Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1904 Visayan pulahan
Subjectpulahan 'red' rebel
Culture: Visayan Filipino
Setting: Samar-Leyte mid-19th - early 20thc

Context (Event Photos, Period Sources)

* San Beda Alabang Museum
"PULAHANES (1890-1902)  Visayan rebels became known as Pulahanes primarily because they adapted red trousers and red shirts as their uniform.  Contrary to ideas of modern military camouflage, Pulahan forces became easily discernable [sic] as they battled in swarms of anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000.  Members were known for their heavy, crescent-shaped bolo knives, for employing a form of indigenous martial arts called derobio eskrima, and for arming themselves with protective amulets called anting-anting, which in their belief rendered them brave and invincible during battle.
    "An anting-anting particularly associated with the Pulahanes was a white flag decorated with a red cross in the center that they unfurled and waved during battle.
    "Babaylan, traditional healers and spiritual intercessors, accompanied the Pulahanes to assist in treating their wounded."

​* McCallus 2010 p39
"In November 1903 ... Leyte was still being ravaged by the Pulajanes, groups of religious fanatics who attacked both Filipinos and Americans in the coastal areas. ... At the time the island [Samar] was known as 'bloody Samar,' a hotbed of guerrilla and lawless activity. Here MacArthur would have seen the early attempts at 'Filipinization,' essentially replacing U.S. troops with the Philippine Constablulary's forces. It would take years before peace would come to the island."


* McCallus 2010 p106
"Bolos are usually ugly things. Forget the vision of a jewel-encrusted handle and a shining silver blade. Most bolos I have seen are handmade, crude, worn, and rusted, often with cracked handles. This kind of condition is not surprising; a bolo is the indispensable tool of the Visayans. It is used for doing farmwork, clearing land, and butchering. During the Philippine-American War, it was the Filipinos' chief and formidable weapon. The Balangiga massacre of U.S. troops was executed almost exclusively with bolos."