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Feb 4, 2015
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This week marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of one of the bloodiest events in Philippine history. From February 3 to March 3, 1945, Filipino and American troops battled the Japanese military to finally free the city of Manila from the grasp of the Japanese empire. Go on, ask your grandma and grandpa and they'll tell you that you'd be scared out of your wits with all the destruction going on.

The Battle of Manila (or Liberation of Manila) is among the most destructive events that happened in the Pacific during World War II. The stratospheric death tolls support this fact:

  • Over 1,000 US soldiers dead and 5,655 wounded
  • Around 16,600 Japanese soldiers were killed inside Intramuros
  • Around 100,000 civilians were killed either by Japanese atrocities and weaponry or as casualties caused by American aerial bombings

To put things into perspective, the Battle of Manila is comparable in bloodshed to the atomic bombing on Hiroshima which claimed around 135,000 lives. Huge parts of the city were leveled, with only a few major buildings still surviving today, like the LS building of De La Salle University, the MalacaƱan Palace, and the Philippine General Hospital.

If only these silent, monolithic witnesses could talk then we could have a much better understanding of what really transpired. But they don't so, aside from our grandparents' war stories, we'll have to rely on old, black-and-white photos that document the destruction. Below are some of the snaps we culled around the Internet!


This aerial photo of the devastation in Manila

battle of manila

Nope, you wouldn't want to be around during that time.


This gruesome photo showing the bodies of the dead women and children which were massacred by the Japanese forces

battle of manilaImage via John Newell on Flickr

If you can't stomach a sight like this (who can?), then war is not for you.


This photo of the Old Legislative Building which was bombed by Japanese forces

battle of manilaImage via John Tewell on Flickr

It didn't survive the attacks. Fortunately, it was reconstructed and now houses the National Art Gallery.


This group-fie of a bunch of American soldiers

battle of manilaImage via Milsurps.com

They're all smiles, and that's because they've just taken another building. Small victories combined amount to big ones!


This photo of American soldiers taking cover behind their war rides in Dewey Blvd. (now Roxas Blvd.)

battle of manilaImage via Peopleus

Nothing like giant moving metallic monstrosities that spew hellfire to scare the bejesus out of your enemies.


This photo of the heavily-damaged San Luis Terraces in T.M. Kalaw (formerly San Luis St.)

battle of manilaImage via John Tewell on Flickr

Can you see the body of a dead soldier among the ruins? Whatever side he was on, may God have mercy on his soul.

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This photo of American soldiers under fire in Binondo

battle of manilaImage via John Tewell on Flickr

Ballsy, yes they were.


This photo of kids playing amongst the rubble

battle of manilaImage via Scribol.com

If they can find something to be happy about that time, then our pampered asses really have no excuse for not having one right now.


This photo of destroyed buildings across the Pasig River

battle of manilaImage via Scribol.com

How many bodies do you think still lay undiscovered beneath the river?


This photo of kids approaching an American tank when the fighting was finally over

battle of manilaImage via Battleofmanila.org

We can almost hear them shout "Hay, sa wakas!"

To all the brave men, women, and children who fought and died during the Battle of Manila, you have our respect and praises. Know that your sacrifices weren't in vain.

As for the rest of us: Aren't you glad you weren't born then? And please be grateful of what you have now!

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