Our Girls and Women of the Huk Rebellion

“Vina Lanzona’s account of Filipinas who, as girls and young women, joined the Huk insurgency is genuinely eye-opening. This book will be of interest to anyone thinking about women and social movements, gender and war, or masculinized ambivalence.” —Cynthia Enloe, author of Globalization and Militarism: Feminists Make the Link.

The Huk rebellion is one of the most significant peasant-based resistance movements initiated by leaders of peasant organisations and the Communist Party of the Philippines to resist the Japanese Army during World War II. It becomes known as the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (People’s Anti-Japanese Liberation Army) or Hukbalahap. With the defeat of the Japanese, and with the establishment of the New Philippine Republic in 1946, the Huk’s struggle takes on a different form, forced to go underground by the neo-colonial Philippine government, it becomes known as the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (People’s Liberation Army), or HMB until its decline in the early 1960s.

Labelled “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.

Vina A. Lanzona: Amazons of the Huk Rebellion: Gender, Sex and Revolution in the Philippines. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Awarded a First Book Subvention Grant by the Association for Asian Studies

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