Battle of San Juan del Monte
|Battle of San Juan del Monte|
|Part of the Philippine Revolution|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Andrés Bonifacio
|800||about 100 combined infantrymen and artillerymen|
|Casualties and losses|
about 200 captured
The Battle of San Juan del Monte, took place on 30 August 1896. It is considered the first real battle of the Philippine revolution, which sought Philippine independence from Spain. The first battle cry of the Katipunan coincided with the pealing of the church bell at nine on the night of August 29, 1896.:43
At 5 pm on the 29th, The Supremo Andres Bonifacio and 800 Katipuneros met up with Katipunero Felix Sanchez, chairman of the Sapa chapter, at Hagdang Bato in San Felipe Neri.:42 By 7 pm, with a thousand men, including the local police force, they attacked the civil guards, who surrendered immediately.:43 However, the Tala chapter chairman, Katipunero Buenaventura Domingo, allowed the parish priest to escape.:42–43 Troops under General Ramon Bernardo then took the town hall of Pandacan and by 11 pm, were dispatched to Santa Mesa.:44 Troops under Santiago V. Alvarez, Artemio Ricarte and Mariano Closas Trias, were deployed in Noveleta and San Francisco de Malabon in Cavite.:44 Bonifacio, along with Genaro de los Reyes and Vicente Leyba, proceeded to San Juan del Monte.:44
After the discovery of Katipunan on 19 August 1896, Andrés Bonifacio became aware of the Spanish government's plans for military action. On 25 August, Bonifacio deployed several of his men around the Pasong Tamo bridge when he heard infantrymen and Spanish guardia civil coming to raid communities around the bridge.
On the evening of 29 August, Bonifacio, with his aide Emilio Jacinto, led a group of Katipuneros towards El Polvorin, a Spanish powder magazine situated in San Juan del Monte. Spanish infantry and artillerymen, armed with German Mauser rifles, guarded Polvorin; the Katipuneros were generally armed with bolo knives, a few assorted guns, bamboo spears and anting-antings.
By midnight, a small second group of Katipuneros, under the command of Sancho Valenzuela, and coming from Santa Mesa, arrived at Polvorin. This group was composed of 100 Katipunan members, two of them women: Luisa Lucas and Segunda Fuentes Santiago.
The next day, 30 August, at about 4:00 a.m., Bonifacio and his men launched their surprise attack, capturing the magazine several hours later. The Spanish troops retreated to the nearby building of El Depósito, the Manila water works deposit office, after having lost their commander and another man killed.
Before noon, the 73rd "Jolo" Regiment, composed of Filipino soldiers under Spanish officers, under the command of General Bernardo Echaluce y Jauregui, arrived as Spanish reinforcements at San Juan del Monte to assist in suppressing the rebellion. The 73rd Regiment, like most of the native conscripts in the Spanish army in the Philippines, were armed with the Remington Rolling Block rifle.
The revolutionaries regrouped at Santa Mesa and engaged the arriving Spanish troops. The 73rd Regiment, together with the garrison of the magazine, almost wiped out Bonifacio's men, leaving about 150 dead and capturing over 200. This disastrous outcome forced Bonifacio to retreat towards the Pasig River.
At 8:00 p.m. on 30 August, Governor-General Ramón Blanco y Erenas issued an executive order placing the eight provinces of Manila, Morong (now Rizal province), Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac under martial law. As a lesson to revolutionaries, the Katipuneros captured at Polvorin were summarily tried and executed. One of them was Sancho Valenzuela, who was dragged off in chains together with his men, Modesto Rivera, Eugenio Silvestre and Ramon Peralta, towards the tribunal.
To ease the increasing tension throughout the colony, Blanco offered a pardon to Filipino rebels who would lay down their arms and surrender to the Spanish authorities. Dr. Pío Valenzuela, the chief physician and aide of Bonifacio, was one of the first Katipuneros who availed himself of this amnesty. However, after his surrender, he was deported and imprisoned in Madrid, and later incarcerated in a Spanish outpost in Africa.
Aside from granting amnesties to returning rebels, the Spanish colonial government also assisted on trying and executing several members of the Katipunan. Fifty-seven of the revolutionaries at San Juan del Monte were executed on 31 August 1896. On 4 September, Sancho Valenzuela, Rivera, Silvestrre and Peralta were executed, on the Campo de Bagumbayan, facing the Luneta Esplanade.:369 On 12 September, thirteen revolutionaries were executed in Cavite.
The present-day design of the Philippine flag features the eight-ray sun, which, some of the provinces that Blanco took under martial law on August 30, 1896 took a representation. The eight rays of the sun represent the eight provinces that initiated revolution against Spain: Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Laguna, and Batangas, though historian Ambeth Ocampo listed Tarlac instead of Bataan.
On July 25, 1987, former President Corazon C. Aquino signed Executive Order 292 which declared the last Sunday of August each year as a public holiday in the Philippines. This commemorates the Cry of Pugad Lawin and the start of the Philippine Revolution.
In 1974, the Pinaglabanan Shrine was unveiled in San Juan, along Pinaglabanan Street. "Pinaglabanan" is a Tagalog word for "fought over". The present-day San Juan Elementary School stands on the former grounds of the ruined El Polvorin. In 2006, a museum for the Katipunan was opened by the San Juan City government located by the shrine.
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