[*archieval images courtesy of Wikipedia, and the University of Wisconsin]

Women begging for food from Americans during the Phil-Am War.

Women begging for food from Americans during the Phil-Am War.

[*I will be co-instructing an upcoming series of Philippine history workshops at KPC from September to November, so I thought I’d write a preview about the Fil-Am War…]

Today’s North American news has daily reports of the debacle in Iraq. It’s just the latest in a string of US invasions into sovereign lands, but the grand-daddy of it all was in the Philippines. (more…)

I like to look at archival photos every once in awhile. There’s something about seeing images from the past that grips me. The long dead faces, and old–almost foreign–landscapes tell stories.


I was interested in this photo from 1909 instantly, two Filipino indigenous men, captives of colonized Filipino soldiers working for the Americans. One of the bound men had a look that seemed to me fearful, while the other seemed proud and defiant. The caption under the photo only told me that they were the killers of Dr. William Jones.

Who was this Dr. Jones? What was he a doctor of? What was he doing in the Phils and, presumably indigenous territory? And, of course, why was he killed? (more…)

Political cartoons are taken from the book "Iconography of the New Empire," by Servando D. Halili Jr. (UP Press)

I had long known about the phrase “white man’s burden,” but it wasn’t until recently that I learned that it originally referred to the ‘benevolent’ American occupation of the Philippines. I cannot come close to explaining how much that affected me.

* * * * *

White Man’s Burden, by R. Kipling (published 1899).

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child. (more…)

Archival images courtesy of the Univ of Wisconsin.

‘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… (more…)