Military history of the Philippines

The military history of the Philippines is characterized by a period of struggle against colonial powers such as Spain and the United States, occupation by the Empire of Japan during World War II and participation in Asian conflicts post-World War II such as the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Philippines has also battled a communist insurgency and a secessionist movement by Muslims in the southern portion of the country.

Pre-colonial period (before 1565)

Visayan Raids

Antecedent to this raids, sometime between A.D. 1174 and 1190, a traveling Chinese government bureaucrat Chau Ju-Kua reported that a certain group of "ferocious raiders of China’s Fukien coast" which he called the "Pi-sho-ye," believed to have lived on the southern part of Formosa.[1]

In A.D. 1273, another work written by Ma Tuan Lin, which came to the knowledge of non-Chinese readers through a translation made by the Marquis D’Hervey de Saint-Denys, gave reference to the Pi-sho-ye raiders, thought to have originated from the southern portion of Formosa. However, the author observed that these reaiders spoke a different language and had an entirely different appearance (presumably when compared to the inhabitants of Formosa). Some scholars have put forth the theory that the Pi-sho-ye were actually people from the Visayas islands.[1]

Majapahit-Luzon wars

In the Battle of Manila in 1365 is an unspecified and disputed battle occurring somewhere in the vicinity of Manila between the forces of the Kingdoms in Luzon and the Empire of Majapahit.

Even though the exact dates and details of this battle remain in dispute, there are claims of the conquest of the area around Saludong (Majapahit term for Luzon and Manila) according to the text Nagarakretagama[2] Nevertheless, there may have been a battle for Manila that occurred during that time but it was likely a victory for Luzon's kingdoms considering that the Kingdom of Tondo had maintained its independence and was not enslaved under another ruler. Alternatively, Luzon may have been successfully invaded but was able to regain its independence later.[3][4]

Brunei invasion of Tondo

The Battle of Manilla (1500s) was fought in Manila between citizens of the Kingdom of Tondo led by their Lakan sukwu and the soldiers of the Sultanate of Brunei led by Sultan Bolkiah the singing captain. The aftermath of the battle was the formation of an alliance between the newly established Kingdom of Maynila (Selurong) and the Sultanate of Brunei, to crush the power of the Kingdom of Tondo and the subsequent installation of the Pro-Islamic Rajah Sulaiman into power. Furthermore, Sultan Bolkiah's victory over Sulu and Seludong (modern day Manila),[5] as well as his marriages to Laila Mecanai the daughter of Sulu Sultan Amir Ul-Ombra (an uncle of Sharifa Mahandun married to Nakhoda Angging or Maharaja Anddin of Sulu), and to the daughter of Datu Kemin, widened Brunei's influence in the Philippines.[6]

Burmese-Siamese wars

Lucoes (warriors from Luzon) aided the Burmese king in his invasion of Siam in 1547 AD. At the same time, Lusung warriors fought alongside the Siamese king and faced the same elephant army of the Burmese king in the defence of the Siamese capital at Ayuthaya.[7] The former sultan of Malacca decided to retake his city from the Portuguese with a fleet of ships from Lusung in 1525 AD.[8]

Battle of Mactan

Main article: Battle of Mactan

The Battle of Mactan on April 27, 1521, is celebrated as the earliest reported resistance of the natives in the Philippines against foreign invaders. Lapu-Lapu, a Chieftain of Mactan Island, defeated Christian European explorers led by the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan.[9][10]

On March 16, 1521, the island of Samar was sighted. The following morning, March 17, Magellan landed on the island of Homonhon.[11][12] He parleyed with Rajah Calambu of Limasawa, who guided him to Cebu Island on April 7. With the aid of Magellan's Malay interpreter, Enrique, Rajah Humabon of Cebu and his subjects converted to Christianity and became allies. Suitably impressed by Spanish firearms and artillery, Rajah Humabon suggested that Magellan project power to cow Lapu-Lapu, who was being belligerent against his authority.

Magellan deployed 49 armored men, less than half his crew, with crossbows and guns, but could not anchor near land because the island is surrounded by shallow coral bottoms and thus unsuitable for the Spanish galleons to get close to shore. His crew had to wade through the surf to make a landing and the ship was too far to support them with artillery. Antonio Pigafetta, a supernumerary on the voyage who later returned to Seville, Spain, records that Lapu-Lapu had at least 1500 warriors in the battle. During the battle, Magellan was wounded in the leg, while still in the surf. As the crew were fleeing to the boats, Pigafetta recorded that Magellan covered their retreat, turning at them on several occasions to make sure they were getting away, and was finally surrounded by a multitude of warriors and killed. The total toll was of eight crewmen killed on Magellan's side against an unknown number of casualties from the Mactan natives.

Spanish colonial period (1565–1898)

Major Revolts (1567–1872)

Moro campaign (1569–1898)

Limahong campaign (1574–1576)

Main article: Limahong

Cambodia campaign (1596)

Eighty Years' War (1568–1648)

Main article: Eighty Years' War

Chinese insurrections (1603–1640)

Seven Years' War (1756–1763)

Main article: Seven Years' War

Cochinchina Campaign (1858–1862)

Main article: Cochinchina Campaign

Philippine Revolution and Declaration of Independence (1896–1898)

Philippine Revolution (1896–1898)

Main article: Philippine Revolution

The Philippine Revolution began in August 1896, upon the discovery of the anti-colonial secret organization Katipunan by the Spanish authorities. The Katipunan, led by Andrés Bonifacio, was a secessionist movement and shadow government spread throughout much of the islands whose goal was independence from Spain through armed revolt. In a mass gathering in Caloocan, the Katipunan leaders organized themselves into a revolutionary government and openly declared a nationwide armed revolution. Bonifacio called for a simultaneous coordinated attack on the capital Manila. This attack failed, but the surrounding provinces also rose up in revolt. In particular, rebels in Cavite led by Emilio Aguinaldo won early victories. A power struggle among the revolutionaries led to Bonifacio's execution in 1897, with command shifting to Aguinaldo who led his own revolutionary government. That year, a truce was officially reached with the Pact of Biak-na-Bato and Aguinaldo was exiled to Hong Kong, though hostilities between rebels and the Spanish government never actually ceased.[14][15]

Spanish–American War (1898)

The first battle in the Philippine theater was in Manila Bay, where, on May 1, 1898, Commodore George Dewey, commanding the United States Asiatic Squadron aboard the USS Olympia, in a matter of hours, defeated the Spanish squadron, under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón. Dewey's force sustaining only a single casualty — a heart attack aboard one of his vessels.

After the battle, Dewey blockaded Manila and provided transport for Emilio Aguinaldo to return to the Philippines from exile in Hong Kong. Aguinaldo arrived on May 19 and, after assuming command of Filipino forces on May 24, initiated land campaigns against the Spanish. After the Battle of Manila on the morning of August 13, 1898 (a mock battle between U.S and Spanish forces), the Spanish governor, Fermin Jaudenes, surrendered Manila to U.S. forces under Dewey.

On June 12, 1898, with the country still under Spanish sovereignty, Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine independence from Spain, under a dictatorial government then being established. The Act of the Declaration of Independence was prepared and written in Spanish by Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, who read it at the proclamation ceremony. The Declaration was signed by ninety-eight persons, among them an American army officer who witnessed the proclamation. The insurgent dictatorial government was replaced on June 23 by an insurgent revolutionary government headed by Aguinaldo as president. The government included a Department of War and Public Works under which was placed the Army of Liberation of the Philippines, a volunteer army to be organized as soon as possible.[16]

The Spanish–American War was formally concluded on December 10, 1898 by the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Spain. In that treaty, Spain ceded the Philippine Archipelago to the United States, and the United States agreed to pay US$20,000,000 to the Spanish government.[17] The United States then exercised sovereignty over the Philippines. The insurgent First Philippine Republic was formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 23, 1899.

American colonial period (1899–1941) and Japanese occupation (1942–1945)

Philippine–American War (1899–1913)

The Philippine–American War[18] was a conflict between the United States of America and the First Philippine Republic from 1899 through at least 1902, when the Filipino leadership generally accepted American rule. A Philippine Constabulary organized in 1901 to deal with the remnants of the insurgent movement and gradually assumed the responsibilities of the United States Army. Skirmishes between government troops and armed groups lasted until 1913, and some historians consider these unofficial extensions part of the war.[19]

World War I (1914–1918)

Main article: World War I

In 1917 the Philippine Assembly created the Philippine National Guard with the intent to join the American Expeditionary Force. By the time it was absorbed into the National Army it had grown to 25,000 soldiers. However, these units did not see action. The first Filipino to die in World War I was Private Tomas Mateo Claudio who served with the U.S. Army as part of the American Expeditionary Forces to Europe. He died in the Battle of Chateau Thierry in France on June 29, 1918.[20][21] The Tomas Claudio Memorial College in Morong Rizal, Philippines, which was founded in 1950, was named in his honor.[22]

World War II (1939–1945)

The first Filipino military casualty during the Second World War was serving as an aviator with British forces. First Officer Isidro Juan Paredes of the Air Transport Auxiliary was killed on November 7, 1941, when his aircraft overshot a runway and crashed at RAF Burtonwood. He was buried at Great Sankey (St Mary) Churchyard Extension, but later repatriated to the Philippines.[23] Paredes Air Station in Ilocos Norte, was named in his honor.

WWII Veterans are members of the following:

Related Articles:

Korean War (1950–1953)

Main article: Korean War

The Philippines joined the Korean War in August 1950. The Philippines sent an expeditionary force of around 7,500 combat troops. This was known as the Philippine Expeditionary Forces To Korea, or PEFTOK. It was the 4th largest force under the United Nations Command then under the command of US General Douglas MacArthur that were sent to defend South Korea from a communist invasion by North Korea which was then supported by Mao Zedong's China and the Soviet Union. The PEFTOK took part in decisive battles such as the Battle of Yultong Bridge and the Battle of Hill Eerie. This expeditionary force operated with the United States 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, 25th Infantry Division, and 45th Infantry Division.[24]

Vietnam War (1964–1969)

Main article: Vietnam War

The Philippines was involved in the Vietnam War, supporting civil and medical operations. Initial deployment in 1964 amounted to 28 military personnel, including nurses, and 6 civilians. The number of Filipino troops who served in Vietnam swelled to 182 officers and 1,882 enlisted personnel during the period 1966–1968. This force was known as the Philippine Civic Action Group-Vietnam or PHILCAG-V. Filipino troops withdrew from Vietnam on December 12, 1969.[25][26][27]

EDSA Revolution (February 22–25, 1986)

On February 22, 1986, former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Fidel V. Ramos withdrew their support for President Ferdinand Marcos and led the EDSA Revolution by Corazon Aquino (Ninoy's widow). On February 25, 1986, Corazon Aquino was sworm in as the 11th President of the Philippines. Marcos and his family were ousted from power by a combination of the Military, People and Church Members to end the 20-year dictatorship of Marcos.

Persian Gulf War (1990–1991)

Main article: Gulf War

The Philippines sent 200 medical personnel to assist coalition forces in the liberation of Kuwait from the stranglehold of Iraq then led by Saddam Hussein.

Iraq War (2003–2004)

Main article: Iraq War

The Philippines sent 60 medics, engineers and other troops to assist in the invasion of Iraq. The troops were withdrawn on the 14th of July, 2004, in response to the kidnapping of Angelo dela Cruz, a Filipino truck driver. When insurgent demands were met (Filipino troops out of Iraq), the hostage was released. While in Iraq, the troops were under Polish command (Central South Iraq). During that time, several Filipino soldiers were wounded in an insurgent attack, although none died.

Communist insurgent groups in the Philippines

Early 1950s to present

Islamic insurgency in the Philippines

Late 1960s to present

International Peace Support and Humanitarian Relief Operations

[AFP Peacekeeping Operations Center][28][29][30]

List of coups d'etat

List of treaties

List of awards

List of wars involving the Philippines

See also


  1. 1 2 Jobers Bersales, Raiding China at
  2. Malkiel-Jirmounsky, Myron (1939). "The Study of The Artistic Antiquities of Dutch India". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. Harvard-Yenching Institute. 4 (1): 59–68. doi:10.2307/2717905. JSTOR 2717905.
  3. Tiongson, Jaime (2006-11-29). "Pailah is Pila, Laguna". Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  4. Santos, Hector (1996-10-26). "The Laguna Copperplate Inscription". Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  5. History for Brunei 2009, p. 41
  6. "Brunei". CIA World Factbook. 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  7. Pigafetta, Antonio (1969) [1524]. "First voyage round the world". Translated by J.A. Robertson. Manila: Filipiniana Book Guild.
  8. The former sultan of Malacca decided to retake his city from the Portuguese with a fleet of ships from Lusung in 1525 AD. SOURCE: Barros, Joao de, Decada terciera de Asia de Ioano de Barros dos feitos que os Portugueses fezarao no descubrimiento dos mares e terras de Oriente [1628], Lisbon, 1777, courtesy of William Henry Scott, Barangay: Sixteenth-Century Philippine Culture and Society, Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1994, page 194.
  9. Halili, M.c. (2004). Philippine history. Rex Bookstore, Inc. pp. 74. ISBN 978-971-23-3934-9.
  10. Ongsotto (2002). Philippine History Module-based Learning I' 2002 Ed. Rex Bookstore, Inc. pp. 63. ISBN 978-971-23-3449-8.
  11. Halili 2004, p. 72.
  12. Ongsotto 2002, p. 62.
  13. 1 2 Nigel Gooding, Filipino Involvement in the French-Spanish Campaign in Indochina, retrieved 2008-07-04
  14. Guererro, Milagros; Encarnacion, Emmanuel; Villegas, Ramon (1996), "Andres Bonifacio and the 1896 Revolution", Sulyap Kultura, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 1 (2): 3–12.
  15. Guerrero 1998.
  16. The Philippine Army, 1935-1942. Ateneo University Press. 1992. pp. 10, 231 (note 4 attributes this title to documentary evidence consulted by Onofre D. Corpuz). ISBN 978-971-550-081-4.
  17. Treaty of Peace Between the United States and Spain
  18. This conflict is also known as the 'Philippine Insurrection'. This name was historically the most commonly used in the U.S., but Filipinos and some American historians refer to these hostilities as the Philippine–American War, and, in 1999, the U.S. Library of Congress reclassified its references to use this term.
  19. Constantino, Renato (1975). The Philippines: A Past Revisited. ISBN 971-8958-00-2.
  20. Zena Sultana-Babao, America’s Thanksgiving and the Philippines’ National Heroes Day: Two Holidays Rooted in History and Tradition, Asian Journal, retrieved 2008-01-12
  21. Source: Philippine Military Academy
  22. "Schools, colleges and Universities: Tomas Claudio Memorial College". Manila Bulletin Online. Archived from the original on 2007-07-07. Retrieved 2007-07-04.
    - "Tomas Claudio Memorial College". Retrieved 2007-07-04.
  23. Casualty Details: Paredes, Isidro Juan, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, retrieved 2008-01-12 His death was registered at the Maidenhead Register of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, where his nationality is recorded as "United Kingdom".
  24. Art Villasanta, The Philippines in the Korean War, Archived from the original on October 26, 2009, retrieved 2008-07-04
  26. Fidel V. Ramos (August 1, 2008), A brotherhood FORGED IN HARDSHIP,, retrieved 2009-01-04
  27., The Philippines: Allies During The Vietnam War, retrieved 2008-07-04
  28. Balao, Colonel Dante D and Annanette B Cruz-Salazar. Global Kawal. Quezon City, The Philippines: Armed Forces of the Philippines. 2008. ISBN 978-971-92556-3-5
  29. Ancan, Colonel Roberto T and Annanette B Cruz. Global Kawal: The Filipino Soldier in the United Nations Blue Beret (Second Edition). Quezon City, The Philippines: Armed Forces of the Philippines. 2015. ISBN 978-971-92556-4-2
  30. Alejandrino, Charlemagne S and Annanette B Cruz-Salazar. National Pride, World Peace. City of Pasig, The Philippines: Makabayan Publishing House. 2010. ISBN 978-971-94613-0-2

External links

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