Collection Summary

The United States and the Philippines Interviews Collection consists of 94 raw interviews shot between 1985-1988 for the three-part documentary series The United States and the Philippines: In Our Image, which aired on public television in 1989. More than 70 of the interviews are available online. The series examined the historical relationship between the U.S. and its colony the Philippines from 1898, when the U.S. acquired it from Spain in the Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish-American War, up through the 1986 “People Power” uprising. The series was reported and narrated by Stanley Karnow, and executive produced by Andrew Pearson. Karnow was the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines which accompanied the series.

In three hour-long programs, entitled “Colonial Days”, “Showcase of Democracy,” and “People Power,” the producers interviewed key participants from the Philippines and U.S. who recalled the early history of the colony, events leading up to and including World War II and MacArthur’s return, Philippine independence in 1946, the postwar rise of the peasant Hukbalahap insurgent movement, the Ferdinand Marcos presidency, and the dramatic 1986 People Power Revolution that overthrew Marcos and installed Corazon Aquino as president. Interviews were conducted with former President Ferdinand Marcos, First Lady Imelda Marcos, former President Corazon Aquino, Vice President Salvador Laurel, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, Secretary of State George Schultz, Cardinal Jaime Sin, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, former Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, Ambassador William Sullivan, Admiral William Crowe, Admiral James Lyons, and many others. In addition to interviewing key historical figures, writers, journalists, and historians, the producers also spoke with farm workers, guerrilla activists, Spanish-American war veterans, and other participants.

Collection Background

In 1984, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) invited journalist and historian Stanley Karnow to submit a proposal for a single one-hour program about the growing leftist insurgency in the Philippines for broadcast on public television. Karnow contacted producer-director Andrew Pearson, who agreed to join him in the work. Karnow and Pearson had just concluded their participation in the thirteen-part series for public television, Vietnam: A Television History. As Karnow and Pearson began planning the production, the situation in the Philippines rapidly became more serious, as the insurgency accelerated and President Marcos grew more authoritarian. Karnow and Pearson proposed and CPB approved a new plan to produce three one-hour programs rather than a single program. In 1986, Karnow, Pearson, producer Eric Neudel and their production crew initially videotaped in the U.S., then shot extensively in the Philippines following the collapse of Ferdinand Marcos’ presidency and the rise of Corazon Aquino, his principal political opponent. The series was presented on PBS by KCET Los Angeles.