VITO L. BELARMINO
(1857 - 1933)
One of the most brilliant major-generals
of the revolutionary
a;my, Vito Belarmino was born in Silang,
Cavite, on June 15, 1857, to Severino Belarmino, a cabeza de barangay and Damiana
After receiving his early education at
home, he was sent to the Colegio de San Juan de Letran but was unable to pursue
his studies due to the recurrence of a plague in Manila.
At the age of 19, he entered the
government service and successively held the positions of teniente mayor,
cabeza de barangay, secretary of the local tribunal, and gobernadorcillo.
Later, he was appointed Justice of the peace.
During the Revolution, he engaged in
various skirmishes with the Spanish forces. In 1896, he, together with Vicente
Giron led an attack on the convent and the Spanish guards in Silang. He joined
Aguinaldo in the assault against Infantry Battalion No. 72 of the Spanish Army
stationed in Talisay, Batangas. In this encounter, Aguinaldo left to him the leadership of the successful attack on
the convent and church and on the Spanish guards.
On October 29, 1898, he was placed in
command of the province of Albay with others to establish a republican
government there and to assume the position of military commander of both
Camarines and Sorsogon. He was also given the power to appoint the chief and
memhers of the General Staff, the officers of the General Headquarters, rile
president and members of the Court-Martial the chiefs and offrcers of the
Signal Corps, of the Medical Corps, of the Ordinance Service and of the Quarter
Master Corps. He organized the infantry of the province into a regiment and
formal artillery batteries which he stationed in Capuntocan, Legaspi, in
Cabugao, and at the port of Tabaco, both in Albay. He also organized a company
of engineers, and a platoon of cavalry. To all these units were assigned the
necessary panels of staff, field and line officers.
At Legaspi, Albay, the Filipino patriots
under Belarmino and
General Jose Pawa fought hard against
General William Kobbe who had to exert much effort to take the town. On
February 8, 1900, Tabaco was captured
and on February 23, Naga fell. General Pawa surrendered on March 27, 1900 but
Belarmino, after the bloody encounter, organ, ized his own guerrilla outfit and
repeatedly harassed American installations in the Bicol region.
After the Filipino-American War,
Belarmino went back to his hometown where he retired into private life. Totally
blind in 1928, he spent the rest of life in darkness but still managed to serve
others His lack of sight was wonderfully compensated by a keen ability to
diagnose a person's ailment by merely taking the pulse rate. He was also
capable of describing possible remedies so that he came to be popularly known
in Cavite as the "Blind Veteran" and the "Wonderful
On July 14, 1933, at the age of 76,
Belarmino died of a cerebral attack, leaving behind his six children.