The Battle of Manila, also known as the Rape of Manila, isn’t exactly common knowledge to a lot of us. It’s not a topic we usually hear or talk about. And honestly, if you didn’t know why Apolinario Mabini never stood up in Jerold Tarrog’s “Heneral Luna,” you probably wouldn’t know it at all.
It’s painful that this important, yet tragic part of our history is lost on a lot of us. The good news is that their stories will be immortalized through a new docu-series.
“Massacre of Manila: Untold Stories of the Battle of Manila 1945” commemorates the battle’s 75th anniversary. Released on Mar. 3, the series features Enchong Dee, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Gabby Padilla, Ian Veneracion, Agot Isidro, Angel Aquino, Iza Calzado, Leo Rialp and Richard Cepeda narrating stories of the battle’s survivors. They kicked off the series with “The Bayview Incident,” where Curtis-Smith, Calzado and Padilla told the testimonies of three sisters who were beaten, raped and abused by Japanese Troops.
With director Mike Alcarazen on deck, these artists tell stories of horror and sheer pain from the battle. Over 100,000 Filipinos perished under the hands of the Japanese during World War II, where they went through unspeakable acts of brutality in the hands of their captors.
“The harrowing events of the ‘Battle of Manila’ saw the indiscriminate torture Manileños endured from Japanese troops, who bayoneted, bombed, shot, beheaded, raped or burned unarmed civilians, including children and infants,” writes Inquirer. “The 28-day battle was also considered ‘the single most devastating instance of urban warfare in the Asia-Pacific theater of World War II.’”
Stories from The Battle of Manila are not an easily digestible read. If you’ve read the viral Inquirer article narrating these events in full detail, imagine the experience of listening to these stories being read out loud. It reminds you of the scars left by our colonizers and what our great grandparents had to go through.
Keep in mind that all of this happened 74 years ago—yet its events continue to ripple from our history to the present. Watch the first episode below:
Still from Massacre of Manila