FRANCISCO DAGOHOY

 

 

          Francisco Dagohoy holds the distinction of having ]ed the

longest revolt (1744-1829) in the Philippines.

 

          There are no available records that contain information about his parentage, birthday and boyhood.

 

          Dagohoy's brother, a constable, was requested by the Jesuit

Gaspar Morales, who was in charge of the disrict of Inabangan, Bohol to go after and bring back a renegade indio who had fled to the mountains. The renegade killed Constable Dagohoy instead. When he heard of his brother's death, Francisco went to the mountain and brought his brother's body back to the village so that it could be given a Christian burial. Great was the disappointment of Francisco when Father Morales, in whose service his brother had lost his life, refused.

 

The priest did not want to have the body buried in consecrated ground because he had been killed in a fight. Far three days the corpse remained unburied and rotting. Angered at this arbitrary and harsh treatment, Dagohoy swore vengeance on the Jesuits, and persuaded the natives of his district to join him. Soon he had about 3,Q00 men following him to the mountains. On their way they plundered a large and valuable Jesuit estate named San Xavier which was well stacked with cows, carabaos, horses? pigs, and other animals.

 

          In an inaccessible region in the mountains between Inabangan and Talibon, Dagohoy established his headquarters and proclaimed the independence of Bohol. Under his direction and supervision, the Boholano patriots fortified their stronghold with. trenches of big rocks. They built numerous dwellings for the families who joined their cause and cleared the surrounding forest to plant food crops. They plundered the lowlands for their other necessities.

 

          Dagohoy and his men sallied out in lightning raids on the lowland towns, assaulting the local Spanish garrisons, looting the churches, and slaughtering Spaniards, particularly the Jesuit priests. On January 24, 1745 one of Dagohoy's bold warriors killed Father Ciuseppe Lamberti, an italian Jesuit and parish priest of Jagna. Shortly after, the hated Father Morales was killed. Dagohoy's personal vengeance was fulfilled. But he continued his rebellion, for his armed movement was organized not merely to liquidate a personal enemy, but to regain the lost freedom of his people and to make his beloved Bohol once more a land of free men.

 

          The Spanish authorities were worried by the remarkable successes of Dagohoy. In 1747 Bishop Juan de Arrechedera of Manila, then acting governor-general, dispatched a Spanish expedition to Bohol under the command of Don Pedro Lechuga Dagohoy resisted this expedition and forced it to withdraw to Zamboanga. Later Bishop Line de Espeleta of Cebu, who became acting archbishop and governor-general, tried to pacify the rebels. But Dagohoy refused to listen to him The flames of rebellion rose higher than ever.

 

          The Recollects replaced the Jesuits, and Father Pedro de Santa Barbara, who was stationed in Baclayon, ascended the mountains to interview Dagohoy. He was welcomed and well treated, but Dagohoy courteously refused to give up Bohol's independence. Supplementing the peace efforts of the Recollects, Governor-General Jose Raon offered amnesty and pardon to Dagohoy and his followers if they would lay down their arms. Dagohoy spurned this offer, saying that his people were enjoying the good life of a free people.

 

          From 1744 to 1829, a long period of 85 years, the Boholanos successfully maintained their independence and preserved it with fierce courage and flaming partriotism. It seemed probable that Dagohoy died before the year 1829 in his mountain kingdom either of old age or of sickness. His followers, imbued by his indomitable courage and fearless heroism carried on the fight for independence. Twenty Spanish governors-general, from Gaspar de la Torre (1739-1745) to Mariano Ricafort (1825-1830), failed to suppress the libertarian struggle.

 

          The death of Dagohoy greatly weakened the cause of the Boholanos. Governor Ricafort, an able and energetic administrator, exerted efforts to conquer the island of Bohol. He dispatched strong expeditions to the island in May, 1827 and in April, 1828. The following year, Captain Manuel Sent, a veteran Spanish soldier conducted the last drive against the Bohol patriots.

 

          Missing Dagohoy's excellent leadership, the Boholanos made their last stand in the mountain of Boasa. Two brave brothers named Handog and Auag, commanded the patriots. They resisted the enemy with extreme courage, but their efforts were in vain. They also had three lieutenants who must have taken their place and at least one of them probably lived to the time of the surrender. They were Ignacio Aranez, Pedro Bagio and Bernabe Samonte. By August 31, 1829, the last flames of the rebellion were put out. Dagohoy's survivors agreed to recognize Spain's rule once more.

 

          According to Captain Sanz's combat report, 19,420 Boholanos surrendered while 3,000 fled to other provinces. More than 400 Bohol lanes died in action during the last battle.

 

          Governor Ricafort, himself a brave soldier, admired the fighting spirit of Dagohoy's men. With magnanimity, he pardoned them and allowed them to live in peace in the lowland villages, now the towns of Batuan, Balilihan, Catigbian, and Pilar.

 

          During the 85 years of Bohol's independence, the patriotic Boholanos lived as free and sovereign people. They did not render forced labor nor pay tribute. They suffered neither racial discrimination nor social humiliation from the hands of the Spaniards. Dagohoy was able to maintain a government. His rule was firm and just. He was obeyed and, respected by his people. Governing like the datus of the pre-Spanish era, he was the chief executive, the supreme judge, and the military generalissimo. He was assisted by the old men in peace affairs and by the military captains in war matters.

 

          A historical marker on Dagohoy's grave in the mountain fastness of Danao, Bohol has been installed in his honor.

 

 

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