Patrocinio Gamboa

(1865 - 1953)

 

Revolutionary “Heroine of Jaro”

 

 

  Dubbed as the “Heroine of Jaro,” Patriciano Gamboa was born on April 30,1865 in Jaro, Iloilo to Fermin Gamboa and Leonila Villareal. She obtained her education from private tutors and from avid reading of the Spanish classics as well as newspapers. Being a daughter of a wealthy and prominent family, she was well known in the community. She was devoutly religious, independent-minded, and brave in heart.

 

As a young woman in Molo during the days of the Propaganda movement, she read the novels of Jose Rizal, the orations of Graciano Lopez-Jaena, and copies of La Solidaridad, which circulated secretly in the Visayas as well in Luzon. These writings, which depicted the abuses of Spanish officials, stirred her patriotic spirit.

 

  She was already a full-grown woman of 31 when the Philippine Revolution broke out in August 1896. After the Cry of Balintawak, Tia Patron, as she was popularly called in her province, joined the revolutionary leaders in her province. She followed closely the developments in Luzon while being deeply involved in the secret activities of the Comite Conspirador (Committee of Conspirators), which was founded in Molo in March 1898 and subsequently expanded into the Comite Central Revolutionario de Visayas (Central Revolutionary Committee of the Visayas), with Roque Lopez as President.

 

  In Santa Barbara, Iloilo leaders of Panay established the Revolutionary Government of the Visayas, which recognized the authority of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo as President of the Revolutionary Government of the Philippines. Highlighting its inaugural ceremony on November 17, 1898 was the official hoisting of the Filipino flag, which was sewn by Tia Patron with the help of several young women in Molo. This flag, which was patterned after the Philippine flag made by Mrs. Agoncillo in Hongkong, became the rallying symbol of the Visayan patriots during the libertarian struggle against the Spaniards and later, the American invaders.

 

  The risky mission of delivering the flag from Jaro to Santa Barbara was undertaken by Tia Patron. She proved that her sex was an asset in the revolution. She gave more proofs of her value as a woman and a rich man’s daughter to boot- when she acted as an intelligence officer. She was able to cross enemy lines easily because of it and to safely deliver military dispatches to the different combat commanders. She collected war contributions from the Chinese in Iloilo gathered food and medical supplies, as well as arms and ammunitions, for the revolutionary forces. She even risked her life in the battlefields, where she and her volunteer nurses recruited in Molo nursed the wounded and comforted the sick.

 

  Her patriotic services to the Revolution were known to many people in Iloilo, including the revolutionary leaders who, after the war, became prominent officials in the civil government established by the United States. In 1901, when the government offered her a pension for those services, she politely refused, saying:

 

  “I do not ask for a pension. I give my services as a love offering to my country. I do not ask any compensation for those services.”

 

  Tia Patron filled her home in Molo with Philippine memorabilia, which she had collected over the years. These included valuable antiques, paintings, pictures of Filipino heroes, and a bronze bust of Rizal by Guillermo Tolentino, the noted sculpture. During such holiday as Rizal Day, Bonifacio Day, National Heroes’ Day, and Independence Day, she was always the first one in the town to display the Filipino flag.

 

  She remained single up to her death on November 24,1953. She was buried with military honors at the Balantang Veteran’s Cemetery in Jaro.

 

  In her honor, a marker was installed in Jaro, Iloilo on December 21, 1980.        

 

 

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