HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 55 no. 1 (2009)

The Pulahan Movement in Samar (1904-1911): Origins and Causes

George Emmanuel R. Borrinaga

Discipline: History, Philippine History



This paper revisits the previously studied Pulahan Movement in Samar by tracing its origins in previous movements in the island and examining the different factors that contributed to its outbreak. For primary sources, it will mainly use the standard Annual Reports of the Philippine Commission, supplemented with more recent scholarship on the history of Samar. In using American sources, the “cracks in the parchment curtain” approach developed by William Henry Scott (1982) will be used to ferret out the general features of the movement which could help explain some of the motivations stated by captured Pulahanes. It will argue that the devastation left by the Philippine-American War in Samar, where the Balangiga Attack of 1901 provoked a retaliatory campaign by the U.S. military which broke the economic backbone of the island, played a key role in agitating the island’s interiordwellers, the people who suffered the most from the war and its aftermath, into a crusade to eliminate their perceived oppressors and to establish a new social order.