The history of the Philippines is both fascinating, and blurred all the same. It may surprise you with discoveries, and never before seen facts that will change the way you see Filipino cultures. Beyond what is always written in school books and history texts are rich and colorful traditions, stories of heroism, or long-lost customs. But admittedly, those so-called facts are sometimes plagued with exaggerated tales, revisionisms, fabricated truth and stuffs meant to entertain rather to inform.

And a series of horrific encounters during the Philippine-American War showed us how truths could get mixed with tall-tales.

The Filipino Moro warrior was a frightening sight to behold. They were a force to reckon with during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. And these guys won ‘t go down without a fight, literally, even when faced with a more technologically advanced enemy. After going through religious rituals, they will charge head on towards their chosen target. Taking shots along the way and hacking their enemies to death before expiring due to bullet wounds. This made the American soldiers carry heavier weapons, to stop this charging suicidal warriors before their short swords reach them. It’s an accepted fact how this fearsome class of men affected the weapon of choice for these soldiers. But there was also a story that the Moro warriors gave birth to the legendary Colt M1911. How true is the story? To be honest, not at all.

The Threats of the Juramentados Were Real
The moro barong sword.

Just to be clear, the records were true. The .38 caliber issued to American soldiers at that time wasn’t enough to stop Juramentado attacks. Killing a charging enemy was one thing, stopping him was another.

The term “juramentado” came from the Spanish word “juramentar” meaning “one who takes an oath.” Among Tausugs, it was known as parrang sabbil. Whereas it was a combination of Malayan word for “war” (perang) and the shortened Arab word “sabil Allah”, which meant in th