While the United States was not able to subdue the Filipino rebellion as a whole, it was able to take the city of Manila very early on. The US was easily able to dominate urban areas, of which Manila was the biggest, because of the superiority of its conventional forces.
The first major action of the Spanish-American War in the Philippines was the defeat of the Spanish navy in Manila Bay by the US forces led by Admiral Dewey. This happened on May 1, 1898. The US did not have large numbers of ground forces at that time and did not take physical control of Manila. Soon after, the US brought Emilio Aguinaldo, leader of the Filipinos who had been fighting the Spanish, back from exile. By mid-June, the US and Filipinos together controlled essentially all of the Philippines except for the walled part of Manila. This changed on August 13. On that date, the US army took the walled city from the Spanish and completed their domination of Manila. From that point, the US monopolized power in Manila and did not let Filipino forces in the city. This helped to bring about the Filipinos’ rebellion against the US.