The Philippines During the 1890s 

A Civilization of Their Own... 
"I submit with all deference that we have heretofore underrated the natives . . . They [Filipinos] are not ignorant, savage tribes, but have a civilization of their own; and though insignificant in appearance are fierce fighters, and for a tropical people are industrious." 

General Thomas Anderson

Photo shows General Thomas Anderson, commander of the first batch of U.S. troops to arrive in Cavite on June 30, 1898. As one of the commanders of the land battle of Manila he was even deceived by the sham nature of the battle by Gen. Wesley Merrit, the overall commander of the U.S. expeditionary forces.
Women dressed in their traditional Sunday Church-ready dress complete with head veil. Abstaining full meal, they would only sip a cup of hot chocolate before going to church, a religious sacrifice called "pu-asa." Slow moving cart but most efficient means of land transport utilizing a carabao, a native water buffalo. The nipa-thached houses seen in the background can still be found in many rural places of the Philippines even today.

Topic Index
Philippine Populationof the 1890s Principal International Ports
Cable Communications Manila Newspapers
Electric Utility Company Trade Statistics withthe United States
Water Utility Company War Time Government
Transportation History of the PhilippineFlag
International SteamshipLines Philippine Provinces
Inter-Island SteamshipVessels Recommended Links
Major Schools  Bibliography

Philippine Population of the 1890s 

"...he regards all the [Filipino] people as opposed to the American forces and looks at his risk as one of conquering eight millions of recalcitrant, treacherous, and sullen people." 
           William Howard Taft complaining to War Secretary Elihu Root 
about General Arthur McArthur'sconduct of the war 

  "Of course he [Aguinaldo] should be punished for his crime, but what is his crime? Was it his refusal to acknowledgeSpain's right to sell him for $2.50 on the hoof?" 
New York World 

[ Note: The Treaty of Paris stipulated the purchase of the Philippines from Spain by the U.S. for $20 Million.The "$2.50 per head" count would give a rough population of 8 million Filipinos.] 
Table of Philippine Populationof the 1890s 
Population Category Spanish Census*  1903 U.S. Census**
***5-Year Population 
1894  1898 Population Distribution
Provinces  Manila 
Parish Population  6,542,660 6,559,998 6,767,758 219,928  
Clergy  2,651 1,368,386
Military Personnel  21,513
Mindanao Muslims  309,000
Pagans and Independent tribes  830,000
Sub-Total  7,782,759 7,928,384
Total  7,782,759 7,928,384 6,987,686
Unaccounted Population 
(Between 1898 and 1903) 
Breakdown of PhilippinePopulation
(1903 U.S. Census) 
Population Distribution 
Nationwide  Manila  Provinces 
Natural-born Filipino  6,931,548  189,915  6,741,633 
China  41,035  21,500  19,535 
United States  8,135  3,700  4,435 
Spain  3,888  2,500  1,388 
Japan  921  1,551  767 
Great Britain  667 
Germany  368 
East Indies  241 
France  121 
Other countries of Europe  487  487 
All other countries 275  275 
Sub-Total  6,987,686  219,928  6,767,758
Total  6,987,686  6,987,686 
"Population of the Philippines," Bulletin1, published by the Department of Commerce and Labor, Bureau of Census,1904, Washington. Above data was gathered from the book The Philippine Islands by John Foreman, 1906. 

Cable Communications 

  • Submarine cable connecting Manila and Hong Kong,laid in 1880. 
  • Submarine cables connecting Manila to major Visayan cities: Iloilo, Bacolod, and Cebu, in 1897. 
  • 1,150 km. of telegraph line laid in the islands 

Electric Utility Company  

  • La Electricista de Manila , serving Intramuros and Manila suburbs. 

Water Utility Company 

  • Water company established in 1884 through the "CarriedoGrant," serving Manila and suburbs. 


Above is photo of the steam-powered locomotive
that served the Manila-Dagupan railrod line. The 
railroad line has long disappeared, victim of 
change in mode of transportation -trucks and 
  • Ferrocarril de Manila , a railroad company, English-made steam-powered locomotive serving Manila-Dagupan route, approximately 200 kms., opened to the public on 1891. 
  • Compania de los Tranvias de Filipinas , a horse-drawn street car service lines, connecting Manila downtown with suburbs: Intramuros, Malate, Sampaloc, and Tondo. 
  • Tranvia de vapor , a steam-powered veseelserving Malabon and Tondo. 


International Steamship Lines 

  • Compania Transatlantica Singapore, majorAsian ports, and Barcelona via the Suez Canal 
  • Spanish Royal Mail Line Barcelona to Manila,leaves every 28 days 
  • 4 steamers serving/alternating Manila-Hong Kong route 
  • Nippon Yusen Kaisha Manila to Yokohama route 

Inter-Island Steamship Vessels 

  • Manila   
  • General Alaba   
  • Isla de Cebu   
  • Isla de Mindanao   

Major Schools 

  • University of Santo Tomas (1645) 
  • San Juan de Letran Colege (1620) 
  • Literary University of the Philippines (established by the Revolutionary government on October 24, 1898) 
  • Burgos Institute for Boys (established by the Revolutionary government on October 24, 1898)
  • San Carlos College, Cebu (1599) 
  • Ateneo de Manila (1817) 
  • Assumption (1892) 

Principal International Ports 

Region  Ports 
  • Manila, 
  • Albay 
  • Sual (Pangasinan) 
  • Cebu, 
  • Leyte 
  • Iloilo 
  • Zamboanga 

Manila Newspapers 

Morning Papers  El Diario de Manila 
La Oceania Espanola
Evening Papers  El Comercio 
El Noticero
La Voz Espanola
El Espanol 
Government Newspaper El Heraldo De Revolucion
Published by Gen. Antonio Luna
(September 3, 1898 -
La Independencia

Trade Statistics with theUnited States 
Exports Into the UnitedStates
Articles  Units 1896  1897 
    Quantities  Values  Quantities Values 
Hemp, manila  tons  35,584  $2,499,494 38,533  $2,701,651 
Cane sugar (not above No. 16)  pounds  142,075,344  2,270,902  72,463,577  1,199,202 
Fiber, vegetable, not hemp  tons  872  68,838  5,450  383,155 
Fiber, vegetable, manufacturesof     26,428    22,170 
Straw, manufactures of      81,352    72,137 
Tobacco  pounds  1,280  808  2,745  2,338 
Miscellaneous      35,035    1,087 
Total      $4,982,857   $4,383,740
Imports From the United States 
Cotton, manufactures of      $9,714    $2,164 
Oils, mineral, refined  gallons  1,130,769  89,958  600,837  45,908 
Varnish  -do-  1,138  1,500  2,483  2,239 
Miscellaneous     61,274    44,286 
Total      $162,446   $94,597
Large quantities of flour, canned goods, etc.are sent to Hong Kong or other ports for transhipment, and are credited to those ports instead of Manila. The imports totaled approximately $10 Million. 

Philippine War-Time Government 

National Government 
(January 1899 to November 1899) 
Emilio Aguinaldo  President of the Republic 
Gen. Antonio Luna  Director of War (September 1898 toJune 5, 1899) 
Rev. Fr. Gregorio Aglipay Vicar-General
Council of Government [Cabinet] 
(January 2, 1899 to November 13, 1899)
January 2, 1899 to May 7, 1899  Cabinet Position May 7, 1899 to November 13, 1899 (Last Cabinet)  Cabinet Position 
Apolinario Mabini  President of the Cabinet Pedro A. Paterno  President of the Cabinet 
Foreign Minister Felipe Buencamino Secretary of Foreign Affairs 
Teodoro Sandico  Secretary of the Interior  Severino de las Alas Secretary of the Interior 
Baldomero Aguinaldo  Secretary of War Mariano Trias  Secretary of War 
Mariano Trias  Secretary of Finance  Hugo Ilagan  Secretary of Finance 
Gracio Gonzaga  Secretary of Economic Development Aguedo Velarde  Secretary of Public Instruction 
Maximo Molo Secretary of Communications and Public Works
 Leon Ma. Guerrero Secretary of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce
Federal Government of the Visayas 
(November 17, 1898 to September 23, 1899) 

President:  Roque Lopez 
Over-all Commander:  Lt.-General MartinDelgado 

History of the Philippine Flag 

Philippine flag
Philippine National Flag 
Centennial logo
Centennial Logo 
The Philippine flag was born during the turbulent part of the Philippine history. There were other versions of the Philippine flag under the previous Katipunan revolt against the Spaniards but none could be more significant than the flag designed and made in Hong Kong in June 1898 under the supervision of Emilio Aguinaldo who was then on exile in Hong Kong in compliance to the Biak-na-Bato truce agreed by the Spaniards and Aguinaldo's revolutionary government. 

The idea of creating a new flag to symbolize the renewed phase of the Philippine Revolution came about when Aguinaldo was in Hong Kong waiting for a transport to take him to Manila. Wasting notime during this few days of waiting, Aguinaldo designed the flag after which he requested the help of Mrs. Marcella de Agoncillo, wife of Felipe Agoncillo, the Filipino envoy, and her daughter Lorenze and Mrs.Delfina Herbosa Natividad (niece of Dr. Jose Rizal). The patriotic ladies completed the sewing of the silk flag in five days, just a few days before Aguinaldo boarded the USS McCullock on May 17, 1898 on his way to the Philippines. 

The new flag received its first "baptism of fire" in Barrio Alapan, Imus, Cavite in a bloody confrontation between Aguinaldo's forces and Spanish marines on May 28, 1898. Aguinaldo raised the flag asa symbol of victory against Spain. 

The most important historic event of the flag was made during the Philippine Independence ceremonies on June 12, 1898.On that day, at the balcony of Aguinaldo's residence in Kawit, Cavite, Aguinaldo raised the Philippine Flag symbolizing the Philippines declaring itself free from centuries of Spanish colonial domination. 

But the short-lived Philippine independence was in conflict with America's expansionist motive of "benevolent assimilation." Thus, the Philippine flag was to be soaked with blood and tears in the ensuing Philippine-American War. 


Flag design: The sun rays represents the original provinces that revolted against Spain and were placed under martial law by the Spanish authorities, namely: Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Morong, Laguna, Batangas, and Cavite; the three stars represents Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The colors red and blue represents war and peace, respectively. 

Centennial logo design: art design by Edgardo Santiago, and slogan "KALAYA-AN ang Kayaman ng Bayan" (FREEDOM is the Wealth of a Nation) by Joachim Medroso picked from more than 5,000 entries in a nationwide contest. More information is at

Recommended Links 

  1. Scheetz, F.I., Exciting Experiences in our Wars with Spain and the Filipinos , Edited by Marshall Everett, The Educational Co., Chicago, 1900. 
  2. Foreman, John, The Philippine Islands , The Scribner Book Co., Inc., New York, 1906. 
  3. Agoncillo, Teodoro A., History of the Filipino People , Garotech Publishing, Quezon City, Philippines. 
  4. Jonathan Best, Philippine Picture Postcards 1900-1920, Bookmark, Inc., Manila, 1994. 


Copyright ©1998.All rights reserved 
Philippine-American War CentennialInitiative (PAWCI)