Baler Church – Church Under Siege






The Siege of Baler (July 1, 1898 – June 2, 1899) was a battle of the Philippine Revolution and concurrently the Spanish–American War and the Philippine–American War. Filipino revolutionaries laid siege to a fortified church manned by colonial Spanish troops in the town of Baler, Philippines for 11 months, or 337 days.

The battle is considered part of the Spanish–American War since the Filipinos were allied with the United States at the outset. That war ended in December 1898 with Spain’s surrender and annexation of the Philippines to the United States. However, cut off from communications with their own government and military, the Spanish forces continued their defense against the Filipino forces until 1899.




Baler, Aurora located on the eastern coast of Luzon, is some 225 kilometers distant from the Philippine capital city of Manila. The Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule started 1896. The Spanish garrisoned Baler, in Sept. 1897, with fifty cazadores under Lt. Jose Mota, to prevent Aguinaldo from receiving smuggled arms.Mota’s forces were attacked on the night of 4 Oct. by Novicio’s men, killing Lt. Mota and six other Spaniards, wounding several and capturing 30 Mauser rifles. The initial phase of the Philippine Revolution ended with a truce in 1897.

By 1898, with the resumption of the Philippine Revolution, Baler was still reachable only by ship or by traversing on foot through nearly impassable jungle trails across the Sierra Madres, that were often washed out by torrential tropical rains. During this phase of the revolution, the Philippines was involved in the Spanish-American War, and the Filipino rebels allied themselves with the American forces. This alliance would end with the outbreak of the Philippine-American War in 1899.




Baler was garrisoned by a fifty-man detachment of the 2nd Expeditionary Battalion “Cazadores” of Philippines, under Captain Enrique de las Morenas y Fossí, as the Principe district political-military governor. On June 1, 1898, Morenas began work to dig a well, stock food supplies and ammunition and to fortify the church compound of San Luís de Tolosa in Baler’s town square against a possible attack.[3] The church was the only stone building in the area.

On June 26, it was noticed that the town residents were leaving. On the night of the 30th, 800 Filipino troops under Teodorico Luna (a relative of the painter Juan Luna) attacked, and the garrison fell back to the church.The town priest, Candido Gómez Carreño, also quartered himself in the church.  Read More:


The church that made history during that siege
is the Baler Church in Aurora.



Related links: