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MYSTERY SOLVED: Spot where missing Fil-Am war memorial once stood finally found

By Macky Ramirez

(Photos by the author and the Philippine-American War Facebook group and filipinoamericanwar.com, used with permission.)

THE MYSTERY of the missing monument to an important episode in the Philippine –American War is finally solved. The memorial marking the spot where one US infantry officer was killed in action in a fierce fire fight between American and Filipino forces on the morning of November 11, 1899, thought to have been lost forever, was finally found in San Jacinto, Pangasinan.

For years, historians were stumped as to what became of the memorial that was dedicated to the memory of Major John A. Logan Jr. of the Thirty-third US Volunteer Infantry. The Logan Memorial Cannon was erected in 1905 to mark the location where the officer was mortally wounded by a sniper belonging to Filipino forces under the command of General Manuel Tinio. It featured a captured cannon mounted on a concrete base.


Monument marking the spot where Maj. John H. Logan was killed at San Jacinto. This photo was sent to his mother by Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood, then Governor-General of the Philippines  (1921-1927).

The memorial was thought to have been swallowed by the ground and disappeared over time. However, on December 28, 2018 the place where the Logan Memorial Cannon once stood and some parts of it was finally located and discovered.

Albeit missing the most integral part, which is the cannon; this blogger along with several colleagues* were able to locate what remains of the memorial inside a family yard with piles of firewood stacked above it.


The original Logan Memorial Cannon up close.

We pinpointed the exact spot where it was erected over a hundred years ago and was able to find what remains of it in Barangay Macayug along the San Fabian-San Jacinto Road. Only pieces of the Memorial Cannon’s original concrete base survived. Locals say the steel plate containing Major Logan’s information might still be there being kept in a house somewhere in the village.

We spoke with the Barangay Captain, old folks and locals in the area and learned that the Logan cannon were unceremoniously spirited away by armed men who were reportedly in search of treasures of some sort, one night in the early eighties.

Village folk point to where the memorial once stood.

Locals remember playing at the Logan Memorial Cannon during their childhood days, but they have apparently lost memory of what transpired there 119 years ago.

When we narrated to them the events on what happened there on that day, one middle-aged resident exclaimed: “Tama pala ‘yung kwento ng matatanda. May nabaril dito na Amerikanong sundalo. Pero ang sabi, sundalong Hapon ang bumaril!”

I was jolted when the thought struck me. Lost along with the monument is the memory not only that of Major Logan’s, but more so that of the gallant Filipino forces under the Tinio Brigade who fought to their deaths in the defense of our Motherland.

A moment of eerie silence followed after I explained to them that a total of 134 Filipinos were killed there in that rainy morning of November 11, 1899. I told them that these brave kababayans of ours, in the face of the enemy’s Gattling Guns and massive firepower, put up a heroic stand against the formidable American juggernaut.


An American gattling gun on the beach of San Fabian.

Though the Filipinos eventually retreated after a fierce gun battle which raged for more than two hours, the fighting which came to be known in the annals of the Philippine-American War History as the “Battle of San Jacinto,” remains significant to this day. This pivotal encounter signaled the paradigm shift of the Philippine Army from conventional warfare to that of guerrilla warfare. Two days after the battle,  a National Council of War held in Bayambang resolved to disband the Philippine Army and ordered the generals and their men to return to their own provinces and organize the people for general resistance by means of guerrilla warfare.

It was also in this battle that the invading American Forces may have had first taste of General Manuel Tinio, the legendary Tagalog boy-General of the Ilocanos, who took them one and a half years and more than 7,000 men to “civilize.”

Tinio and his forces were in San Jacinto on orders to block and delay the American forces pursuing General Emilio Aguinaldo.


The Tinio Brigade.

The Battle of San Jacinto was dubbed by the American press as “one of the sharpest engagements of the war.” The American forces involved were from the Thirty-third Regiment US Volunteer Infantry under the command of Col. Luther R. Hare and Filipino forces under General Manuel Tinio numbering to 1,200 to 1,600.

On the afternoon of November 7, 1899, more than 2,500 American soldiers aboard six US army cruisers and gun boats descended on the shores of San Fabian in Pangasinan.

The expeditionary force commanded by Brigadier-General Loyd Wheaton was composed of Thirteenth US Infantry; Thirty-third US Infantry Volunteers; Sixth US Artillery; detachment of US Engineers; detachment of US Signal Corps and two Gattling Guns; one hundred thousand rations and a supply of 1.2 million rounds of ammunition.

It left Manila Bay on November 6th and sailed towards the Lingayen Gulf and landed on San Fabian on orders to block and prevent the Northward retreat of Emilio Aguinaldo and his army.


US gunboats bombarding San Fabian prior to landing.

Wheaton’s command was part of the “three-pronged” strategy of the US army to trap Aguinaldo with Major General Henry W. Lawton leading the charge towards the Northeast to prevent the insurgent leader from escaping through the mountains and General Arthur Mac Arthur’s forces who were well on its way advancing along the Manila-Dagupan railroad (from Angeles to Dagupan) in a frantic bid to trap Aguinaldo into the pocket created by Lawton’s and Wheaton’s forces.

At this time, Aguinaldo is in the town of Bayambang in Southern Pangasinan.

In the morning of November 11, Major Logan led the troops in the advance towards San Jacinto. During the intense fire fight which broke out along muddy fields, heavy underbrush and bamboo thickets, he was fatally shot in the head by a sharpshooter positioned atop a coconut tree. Including Logan, seven American soldiers were killed in that encounter.

Col. Hare in his field report after the battle, wrote of Logan’s death: “Volumes might be written, but in the end could add nothing which would more clearly establish the gallantry of this officer.”

Brig. Gen. Wheaton also extolled Logan, saying that his conduct “was most gallant and worthy of his name,” and that “his death comes as a personal bereavement to the many in this command who knew him well.”

US President McKinley also paid tribute to the fallen soldier. In his telegram to Major Logan’s widow, he wrote: “his splendid qualities as a soldier and high courage on the fighting line have given him place among the heroic men of the war and it will be some consolation to know that he died for his country on the field of honor.”

On May 3, 1902, Major John A. Logan Jr. was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor “for most distinguished gallantry in leading his battalion upon the entrenchments of the enemy, on which ocassion he fell mortally wounded.”


Major. John A. Logan Jr.

Logan was the son of Senator and Civil War Hero Major General John Alexander “Black Jack” Logan. Apart from his illustrious military career and distinguished service as a statesman, the elder Logan came to be known as the Father of Memorial Day in America. It was his idea to decorate with flowers the graves of American soldiers who died for their country. The US Congress formalized this observance as Memorial Day in 1871.

The General would surely turn in his grave if he knew that his own son’s memorial went missing! 

The Phil-Am War Memorial Cannons

Major Logan’s Memorial Cannon in San Jacinto was among the only four (4) known Memorial Cannons erected in the country to memorialize US army officers who were killed in action at the height of the Philippine-American War.

The Memorial Cannons include that of Major General Henry W. Lawton’s, erected at San Mateo on the spot where the American General was killed by Filipino marksmen under legendary General Licerio Geronimo’s Tiradores de la Muerte on December 19, 1899. The monument was dedicated on January 24, 1903 and had a captured cannon mounted downward on a five-foot concrete base surrounded at the corners by artillery shells. The monument stands to this day at the Barangay Hall of Barangay Bagong Silangan in Quezon City, then part of San Mateo.


Lawton Memorial.

Another is that of Col. John Stotsenburg’s. He was the Commander of the 1st Nebraska Volunteer Infantry killed in action on April 23, 1899 at the Battle of Quingua, present day Plaridel in Bulacan. General Gregorio del Pilar commanded the Filipino forces in that historic battle that is being commemorated annually as a holiday in Plaridel. It also had an inverted cannon mounted on a concrete base, surrounded by four iron cannon balls placed at the corners. It still exists to this day, and in 1999, a huge mural was commissioned by the local government of Plaridel framed around the Stotsenburg memorial as a lasting tribute to the unsung Filipino fighters who were killed in that battle. The third memorial cannon was erected by the American colonial government in Malinta to honor Col. Harry Clay Egbert of the 22nd US Army “who was mortally wounded on this spot while leading his regiment, the 22nd US Infantry in an encounter in Manila on March 26, 1899.”


Col. Stotsenburg Memorial.

The Egbert Memorial Cannon was located originally inside a one hectare tract of land proclaimed in January 12, 1906 as the Egbert Momument Reserve by then Acting US Governor General Henry C. Ide. It featured a massive cannon mounted in the center, and flanked by large caliber artillery shells, all set on a concrete base.

Photos from the date of the dedication showed the original monument containing a sculptured bust of Col. Egbert. It is still not certain if the bust was part of the original monument or if it was only added for photographic or ceremonial purposes. If indeed it was, then it must have disappeared over time.


Egbert  Memorial.

The Egbert Cannon was only found six years ago partly buried in the middle of a dirt basketball court inside a slum area on Flaviano street at the boundary of Barangays Karuhatan and Malinta.

News reports said the monument fell into neglect through the years. And in the 1990s, the cannon ended up being “swallowed” by the earth after treasure hunters dug a tunnel beneath it.

In 2013, the local government of Valenzuela and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) had the massive cannon unearthed and restored and unveiled it at the New Valenzuela City Government Complex for people to see and appreciate.

The local government of Valenzuela also passed an ordinance in 2011 recognizing March 26 of every year as Battle of Malinta Day, which it said was “a notable point in the history of Valenzuela City and a celebration of the heroism of its people.”

We must not forget 

With the recent discovery of what remains of the Logan Memorial, the local government of San Jacinto in Pangasinan and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) must undertake steps to rebuild and restore this very important monument in our history not only for the memory of Major Logan but more importantly, to the memory of 134 Filipinos who were killed in San Jacinto on November 11, 1899.

The Battle of San Jacinto and the 134 nameless, unsung Filipinos who perished in that fateful encounter must not be forgotten. We owe it to them. We owe it our children. We owe it to our country. #

[When taking time off as a Commission on Elections employee where he serves as the national president of the Comelec Employees Union, the author is an amateur historian who says he indulges in his other passion “only when he is in the mood (Kapag ginaganahan lang.)]

Sources:

  1. Report of an Expedition to San Fabian, San Jacinto and Vicinity, November 5 to November 30, 1899 by Brig. Gen. Loyd Wheaton, USV, Commanding
  2. http://www.filipinoamericanwar.com
  3. Philippine-American War facebook group
  4. http://1-22infantry.org/
  5. https://www.army.mil/article/47711/battle_of_san_jacinto

* The Search Party included myself, Mac Ramirez; Gel Gerardino; Rodel Realubin and Edward Macasu. Atty. Reddy Balarbar, a native of San Fabian a town near San Jacinto, was not able to join us that day, but he was able to provide in advance a significant lead towards locating it.

UP educators, alumni and students condems Imee Marcos and Kabataang Barangay Reunion at UP

Naglunsad ng press conference ang No Revisions, No Erasures: Educators Against the Rehabilitation of the Marcoses upang kundenahin ang ginanap ika-43 anibersaryo ng Kabataang Barangay sa UP Bahay ng Alumni noong Agosto 25, 2018 kung saan panauhing pandangal si Rep. Imee Marcos.

Sinagot din ng alyansa ang mga pahayag ni UP President Danilo Concepcion sa kanyang pagdalo sa nasabing pagtitipon at ang pahayag ng administrasyon ng UP tungkol sa pagpapahintulot na magamit ni Imee Marcos at Kabataang Barangay ang mga pasilidad ng UP. (Video by Maricon Montajes)

 

GOYO: A review

By John L. Silva

The cineaste in me had some trepidation viewing Goyo, the nickname for General Gregorio del Pilar, coming on the heels of the box office hit Luna, that irascible General Antonio Luna who, like del Pilar, fought under President Emilio Aguinaldo (played by Mon Confiado) in the Filipino-American War.

Would a successful film dilute the creative juices of Jerrold Tarog for this next film, about a 23-year old “boy general” who takes up the cudgel of fighting for the newly formed Philippine republic after Luna’s untimely demise? Would more access now to funding complicate the script, be more nuanced, erratic and become an ego stroke for the director and producers?

Well, as I return from the movie premier, with a notebook full of scribbles, I confess to be quite taken by the depth of this cinematic experience. Goyo is a study in historical profundity, in dialogue bordering on poetry, in the cinematography of verdant mountains that chokes the heart, and in actors that have managed to approximate the heroes and villains we study and revere. In effect, director Tarog, the producers, the cast, and the crew outdid themselves.

The movies cuts to the chase at the very beginning. Luna has just been butchered by Aguinaldo’s soldiers, interesting in that this movie lays Luna’s death directly on Aguinaldo’s lap, the last one having pussyfooted on the issue. There’s a massive roundup of soldiers under Luna’s command including a high ranking officer, Col. Manuel Bernal (Art Acuna) who refuses to change his allegiance. For that he is tortured under the unfeeling eyes of Gen. del Pilar (Paulo Avelino) but still manages to throw insults at del Pilar, accusing him of following whatever Aguinaldo commands. He yells hauntingly at del Pilar, that he is, in effect, “not a soldier but a dog.” As del Pilar leaves the cell, the bloodied Bernal, at the point of snapping, yaps like a loyal dog with a humiliating bark which would stick with him, and haunt him.

In 1899, Less than six months after the start of the war, Aguinaldo’s forces suffer setbacks and flee to the north, to Dagupan in Pangasinan. They are there for five months providing respite and developing a more developed profile of del Pilar who it turns out is a sly flirt and a ladies’ man having broken many hearts in the towns they retreated to, as evidenced in the many pained letters from the ladies found in his sling bag.

Del Pilar as national lothario makes his real life boy-next-door image a lot sexier with the local lasses in their voluminous trailing ternos, fanning nervously, in near faint, with very apparent repressed desires. Casual sex hadn’t been introduced in those days.

There is one young lady that takes del Pilar’s fancy and probably every other gender and gender variation in the audience. She’s Remedios Jose (Gwen Zamora), the daughter of the town’s politico, and their first encounter is a study in 19th century Victorian encounter. As was the manner in those days, she communicates with her eyes, aptly described in 19th century literature as “Mapungay na mata” (dreamy, tender, liquid eyes).

With slight stifled breaths they are disarmed with one another but must keep a pretense, a nonchalance. Later, over dinner, he breaks the staring across the table and apologizes for the rude behavior displayed earlier. She politely says, to paraphrase, that she can handle any situation. Her father cheerily chimes in about having a strong daughter and this is Goyo first warning. She’s gorgeous but there’s going to be some serious hoops before she is “conquered.” Goyo, probably used to fainting violets had met his imperturbable match.

Months into the courtship, Remedios does not let up. In her self possessed way, she probes his past and wonders whether she’ll be conquest number 101. In a romantic and sensual court dance in the family house, as they slowly sway, hold hands, uncouple, approach, take in each other’s cologne and sweat tinged with yearning, she continues with her sweet and earnest inquisition. She not only chides him for being a potential heartbreaker but may possess heroic delusions that will get in the way of her just wanting a man, for keeps, at her side.

Del Pilar pledges fealty while Remedios must now deal with one ex of his, Felicidad Aguinaldo (Empress Schuck) who, in a market scene with Remedios, does a tit-for-tat with sharpened verbal claws. Remedios notes that many of the over ripe mangoes may have to be disposed. Felicidad snidely suggests to Remedios she could be one of them warning her of Goyo’s record of dispensing many other “mangoes.”

Oooh, this scriptwriter has an ax to grind. But Remedios is unfazed. She responds gently back, eyebrows raised, how ever could Felicidad think such, since she’s not a mango. Touche! Three snaps.

Photo: General Gregorio del Pilar, from Our Islands And Their People, 1899. Ortigas Library Collection

With Goyo’s peccadillos revealed and accepted as the masculine norm, we return to the crucial Philippine American war.

Apolinario Mabini (Epi Quizon), prominent in Luna, continues his sphinx-like pronouncements of the state of the nation. He has left the Aguinaldo cabinet soon after Luna’s death and was also to the left of Aguinaldo’s growing pro-American cabal. He has some profound, hurting lines about his countrymen, apropos still to today’s current congress. He calls Aguinaldo’s people a bunch of clowns. And given the behavior of the populace, a propensity for a good time over serious affairs, Mabini declares not once but twice that we are deserving to be called children. It’s an “ouch” but an irrevocable one till, perhaps, we get our act together.

Mabini has grown since the last movie, only fitting since he was at the early stage of the Aguinaldo cabinet very confident of its independent direction. Now, it seems unlikely. When eventually, Aguinaldo pays him a call, goads him to return and offers him the position of chief justice, Mabini accepts with a heavy heart uttering his acceptance only for the country’s sake.

Meanwhile, Goyo has flashbacks of a bloodied Col. Bernal yapping and tormenting him, literally dying of laughter. One night, in a drunken stupor in the river he deludes himself with blood coming out of his mouth, thinking his life is over under water. We witness a premonition of his death and possibly, the failure of his allegiance to Aguinaldo.

These intermittent nightmares are exacerbated by news of the Americans in Manila playing hardball: they first push the Filipino soldiers further away from laying siege on the Spaniards in Manila. In a meeting between Aguinaldo’s emissary, General Alejandrino (Alvin Anson) and American Generals Elwell Otis (Edward Rocha) and Arthur MacArthur (Miguel Faustmann) the Americans have only the mindset that the Filipinos possess a rogue president thus insinuating its army illegitimate and the fledgling republic an illusory sham to be vanquished. Luna, sadly six feet under, seems to have been right not to trust the Americans at all.

The American forces head north to put to rout the remaining Filipino forces and capture Aguinaldo. It is a demoralizing spectacle, a long trail of soldiers and civilians, on foot, reaching towns friendly or otherwise, scrounging for food moving northward and arduously ascending the Cordillera Mountains.

The sacrifices and misery inflicted on citizens are visually articulated in this movie with extras in the hundreds if not thousands, multiplied ably by visual effects. As a photo-historian, I find several instances in the movie where the melding of a scene, replicating a pose, imprinted as a photograph quite moving. Gen. del Pilar poses with an air, leaning on his sword. In another, in full military regalia astride his favorite white horse and flanked by his men the moving act of the pose and later, stilled and embedded in an albumen print galvanizes in the viewers the authenticity of the Boy General. He is a real historical figure, the army commanded was real and their earnestness in the love for a country real as well.

In the mountains, Aguinaldo moves ahead to elude capture ordering Gen. del Pilar with 60 men to be the rear guard on a mountainous pass called Tirad. Despite the ideal vantage point, seeing where the enemy is, the Filipinos are outmanned and sharpshooters of the 33rd Volunteer Infantry manage to take deadly aim even from below, at the Filipinos up on the ridge.

This last of the fighting scene is excruciating and as every Filipino soldier falls dead, the enchanting Cordillera mountains undulate in gratitude and sadness. The sharpshooters reach the top and Gen del Pilar is the last to retreat and eventually shot, and his whole body stripped of his possession and clothing. The Americans recognized the young general’s bravery and scrambled for mementoes of him.

Aside from the exquisite needle-point handkerchief given to him by Remedios, stripped by the soldiers from his bag, there was his diary with a last entry the day before. There are several varying accounts of his entry but I rely on Marcial Lichauco’s American Conquest of The Philippines which cites the war correspondent Richard Henry Little’s transcript of Gen del Pilar’s diary.

It reads “The general (Aguinaldo) had given me the pick of the men that can be spared and ordered me to defend the pass. I realize what a terrible task is given to me. And yet I feel that this is the most glorious moment of my life. What I do is done for my beloved country. No sacrifice can be too great.”

This movie’s historical period has parallels with today’s troubling events. The American forces, the ascending imperial power then, went land-grabbing and eventually took over the land. Today’s new Chinese imperial power, is starting with some of our islands and we are in bated breath as to what’s next.

Unquestioning loyalties to strongmen like Aguinaldo resulted in numerous failures and even needless deaths. There seems to be a thread with that and today’s strongman Duterte.

Mabini has the most unkind cut of all, declaring us as unfit children not to be trusted. Are we still that today, Lacking a a mature political will and incapable of making our country liveable and fulfilling to all? I’m afraid it’s still a long way off.

The movie is powerful and blends the right amount of romance and levity in a serious historical narrative. It will require thinking caps for all who want to see the best of outcomes for our country. Goyo soberly points us in the right direction. #

The author is the executive director of the Ortigas Foundation Library. 

 

Marcos all over again, women journalists on Women’s Day say

History is repeating itself, Filipino women journalists said at a forum on the role of women in Philippine media at the University of the Philippines last Thursday, International Working Women’s Day.

Eminent women journalists likened the Rodrigo Duterte government to Ferdinand Marcos’s martial law for its many attacks against press freedom at the Women Talk Back: We are not All Vagina forum at the College of Mass Communication Auditorium.

“The media may seem free but many are afraid. There is a chilling effect,” broadcast journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon said.

The Duterte government has been condemned for its attacks against critical media outfits such as the Philippine Daily Inquirer, ABS-CBN, Rappler, Catholic Media Network, Kodao, among others.

Duterte himself has been criticized for his rants and threats against journalists and catcalling broadcaster Mariz Umali on live television.

Broadcaster Kara David for her part criticized Malacañan Palace’s statement that people should look beyond Duterte’s jokes and instead look at his pro-women record as Davao City mayor.

David said that while Davao City has pro-women programs, it still does not look good to see a leader who constantly makes derogatory jokes and sexist remarks.

“These impacts big against women,” she said, adding Duterte should be kicked out if he were a student.

Veteran journalists, Jo-Ann Maglipon, Ma. Ceres P. Doyo, Cheche Lazaro, Melinda de Jesus, Chuchay Fernandez, Malu Mangahas and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines acting chairperson Jo Clemente were resource persons at the forum.

Recalling her experiences under the Marcos dictatorship, Lazaro said history is repeating itself under the Duterte government. # (Report and photo by Maricon Montajes)