The Spanish Army in the Philippines included about actually 18,000 Spaniards in uniform and about 70,000 native recruits in service of the King. At the outbreak of the Filipino Revolution, the Filipino soldiers mutinied. Switching allegiance from Spain to the Philippines, instead. One of the reasons why the Spaniards lost to most of the ground battles with the Filipino Revolutionary Army was due to the shear military size of the Filipino Revolutionary Army.
Additionally, the Filipino troops were armed with the then-state of the art Spanish Mauzer rifles. Filipino soldiers were able to rally to the cause so quickly due to the training the soldiers recieved from their Spanish officers. Strict and cold regimen. Which the Filipinos, ironically, used against the Spaniards in the brief Filipino Revolutionary War.
Filipino Infantrymen---of the Guardia Civil
The following is a portrait of a Filipino Infantryman in service of His Royal Spanish Majesty's Royal Spanish Army. This soldier knew how to speak the lingua franca of the day, Castillian-Spanish, and was most probably a Pampangueno of origin. As a majority of Filipino conscripts that served under the Spanish Colours were either from Pampanga or The Visayas.
It is important to see the uniform of the Filipino Soldier. The soldier in the right and left are conscripts of the Spanish Guardia Civil. The soldier pictured in the center is a Filipino soldier conscripted into the Royal Army proper. Probably an educated Tagalog who studied in Madrid and came back to the Philippines to serve in the military.
Most of the educated elite or the rich elite belonged to the Principale Class, an Oligarchy ruling elite. These individuals were vehement loyalists to Spain and ran the administration in the Philippines (occupying ranks of Gobernadorcillo, Teniente primer/segundo and other administrative positions). Many Filipino youths of the Principale class sought distinction either by studying in Spain and returning back to take up positions in the Imperial Beurocracy or by enrolling in the Military Academies in Spain to come back as officers in the Royal Army to lead regiments/batallions.
Honor and Distinction. Or as many of them would shout, "Por Madre España, Y el Rey!"
Spanish-Filipino Soldiers. Members of the Royal Spanish Infantry
Filipino Officers in service of the Royal Spanish Army.
Filipino officers in service of the Cabineros Regiment in the Philippines. These men were the crack elite of the Spanish Infantry that served in the Philippines and other territories that belonged to the Spanish Empire. They were armed with Spanish Carbines/Mauzers which were equipped with bayonetts. Notice their Imperial Helmets. Their helmets suggests that they were used in foreign territories outside of the Philippines. Suggesting that these officers served in the Spanish Army proper alongside with Spaniards. In fact, it is widely accepted by historians that Filipinos made up a large part of Spain's overseas Army and manned the Royal Spanish Navy.
Highlighting the Filipino's supremacy at sea. Ever so manifested in the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade.
Filipino Sailors in service of the Royal Spanish Navy. Man in the right is an officer.
Filipino Infantrymen of the Spanish Army.In the left is an Infantry private, in center is an Imperial Guard corporal. In the right is a Filipino Officer. These Filipinos are wearing Spanish Army uniforms. Signifying they were trained in the military academies in Spain and conscripted in the Royal Army in Spain. Probably of Principales Class. Devotion to Spain and King.
The Military Map of the Philippines in Spanish Account. A list of military units and their station.
En 1896, año en el que se produce la insurrección filipina, el Ejército español desplegado en el archipiélago no sumaba más de 18.000 efectivos.
El despliegue español en Filipinas
El Mando se componía única y exclusivamente de Jefes y oficiales españoles mientras que la clase de tropa era mixta de españoles y filipinos.
Totalizaba un total de 7 regimientos de infantería, 1 batallón disciplinario, 2 escuadrones de caballería, 1 regimiento de artillería de plaza, 2 baterías de artillería de montaña, 1 batallón de ingenieros, 1 brigada de Sanidad y 1 compañía de administración militar.
Las unidades se hallaban desplegadas en torno a la cabecera militar de Manila, en la isla de Luzón, y de Zamboanga en la isla de Mindanao. Ésta última, junto al archipiélago de Joló, era la más conflictiva, al hallarse en sus aguas infinidad de piratas "moros" y por estar pobladas por diversos jefes locales que aprovechaban la falta de presencia militar española para romper los acuerdos a los que estaban obligados por los diferentes tratados . Se da la circunstancia de que el sur del Archipiélago, más conflictivo que el norte, era también el más desguarnecido, algo similar a lo que ocurría en la provincia de Oriente, en Cuba.
Había que sumar a estas fuerzas las unidades de la Guardia Civil, compuestas por 3 tercios indígenas y una sección de Guardia Civil Veterana (españoles) y 3 compañías de Carabineros, también españoles.
Desde España se enviaron 15 batallones de cazadores expedicionarios, numerados del 1 al 15, para sofocar la insurrección, con lo que en 1.898 la totalidad de las fuerzas españolas en Filipinas eran de 43.656 Jefes, oficiales y soldados.
To sum up the entire message, when the Philippines was a Royal Colony of Spain, there were over 43 thousand Spanish officials, military units, constabulary forces in the islands. There were about 18,000 Spanish soldiers not including additional Filipino recruits in service of King and Country.
Most of the units were stationed primarily in Manila and Luzon and a significant force in Mindanao to quell the muslim insurrection. There were units in the Visayas, though not so significant due to the fairly acceptable and cooperative nature of the Visayas Region to Spanish Rule. This translates in a fairly well assimilated Visayas to Spanish regimen.
Spanish Officers in Manila
Filipino members of the Spanish Guardia Civil. Equivalent to the Constabulary Force of the day.
Spanish Soldiers (and Filipinos in uniform) marching to the Caroline Islands.
Spanish Army marching in Manila. With banners exclaiming, "¡Viva España! ¡Viva el Rey!" (Long Live Spain!, Long Live the King!)
Soldiers Marching in Manila
Spanish Officers and Filipino soldiers in the Spanish Army/Guardia Civil constructing a bridge.
Officer in the His Majesty's Royal Spanish Cavalry Corp
Spanish blockhouses/fortifications that was used throughout the islands
Most of Spain's Foreign Legionaries were Filipino
In the mid half of the 19th century, Spain's expeditions to Morocco as well as in the Canaries were aided by Filipino soldiers that served in His Royal Spanish Majesty's Guardia Civil. Filipinos joined the ranks of Spanish cavalry, in overruning forts. Filipino soldiers being sent to subdue islamic separatists in Morocco. Even in Cuba, most of the Spanish Army that was stationed in Cuba, there were battallions that were composed of Filipino soldiers and officers that served in the Royal Guardia Civil.
Even in the PENINSULAR WAR, thousands of Filipino soldiers were conscripted into the Spanish Army to support operations.
So loyal were the Filipinos to the Spaniards that a general of the Spanish Army once opined to the Spanish King, "Your Majesty, the retention of the colonies is due to the feasability of the Filipino soldier. 100 Filipino soldiers of the guardia civil under the command of Spanish officer is equivalent to any other foreign force." Out of Spain's many colonies, Only the Philippines remained loyal to Spain the longest. 400 years. Half a millenia.
The Spanish Testimony of the Filipino Soldier, In Service of His Royal Spanish Majesty's Army.
Even under foreign rule, the Filipino established a reputation as an excellent soldier. One Spanish writer declared that the Filipino soldier was the bravest of all the subjects of the king of Spain, at a time when the Spanish empire was at its height.
Father Delgado, responding to criticism leveled against the Indio stated:
"On the contrary, it must be said that the Indians are those who defend us from our enemies; for, in the presidios, who are the soldiers, who sail in the war fleets, who are in the vanguard in war? Could the Spaniards, perchance, maintain themselves alone in the country, if the Indians did not aid in everything?"
(Blair & Robertson, The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Vol. VI, pp. 270-271)
The native Filipinos were called Indians by the Spaniards and they also called them according to their tribes or regions.
The records of the Spaniards were full of the daring exploits of Filipino soldiers. In a letter by Juan Grau y Monfalcon he wrote of the Filipinos:
"Those Indians, mingled with Spaniards, serve as soldiers in war, and have proved excellent therein. Especially are the Pampangos valiant soldiers, who have performed and are daily performing valiant exploits at the side of the Spanish. They were at the taking of Terrenate; and, whenever occasion offers, they with other companies come to guard the city of Manila."
(Conrado Benitez, History of the Philippines, Boston, 1929, p. 258)
When the British invaded Manila they encountered stirring resistance from the Filipino defenders. Here is what Draper says in his journal:
"Had their skill and weapons been equal to their strength and ferocity, it might have cost us dear. Although armed chiefly with bows, arrows, and lances, they advanced up to the very muzzles of our pieces, repeated their assaults, and died like wild beasts, gnawing the bayonets."
Because of their dependence on Filipino soldiers, so Spaniards worried about the possibility of revolt. Bernardino Maldanado in his report to the king warns of this danger:
"They are a people of great boldness only needing a leader whom they would recognize, and the are so many in number that it is a matter that must be feared considerably, and one of which your Majesty orders us to be fearful and watchful."
(Conrado Benitez, History of the Philippines, Boston, 1929, p. 248)
One of the finest compliments to the Filipino as a soldier might be the following Spanish saying regarding the people of Pampanga province:
"One Spaniard and nine Pampangueños are more than a match for ten men from any nation."
(Sturtevant, Popular Uprisings in the Philippines: 1840-1940, p. 90)
Images: Filipinos made prisoners by the USA army during the Philippine-American War.
Music: Soy un pobre presidiario, de Angelillo.
The above postings is courtesy of Animo of Skyscraper City Forum
Creation of Macabebe Scouts, September-October 1899
The US Army organized special forces officered by Americans but manned by Filipinos. The first unit of this type was experimental, one company of 100 Macabebes enlisted on Sept. 10, 1899, for a term of 3 months and led by 1Lt. Matthew Batson, U.S. Army. It was experimental in the sense that Batson's superiors - including Brig. Gen. Arthur C. MacArthur, Jr. - did not trust any Filipino enough to arm them; Batson had used the Macabebes as guides and interpreters earlier, and was convinced of Macabebe loyalty. The experiment proved successful, with the Macabebes fiercely loyal to their new masters. [The Macabebes were believed to be descendants of Mexican Yaqui Indians who were brought to the Philippines by Spain.]
( I guess they were mixed Kapampangan and Yaqui Indian )
Macabebe Scouts patrolling the Rio Grande de Pampanga in 1899
Sept. 29, 1899: A squad of the 24th U.S. Infantry Regiment is attacked by a small party of Filipinos near Mexico, Pampanga Province.
Oct. 18, 1899: Macabebes who enlisted for service in Maj. Gen. Henry W. Lawton's division. Two companies of 128 men each were organized. A typical Macabebe company was composed of 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 1 first sergeant, 1 quartermaster sergeant, 6 sergeants, 8 corporals, and 92 privates.
A month after the first company was organized, four other Macabebe companies were created, and in the next two years, Ilocano, Cagayano, Boholano, Cebuano, Negrense and Ilonggo companies were formed, in addition to more Macabebe companies. The Americans specifically did not form any Tagalog companies because they feared they might turn against the Americans. These units fought battles, guarded strategic areas and camps, guided and interpreted for U.S. troops. The American commanders noted their loyalty and martial skill, but the top commanders still did not trust armed Filipinos
Filipino Scouts: Photo was taken in 1899. When a close friend, 2Lt. Henry M. Boutelle, 3rd Artillery, was killed in an ambush on Nov. 2, 1899, 1Lt. Matthew Batson ordered his Macabebe Scouts to "annihilate" the nearest town, explaining that "it helped revenge Boutelle."
The Filipino scouts were officially considered civilian contract employees and only lightly armed, partly because of fears that they would rebel, and also partly because they sometimes tended to be overly cruel to captured Filipinos suspected of being members of the resistance.
Original caption: "Throng of Macabebes awaiting enlistment into the United States Army, Macabebe, P.I.". Photo was taken in 1900. By March 1900, there were about 478 officers and men in the native force that supported the U.S. army.
Original caption: "Church celebration on account of the enlistment of Macabebes into the United States Army, Macabebe, P.I." Photo was taken in 1900.
Macabebe Scouts undergoing inspection by 1Lt. Matthew Batson in Macabebe, Pampanga Province. Photo was taken in 1900. On June 1, 1900, the native force of scouts was given a title, "The Squadron of Philippine Cavalry, U.S. Volunteers." By December 1900, the number of men comprising this force had risen to 1,402.
Macabebe Scouts in formation
Macabebe Scouts in 1900. 1Lt. Matthew Batson, the commanding officer, is standing at far left.
1Lt. Matthew Batson is shown here with 2 Macabebe scouts. On Nov. 19, 1899, he was shot through the foot. The wound nearly cost him his leg. He returned to service, rose to Captain in 1901, and retired in 1902. Also in 1902, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Calamba, Laguna Province, on July 26, 1899. He died on Jan. 13, 1917 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. He was 50 years old.
Not until Feb. 2, 1901 were Filipinos allowed to officially become members of the U.S. Army. The different Filipino scout companies officially became known as the Philippine Scouts. The Philippine Scouts took over from U.S. troops, many of whom were volunteers and whose enlistments were up and thus went home. The organization was a part of the regular U.S. Army, but it was a segregated unit: its men could not transfer to other non-Filipino units of the U.S Army, and pay scales of the men was less than half that of the regular American soldier.
American officers in the Philippine Scouts, circa 1901
On Feb. 26, 1901, a letter written by an American, signed "An Outraged Citizen", was addressed to General MacArthur, beginning:
"It is simply horrible what the Macabebe soldiers are doing in some of the towns.... The Macabebes are committing the most horrible outrages in the towns and the officers say nothing, but, on the contrary, punish and threaten any persons who make complaint.... Some twelve days ago some Macabebes went into a house, and four soldiers raped a married woman, one after another, in the presence of her husband, and threatened to kill him if he dared to say anything. The war will never come to an end this way, nor will the country be pacified. The people are compelled to take to the woods."
Filipino scouts. By June 30, 1901, the strength of the Philippine Scouts, U.S. Army, had increased to no less than 5,500. The men were known familiarly as "Macabebes" and "Ilocos scouts", these being the two ethnic groups from which the force was primarily made up.
The above posting is courtesy of Arnaldo Dumindin.
Macabebes and Moros
By Amber Tarnowski, U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center
The Spaniards chose to conditionally surrender to the Americans; a mock-exercise was arranged to ensure Filipino forces would not be present in Manila. This was interpreted as an act of colonial aggression, which sparked Filipino insurgency. In the ensuing Insurrection, two of the Filipino ethnic groups that played a prominent part in this conflict were the Macabebes Scouts and the Moro tribes.
The town and established kingdom of Macabebe in the Pampanga Province produced an inordinate number of volunteer soldiers, Voluntarios de Macabebe, who allied with the United States. The utilization of the friendly native forces was a "divide and rule" strategy used by both Spain and the U.S. to prevent unity amongst Filipinos, .
For three hundred years, the Macabebes served in the military supporting the Spanish rule, even overseas. Thus, they enjoyed privileges not afforded to other Filipinos which caused a rift in tribal entities. In June 1898, the town of Macabebe, was abandoned by Spanish troops and was overrun by revolutionaries who fought against Spanish colonialism. The town was plundered and burned and Macabebe soldiers were beheaded.
In response the Macabebes joined American forces as civilian employees of the Quartermaster Department, after approval of Lieutenant Matthew Batson's plans to recruit 92 Macabebes as scouts. BG Samuel B.M. Young October 16, 1899: "Lieut Batson requests authority to recruit a regiment of Macabebes....I have full faith in the loyalty and efficiency of the Macabebes as soldiers." The armed scouts protected their own provinces against insurgency in the absence of U.S. forces. Several battles in Luzon pitted U. S. and Macabebes successfully against the revolutionaries.
Emilio Aguinaldo was captured on March 21, 1901, falling for Colonel Fred Funston's plot with Macabebes posing as Aguinaldo's revolutionary reinforcements with US captives in tow (Palanan, Isabella Province). "In this, the last great battle of the Philippines, Colonel Funston again proved himself a man absolutely without fear. He performed what General [Arthur] MacArthur said was the most brilliant and daring achievement of the war, and won a victory unparalleled in this history of American arms."
Another achievement of the Macabebes was their role in the defeat of the Moro Rebellion. The Moro tribes occupied southern territories comprising over 95 occupied islands in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Moros were expert in guerilla warfare, and known to be the fiercest of all Philippine inhabitants with a tradition of jihad against anyone trying to rule them. The Moros fought with any weapon available - flintlocks, Mausers, Krags, kris, spears, and bolo knives. Relations between Moros and Americans were positive initially, but they eventually deteriorated, and several more skirmishes ensued.
Documented accounts describe the Moros as being equipped only with spears and knives which were ineffective against the modern weapons of the Americans. The absence of Moro possession of firearms was due to the successful confiscation of arms by the Macabebe Scouts during previous periods of peace, a task only possible by groups who would not stir ethnic rivalries and had knowledge of the local geography. "...Capt. Batson had told the men that he would publish each month the names of the men who had captured guns or bolos from the insurrectos."
After the war, the Macabebe scouts, known for efficiency, loyalty, and discipline, would be converted into the newly officially recognized Philippine Scouts, part of the regular U.S. Army. The Philippine Scouts continued to serve with great distinction right into World War II.
Related web links :
The misunderstood Macabebe Scouts
Images of Manila during the Spanish colonial era
Images during the American colonial era.
Images of Muslim Mindanao during the colonial era.
Ciudad Murada : Intramuros de Manila
Manila circa 1898 - 1899 Photo Essay
The Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902
Philippine-American War of 1899 - 1902
Relation of the Voyage to Luzon 1570 - Conquest of Manila
The bravery of Corralat / Sultan Kudarat (1636–37 The Conquest of Mindanao)
Corcuera’s Campaign in Jolo - March–April, 1638.