Battle of Manila (1896)

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Battle of Manila (1896)
Part of the Philippine Revolution
DateAugust 29, 1896
Result Spanish victory
Katipunan Spanish Empire
Commanders and leaders
Andrés Bonifacio
Aguedo del Rosario
Vicente Fernandez
Ramón Blanco
Camilo de Polavieja
15,000 2,300
Casualties and losses
heavy unknown
The only extant photo of Andrés Bonifacio, Supremo of the Katipunan.

The Battle of Manila of 1896 (Filipino: Labanan sa Maynila; Spanish: Batalla de Manila) occurred in Manila in then Spanish colony of the Philippines during the Philippine Revolution. Katipunan under Andres Bonifacio attempted to take the city but the attempt failed, and Bonifacio retreated to the city's outskirts. The Battle of San Juan del Monte was joined a day later when Bonifacio attempted to capture the San Juan's powder magazine, but this too failed.

Bonifacio's plan[edit]

Since the start of the revolution, the city of Manila, and specifically its walled center Intramuros, was the primary target of El Supremo Andres Bonifacio and his Katipuneros.[citation needed] The take over of Intramuros had been a logical move for any uprising trying to overthrow the Spanish colonial regime in the Philippines. In this area were the Ayuntamiento (City Hall), Intendencia, and Palacio Arzobispal (Archbishop's Palace). The seat of the Governor-General was in Malacañang Palace, 300 paces from Intramuros. Very few Spanish troops guarded the city, as most were garrisoned around the archipelago. Bonifacio thought that once the city was taken the revolutionaries would be welcomed by the inhabitants, who he thought were already sick of Spanish domination.

Bonifacio intended to take the city by force[1] in a three-pronged attack.[2]:36 The forces of General Aguedo del Rosario would come from Tondo, Manila, those of General Vicente Fernandez from San Marcelino[clarification needed], and those of General Ramon Bernardo through the Rotonda in Sampaloc, Manila.[1] General Fernandez was to take over La Electricista de Manila (Manila electric plant) in Quiapo and cut the electrical supply to Manila, which would be the signal for the others to attack. Once Manila was thrown to darkness, the plan was to lure the Spanish troops 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 installations were threatened to be sabotaged by the Katipunan revolutionaries.[1] The Spanish troops would be engaged by General Bernardo forces. Forces in Cavite under Emilio Aguinaldo, together with those under General del Rosario, would then attack Intramuros which would be lacking troops for defense. These forces attacking Intramuros would be helped by revolutionaries that infiltrated into 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 would include 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 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 forced the Katipunan from the city. Protracted warfare soon escalated, with the battles of Pasong Tamo (August 28–29, 1896) and of San Juan del Monte (August 30, 1896).

Overall, the attack on Manila did not take place as Bonifacio planned. General Fernandez failed to launch the signal from the electric plant. The Katipuneros did not even reach the plant. Without the signal to coordinate the attack, the revolutionaries in Manila and Cavite went on their own battles. Despite this lack of coordination and contact among forces, Bonifacio commanding some 800 (or according to the Spanish, 300) still led the attack on Manila. His force was repulsed after the Battle of San Juan del Monte.[1]

Following Bonifacio's failed attempt in San Juan, Katipuneros in 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.[3] Majority of these attacks failed 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 met at the border of barrios Maybunga and Caniogan, marched towards the plaza, and took over the headquarters of the Guardia Civil and the municipal hall. This event is now commemorated as "Nagsabado sa Pasig".[4] Other notable uprisings occurred outside of Manila in the eight surrounding provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Province of Manila, Tarlac, Pampanga, Batangas and Nueva Ecija. The eight rays on the Philippine flag represent these first 8 provinces, put under Martial law by Governor-General Ramon Blanco.[citation needed]


Bonifacio had sparked an uprising bigger than any other previous uprising in the Tagalog-Pampango provinces.[citation needed] His "Revolt of the Masses"[5] inspired more Filipinos to begin their struggle for freedom from Spain. This revolt in Manila, though only lasting a week before Bonifacio and his men were reduced to guerilla warfare, led to the arrests and executions of thousands of upper-class Filipinos who were suspected of having Katipunan ties.[citation needed] Bagumbayan, now known as Luneta, became a killing field, culminating in the execution of José Rizal at the park in December, 1896.

Emilio Aguinaldo would use the same plan when revolutionary forces surrounded Manila from four fronts in June 1898 during the Spanish–American War. This planned attack also did not take place, due to the takeover of Manila by the Americans during the Battle of Manila of 1898.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bascara, Cornelio (2002). Stories from the Margins. UST Publishing House. pp. 143–147.
  2. ^ Alvarez, S.V., 1992, Recalling the Revolution, Madison: Center for Southeast Asia Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, ISBN 1-881261-05-0
  3. ^ "Image: map-1-1896-for-web.jpg, (2400 × 2789 px)". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  4. ^ M Reyes Roque. "History of Pasig". Archived from the original on 2009-06-29. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  5. ^ A question of heroes at Google Books
  6. ^ Joaquin, Nick (1990). Manila, My Manila. Vera-Reyes, Inc.