Battle of Balic-Balic, Feb 4-5 1899
Near the end of the 19th century, the cemetery walls, gate, and funerary chapel of Balic-balic stood as silent witnesses to natural rhythm of human mortality. Sadly, Sampaloc cemetery also witnessed man’s cruel inhumanity to one’s fellow human beings. The serene silence surrounding the cemetery hills was interrupted by the gunfire of the 1896 Philippine revolution and the 1899 Philippine-American War. The sound of war turned a sacred ground to a battle ground.
The wooden gate and cemetery walls of Balic-balic cemetery served as the attacking point from which two artillery pieces of the Utah Battery fired shots in support of the first infantry charge of the Philippine-American War that early Sunday morning of February 5th 1899. These guns pounded and destroyed a small “visita” (stone church or chapel) a few hundred meters away from the cemetery gate. When the guns became silent, more than fifty Filipinos lie dead around the visita and the nearby blockhouse. These same bodies were buried, not inside the cemetery walls, but along Calle Balic-balic (today’s G. Tuazon Street) and nearby rice-fields. Truly, these unknown Filipinos (we wonder how many are actual villagers of Balic-balic) deserve a requiem on the hill.
Note: Photo shows Balic-balic cemetery gate circa 1931. The door was made of wood.