Bells of Balangiga
Book and Lyrics by Rodolfo Carlos Vera
Original Music and Direction by Louie Pascasio
In 1901, in a small town of Balangiga in Southern Philippines, a small group of Filipino freedom fighters devised a plan to defend their interrupted independence from Spain. A group of American soldiers came into town to spread America’s mission of benevolent assimilation as a result of the Treaty of Paris of 1898 seizing the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico to the United States. The old master left and a new one has arrived but the allure of freedom is not to be forgotten for a people long entrenched in colonial subjugation for 300 years. Pretty soon, a strategy was broached. In the early morning of September 28th, signalled by ringing of the church bells, a group of Filipino men dressed as women holding bolos underneath their skirts made a surprise attack on the US soldiers leaving 45 dead and 22 wounded. In retaliation, Brigadier General Jacob Smith ordered the killing of Filipinos 10 years and older leaving a death toll of 50,000 Filipinos.
A hundred years ago, out of the dark,
An insignificant town made its mark.
- Chopin Theater, Chicago
Nov 6 – 30, 1997
- Duncan YMCA Theater, Chicago
- Nov 14, 1998
The New York Times
U.S.-Philippines History Entwined in War Booty by James Brooke