(1730 - 1763)
Diego Baltazar Silang was
born in Aringay, La Union, on December 16,1730 to Miguel Silang, of Aringay, and
Nicolasa de los Santos from Vigan, Ilocos Sur, both of whom
were said to belong to the Principales.
He was baptized in Vigan, on January 7, 1731. His godfather was Thomas de Endaya.
became a helper of the parish priest of Vigan, Fr. Cortes y Criosolo. He was
entrusted to deliver messages to Manila. There were no roads from Vigan to Manila; travel was by boat. In one such trip
the small vessel he took was wrecked along the Zambales coast and the
passengers were either drowned or killed by the wild tribes. He was spared, and
made a slave. Eventually he befriended the Zambal natives and he was ransomed
by a Recollect missionarry.
continued a letter carrier, enjoying the widening circle of acquaintances he
was developing because of his mobility.
He learned Spanish well. He married
Maria Josefa Gabriela, a young widow from Santa, Ilocos Sur.
Manila, while waiting for the return of the
galleon Filipino from acapulco, he witnessed the British Squadron
enter Manila Bay in September, 1762 and demanded the surrender of the city. Because the
Spaniards refused, the bombardment began on September 24th. In
October 1762, Manila finally capitulated.
realized the Spaniards were vulnerable; Diego went to Pangasinan to his parents
with his thought. They planned a revolt. He made an understanding with Lopes,
his relative, who was then the master of the camp in Pangasinan and he went to
Vigan to start an unprising. He found Vigan receptive to the ideas that had
crystallized during his sojourn in Manila, And his Association with Santiago
Orendain. Since Manila had been captured, it was not
necessary to continue paying tribute to the Spaniards. With the Filipinos defenseless against the British who would
likely rob them of their Catholic faith, it was imperative that they organized
to resist the British.
were simultaneous uprisings in Pangasinan, Cagayan, Laguna, Batangas.
He was acknowledged the leader of the Ilocanos. Simon de Anda who was then
magistrate of the audiencia, tried to
maintain Spanish power in the provinces outside Manila. Anda, supported by loyalists, fought
the British and the rebels at the same time. Silang was caught and imprisoned.
Father Millan, in whose household he had lived, interceded for him, so he was
Once out of prison he
redoubled his revolutionary activities. The people were aroused. It helped that
he was known to be very pious. Among the local leaders who joined him were
Pedro Becbec in Abra; Corquera in Laoag and bacarra; Jose Cristobal in Paoay;
and Botargas in Batac , Sarrat, San
Nicolas and Dingras. They supported him in his demands: the removal of Alcalde
Antonio Zabala, And the appointment of Silang to stave
off the English.
ward off possible surprise attacks, especially by Governor Anda, he assigned
guards by sea and by land. Anda, from his headquarters in central Luzon, ordered him to surrender within nine
days to Spanish authorities, otherwise he would be treated as a traitor. Silang
decided to Solicit British aid. He wrote a letter to the British leader in Manila, declaring himself ready to
acknowledge the British Majesty as his King. The British sent him his
appontment as Sarjento Mayor and Alcalde Mayor. They gave him power to
choose minor and subbordinate officials. To explain this dallying with the
British, he told the Ilocanos that Anda was preparing to send fire and sword to
punish them and to deprive them of their newly won liberties.
he was getting to be too formidable for a direct assault, an assassination had
to be resorted to. Anda offered a monetary reward and Spain's gratitude to whoever could
accomplish the deed. A mestizo named Miguel Vicos And
Pedro Becbec, both friends of his, agreed to carry out the plot. "The
religious together with the Bishop spent almost all their time praying
fervently for the success of the enterprise," says Pedro del Villar, and "Vicos confessed and took holy
communion determined to kill or die.
On May 28, !763, Vicos and
Becbec visited him at the Casa Real
at vigan. At the opportune moment, Vicos shot him in the back. The only words
he could utter were "matayakon, Gabriela", and he fell dead.