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September 10, 2006

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cvj

If it is true that del Pilar was killed early in the battle, then this makes the soldiers under him all the more heroic, having made their stand out of their own volition.

torn

Hi cvj -- That's true, if it was of their own volition.

Here is Adjutant Telesoforo Carrasco's account of what happened after del Pilar's death (from Joaquin's essay):

... at that moment he was hit by a bullet in the neck that caused instant death. On seeing that the general was dead, the soldiers jumped up as if to flee, but I aimed the carbine at them saying I would blow the skull off the brains of the first to run, whereupon they resumed firing ... "

This, of course, makes Carrasco out to be the hero of the piece, so we have to wary of such an uncorroborated account. Probably at that stage the soldiers had little choice.

I'm very interested in the the common soldiers of the revolution (like those at Tarad) and would be interested to know whether you or any other readers know of any sources that might document who they were. Were they perhaps servants of the illustrados, who somehow were cajoled to join their masters' cause? Or were they "ordinary" Filipinos fired up by nascent nationalism? If, instead of endlessly debating the Aguinaldos, Mabinis and Bonifacios of the revolution, historians were to look at the foot soldiers who died for them, we might have a deeper understanding of what the revolt against Spain and America was all about. But perhaps someone has done this and I am unaware of it.

cvj

torn, thanks for the clarification. you're right that we would learn a lot from by getting the foot soldier's viewpoint. i also am not aware that such accounts exist.

eric aka senor enrique

Once read "Swatting the Spanish Flies" by M.V. Hamada in which she questions the validity of some of our Filipino heroes (and may be echoing N. Joaquin's sentiments as well).

Nonetheless, accounts from the "common soldiers of the revolution," as you said, would cast a new light (on my search for personal edification also).

DJB

After his youngest and bravest general had just made the supreme sacrifice to cover his retreat, how could Aguinaldo have surrendered? And why did he never win a single election for the rest of his life after that?

If del Pilar's valour is to mean anything, it must be rescued from the history of that person which he himself sought to.

gail

Thanks for bringing our forgotten heroes back into our lives. Your last paragraph and the poem that followed made my hair stand.

Jologs

Actually, in the Hollywood Version, Del Pilar fights to the death, taking dozens of attackers until he runs out of ammo. Then, just like Chamberlain did at Gettysburg, the boy general orders, "Fix bayonets!"

They charge downhill into the center of the enemy's line. A hail of gunfire cuts them to pieces. Oh what a glorious death it is! Dramatic music starts to play in the background as the American soldiers loot his body.

Would you rather see that in a movie? Or do you want the boring truth where he gets killed by a sniper right away?

Howie

Perhaps the only cause worth fighting for is a lost cause.

I've never seen a picture of Tirad Pass. Does anyone know what it looks like? What municipality in Ilocos Sur is it in?

torn

Gail -- I think it's worth checking out Nick Joaquin's book for another perspective on the heroes of the revolution. I am not saying I agree with all of it, but he makes some telling points. My main beef with the book is that it is not footnoted at all, making it very hard to check his sources.

Jologs -- Ha ha, yes actual events rarely live up to the movies. I hear the kung fu version is even more dramatic ...

Howie -- If you put Tirad Pass into Google images there are some pictures there. I believe there is a commemoration at the pass every 2 December. I find visiting old battlefields such a weird experience though -- I can never relate these peaceful and "normal" places to the events that took place there. Still, I suppose in Manila we live in a battlefield ...

torn

DJB -- I agree. Aguinaldo's was a very strange and complex life. What I can't get my head around is that he actually lived into the Beatles era! That's quite extraordinary to me.

The 3rd Column

Gen Gregorio del Pilar is my favorite Philippine General!

chris

national artist, and my favorite filipino writer, f. sionil jose used the tirad pass event as the dramatic ending of his novel, "po-on" (or "dusk" in the american published version of the book). it's a very touching and patriotic use of a historical event in fiction. it shows that filipinos, despite all our shortcomings, have a history and character to be proud of.

PoliticallyWrogn

Yo Brit I totally agree with you when you said "DJB -- I agree. Aguinaldo's was a very strange and complex life. What I can't get my head around is that he actually lived into the Beatles era! That's quite extraordinary to me."

What boggles me more is why nobody bothered to interview him all those decades and put down his official version of the revolution story. My theory is that he was too ashamed of actions he took (like PUSSY-ASS SURRENDERING!) to talk about them ever again. What'd you think?

kristina

wow thats to much info about gregorio, im glad that i run here to find info about him.

Mark Vane

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Secrecy

hmmmm.... to those who think aguinaldo surrendered....

HE WAS CAPTURED... on march 23,1902 by colonel (now general) frederick funston and his troops.

the reason why he never won a single election was...

WHAT HAD HAPPENED DURING HIS TIME... man if you were in his place and you're in a chasing game with the enemy... what would you do asside from surrendering...? he was trying to escape!!!

ricsoler

In a play presented some three years ago at the CCP by the Tanghalan Pilipino, del Pilar was portrayed as no better than a thug - same as the present-day bodyguards of politicians who suggest to their bosses, "Boss, patayin na lang natin yan" in reference to doing away with their bosses' rivals or enemies.

The production and presentation was not really any good but the historical revelations (allusions) were well-supported by references in the printed program, which I unfortunately have misplaced.

I wonder if you have any more information on del Pilar. There are so many conflicting perspectives about him that it's hard to really differentiate the reality from the fiction that surrounds the man.

I do tend to believe that he was not what the American newsman who sent in a glowing report about the battle wrote of him. That early in American history, military officers were already practicing extensive PR to promote themselves and enhance their image.

yendorsg

del pilar was a hero and a soldier. He obeyed orders pure and simple. To say otherwise is just wrong. The writer of that play at ccp should be stoned to death. He needs to research more. He was probably talking about the period of the "purging of the Lunista". Antonio Luna was organizing an army of mostly Ilocanos and meztisos to grab the leadership from aguinaldo. This was a fact. It was also documented by luna's supporter gen. Alejandrino. Plain and simple it was treason and sedition. Even today the penalty is death. Del pilar is a officer of the republic. What was he to do? He was ordered to arrest known partisans of Luna, torture people to extract info, which we also do today. And he is a "Berdugo"? Give me a break. He enlisted in the katipunan as a teen, even the Americans were terrified of him, and he sacrificed his LIFE for his country. What more can man do to be considered a hero?

yensorsg

aguinaldo was interviewed several times during his lifetime. He wrote a book also, memoirs of the revolution, his account of the first phase of the war. The part about del pilar and his death in tirad pass, he contradicted what del pilar wrote in his diary which was confiscated by the soldiers of major peyton c march (the us officer that led the army that killed del pilar and eventually rose to the rank of chief of staff of the army in 20s). Del pilar wrote that he was ordered to defend the pass. Aguinaldo would later claim that del pilar volunteered to stay. Del pilar was in the pass for almost a week preparing the defense, digging trenches. Who to believe, that we will never know. Why would aguinaldo sacrifice his most trusted general? His aide de camp even when he went to hongkong and Singapore? Aguinaldo describe del pilar as the only man he could trust. Did he ordered him to a certain death or del pilar is that loyal to his "el presidente"?

Myles Delfin

I'm sure the play at the CCP was a nice cultural event complete with cocktails and the air of manicured pedigree among the attendees. I'm quite sure that it was a lot of fun to watch, but in our time of ease, convenience, and stage plays written with a sensitivity borne out of never having been to a real war, I guess its easy to dismiss the hardened soldiers of the Katipunan as nothing more than uncultured thugs. But then again, what can you expect from soldiers whose work it is to kill people for a living with no pay, no benefits, and no retirement plan? Often, character is formed by the adversity of the life that one finds himself in, but it doesn't mean that they are any less honorable and principled than us armchair critics.

duane

emilio aguinaldo,misled his soldiers.it was because of him a lot of lives were lost.he was a traitor from the time he and his company.....pio del pilar,mariano noriel,ignacio paua,agapito bonzon,lazaro makapagal and his soldiers in cabanatuan who killed general antonio luna and andres bonifacio...these animals should never be considered as heroes but a shame to the filipino race!!!!!!hope their souls burned in hell!!!!!!

web design manila

I adore all Heroes,who gave their lives for their belief and for the country. No one can replace them.

Aris Olaer

It was such a shame that Del Pilar had to die for Aguinaldo. For sure, he was doing his duty as commander of the rear guard, but then I don't think that a man at the verge of death would ever lie. There is a strong possibility that Aguinaldo indeed ordered Del Pilar to stay behind. The Tirad 60 were merely sacrificial lambs, for Aguinaldo thought that once he reached Palanan it would be nearly impossible for the Americans to capture him. Hence it was imperative to put more distance between them. Sadly the Tirad 60 had to die for Aguinaldo to reach Palanan with tail tucked between his legs.

I also find the reference to Luna as a strong reminder on Aguinaldo's order to execute Bonifacio. The tide of cavitismo was still high even in those times. Aguinaldo could not bear the possibility that he would be dislodged from the seat of power he wrongfully wrested from Bonifacio. Hence he decided to eliminate Luna once and for all, otherwise he would be facing the Ilocanos and the Americans at the same time.

And mind you, the day following Aguinaldo's capture, he called upon the forces of the First Republic to surrender. Now, what about Del Pilar's sacrifice?

This explains why Filipino politics runs the way it does now. Selfishness overrides every other consideration. And I think the reason why Aguinaldo was allowed to live long enough was for him to suffer the tortures of his memory, from Bonifacio to Mabini to Del Pilar.

Alas Del Pilar. You chose the wrong man to serve.

Rodney Gammad

To blame Aguinaldo for losing the war against the United States is just plain stupid and ignorant!!! Im tired of reading all these morons that the war was losed because he ordered the execution of Luna, who was supposed to be a "Great" general! PLEASE do some research and study the facts!

A. Are you telling me that the Filipinos at that time can actually defeat America, whose the most powerful country in the world at that time? With its modern army, long range artilleries, machine guns, krag & springfield rifles, a modern navy with battleships and gunboats? If your answer is yes, you are freaking dreaming!
B. The filipinos were not united. Not everyone supported the revolution, esp the illustrados.
C. Antonio Luna DID NOT win a single battle. How great a general is that? He was a mere civilian that presented himself to Aguinaldo with a letter of recommendation from the Hongkong junta. He was promoted by President Aguinaldo 3 times, until he became the 3rd highest officer in the Phil army, behind only to Emilio & Baldomero Aguinaldo. Aguinaldo was so impressed of Luna even though he knew during the Spanish revolution, Luna actually testified against Rizal, Adriano and other Filipino illustrados of Manila that resulted in their execution! Research it, its a FACT!
Luna was so hated by the other Fil officers because of his brutality (he slapped people left and right, he disarmed a whole company of soldiers IN THE MIDDLE OF A BATTLE (battle of La Loma), he whipped a train load of passengers who were mostly family of soldiers in front of Aguinaldo and his cabinet!). And despite this Aguinaldo still promoted him to General of the Army, the highest ranking, over any generals who was with him from the start like Del Pilar, Mascardo, Malvar, Pio del Pilar, Geronimo, Tinio, to name a few...
General Alejandrino who was a close friend of Luna wrote in his book that Luna wanted to grab the presidency from Aguinaldo . He even have the balls to write the list of his potential cabinet members once he became president at the la independencia, which he was the editor. Plain and simple, that is treason & sedition!!!

There are so many intrigues surrounding Aguinaldo, but the death of Luna was so bizzare! When Aguinaldo was interviewed about it, he answered it very simply...."if i wanted Luna dead, do u think im stupid enough to have him killed at my headquarters? It was so easy for me to order a soldier to shoot him in the middle of the battle. No, i did not send him a telegraph, nor i ordered his death..."

YOU BE THE JUDGE....

Rodney Gammad

To blame Aguinaldo for losing the war against the United States is just plain stupid and ignorant!!! Im tired of reading all these morons that the war was losed because he ordered the execution of Luna, who was supposed to be a "Great" general! PLEASE do some research and study the facts!

A. Are you telling me that the Filipinos at that time can actually defeat America, whose the most powerful country in the world at that time? With its modern army, long range artilleries, machine guns, krag & springfield rifles, a modern navy with battleships and gunboats? If your answer is yes, you are freaking dreaming!
B. The filipinos were not united. Not everyone supported the revolution, esp the illustrados.
C. Antonio Luna DID NOT win a single battle. How great a general is that? He was a mere civilian that presented himself to Aguinaldo with a letter of recommendation from the Hongkong junta. He was promoted by President Aguinaldo 3 times, until he became the 3rd highest officer in the Phil army, behind only to Emilio & Baldomero Aguinaldo. Aguinaldo was so impressed of Luna even though he knew during the Spanish revolution, Luna actually testified against Rizal, Adriano and other Filipino illustrados of Manila that resulted in their execution! Research it, its a FACT!
Luna was so hated by the other Fil officers because of his brutality (he slapped people left and right, he disarmed a whole company of soldiers IN THE MIDDLE OF A BATTLE (battle of La Loma), he whipped a train load of passengers who were mostly family of soldiers in front of Aguinaldo and his cabinet!). And despite this Aguinaldo still promoted him to General of the Army, the highest ranking, over any generals who was with him from the start like Del Pilar, Mascardo, Malvar, Pio del Pilar, Geronimo, Tinio, to name a few...
General Alejandrino who was a close friend of Luna wrote in his book that Luna wanted to grab the presidency from Aguinaldo . He even have the balls to write the list of his potential cabinet members once he became president at the la independencia, which he was the editor. Plain and simple, that is treason & sedition!!!

There are so many intrigues surrounding Aguinaldo, but the death of Luna was so bizzare! When Aguinaldo was interviewed about it, he answered it very simply...."if i wanted Luna dead, do u think im stupid enough to have him killed at my headquarters? It was so easy for me to order a soldier to shoot him in the middle of the battle. No, i did not send him a telegraph, nor i ordered his death..."

YOU BE THE JUDGE....

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