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People visit YouTube to get their daily dose of controversial videos and cute cats. But aside from its entertainment value, YouTube can also be a treasure trove of historical facts–some are well-known while some are too obscure we don’t even know they existed.
Listed here are 12 rare yet fascinating videos that will let you relive important periods in Philippine history. Watch, share, and enjoy!
Table of Contents
- 12. Sergio Osmeña Inauguration (1944)
- 11. Emilio Aguinaldo’s Speech in Spanish (1931)
- 10. First national elections in the Philippines (1935)
- 9. Battle of Manila (1945)
- 8. World War II: Manila Clean-Up (1945)
- 7. The Homma Verdict (1946)
- 6. President Manuel Roxas State Funeral (1948)
- 5. Pre-war look at Dewey Boulevard (1942)
- 4. Luzon Lingerie (1920)
- 3. Filipino boats on Pasig River (1900)
- 2. Escolta, Manila (1903)
- 1. Battle of Mt. Arayat (1900)
12. Sergio Osmeña Inauguration (1944)
Known as the “Grand Old Man of Cebu,” Osmeña was the oldest president in Philippine history to hold office. His appointment came after President Manuel Quezon’s death on August 1, 1944.
He was sworn into office by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson. Although he gave “neither speech nor remarks” when he assumed the presidency, he would deliver his inaugural address 10 days later in front of the members of the cabinet-in-exile.
11. Emilio Aguinaldo’s Speech in Spanish (1931)
In 1931, silent film star Douglas Fairbanks was on a round-the-world tour aboard the S.S. Belgenland. The purpose was to film a comic travelogue he produced called “Around the World in 80 Minutes.”
During his stopover in the Philippines, Fairbanks visited General Emilio Aguinaldo’s home in Cavite where the latter would give a short speech in Spanish.
Interesting fact: Douglas Fairbanks is also known as the host of the first Oscars ceremony in 1929 as well as the co-founder of the American film studio United Artists.
10. First national elections in the Philippines (1935)
The Tydings–McDuffie Act of 1934 formalized Filipino independence from the United States, and would later pave the way for the first national elections in the Philippines.
On September 16, 1935, two prominent Nationalista politicians who joined forces dominated the elections.
Outgoing Senate President Manuel L. Quezon won a landslide victory against former President Emilio Aguinaldo, Gregorio Aglipay (founder of the Philippine Independent Church), and independent candidate Pascual Racuyal.
Sergio Osmeña, Quezon’s running mate, also won as Vice President of the Philippines by a large margin against Raymundo Meliza and Norberto Nabong.
9. Battle of Manila (1945)
The month-long Battle of Manila in 1945 was one of the bloodiest moments of WWII, killing at least 100, 000 Filipino civilians who were either bombed or bayoneted–some were even burned alive.
It all started when the American forces led by Field Marshal Douglas MacArthur arrived in Manila in January 1945. Their initial goals were to liberate Allied civilians interned at UST as well as seize the Malacañan Palace, which they were able to achieve.
Threatened by the advancing American forces, the group under General Tomoyuki Yamashita withdrew to Baguio City. All hell broke loose when Rear Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi refused to surrender and chose to defend the city until death.
Historical buildings and bridges were destroyed, Bayview Hotel served as a rape center, and an entire row of houses was burned together with their occupants. Thousands of innocent Filipino civilians were killed using the most atrocious of methods–they were massacred with the help of machine guns, katanas, and bayonets.
In his book “American Caesar,” author William Manchester wrote that the “devastation of Manila was one of the great tragedies of World War II. Seventy percent of the utilities, 72 percent of the factories, 80 percent of the southern residential district, and 100 percent of the business district were razed…
Hospitals were set afire after their patients had been strapped to their beds. The corpses of males were mutilated, females of all ages were raped before they were slain, and babies’ eyeballs gouged out and smeared on walls like jelly.”
8. World War II: Manila Clean-Up (1945)
A month after the 1st Cavalry Division arrived in the Philippines, the battle for Manila’s liberation finally met its conclusion. The wrath of war resulted in the deaths of 100,000 Filipino civilians and the destruction of stunning landmarks that once made Manila the Pearl of the Orient.
In 1995, a monument called the “Memorare-Manila 1945” was placed at Plazuela de Sta. Isabel in Intramuros to remember this dark chapter in the country’s history. The inscription, which was penned by National Artist Nick Joaquin, says that “This memorial is dedicated to all those innocent victims of war, many of whom went nameless and unknown to a common grave, or never even knew a grave at all, their bodies having been consumed by fire or crushed to dust beneath the rubble of ruins.”
7. The Homma Verdict (1946)
Widely known then as the “Beast of Bataan,” General Masaharu Homma led his men against the Allied forces during the Battle of Bataan and was blamed for the deaths of 10,000 prisoners who perished in the infamous Bataan Death March.
After the Japanese surrender, Homma was secretly brought to Manila to face a trial that officially began on January 3, 1946. He was tried as a Class C war criminal which means he’s accused of committing crimes in the field and should be tried in the country where the crimes took place.
The five-man Army tribunal handed him the verdict on the 28th day of the trial. Homma was sentenced to be executed by firing squad.
6. President Manuel Roxas State Funeral (1948)
President Manuel Acuña Roxas died of heart attack on April 15, 1948, just hours after giving a speech before the United States Thirteenth Air Force. He was only 56 years old.
Two days later, Vice-President Elpidio Quirino took the oath of office to replace Roxas as the country’s chief executive.
President Roxas is unique for so many reasons. He was the country’s first Bar topnotcher at the time when the examination was given in English and then again in Spanish. Roxas also led two types of governments–he became the last president of the Commonwealth and the first president of the new Republic in 1946.
5. Pre-war look at Dewey Boulevard (1942)
This film from the U.S. National Archives shows the beauty and nice memories of Dewey Boulevard that is no longer. Originally called Cavite Boulevard, it was renamed Dewey Boulevard after the famous American admiral who led his men to defeat the Spanish navy in the Battle of Manila Bay.
Dewey Boulevard was envisioned by Daniel H. Burnham, one of the first city planners hired by the U.S. Philippine Commission in 1905 to beautify Manila. It was later renamed Heiwa Boulevard in 1941 and finally Roxas Boulevard in the 1960s to honor the fifth president of the Philippines.
4. Luzon Lingerie (1920)
Produced by American traveler and filmmaker Burton Holmes, this film explores how lingerie was made in the Philippines. Workers–mostly women, including those in the Bilibid Prison–used their embroidery skills to make handmade garments made from pineapple fiber, abaca, or banana silk.
3. Filipino boats on Pasig River (1900)
This film, originally titled “Aguinaldo’s Navy,” was shot on February 18, 1900, by The American Mutoscope & Biograph Company which sent two expeditions to cover the Philippine Campaign.
During those times, conflicts between Filipino and American forces were starting to emerge after the latter refused to recognize the newly-established Philippine Republic, with General Emilio Aguinaldo as the president.
The short video shows a “large number of curious Filipino boats being worked on the Pasig River near Manila by natives.”
2. Escolta, Manila (1903)
Although the title card shows a misspelling, this film is indeed about Escolta, Manila. Shot in 1903 by the American Mutoscope and Biograph, this 42-second clip was actually one of the first few documentaries about the Philippines to be shown in theaters.
The video features horse-driven carriages called kalesa, a horse-drawn tranvia, and plenty of well-dressed pedestrians.
1. Battle of Mt. Arayat (1900)
Shot on March 23, 1900, this rare gem was filmed by Raymond Ackerman of the American Biography and Mutoscope. He also filmed Filipino Cockfight and was one of the pioneers who left documentary evidences of their visit to the Philippines.
The Battle of Mt. Arayat was participated by insurgents and the 25th Regiment of the United States in January 1900. Lt. William T. Schenck who led a scouting detachment recounted how they were attacked by “unseen insurgents” on January 6, 1900, resulting to the death of a corporal.