WATCH: Balangiga church bells toll to mark new year

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 01 2019 01:07 AM | Updated as of Jan 01 2019 04:40 AM

MANILA—The church bells of Balangiga tolled on Tuesday midnight at Church of San Lorenzo de Martir in the Eastern Samar town to mark the beginning of the new year.

2018 was a historic year not only for Balangiga but also for the country, as the United States government returned the three church bells taken by American soldiers as war trophy in 1901.

After 117 years, the bells were flown back to the country on December 11 and were returned to Balangiga on December 14.

The bells tolled on the morning of September 28, 1901, to signal the start of a sneak attack by dozens of town villagers against American soldiers.

WATCH: Balangiga church bells toll to mark new year 1
The church bells of Balangiga tolled on Tuesday midnight at Church of San Lorenzo de Martir in the Eastern Samar town to mark the start of the new year. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Some 50 Americans, many of them eating breakfast or just waking up, were killed in the incident that handed Filipinos one of their greatest victories in the Filipino-American war.

But the American forces retaliated under the orders of US General Jacob Smith, killing and burning all men above the age of 10 in the town, leaving some 2,000 locals dead.

Watch more on iWantTFC

The US troops took the church bells as war trophy, displaying 2 of them in a museum in Fort Russell, Wyoming and another at a museum in South Korea. —With a report from Abner Mercado, ABS-CBN News