CANDIDO TIRONA

(1862 - 1896)

 

 

  Candido Tirona y Mata belonged to a family of landowners of Cavite Viejo, better known as Kawit today. He was born to Don Estanislao Tirona and Juana mata on August 29, 1862. His father was a capitan municipal of Cavite Viejo. His brother Daniel Tirona also became a general in the revolution.

 

  He had his early education by means of learning from a private tutor before entering the elementary school and rounding off the education with a stint in Manila. His father unexpectedly died, and he had to return to Cavite Viejo to manage the family estate which consisted of Riceland's and fishponds. He opened a sari-sari store as part of his business enterprise.

 

  He joined Freemasonry and the Katipunan. In July 1896, he accompanied Andres Bonifacio in a tour of Cavite. He was identified with the Magdalo faction then headed by Emilio Aguinaldo and Baldomero Aguinaldo and whose jurisdiction included the towns of Silang, Amadeo, Mendez-Nunez, Perez-Dasmariņas, Talisay and Cavite Viejo. His association with Aguinaldo dated earlier when he was also a councilor with Santiago Daņo under the administration of Aguinaldo the capitan municipal of Kawit.

 

  Hostilities did not immediately reach Cavite province upon discovery of the Katipunan by the Spanish authorities on August 19, 1896. About the end of this month, Aguinaldo requested for troops and arms to protect Cavite Viejo from bandits. He was denied by Governor Pargas. Instead, he was informed that Governor General Ramon Blanco had declared martial law in the province of Manila, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Laguna, Batangas including Cavite. A large part of the Spanish troops and ammunitions were already shifted to the defense of Manila. Tirona and Aguinaldo took advantage of this by disarming the civil guards in the Tribunal.

 

  Aguinaldo's term under the old regime expired. A new election was held. Acclaimed by a large crowd, Tirona was made president of Cavite Viejo while Aguinaldo turned to the field as Commander of the Katipunan Forces.

 

  Cavite Viejo was menaced by the Spanish guns at Fort Cavite so the Katipunan Government transferred the capital to Imus. Under the organization of the Council of  War, Tirona was made Secretary of  War after he actively participated in the siege of Imus and Talisay in September. To him fell the burden of recruiting and supplying an untrained army with food, arms and ammunitions.

 

  To sustain the strength of the Katipunan forces, a maestranza was established where daggers, bolos, spears and ammunitions were made. Telegraph poles and parts of sugarcane mill machines were forged to make cannons. This gigantic work fell under the skillful management of Jose Ignacio Paua, a Chinese foundry proprietor who offered his services immediately for the cause of freedom.

 

  While he and Aguinaldo was in Talisay, they were reached by courier carrying the message that the Spanish Army were massing their troops toward Binakayan. They left hurriedly. The second battery guarding the road to Imus under the command of General Crispulo Aguinaldo was still holding.

 

  Swiftly, they built trenches extending from the shorelines and blocking the road to Imus and Binakayan. The seaward defense line was under the command of Tirona; the middle sector heavily fortified by General Aguinaldo and the right flank ably defended by General Pio Del Pilar.

 

  On the morning of the tenth day of November, the Spanish bombarded the left flank under his command. This was followed simultaneously with the landing of troops. Heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy and the Katipunan forces held their positions. General Ramon Blanco seeing the futility of further advance, ordered a retreat. Taking advantage of the weakened position, Aguinaldo ordered an attack and eventually cut down a number of Spanish soldiers in the mass retreat.

 

  During the thick of fighting, Aguinaldo warned him to be careful but he called back and said nothing would happen to him. "Take care of yourself," he cautioned Aguinaldo. After the smoke of battle cleared, hundreds of men lay dead and wounded. Among them was Tirona who fell during the bayonet charge. With him also died Simeon Lattore, The defender of Imus, and some 50 men. For a time, his name was unsung. Some years later, on December 31, 1909, the civic and prominent citizen of Cavite marked the place where he fell with a wooden marker with an inscription that read:

 

 

SA IPINAG WAGUING

LABANAN SA NAYON ITO

12

NOVIEMBRE

1896

SA PILING NITO

SAMPALOK AT SA MGA

KAAWAY NA KASTILA

NALUGAMI ANG BUHAY

SA GAWA AT BAYANING

CANDIDO TIRONA

AT

MATA

 

 

  His remains were later transferred to the Roman Catholic Cemetery of Kawit. His children were Fidel, Margarita, married to Demetrio B. Encarnacion, Maria, married to Dr. Cesario Sta. Ana, Gorgonia, married to Judge Francisco Arca, and Mariano.

 

  General Emilio Aguinaldo said of General Tirona:

 

           Tirona belongs to that breed of men who leave an indelible mark in history - men whose deeds illumine the dark past of a nation with their brilliant records and whose lives are a beacon light that guides not only the present but the generations still unborn.

 

 

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