Chapter 20

Our American Heritage

PHILIPPINE LIFE changed tremendously as an American colony. Before, the Filipinos colony. had priests, pasions, chorizos, and pabitins. pabitins. During the American era, we had teachers, Bibles, hot dogs, cars & basketball. Until now, basketball. we are still influenced a lot by our American heritage. heritage.

The Bible and Religious Freedom 
This was the greatest legacy of America. The Filipinos became free to choose their own religion. They were allowed to have and to read the Bible.  Other Christian churches were allowed³Methodists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Pentecostals, etc.
‡ Another Christian denomination, the Philippine Independent Church (Aglipayanism) were started by Isabelo de los Reyes & Gregorio Aglipay. 

Even non-Christians were allowed to freely choose their own religion without being arrested & persecuted by the government.
‡ The Muslims & mountain tribes were no longer treated as enemies of the government, but as friends and true Filipinos also. 

New religions and cults that did not believe in Jesus as both man & God were started.
‡Iglesia ni Cristo (uses the name of Christ but doesn·t believe in Jesus as God) was founded by Felix Manalo in 1914. 

The most important religious change was the open distribution and reading of the Bible, Gospel tracts, & Christian literature.

Training in Democracy
Democracy ´Government of the people, by the people, for the peopleµ. ‡ The Americans allowed us to practice democracy as a colony under their protection. ‡ If it weren·t for the Americans, the Philippines might have split up into different nations, with different governments for Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, the Muslims, and mountain tribes³or, we could have fallen into the hand of Germany or other colonial powers at that time. ‡ The Filipinos campaigned for independence in a peaceful and democratic way. ‡ For the first time, we had free national elections, women voters, many political parties, and religious freedom. ‡ The Philippines got its dream for independence in 1946.

Free Education
‡ All children could study in schools. Even the brightest children from poor families could go as far as university and many of them became professional doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, & teachers. ‡ Boys and girls could study together in the same schools and colleges because Co-Ed/ Co-education was allowed. ‡ The first teachers were the soldiers. Soon after the fall of Manila in Aug. 1898, 7 schools were opened in the city which were run entirely by American soldiers. ‡ The first batch of professional teachers came from the United States onboard the U.S. army ship ´Thomas.µ The first teachers were called the ´Thomasites.µ ‡ Hundred of Filipino scholars (pensionados) were sent to the United States on free government pensions. They studied in American colleges & universities.

Thomas ship

Better Health
‡ The Philippines led other Asian nations in health and sanitation. The Filipinos

enjoyed better health & hygiene then.

malaria, typhoid, leprosy, and other diseases were also reduced. Hence, the death rate fell and the population grew.

‡ Epidemics of cholera, smallpox, and plague were wiped out. Tuberculosis,

‡The Philippine General Hospital in Manila and other hospitals in the provinces were built by the government.
‡ Flush toilet was introduced. ‡ The Philippines became the healthiest country in Asia back then.


English Language 
The most important language today. The only medium used in all schools. Became the official language of the government and in business. English names such as John, Bobby, Mary and Lily were adopted. It became fashionable to know English and Filipinos also began to use English in their daily lives and in literature. Many Filipino writers who mastered the English language won recognition abroad.
‡ Like Jose Garcia Villa, Celso Al Carunungan, & Nick Joaquin. ‡ Also Carlos P. Romulo, who won the prestigious Pulitizer Prize for Journalism in 1942.

Filipino writers

Carlos P. Romulo

Free Press 
Starting in 1902, we began to enjoy more and more freedom. By the 1930·s, the Philippines had the most free press in Asia.  Filipino journalists championed independence and reported freely about the government which other Western colonies and Asian countries could not do.  Many Filipinos started their own newspapers.
‡ Manuel Quezon and other leaders founded The Philippine Herald in 1920. ‡ The Graphic, owned by Ramon Roces, became the most-read weekly magazine. 

There were also famous newspapers in the dialects and in Spanish.
‡ Sergio Osmeña founded Nuevo Dia in Cebu in 1900. ‡ Rafael Palma & Teodoro Kalaw both edited El Renacimiento, the most controversial newspaper then. ‡ La Vanguardia, owned by Alejandro Roces Sr., was the most popular Spanish daily.

Diet and Dress
‡ The Americans brought new types of food³cornflakes, oat meal, ham & egg sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, mayonnaise, catsup, tomato, beef steak, ice cream & bubble gum. ‡ Men began to wear trousers with belt & suspenders, polo shirts, & tennis shoes. ‡ Women wear their hemlines shorter, dressed in fancy hats, shirt & blouse, high-heeled shoes, silk stockings, & put on make-up.



Democratic Life & Social Classes
‡ People greeted each other with the short ´hi!.µ ‡ People prayed the rosary & the angelus less as it was no longer fashionable to go home when the church bells pealed at 6 p.m. ‡ Young people could then go out without a chaperon. ‡ We began to celebrate American holidays like the Fourth of July, Labor Day (May 1), Thanksgiving Day (Last Thursday of November), Halloween (Oct. 31), & Valentine·s Day (Feb. 14).
‡ On Valentine·s, young men & women send Valetine cards to their loved ones.

‡ Filipinos learned to treat each other equally. ‡ Anyone (rich or poor) could vote, enter politics, go to school, & practice profession. ‡The Filipinos learned the dignity of labor & respect for the common tao.

Women·s Rights
‡ Filipino women enjoyed greater rights unlike the women in Asia, Latin America & Europe. ‡ They were free to work in an office, study with men in co-ed schools, and date without chaperones. ‡ They became doctors, lawyers, and scientists. ‡ The Filipinas were the first Asian women to vote and hold public office. They won the right in 1937.
‡ Carmen Planas became the first woman councilor of Manila in 1937. ‡ Mrs. Elisa R. Ochoa of Butuan became the first congresswoman in 1941.

Filipinos became conscious of their physical fitness and active recreation.  Outdoor sport like baseball, football, volleyball, and calisthenics became popular.  Physical education became part of the school curriculum.  Boxing was also introduced and Pancho Villa became first filipino to win Fly-weight boxing championship of the world.  Basketball became the national sports  New indoor games were introduced such as bowling, billiards & poker.  We listened to the radio & went to Carnivals.
‡ Manila Carnival (1908) became a national event.

Outdoor sports Indoor games

Boxing & Pancho Villa

Basketball radio & carnival

Movies & Vaudeville 
The first moviehouse, Cine Rizal, was built in 1903 at Tondo. The Roces brothers pioneered other moviehouses, especially the Cine Ideal, at Rizal Avenue.  Edward Meyer Gross, an American army surgeon, made the first local film in 1912 entitled La Vida de Dr. Rizal which became an instant hit.  Filipinos began to enjoy going to moviehouses regularly.  The vodavil (vaudeville) replaced the zarzuela and moro-moro in popularity.

Cine Ideal

Music & Dance 
Radios and movies helped to spread American songs and dances in the Philippines.  Filipinos learned to croon popular hit songs from America, to play American jazz, and to dance the charleston, boogie-woogie, and fox trot.

The Americans brought new types of houses and constructions.  Many accesorias (small apartments) catered for workers who flocked to the cities.  New bungalows, chalets, two-storey concrete houses and earthquakeproof buildings were built.
‡ Examples of American building that still exist today are the Manila Post Office Building, the Philippine General Hospital, and the Philippine Normal College.



During the American era, rural landscapes and scenes from the ordinary life became the new styles of painting.  The famous painters for this era were Fabian de la Rosa, Fernando Amorsolo, Emilio Alvero, and Victorio C. Edades.  The most famous sculptor then was Guillermo Tolentino.
‡ The Bonifacio Monument at Grace Park, Caloocan and the UP Oblation was made by him.


Guillermo Tolentino

Modern science was introduced by the Americans in the Philippines and Filipinos were trained to become good scientists.  Various scientific organizations were established by the government and Filipino scholars were sent to America to train.
‡ Among the Filipinos who contributed to the advancement of science were Dr. Angel Arguelles, the first Filipino Director of the Bureau of Science; Dr. Eliodoro Merado, leprologist; Dr. Miguel Calizares, noted surgeon; Dra. Honoria Acosta, first woman doctor; Dr. Eduardo Quisimbing, orchidologist; Dr. Joaquin Maralon, botanist; and Dr. Hilario A. Roxas, zoologist.

American Blood 
Many Americans married Filipino women, and Filipinos married American women. The offspring of these marriages looked taller, fairer in complexion, and were more energetic, practical, and progressive.  Good American habits that were adapted by the Filipinos are: frankness, practicality, hardwork, open-mindedness, and fairness.  Some bad American habits that were adapted by the Filipinos are: being materialistic, ruthlessness, rudeness, drunkenness, selfishness, lack of patriotism or having ´colonial mentality.µ

The End

Thomas ship

Philippine General Hospital


Ham & Egg Ice cream


Oatmeal Tomato Catsup


Fancy hats

Polo shirt

high-heeled shoes

blouse & skirt

Trousers w/ suspenders

calisthenics baseball



Pancho Villa



bowling billiards



Celso Al Carunungan

Jose Garcia Villa

Carlos P. Romulo

Cine Ideal


2-storey concrete house


Manila Post Office

Philippine Normal College

Fernando Amorsolo

Fabian de la Rosa

Untitled by Victorio Edades

Guillermo Tolentino

Bonifacio Monument UP Oblation

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful