(Special Report) Pinaglabanan Shrine: The First Battle Against Spanish Colonizers

June 12, 2014 9:55 am 

By Juzel L. Danganan

MANILA, June 11 (PNA) — The Pinaglabanan Shrine is a tribute to our heroes in one of the most crucial battles in the history of the Philippines, the first determined battle in the country’s long and widespread revolution against the Spaniards.

The shrine was built to commemorate the first uprising of Katipuneros igniting the 1896 Philippine Revolution, when the Filipino fighters lay siege to an arms storage facility of the Spanish colonizers, several days after the Katipunero’s tore their cedulas on August 23, 1896.

The Battle of Pinaglabanan took place on the dawn of August 30, 1896 when some 800 Katipuneros marched toward San Juan Del Monte (San Juan’s old name), strategically aiming to capture El Polvorin (gunpowder depot) and El Deposito (the only water reservoir in Metro Manila and its nearby areas).

Katipunan Supremo Andres Bonifacio, along with Emilio Jacinto and Sancho Valenzuela led the troops, with the Supremo the only one with a gun while most of his men charging with the use of bolos. Despite the big disadvantage, the determined Filipino warriors prevailed over a 100-strong Spanish artilleros (artillery man) in the first few hours of fighting.

However, the siege was thwarted when Spanish reinforcements arrived from Fort Santiago, resulting in the death of 135 Katipuneros while forcing the surviving Filipino fighters to be pushed back and scamper towards Marikina, Montalban and San Mateo. Three Spanish artilleros, along with El Polvorin’s commanding officer, also died in the battle.

Based on a mural near the Museo ng Katipunan, among those who gave their lives to this important battle are Juan De La Cruz, Jose Sabis, Prudencio Martinez, Anastacio Reyes, Clemente Santos, Felix A. Sabe, Hernandez Lozada, Juan Ruiz, Marco Pala, Teodoro Visaya, Apolonio Urbino, Flaviano Pabero, Geronimo Santiago and Juan Andres, to name a few.

”Although there is no existing historical account of what the fallen Filipinos real number is, the fighters came mostly from Metro Manila and other neighboring areas,” said Christian Bernard Melendez, Shrine Curator II of the Pinaglabanan Shrine.

Moreover, he said that the only known San Juan resident who fought in the battle ground (Pinag-labanan) is Juan Ruiz, or better known as J. Ruiz, the person honored by the LRT station and a road along San Juan.

As for the other Katipuneros captured by the Spaniards, they were sent to be executed in Bagumbayan (now Luneta), like national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal on December 30, 1896.

The failed attempt in Pinaglabanan eventually sprung more battles in Central Luzon and the Southern Tagalog provinces.

”There was a strategy in the revolution, wherein if the freedom fighters in Manila fought, the ones situated in Cavite will also attack the Spaniards in their area,” said the curator. Clearly, it was a nationwide planned struggle and not the commonly known disintegrated revolution.

While the Battle of Pinaglabanan proved unsuccessful due to the superior armaments of the Spaniards, the battle inculcated a lot in the Filipino patriots' undying spirit, igniting more courage and determination to fight the oppressors despite the odds. (PNA)

LAM/JLD/UTB

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