MULTIMEDIA

IN PHOTOS: ‘Time for healing,’ as Balangiga Bells returned to Philippines

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2018 07:09 PM | Updated as of Dec 11 2018 08:41 PM

Three church bells taken by American soldiers as war booty from Balangiga town, Eastern Samar, in 1901, have been returned to the Philippines by the US government.

Considered by historians as a symbol of Filipino resistance to foreign invaders, the Balangiga Bells tolled on the morning of September 28, 1901, to signal the start of a sneak attack by dozens of townspeople against US soldiers. 

Some 50 Americans, many of them eating breakfast or just waking up, were killed in the incident deemed one of the greatest victories by locals in the Filipino-American war. 

But the US forces retaliated under the orders of General Jacob Smith, going on a killing spree as they burned men older than 10 and left 2,000 townspeople dead.

The US troops took the 3 church bells as war trophy, displaying 2 of them at a museum in Fort Russell, Wyoming, and another at a museum in South Korea.

According to representatives of the two countries, the return of the bells signals closure between the Philippines and the United States following one of the most horrific episodes at the time in Philippine history.

A US Air Force plane from Okinawa, Japan, carrying the Balangiga Bells taxis at Villamor Air Base in Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The Balangiga Bells are offloaded at Villamor Air Base. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The Balangiga Bells are delivered in two large wooden crates. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Members of the Philippine Air Force pry open the crate carrying the Balangiga Bells. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Members of the Philippine Air Force use a crane to position the Balangiga Bells at Villamor Air Base. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The Balangiga Bells are lowered onto a red-carpeted platform at Villamor Air Base. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Members of the Philippine Air Force use a crane to lower the Balangiga Bells. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Each of the three Balangiga Bells is positioned on a red-carpeted platform at the tarmac of Villamor Air Base. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

All three Balangiga Bells are positioned on a red-carpeted platform at the tarmac. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Members of the Philippine Air Force use a crane to position the Balangiga Bells. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

US officials led by Ambassador Sung Kim (second from left) turn over the Balangiga Bells to Philippine officials led by Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (center) at Villamor Air Base in Manila. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Members of the Philippine Armed Forces and the clergy take pictures beside the Balangiga Bells. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Philippine and US officials mingle around the Balangiga Bells after their handover. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Some residents of Balangiga town, Eastern Samar, pose beside the bells. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Nemesio Duran (left), great grandson of Vicente Candelosas, who tolled the bells during the Balangiga massacre of 1901, pose with one of the bells after the turnover ceremony. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Nemesio Duran (left), great grandson of Vicente Candelosas, who tolled the bells during the Balangiga massacre of 1901, kisses one of the bells after the turnover ceremony. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Some members of the public who watched the handover pose beside the Balangiga Bells at Villamor Air Base. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Members of the Philippine Armed Forces and some media take pictures beside the Balangiga Bells. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

A student poses beside the Balangiga Bells. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

A contingent from Balangiga town, Eastern Samar, pose for photos beside the bells. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

One of the three Balangiga Bells stands on the tarmac of Villamor Air Base in Pasay city, on Tuesday, upon their return to the country after more than a century in American possession. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

One of the three Balangiga Bells stands on the tarmac of Villamor Air Base in Pasay city, on Tuesday, upon their return to the country after more than a century in American possession. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

One of the three Balangiga Bells stands on the tarmac of Villamor Air Base in Pasay city, on Tuesday, upon their return to the country after more than a century in American possession. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News