Remembering the brutal battle that changed Manila forever [Philippines]

“If you’ve ever taken a class on Philippine history, you’d know about the Battle of Manila — but perhaps not well enough.

While you might picture a day of fighting that led to the liberation of Manila in World War II, in truth, the battle lasted the duration of February 3, 1945 to March 3, 1945. The battle resulted in the death of at least 100,000 Filipino civilians (other historians estimate it at 500,000) at the hands of both American and Japanese forces. The former bombed the historic city, destroying much of its heritage. As the outcome of the battle became evident, the latter began the Manila Massacre, brutally killing every Filipino they could lay their hands on before the Americans took control of the city.

Today there is no holiday to mark this grisly month in our history. Many of the ruined structures have been built over, and the only marker to commemorate the dead is the little-known Shrine of Freedom with its haunting statue of a woman cradling the city’s dead.

Carlos Celdran and VivaManila, in coordination with the Intramuros administration, began Manila Transitio 1945 eight years ago as an event to commemorate not only the loss of life, but the moment the city changed beyond recognition.

The event, held this year on February 26 at the Baluarte de San Diego, takes the form of an open-air picnic, an art exhibition, a concert and a big community ritual all participants are invited to join. As performance artists roam the grounds, Quiapo candle vendors offer their color-coded candles for your intentions.”

 

Read more on CNN Philippines.

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