ICHTHUS is the journal of the St. John the Evangelist School of Theology in Palo, Leyte, Philippines.)

In the morning of September 28, 1901, townspeople of Balangiga on the southern coast of Samar Island in the Philippines successfully attacked the garrison of Company C, 9th U.S. Infantry Regiment, which had been stationed here since August 11 that year.

About 500 native men mostly armed with bolos were involved in the surprise attack that cost the lives of about two-thirds of Company C’s 74 men, including all its commissioned officers (Capt. Thomas W. Connell, 1st Lt. Edward A. Bumpus, and Maj. Richard S. Griswold). More than 20 mostly wounded American survivors escaped by baroto (native canoes with outriggers, navigated by using wooden paddles) to Basey, Samar and Tolosa, Leyte.

The Filipino casualties in the attack were modest in comparison, about 50 dead or wounded.

Described as the “worst single defeat” of the U.S. military during the Philippine-American War, this event became known in history as the “Balangiga Massacre.” 1

However, beyond these bare facts, most published accounts of the “Balangiga Conflict” 2 have often bordered on the fantastic and the fanciful.

In this paper, the writer reviews the literature related to the Balangiga event through the past century.

Early accounts, early myths

The earliest eyewitness accounts of the event, provided by soldiers who survived the attack, presented the American version and interpretation of what happened in Balangiga. The first published official accounts of the conflict were the investigation report of Capt. Edwin V. Bookmiller, dated October 1, 1901, which explained the action at Balangiga, and the transcript of the testimony of Pvt. William J. Gibbs during a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Philippines in 1902. 3

The present versions of the Balangiga story might have been more factual and accurate if the Bookmiller Report was accorded the importance it rightfully deserved early on. Instead, it was completely overshadowed by the sensational Gibbs account.

Of significance to the future drift of the Balangiga story, Gibbs mentioned the alleged rape of an old native woman, about 65 years old, who self-reported the incident and was allowed to look for her alleged assailant in a line-up. Her act was thereafter dismissed as a ruse to cover up the disappearance of the described suspect, a private who had just deserted Company C (and later reported to have joined the Filipino forces).

But this lone piece of information about an alleged rape evolved in later years into rapes of young women by U.S. soldiers stationed in Balangiga. In a recent musical, “The Bells of Balangiga,” the revenge for the gang-rape of a young native woman by U.S. soldiers was presented as the thematic motive for the attack on Company C. 4

In 1906, The Philippine Islands by John Foreman, a general history of the Philippines written in English, was published. 5 This book devoted a page to the Balangiga Conflict. The narrative was full of factual errors (i.e., the local headman, who plotted the attack with the priest, was killed) and exaggerated claims (i.e., three American officers and about 70 men were killed). The data were probably taken from newspaper accounts of the period or from interviews with American colonial officials. Some of the later myths around the Balangiga event probably originated from this book.

More accounts, new myths

In 1931, a compilation of eight other survivors’ accounts, some of which had come out earlier as separate magazine feature stories or newspaper articles, was published as a book titled The Massacre of Balangiga, edited by James O. Taylor. 6

Some of the accounts in this book contradicted each other in many details (i.e., some survivors heard a bell ringing, the others heard bells, at the start of the attack), while a few others contained exaggerated claims (i.e., up to 250 natives killed), and even myths (i.e., the natives mutilated the American dead after the attack). Indeed, the editor warned his readers: “There have been thousands of rumors about Balangiga - many of them fanciful, and many of them exaggerated. By compiling a book such as this volume, it will give them as nearly the truth as it is possible to ascertain.”

But the absence of documents and accounts with contrary evidence from the Filipino side, which were also considered acceptable and accessible to mainstream researchers and academicians at the time, allowed the contrasting American accounts to remain uncontested and to be passed off as facts for at least 50 years. 7

In 1938, Vic Hurley published the book Jungle Patrol. He had a chapter titled “Remember Balangiga,” quoting a famous U.S. military battle cry in Samar, but devoted only four of its 20 pages to the Balangiga Conflict itself. His facts were apparently taken from the Bookmiller Report and not from James Taylor’s book. An interesting tidbit in Hurley’s book was a buck-passing exchange between two superior officers, Col. Robert P. Hughes and Gen. Adna R. Chaffee, over the debacle in Balangiga. 8

In 1939, William T. Sexton, author of Soldiers in the Sun, described what happened in Balangiga as follows: “Hopelessly outnumbered, the Americans were butchered like hogs … American brains and entrails strewed the plaza and barracks.” Unlike Hurley, Sexton apparently used James Taylor’s book for his reference. In later years, other writers would appropriate Sexton’s phrase “butchered like hogs” to evoke sympathy for the American soldiers who died in Balangiga. 9

First Filipino accounts

The first published accounts of the Balangiga Conflict from the Filipino side reached the public domain through two national magazines almost at the same time in 1959. The first article, “The Balangiga ‘Massacre’,” was co-authored by two natives of Samar, Valentin Loyola and Jose P. Abletez, and published in This Week. The other article, “The Filipino Side of the Balangiga Massacre,” was written by Fr. Richard Arens, SVD, and published in the Philippines Free Press. 10

Both articles were based mainly on interviews with Pedro Duran, a Balangiga native who participated in the attack on Company C. Duran provided details that significantly contradicted the American versions, particularly the number of casualties (i.e., 16 Filipinos dead, and only two American survivors) on both sides of the fighting.

Duran’s account also revealed various factors (i.e., food confiscation or destruction, detention and forced labor of male residents) in the build-up of native anger and passions that resulted in the attack on the Americans, as well as the unlikely denouement of the Balangiga Conflict months later (i.e., as if nothing happened, verbalized by the American investigating officer who was quoted to have said, “No massacre in Balangiga, everything is absolved.”). His statement that “some soldiers abused women in the barrios” would evolve into “rape of women” in later years.

An odd claim in Duran’s account was his insistence that the attack occurred on “Saturday, September 29, 1901,” the feast day of St. Michael Archangel. But independent evidence suggests the attack occurred on “Saturday, September 28, 1901” (i.e, the reconstructed September 1901 using a computer) and not on “Sunday, September 28, 1901” (the day-date combination found in an American version of the event). 11

An earlier Filipino account of the Balangiga attack surfaced in public much later than the Duran account. This was a notarized 1935 affidavit in Spanish, executed by the retired Maj. Eugenio Daza, the revolutionary officer for southeastern Samar under Gen. Vicente R. Lukban, Samar Island’s military-governor appointed by Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo. 12 Daza was acknowledged as the mastermind of the Balangiga attack in American accounts.

Daza’s account provided details about the planning of the attack, including the names of the leaders and sub-leaders of approximately 500 men in seven attack units. He also provided a list of names of the native casualties (28 dead and 22 wounded) and an accounting of the war booty taken from Company C. The affidavit was probably executed to counteract allegations, found in James Taylor’s book, of treachery on the part of the Filipinos and mutilation of the American dead in Balangiga.

“It was unreasonable to expect that the attackers would desire that the enemy should be previously prepared for the attack,” Daza wrote in defense against the charge of treachery. Against the allegation of profaning the dead, he wrote: “The Filipino believes that the profanation of the dead necessarily brings bad luck and misfortune … there was no time to lose for such acts [after the Balangiga attack].”

Schott’s shot

The 1960s saw the publication in the U.S. of The Ordeal of Samar, a book that would have a big impact and future influence on the Balangiga story. Authored by Joseph L. Schott and released in 1964, the book would “become regarded as the most authoritative and extensive source on the Balangiga [Conflict].” 13

Early reviews of Schott’s book were rather guarded. One American scholar noted, “Schott’s book is an excellent, but unfootnoted, study of Balangiga and its aftermath.” 14 Another scholar commented, “Schott’s research was extensive, but he does not seem to have used much beyond U.S. official records and contemporary newspaper and magazine accounts.” 15

Nevertheless, the guarded reviews did not deter many American and Filipino historians and writers from uncritically citing Schott’s book, sometimes as their sole reference. For instance, Schott introduced a fictional character, Pedro Sanchez, as the chief of police of Balangiga in his book. The historical person that fitted the description was Valeriano Abanador, Balangiga’s chief of police at the time and overall commander of the attack on Company C. Yet Schott’s Pedro Sanchez continues to appear in recent articles, including an Associated Press dispatch published around the time of the centennial commemoration of the Balangiga Conflict last September 2001. 16

Bob Couttie, administrator of the Balangiga website and member of the Balangiga Research Group (BRG), a multi-national group that has been investigating the Balangiga Conflict since 1998, has written an extensive critique of Schott’s book.

In his critical essay “Balangiga and Bad Historians,” Couttie noted that a “closer examination of Schott’s sources show that the book is far from authoritative and, although extensive, is not extensively factual … Although Schott includes an extensive bibliography, many of the events he describes appear not to be drawn from those sources and he gives few citations which can be checked by scholars carrying out follow-up research.” He thereafter discussed a sample of 10 instances of inaccuracies in the book, ranging from an alleged letter of invitation from the Balangiga mayor (for U.S. troops to be stationed in the town) to the actual number of Filipinos killed in Balangiga. 17

Schott, who lives in the U.S., has been traced and contacted by the BRG and invited to respond to the issues raised in the above essay since 1998. But he has been unwilling or unable to address the questions raised in it.

Published archival documents

The 1970s first saw the publication in 1971 of The Philippine Insurrection Against the United States by Capt. John R.M. Taylor. Edited by Renato Constantino, this five-volume collection of archival documents would later provide historians and researchers with more accessible and English-translated source documents on the Philippine-American War. 18

Related to the Balangiga Conflict, Exhibit 1350 in this collection presented a celebrated letter, dated May 30, 1901, sent to the “General Chief of this Province of Samar” (Gen. Lukban) from Pedro Abayan, local chief (mayor) of Balangiga. In this letter, Abayan informed Lukban that they would “observe a deceptive policy with them [Americans] doing whatever they may like, and when a favorable opportunity arises, the people will strategically rise against them.” 19

Much has been squeezed from this letter by the Americans in terms of prior sinister motives of the part of the Balangigans. But the BRG, after analyzing its content and context, is satisfied with the finding that the intent of the letter was merely to prevent Lukban or his officers from attacking the town in case of American occupation. 20

Exhibit 1359 presented the circular of Gen. Lukban, dated October 6, 1901, praising “the glorious achievement carried out successfully in the town of Balangiga on September 28th … by the inhabitants.” The exhibit also presented Capt. Eugenio Daza’s similarly dated initial field report on the Balangiga fighting and his alleged key role in it to Col. Claro Guevara, 2nd Military Chief of Samar. 21

Exhibit 1364 presented the circular of Col. Guevara, dated January 8, 1902, to the local chiefs of eight southeastern Samar towns. The document opened with a paragraph that summarized the debriefing of Daza, by then promoted to Infantry major, about the war booty taken from Company C in Balangiga and the confirmation of the death of three U.S. officers during the attack. 22

Balangiga in Leyte-Samar Studies

In the mid-1970s, Leyte-Samar Studies, the graduate school journal of the Divine Word University of Tacloban, published a total of five documented scholarly articles that placed the Balangiga Conflict in the larger regional and international context.

“The American Press and General Vicente Lukban, Hero of Samar” by Donald Chaput started with a brief biographical information about Gen. Lukban. Then the writer discussed in detail how Lukban was demonized by the American press, which created a picture that was a sharp contrast to Lukban as “a man of sound education, of high standing in Filipino society … and an outstanding guerrilla leader.” 23

In “Leyte Leadership in the Revolution: the Moxica-Lukban Issue,” Chaput presented Gen. Lukban in a professional rivalry with Gen. Ambrocio Moxica, who had relieved him of the leadership of nearby Leyte Island. Chaput described Lukban as “a tougher, more aggressive leader” than the “legalistic” Moxica. 24

Chaput’s two articles presented Gen. Lukban, whose name had been equated with the U.S. loss in Balangiga, as a morally defensible leader of Samar. Indeed, Lukban had received accolades from fellow freedom fighters and brickbats from the American press for the Filipino victory in Balangiga. However, recent findings suggest that Lukban had little or no knowledge of the Balangiga attack until a week later, when he announced the victory in an adulatory circular.25

“Guerrilla Warfare: Balangiga Revisited” by Kenneth Ray Young analyzed the Balangiga Conflict from a framework of its being a guerrilla activity. 26 In this context, he assigned partial blame on the Filipino guerrillas for the brutality of the U.S. Army’s counter-insurgency operations in Samar.

In “Atrocities and War Crimes: The Cases of Major Waller and General Smith,” Young analyzed the severe impact of the retaliatory “kill and burn” campaign in southern Samar and the subsequent courts-martial of Maj. Littleton W.T. Waller of the U.S. Marines and Brig. Gen. Jacob H. Smith, commanding general of the Sixth Separate Brigade that was tasked to avenge the U.S. defeat in Balangiga.27 He concluded that while many modern historians would admit some cruelties by the U.S. military in the Philippines, they also support the statement that “such things happen in every war.”

However, Young’s moralizing of the U.S. Army’s brutal conduct in Samar in both articles loses its basic premise in the light of new findings that the attack on Company C was essentially an all-Balangigan affair with little or no assistance from the Lukban-led official resistance in Samar in terms of men or materials. 28

Newly discovered documents from British sources also show that the U.S. Army’s brutality in Samar’s capital town of Catbalogan, particularly the rampant use of “water torture” on civilians suspected of supporting the revolutionaries, had been on-going for sometime when reported by expelled British traders more than a week before the Balangiga attack, and might even have influenced the latter. 29

“The Early Pulahan Movement in Samar” 30 by Fr. Richard Arens was a reprint of a full paper originally published in the late-1959 issue of The Journal of History. This was the same paper that included the entire Duran account published in the Philippines Free Press in 1959.

Balangiga self-initiatives

The 1980s witnessed some activities in Balangiga itself aimed at commemorating their own event. Through popular subscription initiated by the Balikatan sa Kaunlaran ng Balangiga (literally, Sharing Shoulders for the Progress of Balangiga) and the Historical Committee of the Balangiga-Manila residents, a concrete monument was erected in front of the Balangiga Municipal Building.

On top of the pedestal now stands the life-size statue of Capitan Valeriano Abanador, with the raised left hand holding a cane pointed upward and the right hand holding a drawn bolo angularly pointed downward. The statue immortalized the moment when Abanador yelled his command to attack, “Atake, mga Balangigan-on! (Attack, men of Balangiga!),” and motioned with his cane for the church bell to be rung in the morning of September 28, 1901. 31

The National Historical Institute (NHI) installed the historical marker for the “Balangiga Massacre” in front of this monument on September 28, 1982. The inscribed text was written in Tagalog language. The nearest English translation is as follows:


In this town, on the 28th of September 1901,
Filipinos armed with bolos attacked Company "C",
Ninth Infantry of [the] U.S. They killed almost all
the American soldiers. In revenge the Americans
launched a six-month "kill-and-burn" [campaign].
The town became like a "howling wilderness."
Because of their cruelty, Brig. Gen. Jacob H. Smith
and Major Littleton W.T. Waller were tried by
court martial and cashiered.”

Unfortunately, the inscription on the historical marker already shows some distortion of the Balangiga story even by the NHI, the guardian of the nation’s history. It is now beyond doubt that there were 26 American survivors of the Balangiga Massacre, and not just two as native accounts have claimed. The "kill-and-burn" campaign by the U.S Marines also lasted much less than six-months and covered the entire southern part of Samar, not just Balangiga. And while Gen. Smith was retired from the U.S. Army, Maj. Waller rose in rank to eventually become Major General of the U.S. Marines.32

Later Filipino accounts

In 1983, the Leyte-Samar Studies published the English translation of some documents about the Philippine-American War in Samar, written by the late Maj. Eugenio Daza. Among the translated documents was the Daza account cited earlier. 33

Also in 1983, Reynaldo H. Imperial completed his doctoral dissertation titled “Samar (1898-1902): The Revolutionary Career of General Vicente R. Lukban.” A chapter of the dissertation, “Balangiga and After,” is about the Balangiga Conflict and the “kill-and-burn” campaign in its wake. 34

Imperial expanded the conventional Balangiga story by uncritically fitting in data and information from both American and Filipino sources (the latter coming from documented as well as unverified oral accounts of Balangiga natives). He slanted his version of the story to present this as proof of Lukban’s effective leadership and control of Samar Island during the Philippine-American War.

Like Schott’s book was to American historians and writers, Imperial’s chapter on Balangiga would become the “bible,” the authoritative version of the Balangiga Conflict among Filipino historians and writers for many years. This chapter would be presented as a paper in various forums and conferences until the late 1990s. 35

Bob Couttie, who had earlier written a critique of Schott’s book, also wrote a review of Imperial’s paper on Balangiga. His criticism could apply to Balangiga-related articles by other historians and writers who cited Schott and/or Imperial. He wrote:

“Prof. Imperial’s paper is a useful, rather than critical, contribution to the Balangiga literature. Imperial is a ‘traditionalist,’ that is to say, he views the Balangiga attack largely within the context of the overall struggle for Philippine independence and thus grants Lukban and Daza far greater influence than they actually appeared to have exerted.

“The paper is also an example of the care that must be taken in dealing with supposedly primary sources [e.g., the confusion about which Taylor, among two book authors with the same family name, is being referred to in abbreviated citations] and properly identifying secondary sources and their informants … He cites several residents of Balangiga from interviews carried out in 1981, but does not identify their relationship with their sources or whether they had been exposed or influenced by outside sources, thus making it difficult to assess the level of accuracy of the material …

“There appears to be significant differences between what Prof. Imperial writes [about the ‘water torture’ being used in Balangiga before the attack] and what Gibbs [the lone source] actually said … Gibbs clearly stated that the water torture [he had observed] was done not in Balangiga but in Catbalogan after - not before - the attack …

“While Prof. Imperial adds little that is new or accurate, his paper … does enable us to see the emergence of a myth, the creation of a legend as outside influences with particular agendas increasingly corrupt the original community memories, and [the myth and] the truth going their separate ways.” 36

Jarring imagery

Back in Balangiga, the town commemorated its first “Balangiga Encounter Day” affair on September 28, 1989, exactly 88 years after the actual event. This ceremony, now an annual event, was made possible by the passage into law on February 10, 1989 of Republic Act. No 6692, “An Act Declaring September Twenty-Eight as Balangiga Encounter Day and a Special Non-Working Holiday in the Province of Eastern Samar.” 37 The original bill was filed by Eastern Samar Rep. Jose Tan Ramirez.

Meanwhile in the U.S., a Pulitzer prize-winning book, In Our Image by Stanley Karnow, went into circulation in 1989 and cast further negative light on the Filipino side of the Balangiga story. 38

Sexton had introduced the phrase “butchered like hogs” in 1939 to refer to the alleged Filipino mutilation of the dead Americans in Balangiga. Exactly 50 years later, Karnow would introduce his own phrase, “barbaric frenzy” on the part of the townsfolk, to refer to the same allegation. Karnow’s only known source for the fantastic claim that Capt. Connell’s head roasted in a fire and his mutilated body was crammed into a latrine is Schott’s book. 39

More Filipino accounts

The 1990s saw the emergence of more Filipino accounts of the Balangiga Conflict.

Valeriano Abanador’s account of the attack, which he allegedly narrated before his death in the late 1950s to the young Atty. Dominador Amano, appeared in Amano’s article “The Balangiga Encounter,” originally published in National Midweek in 1991. The article though showed traces of influence from Schott’s book.40

An undated nine-page manuscript titled “What Had Happened in the Battle of Balangiga” had also surfaced. Written by the retired Lt. Col. Jose S. Valdenor, this document was based on the oral account of Mariano Valdenor, an uncle who was Abanador’s confidante and second-in-command in the same attack unit.41

Although seemingly influenced by Schott’s book, the Valdenor account provided previously unrecorded biographical tidbits about several key plotters including Casiana “Geronima” Nacionales (the lone woman among the plotters), the names of various clan headsmen who produced manpower for the attack, previously unlisted names of local casualties, as well as the Filipino narrative opposite Closson’s account of a skirmish in the municipal building in James Taylor’s book.

In 1997, Nemesio C. Duran completed his master’s thesis titled “The Battle of Balangiga: An Oral History.” He expanded from, but stuck closely to, the account of his grandfather, Pedro Duran, as written up and published in 1959. The basic facts offered were the same: the attack was an all-Balangigan affair, it occurred on September 29, 1901, and only 16 Filipinos were killed.42

The young Duran also supplied the names of some unidentified personalities around the time of the attack (i.e., the boy bell-ringer, the priest’s boatman, the acolyte who killed the guard at the convent, etc.) and the lyrics of a folk song in the native Waray language that allegedly memorialized the Balangiga Conflict. He seemed to have cited much from Schott, for he even uncritically echoed Schott’s innuendo that Balangiga women were immodestly dressed and therefore vulnerable to rape.43

The title of the young Duran’s thesis generated a minor debate over the label of the Balangiga Conflict. One school of thought claimed that “Balangiga Massacre,” which was introduced by the Americans and adopted by most Filipino historians, referred only to the killing of U.S. soldiers in Balangiga. 44 Another school of thought countered that “Balangiga Massacre” should be understood to mean the deaths of thousands of Filipinos in Samar in the aftermath of the Balangiga attack.45

An attempt was made to settle the issue of contrasting labels of the Balangiga event during a Balangiga round-table conference in Tacloban in 1998, and a Philippine Army officer was invited for the purpose. In a paper titled “Balangiga Was Not a Massacre,” Capt. Emmanuel C. Martin defined and then refuted the use of “massacre,” “encounter,” “battle,” “ambush,” and even “engagement” as word pair for Balangiga. In their stead, he proposed a still stranger label - “Balangiga Raid”. 46

This paper introduces the term “Balangiga Conflict” as a politically correct, and probably more accurate, label for the Balangiga event.

Also in 1998, the account of Casiana “Geronima” Nacionales, lay prayer leader and the lone woman privy to the Balangiga plot, came to the fore. This was incorporated in the paper “Deconstructing Maria in Geronima: The Balangiga Story,” presented by Glenda Lynna Anne Tibe-Bonifacio at a national historical conference in Tacloban. 47

It could be inferred from this oral account that Nacionales struck a particularly close friendship with Sgt. Frank Betron, who eventually led the daring escape of the American survivors on baroto (native canoes) to Basey town 25 miles up north. But this friendship had to give way to the call of civic duty on September 28, 1901. 48

Contrasting versions

The entire Balangiga story remains to be sorted out, clarified, and reconciled to the satisfaction of both the American and Filipino sides. But instead of pursuing basic research and completing their homework, Filipino academicians joined their politicians and spent more than half of the 1990s positioning and campaigning for the return of two famous “Bells of Balangiga,” presently displayed at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base near Cheyenne, Wyoming. 49

The fate of the Balangiga bells became a high-profile international media event in 1998, when Pres. Fidel V. Ramos actively sought, and then failed, to secure their return for the centennial commemoration of the Philippine Independence on June 12, 1998.50

The Ramos-backed campaign to have the Balangiga bells returned in 1998 essentially failed because the existing Filipino version of the Balangiga story was not fundamentally sufficient to refute the parallel American version of the same story in the existing media and political environment.

Although erratic in many aspects, the self-serving American version of the Balangiga story reached their politicians and served as basis for the filing of Senate Bill No. 1901, “A Veterans Memorial Physical Integrity Act of 1998,” by Senator Craig Thomas (Republican, Wyoming) in the U.S. Congress.51

This piece of legislation effectively stalled the Filipino efforts to have the bells back in 1998.

The way ahead

It is time to go back to the drawing board. In this context, with lessons learned from the failed 1998 bells campaign, reconciling the two differing versions of the Balangiga story has become a necessity for the bells controversy to be resolved amicably. The resolution has to be based on informed choice and reconciled information made available to both contending parties.

The best approach to address the current impasse is to pursue basic research, and not a new round of political and diplomatic maneuvering and media opinion war based on recycled and outdated information. The research needs to go back to the original eyewitness accounts, investigation reports, and primary documents and sources; to sift the initial facts as could be established from later myths; to write about other important aspects of this famous event that still need to be told to complete the picture; and, to recreate or rewrite the entire story if necessary.

Reference Notes

1. Rolando O. Borrinaga, “Balangiga history not clear as a bell,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug. 4, 2001, p. A14.

2. The term “Balangiga Conflict” is being introduced here as a politically correct alternative label for the event that the Americans had called the “Balangiga Massacre.” After all, that famous event in 1901 did not only involve the September 28 “massacre” of U.S. soldiers. It was an entire social drama, a running conflict in beliefs and perceptions between two peoples from different races and cultures, with many related developments and cause-and-effect factors that culminated in the attack.

3. Capt. Edwin V. Bookmiller, “Report of the Action at Balangiga on Sept. 28th, 1901,” dated Oct. 1, 1901, in “The Bookmiller Papers,” scanned pages of the document in; “Testimony of William J. Gibbs,” in Affairs in the Philippine Islands, pp. 2284-2310. (Photocopy of document in the Gamlin-Couttie-Borrinaga Archives.) A book that also dealt with the Balangiga Conflict is Everitt C. Bumpus’ In Memoriam (Norwood, MA: Norwood Press, 1902). This was dedicated by the father-author to 1st Lt. Edward A. Bumpus, second-in-command of Company C who was killed in Balangiga. Texts of letters written by Bumpus in Balangiga are found in the Balangiga website.

4. “The Bells of Balangiga,” Synopsis of contents of CD-ROM recording produced by the Pintig Cultural Group in Chicago, 1998.

5. John Foreman, The Philippine Islands (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906), p. 536. A book that covered the Balangiga Conflict after Foreman’s book came out is Capt. Fred R. Brown’s History of the Ninth Infantry, 1799-1909 (Chicago: Donnelly and Sons, 1909), pp. 576-593. This book apparently made much use of the Bookmiller Report as source. This reviewer only has possession of pp. 576-577 and could not comment on its other contents.

6. James O. Taylor (ed.), The Massacre of Balangiga: Being an Authentic Account by Several of the Few Survivors (Joplin, MO: McCorn Publishing Co., Inc., 1931).

7. Bob Couttie, “What went wrong in Balangiga," Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sept. 22, 2001. The Balangigans appeared to have been imposed a “code of silence” by early American authorities, and they were not allowed to talk freely about what happened in Balangiga in 1901. A similar code also appeared to have been imposed on the American survivors.

8. Vic Hurley, Jungle Patrol: The Story of the Philippine Constabulary (New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., Inc., 1938), pp. 39-42. Gen. Chaffee was the Commander of the Military Division of the Philippines and Col. Hughes was the Commander of the Department of the Visayas. Chaffee was supposed to have cabled Hughes as follows: “It comes to my attention that Company C of the 9th Infantry was very poorly equipped in the soldierly essentials of discipline, training, organization, and morale. Your statement is awaited.” The reply was: “It may be true, Gen. Chaffee, that Company C of the 9th Infantry, was lax in discipline, training, and morale. I would not be qualified to comment upon the subject as the Company has been under my command for but two weeks. During the previous China service, it was under the direct command of Gen. Adna R. Chaffee, Commanding the Philippine Division!” Hughes reply was supposed to have silenced Chaffee.

9. Richard K. Kolb, “Remember Balangiga!” VFW Magazine, Sept. 2001, pp. 40-42. The text quoted by Kolb from Sexton is on p. 41. The full bibliographic information of the source is: William T. Sexton, Soldiers in the Sun (Harrisburg, PA: Military Service Publishing, Co., 1939).

10. Valentin Loyola and Jose P. Abletez, “The Balangiga ‘Massacre’,” This Week, Sept. 13, 1959; Fr. Richard Arens, SVD, “The Filipino Side of the Balangiga Massacre,” Philippines Free Press, November 21, 1959. (Scanned clippings of these articles are found on-line in

11. Computer reconstruction of the Sept. 1901 calendar shows a “Saturday, Sept. 28” combination. In his file copy of the transcript of his recorded testimony after the Balangiga Conflict in 1901, Pvt. Adolph Gamlin wrote “Saturday” in capital letters beside the typed Sept. 28, 1901 date. The “Sunday, Sept. 28, 1901” combination is inscribed on the bronze plaque for the Bells of Balangiga in Wyoming.

12. Eugenio Daza, “Balangiga su Historia en la Revolucion el 28 de Septiembre la 1901.” Attached to the cover page with this hand-written title is the 10-page affidavit in Spanish notarized in 1935. A fuzzy photocopy in the Gamlin-Couttie-Borrinaga Archives has been scanned and the on-line version is found in The English translation of this document is found in: Eugenio Daza, “Some Documents of the Philippine-American War in Samar,” Leyte-Samar Studies (Vol. XVII, No. 2, 1983), pp. 173-179.

13. Joseph L. Schott, The Ordeal of Samar (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc., 1964). The quoted item was from Bob Couttie’s “Schott in the Dark,” a review written in 1998.

14. Kenneth Ray Young, “Guerrilla Warfare: Balangiga Revisited,” Leyte-Samar Studies (Vol. XI, No. 1, 1977), p. 31.

15. Donald Chaput, “The American Press and General Vicente Lukban, Hero of Samar,” Leyte-Samar Studies (Vol. VIII, No. 1, 1974), p. 27.

16. Associated Press, “Bells still a thorn in RP-US ties,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sept. 26, 2001. An Internet search would show that this AP dispatch is also found in on-line editions of some newspapers and magazines in the U.S.

17. Bob Couttie, “Balangiga and Bad Historians” (2001) This is an expanded version of “Schott in the Dark” by the same author (see Note No. 13).

18. Capt. John R.M. Taylor, The Philippine Insurrection Against the United States (ed., Renato Constantino), (Pasay City, Philippines: Eugenio Lopez Foundation, 1971).

19. ibid., Exhibit 1350.

20. Balangiga Research Group, “A Summary Interim Report of Inquiry,” Sept. 28, 2001, p. 5. This may be downloaded from Schott, see Note No. 13, p. 26, noted that “the original letter was written in clear grammatical Spanish.” Because of the clarity in language, the Americans suspected that the actual author of the letter was the local priest, not Abayan. Last Sept. 27, 2001, while viewing the Balangiga museum exhibit at the local parish hall, the BRG members learned that Abayan had in fact been the parish scribe of Balangiga for years. In ornate handwriting, he wrote the texts of the registry items for births and marriages on the parish records on behalf of the priests who affixed their signatures later. The penmanship in an enlarged photo of Abayan’s letter to Lukban looked similar to his handwriting in the parish records.

21. Capt. John R. M. Taylor, see Note No. 18, Exhibit 1359, pp. 703-705.

22. ibid., Exhibit 1364, pp. 711-712.

23. Chaput, see Note No. 15, pp. 21-31.

24. Donald Chaput, “Leyte Leadership in the Revolution: The Moxica-Lukban Issue,” Leyte-Samar Studies (Vol. IX, No. 1, 1975), pp. 3-12.

25. Balangiga Research Group, see Note No. p. 6. Also, see Note No. 21.

26. Young, see Note No. 14, pp. 21-31.

27. Kenneth Ray Young, “Atrocities and War Crimes: The Cases of Major Waller and General Smith,” Leyte-Samar Studies (Vol. XII, No. 1, 1978), pp. 64-77.

28. Balangiga Research Group, see Note No. 20, p. 6.

29. “British Traders and Atrocities,” The text of the document was taken from the CD-ROM titled Britain in the Philippines, produced and circulated in 1998 as the British government’s contribution to the centennial commemoration of the Philippine Independence.

30. Fr. Richard Arens, SVD, “The Early Pulahan Movement in Samar,” Leyte-Samar Studies (Vol. XI, No. 2, 1977), pp. 57-113.

31. Dominador V. Amano, “The Balangiga Encounter,” Sunday Inquirer Magazine, Sept. 26, 1993. p. 3-5. The text of Abanador’s command is on page 4.

32. Rolando O. Borrinaga, “Historical Markers and Their Omissions” (1999),

33. Daza, see Note No. 12.

34. Reynaldo H. Imperial, “Samar (1898-1902): The Revolutionary Career of General Vicente R. Lukban” (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of the Philippines, Quezon City, 1983).

35. Reynaldo H. Imperial, “Balangiga and After” (Paper presented at the U.P. National Symposium on the Balangiga Attack, U.P. Tacloban College, Tacloban City, Sept. 26, 1998, and at the Balangiga Round-Table Conference, CAP Building, Tacloban City, Nov. 27-28, 1998).

36. Bob Couttie, “A Review of ‘Balangiga and After’ by Prof. Rey Imperial” (2001),

37. Municipal Government of Balangiga. Balangiga Centennial: 1901-2001 (Commemorative Booklet). The text of R.A. No 6692, “An Act Declaring September Twenty-Eight as Balangiga Encounter Day and a Special Non-Working Holiday in the Province of Eastern Samar” is on page 2.

38. Kolb, see Note No. 9. The text quoted by Kolb from Karnow is on p. 41. The full bibliographic information of the source is: Stanley Karnow, In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines (New York: Ballantine Books, 1989).

39. Schott, see Note No. 13, p. 53.

40. Amano, see Note No. 31. The Sunday Inquirer Magazine article, “The Balangiga Encounter,” was reprinted from the Oct. 16, 1991 issue of National Midweek. The highly colorful account of the sergeant prying a coffin with a bayonet and a woman saying, “El colera,” came from Schott, p. 33.

41. Col. Jose S. Valdenor, “What Had Happened in the Battle of Balangiga” (manuscript, no date). 9 pp.

42. Nemesio C. Duran, “The Battle of Balangiga: An Oral History” (Unpublished Master’s Thesis, Centro Escolar University, 1997). Also presented as a paper at the Balangiga Round-Table Conference, CAP Building, Tacloban City, Nov. 27-28, 1998.

43. Schott, see Note No. 13, p. 21. Schott’s description of the Balangiga women was a full contrast of the one mentioned by Pvt. Gibbs in his U.S. Senate testimony, p. 2305 (see Note No. 2). When asked about the chastity of Filipino women, Gibbs said, “Filipino women are very virtuous.” When pressed to make comparisons, he said, “I think the Filipino women in the towns of the Philippines are more pure that they are in towns of the United States of the same population.”

44. Charo Nabong-Cabardo, “Balangiga!” Samar Day, August 11, 1997, p. 47-57. Also presented as a paper at the U.P. National Symposium on the Balangiga Attack, U.P. Tacloban College, Tacloban City, Sept. 26, 1998.

45. Rodel E. Rodis, “For Whom the Bells Toil,” draft manuscript for the October 2001 issue of Filipinas Magazine in the U.S.

46. Capt. Emmanuel C. Martin, “Balangiga Was Not a Massacre” (Paper presented at the Balangiga Round-Table Conference, CAP Building, Tacloban City, Nov. 27-28, 1998).

47. Glenda Lynna Anne Tibe-Bonifacio, “Deconstructing Maria in Geronima: The Balangiga Story.” (Paper presented at the 19th National Conference on Local and National History, Leyte Normal University, Tacloban City, Oct. 21-23, 1998.)

48. Rolando O. Borrinaga, “The Human Cost of Wars in Leyte and Samar” (1999), This paper speculates a probable “love story” between Sgt. Betron and Nacionales.

49. Gerald M. Adams, The Bells of Balangiga, (Cheyenne, Wyoming: Lagumo Corp., 1998). This book provides a good, though a bit outdated history of the Balangiga relics (two bells and a cannon) in Wyoming.

50. has archived items of most Balangiga-related articles published in the Philippines and in the U.S. in 1998.

51. Borrinaga, “Balangiga history not clear as a bell,” see Note No. 1. The Thomas Bill and its related documents can also be accessed from