The Filipino – Spanish War

          The Filipino – Spanish War took place from 1896 to 1898. Groups of Filipinos under the “Magdalo” faction were doing their share to liberate the country from the Spaniards. The Mogpog group was led by Basilio Mendez; his brother was Vicente Mendez who was second in command and a recruiting officer. Other officers were Bartolome Tiangasco, Juan Manuba alias “Mauser”, Felix Lavega, Fabian Medenilla, Dalmacio Lamac and others whose names were already unknown. When Rizal was executed in Bagumbayan on December 30, 1896, the “insurrectos” of Mogpog were already numerous. For almost a year, the group was trained in hand to hand combat (fencing) and by the use of homemade guns called “De Pugon”. In August 1897, the revolutionists of Marinduque under the command of Herminigildo Flores made the initial assault in the town of Boac with the help of a band of “insurrectos” from Mogpog. Their target was the Boac Catholic Church to kill the Spanish soldiers who were quartered there. The attack was a failure.  Many of the “insurrectos” were killed. A few were captured while the rest retreated. Among those captured were Juan Manuba, Felix Lavega, Fabian Medenilla and the Lamac brothers. The Spanish soldiers composed of Spanish regulars and Filipino volunteers pursued the “insurrectos”, and there was a running battle. The revolutionists of Mogpog made their first stand at the Poblacion of Boac (Murallon) where they constructed “crude battery” from bales of abaca given by the Chinese residents. The Filipinos were no match to the Spanish soldiers on account of superior arms.The Mogpog revolutionists retreated further until they reached their hideout in the barangay, a hill known as Bundok Camarines or “Pinagbateryahan”. They made their final stand. With their renowned gallantry, they drove the Spaniards from the foot of the hills. The battle lasted for almost a week. During the battle, a group of Spanish soldiers led by Sgt. Vedasto Mawac was sent to scout the foot of the hill to verify whether the trail there was safe and accessible to the Filipino insurrectos. A hand-to-hand fight was ensued. The Spanish soldiers were of no match to the skillful thrust of the insurrectos. Mawac was killed in a barrio now called Mababad, while his companions returned to the poblacion, bleeding from wounds inflicted on them. On the other side of the hill in a place now called Bintakay, two Spanish soldiers by the name of Sargento Raymundo Lecaros and Tranquilino Lecaros were also scouting a trail leading to Camarines. They were met by group of “insurrectos” led by Olympia Mendez who once again proved her skill in combating enemies. She wounded both of them and later drove them away until they reached the place now called Duongan in the barrio of Laon. After a long week trying to assault the Filipino hideouts, the Spanish soldiers returned to Boac bringing with them their casualties. Thereafter, the Filipino revolutionists were free to roam the poblacion of Mogpog. Spanish soldiers exhibited the remains of Sgt. Mawac carried on a bamboo pole. The Spanish quickly retaliated to compensate for their heavy losses in the battle of Bintacay. After a mock trial that lasted for almost a month, the insurrectos captured during the raid in the Boac Catholic Church were sentenced and executed by firing squad. The execution took place on October 10, 1897 in front of Boac convent, which served as barracks for the Spanish soldiers. The remains of the insurrectos from Mogpog were loaded on a cart and taken to Mogpog and buried at the Mogpog cemetery. Before burial, the Spanish soldiers in-charged of the burial commanded the remaining alive soldiers to stand up with a promise to set them free. Juan Manuba and Felix Lavega stood. They were set free. Juan Manuba thereafter was called “Mauser”, the name of the rifle used in executing the insurrectos. While this chronicle, as told by the informant related the names of the illustrious leaders of the revolution and their followers, it is also worthwhile stating that there were also many Filipinos who died in the battle of Bintacay, whose names were not known for lack of records. To these heroes and families, we extend our sympathy and apologies. The history of Mogpog will not be complete without mentioning the Chinese residents who supplied the insurrectos with bales of abaca for battlement, food, money and clothing. One of them was Eduardo Go Chiangco.