Post Independence Day...

'Independence Day' 2008 has come and gone, so I figure it's a good time for a visual retrospective on the years after Aguinaldo declared the Philippines 'free' on12 June 1898. As a Filipino photographer, I find these old archival images gripping...

[above: General Aguinaldo boards the U.S.S Vicksburg, 1900]

[above: Dr. Miller poses for a photograph with two Ifugaos. ca. 1906-1910]

[above: American soldier with Filipino child; Photographer: Bruner, E. Murray; Date: ca. 1906-1910]

[above: American soldiers and Filipinos with small horses, Cavite, 1899]

[above: American soldiers rest during a lull in the fighting, 1899]

“I am not afraid, and am always ready to do my duty, but I would like some one to tell me what we are fighting for.”–Arthur H. Vickers, Sergeant in the First Nebraska Regiment

[above: Dead insurgents, Manila, 1899-1901]

In all the images, and the above image especially, keep in mind that this was taken in 1899. The camera's back then were not the fast exposing, handheld varieties like what we have today, or even during WWII. These were large machines that had to be set up, and the exposures required one to hold still for a long time. I assume all the above facial expressions, except I suspect the elderly lady's, were posed. I can only imagine what the lola above is thinking...

[above: Officers of the Filipino insurgent army against the American colonisers, prisoners in Pastigo Prison, Manila, Philippine Islands. (1901)]

[above: Execution chamber and garrotes, Intramuros. " This machine has an official record of killing 31 men, 1901.]

* * *

The Philippine American War was fought from the moment the Americans claimed ownership of the Phils as a colony until at least 1902 (though fighting continued throughout the American term--and, arguably, is still going on today).

The country continues to bear the scars of this conflict. Official (aka American) numbers put the casualties at: 4234/2818 American dead/wounded and 20,000/200,000 Filipino dead (note the exact figures of the US casualities and the averaged out number for us Filipinos). Filipino estimates are MUCH higher (with at least 500,000 civilian deaths).

After the conflict the US did it's best to create "little brown Americans." The Thomasites opened up schools to 'educate' the populace. And members of the elite were groomed into political positions.

"Independence" was finally granted by the Americans in 1946.

For more info:

Click here to read "White Man's Burden" a poem written by R. Kipling about the colonisation of the Philippines by the USA.