In any event, the battle of the Philippine Sea, better known as the Marianas Turkey Shoot. In the course of two days, the Japanese lost something of the order of 375 aircraft, together with what was left of their carrier fleet. That effectively ended any challenge to American air power in the Pacific.
This explains why, with effect from June 1944 onwards, the Japanese had very little air cover over the Philippines, so the US Fleet could more or less strike wherever they wanted. This they proceeded to do, whenever and wherever it suited them, and on 22 September 1944, aircraft from Task Group 38 hit Japanese ships in Manila Bay.
In order to try and protect what they had left, some of the Japanese ships were ordered out of Manila to anchorages in the Busuanga Channel, where they thought would be safe as they were out of range.
By about 5 am on the morning of the 24th, the carrier fleet was in position, about 50 miles north-east off the cost of Samar, they turned into the wind and the first wave of aircraft were launched about 0530.
How did Halsey know where the fleet had gone? There is an anecdote about how the ships were identified at Coron; the story is that there was a photo reconnaissance flight that passed overhead and took pictures of what were thought to be islands….see: [ History ]