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November 12, 1899, Filipino Military Leaders Decided To Disband The Army

On November 12, 1899, Filipino army leaders decided to shift from conventional to guerrilla warfare. The decision was made at a war council held at Bayambang, Pangasinan, which was attended by General Emilio Aguinaldo and many of the Filipino military leaders, a resolution was adopted to the effect that the Army were incapable of further resistance in the field.

Filipino soldiers in 1899, photo credit: Wikipedia Commons/

They were unable to gain any kind of outside support for their cause, chronic shortages of weapons and ammunition, and complications produced by the Philippines’ geographic complexity. Under these conditions, Aguinaldo’s attempt to fight a conventional war in the first few months of the conflict proved to be a fatal mistake. They suffered severe losses in men and material before which led to the decision to switch to the guerrilla tactics that might have been more effective if employed from the beginning of the conflict.

The Filipino army was disbanded and their generals returned to their own provinces, with a view to organizing the people for general resistance by means of guerrilla warfare.

Accordingly, the uniformed battalions and regiments broke up into small bands which maintained a most persistent guerrilla for years thereafter. During those years Filipino soldiers seldom wear uniforms, disappearing as non-combatant peasants interrupted in agricultural pursuits, with invariable protestations of friendship.

Hence all such came to be known as amigos, and the word amigo a by-word, meaning an American soldier, an enemy falsely claiming to be a friend.

The following day, on November 13, 1899, Emilio Aguinaldo’s retreat to Northern Luzon begun, leaving Bayambang with his staff and a force under the command of General Gregorio del Pilar.


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