My Coca Cola tastes Sour Today

by Leonard Cervantes

Today in Manila, they’ll celebrate the commemoration of the 109th anniversary of the first shot that triggered the Philippine-American War, which left at least 600,000 Filipinos dead.

Author and historian Ambeth Ocampo says the Philippine-American War is an event that young Filipinos should know about.

“It had been glossed over in our textbooks but school children should know that the Spaniards and the Japanese were not only our aggressors but the Americans as well,” says Ocampo.

Amidst our love affair with all things America, we’ve forgotten about the Philippine American War, even that it existed. In truth, the Philippines was brought to her knees by her much bigger and more powerful enemy — America.


U.S. General Jake Smith ordered the American soldiers to “kill and burn”, to “shoot down anybody capable of carrying arms including boys over ten years old.”

When asked about the growing public criticism of the military action in the Philippines, U.S. General Funston was later quoted in the papers as saying,

“I personally strung up thirty-five Filipinos without trial, so what was all the fuss over Waller’s ‘dispatching’ a few ‘treacherous savages’? If there had been more Smiths and Wallers, the war would have been over long ago. Impromptu domestic hanging might also hasten the end of the war. For starters, all Americans who had recently petitioned Congress to sue for peace in the Philippines should be dragged out of their homes and lynched.”

Both men lay on U.S. soil, bestowed with the Medal of Honor by the United States Government.

Some call the Philippine American War “The First Vietnam” — a guerilla war fought on foreign soil, but also a war that America would soon rather forget and sweep under the carpet – a pointless war that provided no winner, just hundreds of thousands of casualties.

Sounds sort of like our “war on terror”, doesn’t it?

America had no right to come to the Philippines in the first place, and its actions were deplorable. Americans slaughtered Filipino soldiers and civilians for seeking liberty, supposedly the basis of their own nation. The United States would not even negotiate with the Filipinos, but demanded immediate and unconditional surrender.

Wiki it yourself, the facts surrounding the Philippine American Way will speak for themselves and hopefully spark thought, discussion, discourse and the search for more facts to consume and share.

History can be boring and hard to consume, but you know what they say about not knowing where you’re going if you don’t know where you came from…

What do you think about the posted video? Did you know about the Philippine American War? How do the above images make you feel?

This blog entry cites an article that appeared in the Philippine Inquirer.


4 Responses to “My Coca Cola tastes Sour Today”

  1. A friend told me the story of how the us military had to switch to bigger guns [45 i think] because the damned fills would rush them with bamboo sticks and kill a bunch of GIs…

  2. I attended Mr Ocampo’s lecture at the Presidio in San Francisco, when he was a featured speaker at the historical presentation and exhibit “War and Dissent: The U.S. in the Philippines” in October 2008.
    He showed the same footage you put up on youtube and it would be misleading to avoid noting that these films were made by the Americans to show to their fellow Americans back home how well they were doing. You can even see how staged it is, especially the one of the ‘shooting’ scene in Candaba. The fact that this was a propaganda piece was also mentioned by Mr Ocampo in the lecture.

  3. SummerDawn Says:

    Its sad to say that even in America it is glossed over in a two page paragraph at most… I was astonished by what my country has done…No one says America is perfect I mean my family has records of slaver(yes i am black) but when i started dating my boyfriend a great great grandson to general Artemio Ricarte told me about the war i looked more into this war and still makes me sad….

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