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Amazons of the Huk Rebellion

Gender, Sex, and Revolution in the Philippines

Vina A. Lanzona

Publication Year: 2009

Labeled “Amazons” by the national press, women played a central role in the Huk rebellion, one of the most significant peasant-based revolutions in modern Philippine history. As spies, organizers, nurses, couriers, soldiers, and even military commanders, women worked closely with men to resist first Japanese occupation and later, after WWII, to challenge the new Philippine republic. But in the midst of the uncertainty and violence of rebellion, these women also pursued personal lives, falling in love, becoming pregnant, and raising families, often with their male comrades-in-arms.
    Drawing on interviews with over one hundred veterans of the movement, Vina A. Lanzona explores the Huk rebellion from the intimate and collective experiences of its female participants, demonstrating how their presence, and the complex questions of gender, family, and sexuality they provoked, ultimately shaped the nature of the revolutionary struggle.
Winner, Kenneth W. Baldridge Prize for the Best History Book written by a resident of Hawaii, sponsored by Brigham Young University-Hawaii

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xvi

This book is a culmination of sorts—of my childhood in Manila, my political activism in college, and my intellectual and academic development in America. As someone who grew up in the Philippines I have been obsessed with revolution and with the part that revolutionary struggle has played in our...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xvii- xviii

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Introduction: Capturing the Huk Amazons

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pp. 3-20

In February 1947 Remedios Gomez, known in Central Luzon as Kumander Liwayway, was captured in a major military drive against Huk guerrillas dubbed Operations Arayat. Major newspapers hailed the success of the operation, applauding the “mass capture” of the Huks and the apprehension...

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1 Women at War: Huk Women and the Japanese Occupation

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pp. 21-75

Filomena Tolentino was a twenty-two-year-old girl in Pampanga when the Japanese invaded the Philippines in World War II. One of five children, she left school after the third grade and sold rice at an early age to help her struggling extended family of peasants and vendors. Her family suffered...

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2 Comrades in Arms: Huk Women, Nationalism, and Communist Revolution

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pp. 76-120

At the age of sixty-five Zenaida del Castillo could still remember the words to the songs she sang as a member of the propaganda division of the Hukbalahap. Initially drawn into the movement as the daughter of the peasant and Communist Party leader Mateo del Castillo at the start of the Japanese...

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3 Women on Top: Amazons and Leaders in the Huk Movement

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pp. 121-180

The story of female commander Dayang-Dayang still captivates the people of Central Luzon and illustrates well the mythology surrounding the Huk women commanders. Dayang-Dayang, a name Felipa Culala took in honor of a Muslim princess who came from a long line of fighters against Spanish colonizers in the southern Philippines, was a former peasant...

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4 Love and Sex in the Time of Revolution:Men-Women Relations in the Huk Movement

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pp. 181-249

In 1954 the Manila Times, Manila Chronicle, and Philippines Free Press headlined the capture of the Huk Amazon Leonora Hipas. Several articles told the love story of sixteen-year-old Leonora, alias Kumander Linda de Villa, and twenty-one-year-old Emilio, alias Kumander Oscar, both members of Huk Field Command 104, who were married the day after their...

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5 Amazons in the Unfinished Revolution

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pp. 250-272

In early 1952, while Celia Mariano and William Pomeroy were preparing notes for their next educational session, their forest camp came under surprise attack from the Philippine military. They were nearly killed and were temporarily separated while fleeing the camp. But they recovered...

Appendix 1. Politburo Exhibit I-38:“Marriage Contract”

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pp. 273-274

Appendix 2. Politburo Exhibit I-15:“The Revolutionary Solution of the Sex Problem”

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pp. 275-280


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pp. 281-334


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pp. 335-362


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pp. 363- 370

E-ISBN-13: 9780299230937
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299230944

Page Count: 370
Publication Year: 2009