Gregorio del Pilar

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Gregorio Hilario Del Pilar y Sempio
General Gregorio del Pilar 1.jpg
Governor of Bulacan
In office
May 28, 1898 – December 2, 1899
President Emilio Aguinaldo
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Isidoro Torres
Personal details
Born Gregorio del Pilar y Sempio
(1875-11-14)November 14, 1875
Bulakan, Bulacan, Captaincy General of the Philippines
Died December 2, 1899(1899-12-02) (aged 24)
Tirad Pass, Ilocos Sur, First Philippine Republic
Relations Fernando H. del Pilar (Father)
Felipa Sempio (Mother)
Marcelo H. del Pilar (Uncle)
Toribio H. del Pilar (Uncle)
Deodato Arellano (Uncle-in-law)
Military service
Nickname(s) "Goyong"
"Boy General"
Allegiance  First Philippine Republic
 Republic of Biak-na-Bato
Kakarong Republic
Service/branch Philippine Army Seal 1897.jpg Philippine Revolutionary Army
Years of service 1896–1899
Rank PR General de Brigada.svg Brigadier General
Commands Commanding Gen. Aguinaldo's
Philippine revolution flag gregoriodelpilar.svg Rearguard

Philippine Revolution

Philippine-American War

Birthplace of Gen. Gregorio H. del Pilar historical marker and monument, San Jose, Bulakan, Bulacan. The site where he was born on November 14, 1875 ("A soldier and gentleman").

Gregorio Hilario del Pilar y Sempio (November 14, 1875 – December 2, 1899) was one of the youngest generals in the Philippine Revolutionary Forces during the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine–American War. He is most known for his successful assault on the Spanish barracks of Cazadores in the municipality of Paombong, his victory on the first phase Battle of Quingua and his last stand at the Battle of Tirad Pass. during the Philippine-American war. Because of his youth, he became known as the "Boy General".[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Born on November 14, 1875 to Fernando H. del Pilar and Felipa Sempio of Bulacan, Bulacan, the fifth among six siblings.[2] He was the nephew of lawyer-turned-propagandist Marcelo H. del Pilar, editor-in-chief of Diariong Tagalog and La Solidaridad, as well as the priest Toribio H. del Pilar, who was exiled in Guam for his alleged involvement in the 1872 Cavite Mutiny.

"Goyong", as he was casually known, studied at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1896, at the age of 20. When the Philippine Revolution against Spanish rule broke out in August under the leadership of Andres Bonifacio, del Pilar joined the insurgency. He distinguished himself as a field commander while fighting Spanish garrisons in Bulacan.

Military career[edit]

On December 28, 1896, he participated in an attack in Kakarong de SiliPandi, Bulacan on a town inimical to the Katipunan. On January 1, 1897, he was among the defenders when a Spanish counterattack retook the town, receiving a slight wound when a bullet grazed his forehead.[3] His courage and bravery in that action won him recognition and a promotion to the rank of lieutenant.[4] In August 1897, then a captain, he met with Emilio Aguinaldo in his Biak-na-bato headquarters and proposed an attack on a Spanish garrison in Paombong, Bulacan. Aguinaldo approved his plan and the attack was successfully carried out with the capture of 14 Mauser rifles. Shortly thereafter, Aguinaldo raised him to the rank of lieutenant colonel.[5] After the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, he went into exile in Hong Kong with Aguinaldo and other revolutionary leaders.[6]

After Americans defeated the Spanish in the Battle of Manila Bay during Spanish–American War, Aguinaldo, del Pilar, and other exiled leaders returned to the Philippines. Aguinaldo named del Pilar Dictator of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija provinces.[7]

On June 24, 1898, he accepted the Spanish surrender of his home town of Bulacan. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.[8]

When the Philippine-American War broke out in February 1899, following the cession of the Philippines by Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris of 1898, del Pilar led his troops to a victory over Major Franklin Bell in the first phase of the Battle of Quingua (later renamed Plaridel in honor of his uncle) on April 23, 1899. During the battle, his forces repelled a cavalry charge and killed the highly respected Colonel John M. Stotsenburg,[9] after whom Clark Air Base was originally named (Fort Stotsenburg).[10]


Gregorio del Pilar's tomb (Bulacan Provincial Capitol plaza and his equestrian statue).

On December 2, 1899, del Pilar led 60 Filipino soldiers of Aguinaldo's rear guard in the Battle of Tirad Pass against the "Texas Regiment", the 33rd Infantry Regiment of the United States led by Peyton C. March. A delaying action to cover Aguinaldo's retreat, the five-hour standoff resulted in Del Pilar's death from a shot to the neck, either at the height or at end of the fighting, depending on eyewitness accounts. Del Pilar's body was later despoiled and robbed by the victorious American soldiers.[11] Del Pilar's body lay unburied for days, exposed to the elements. While retracing the trail, an American officer, Lt. Dennis P. Quinlan, gave the body a traditional U.S. military burial. Upon del Pilar's tombstone, Quinlan inscribed, "An Officer and a Gentleman".[12]

In 1930, del Pilar's body was exhumed and was identified by the gold tooth and braces he had installed while in exile in Hong Kong.[citation needed]


"BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15)" a Philippine Navy warship to be named after Gregorio del Pilar
Plaza del Pilar (Bulacan, Bulacan: The site where Spanish forces surrendered to Gregorio del Pilar on June 24, 1898 - June 24, 1998 market-monument).
  • Fort Del Pilar, home of the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio, is named after him.
  • In 1944, the Japanese-sponsored Philippine republic of President Jose P. Laurel issued the Tirad Pass Medal commemorating the battle and del Pilar's sacrifice. A bust of General del Pilar occupies the center of the obverse (front) side of the medal. The Tirad Pass Medal was the only award issued to recognize service to the Laurel government during the Japanese occupation.
  • In 1955, the municipality of Concepcion in Ilocos Sur was renamed in his honor.
  • In 2011, the newest vessel of the Philippine Navy, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, was named after him. The ship is a patrol frigate.

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Kalaw 1974
  2. ^ Kalaw 1974, p. 3
  3. ^ Kalaw 1974, pp. 15–18
  4. ^ Kalaw 1974, p. 18
  5. ^ Kalaw 1974, pp. 22–25
  6. ^ Kalaw 1974, p. 26
  7. ^ Kalaw 1974, p. 27
  8. ^ Kalaw 1974, p. 30
  9. ^ "Facts About The Filipinos". The Philippine Review. 1: 36. 1900. 
  10. ^ Rosmer, D. (1986). An Annotated Pictorial History of Clark Air Base: 1899-1986. Republic of the Philippines: Office of History, Clark Air Base. 
  11. ^ "no title provided". Washington Sentinel. 1900-03-24. p. 1. 
  12. ^ Karnow, Stanley (2010). In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines. Random House. ISBN 9780307775436. Retrieved 27 November 2013. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Zaide, Gregorio F. (1984). Philippine History and Government. National Bookstore Printing Press. 

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Newly established
Governor of Bulacan
Succeeded by
Isidro Torres