Battle of Manila (1896)

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Battle of Manila (1896)
Part of the Philippine Revolution
Date August 29, 1896
Location Manila, Philippines
Result Spanish victory
Philippine revolution flag kkk1.svg Katipunan Spain Spanish Empire
Commanders and leaders
Philippine revolution flag kkk1.svg Andres Bonifacio
Philippine revolution flag kkk1.svg Ramon Bernardo
Philippine revolution flag kkk1.svg Aguedo del Rosario
Philippine revolution flag kkk1.svg Vicente Fernandez
Spain Ramon Blanco y Erenas
~15,000 2,300
Casualties and losses
heavy unknown

The Battle of Manila of 1896 occurred in Manila in then Spanish-controlled Philippines. The battle happened during the Philippine Revolution. Filipino revolutionaries under Andres Bonifacio attempted to take the city from the Spanish forces during the Philippine Revolution. The attempt failed, and Bonifacio retreated to regroup with his revolutionary force at the city's outskirts. The battle at San Juan del Monte was joined a day later when Bonifacio this time attempted to capture the town's powder magazine, but likewise also failed.


Since the start of the revolution, the city of Manila, specifically Intramuros, has always been the primary target of El Supremo Andres Bonifacio and his Katipuneros. He intended to take the city by force[1] as very few Spanish troops guard the city since many of them are in garrisons all over the archipelago. He thought that, once the city is taken, they would be welcomed by the inhabitants of the city whom he thought, and which was generally observed at that time, are already heartily sick of generations of repressive Spanish domination.


Main article: Bonifacio Plan

Bonifacio envisioned a three-pronged attack of the city, which was believed to be able to bring the Walled City to the revolutionaries. According to the plan, three forces were to attack from three strategic points outside Intramuros. The force of General Aguedo del Rosario will come from Tondo, that of General Vicente Fernandez via San Marcelino, and the force of General Ramon Bernardo through the Rotonda in Sampaloc.[1]

General Fernandez was to take over La Electricista de Manila (Manila electric plant) in Quiapo and put out the electric light it supplied for Manila. The turning off of lights in Manila will act as the signal for the attack. Once Manila was thrown to darkness, the main idea was to lure the Spanish troops out from Intramuros towards vital water installations in Rotonda in Sampaloc, El Deposito in San Juan del Monte, the Balara filter station and the Marikina main water supply. These water installations were threatened to be sabotaged by the Katipunan revolutionaries (better known as Katipuneros).[1]

The Spanish troops would then be busy engaging the Katipuneros under General Bernardo in these areas. While the Spanish attempt to secure these installations, forces in Cavite, under Emilio Aguinaldo, together with those under General del Rosario, would attack Intramuros, which would be, by this time, lacking troops for defense. These forces attacking Intramuros will be helped by revolutionaries that infiltrated in the Regiment 70 (Regimiento de Magallanes numero 70), the only regiment concentrated for the defense of Manila as well as the rest of Luzon. The regiment numbered around 2,300 troops in Manila, of which more than 85% were composed of native integrees.[1]

Also according to plan, the Katipuneros would be spreading false news to create confusion among the Manila population. Rumors included a Japanese take over of Manila, or the Japanese ordering the native revolutionaries to occupy Manila for them.[1]


Before the plan was to be put to action, however, one Katipunan member Teodoro Patiño, known for his talkativeness, revealed the existence of the revolutionary organization to a Spanish priest named Mariano Gil, who then reported it to the local authorities, as revenge for grave misunderstandings with fellow Katipunero Apolonio de la Cruz. As a result, the Spanish troops were warned of the attack, and buffed the Katipunan forces out from the city. However, protracted warfare soon escalated, indicating that Manila is still threatened, opening the battles of Pasong Tamo and San Juan del Monte, but these attacks by the revolutionaries also failed.

Simultaneous Uprisings[edit]

Following Bonifacio's failed attempt in San Juan, Katipuneros all around the area, particularly in the towns of Pasig, Pateros, Santa Ana, Tagig, Kalookan, San Pedro de Macati and Mandaluyong began simultaneous attacks on Spanish installments in the areas.[2] Majority of these attacks were contained due to the Katipuneros' lack of arms. The most successful uprising was led by the Pasig Katipuneros under Valentin Cruz, On Saturday, August 29, Some 2,000 Pasiguenos, armed with scythes, bolos, a few firearms and courage, met at the border of barrios Maybunga and Caniogan, marched towards the plaza and took over the headquarters of the Guardia Civil and the municipio. This event is now comemorated as "Nagsabado sa Pasig".[3] Other notable uprisings occurred outside of Manila in the 8 surrounding provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Province of Manila, Tarlac, Pampanga, Batangas and Nueva Ecija, The 8 sun rays on the Philippine flag represent these first 8 provinces, put under Martial law by Governor-General Ramon Blanco.


As said earlier, the planned attack on Manila never fully materialized, and only did so in the form of isolated uprisings in the greater Manila area. However the effects of these first few battles of the revolution were to rock All of Manila and the surrounding provinces. Bonifacio had sparked an uprising bigger than any other previous uprising in the Tagalog-Pampango provinces. His "Revolt of the Masses"[4] Inspired even more Filipinos to begin their struggle for freedom from Spain, this revolt of Manila, thought only lasting a week before Bonifacio and his men were reduced to guerilla warfare in the hills of Balara, ultimately also led to the arrests and executions of thousands of upper class Filipinos who were suspected of having Katipunan ties, Bagumbayan (Modern day Luneta Park) became a killing field where Katipunero blood was constantly spilled, culminating in the execution of José Rizal in December, 1896.