I think you did fantastic getting this piece for 15 bucks!! It really is an intriguing piece, and it is reflective of some pretty good ironwork. I cannot imagine any way this sword would have been in the Philippines, though it does seem that the Spanish American War period might be right for its fashioning and assembly. Something that has come to mind is the amazing war surplus world of the Bannerman Company of New York, who were in business from just after the Civil War up to the 1960's, purveyors of all manner of surplus and war relics. One of thier greatest booms was just after the Spanish American War, when they obtained tons of material from both sides. It is nearly unfathomable how many 'bring backs' made the pages of these catalogs, and still circulate as war souveniers. Many veterans even saw items they had seen on campaign and regretted not having 'brought one home' , and now had a second chance to obtain them as examples of the weapons used by the'enemy'. Whether they intended to pass them off as actual souveniers or not is anyones guess as often it was just assumed as they were handed down.
I dont think this in any way discredits the items themselves, they were in most cases brought back by somebody, unless part of the stockpiles obtained in the Bannerman conquest. Bannerman also took in just about anything remotely associated with militaria, including fabricated pieces, regalia items, stage props etc.
While I do not believe this sword was put together in any way for combat, as rapiers were history nearly 200 years before this was made, I do believe it was intently constructed, whether for use on stage or possibly even as I suggested, as a Tylers sword, rather than a wall decoration.
The blade, as we have agreed, certainly had a history of its own, in an undetermined European military sword. Perhaps, that blade had its own story to tell, before the plot thickened and it was given a new life.
All best regards,