Q. What is your occupation? A. Piano tuner

The denouement of this harrowing and winding and candid confession of William Gibbs, a regular of the 9th U.S. Infantry’s Company C, survivor of the events of Balangiga, ends with this quite affecting final line. In the end, he was only a piano tuner who found himself at war.


Affairs in the Philippine Islands 1902

Research for the Balangiga incident brings me to these intriguing pages in the U.S. congressional record. The witness in this section, a Sergeant Gibbs, comes up with inconsistencies and biases and odd moments of colonial clarity in his responses: there is nothing in the Balangiga research, as usual, that gives me only one way to read this story. I still cannot say for sure why this detachment of Americans even came to Balangiga.

The Unintended research balangiga Gina Apostol
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