Sunday, March 7, 2010

Francisco Dagohoy on Stamps

The native of Bohol, Francisco Dagohoy, has the distinction of leading the longest revolt against the Spaniards (1744-1829). Dagohoy's rebellion started when a priest denied his brother a Christian burial. Supported by about 20,000 people, he held his base in the mountain regions between Inagangan and Talibon. Twenty Spanish governor- generals were unable to quell Dagohoy's liberation struggle.

There is no document available to shed light on Francisco Dagohoy's birth, his parentage and death. It is believed that this was due to the disinterest of the Spanish authorities to record the hero's life and achievements and immortalize the exploits of one whom so humiliated them.

Placido Sinsano, a centenarian grandson of Francisco Dagohoy's brother and successor Maximino, explained that Francisco Dagohoy was born in 1724 in Cambitoon, a barrio of Inabangan town some 20 kilometers from the poblacion.

Descendants claimed that Francisco Dagohoy's father's name was Polon, probably Apolonio, while his mother's name was Sisa or Narcisa. Francisco was the second child in a family of three brothers and one sister Sagarino (the eldest and the immediate cause of Francisco's rebellion) Maximino and Narcisa.

The family's real name surname is still uncertain to this day. Dagohoy was believed to be his “nom de guerre” when he was already leading the rebellion. A subsequent name adopted by some of his descendants, Sendrijas, has been adopted as a probable surname. Sendrijas may have been adopted by his family after the rebellion to protect them from the wrath of Spanish sword to annihilate the hero's memory.

The Dagohoy's were a model family in the community. They were devout Catholics, (which can be borne out by the hiring of Sagarino the eldest, by the Jesuit priest, Gaspar Morales, as a sacristan and constable). The males engaged in farming and fishing, while the females wove blankets and mats made of buri palm.

In Francisco's youth, he showed Atlethics prowess, excelling in running, jumping, wrestling, fencing and dagger trowing when they were still in the mountains, and in boating and swimming when they moved near the coast.

Francisco married Berinja Bugsok a beautiful lass during the early part of the rebellion. Unfortunately, the couple was childless. Berinja proved to be a perfect partner, ably providing warmth and compassion that helped maintain her husband's relationship with his followers. She accepted Francisco's sons by another woman .... Hantud ..... Cawag .....Boasa..... Camangay and Estaca... and reared them as her own.

Francisco was known as a great lover of animals. Gabriel Nipis, a descendants of Francisco's soldier described the hero's mountain capital and military quarters as a Zoo.

The immediate cause of the rebellion in 1744 was traced to father Morales' refusal to give Christian burial to his brother Sagarino. Sagarino accordingly was sent to arrest a renegade Indian ( for the pejorative word Indio ) who killed the former instead. It is believed that father Morales refused to bury Sagarino in consecrated ground and the corpse lay rotting for three days. Because he died in a duel and, by the law of the church, he "did not merit a Christian Burial". Angered by the injustice, Francisco swore vengeance on the Jesuit priest and persuaded the natives to join him. Some 3,000 followers abandoned their homes and fortified an inaccessible retreat in the mountains.

On their way, they plundered San Xavier, a large estate belonging to the Jesuits, which was well stock with carabaos, cows, horses and other animals. The rebellion rolled across the island. " like horrendous cogon fires", Francisco Dagohoy, idolized as a liberator, emerged victorious on all fronts. His prestige "soared skyward" and his name "sped swiftly” from cost to cost, from hills to hills, and from town to town."

Francisco Dagohoy was an expert strategist who made full use of his familiarity with Danao's many caves and plunging cliffs. He had the knack for choosing appropriate names and sites. He established his headquarters in Cambito-on, a plateau named such because it is "near the stars." From there, Francisco had a commanding view of any approaching enemy force while being naturally protected by dangerous cliffs and rising hills. He could see as far as the skyline of Cebu and the island of Mactan and even have a wonderful view of the Chocolate Hills.

It is recalled that stories handed down through generations about a watch tower on Tawagan Hill where the sentry calls out an alarm at the sight of approching vessels from Cebu. Francisco also devised an effective relay using native gongs. The presence of an approaching stranger was known to him hours before it reaches the first outpost. A sitio of Cambito-on, aptly named Pasanan from the Cebuano word "pasa", served as a relay point. Barrio Taming (visayan for shield) a plateua, provided the "shield" and guard post. Magtangtang got its name from the practice of the natives to untie their cargoes from carabao's back from wallowing in the river. Dagohoy's offices were housed in Caylagan, a sitio in Magtangtang. It came as no surprise that Don Pedro Lechuga, the Spanish military commander in Bohol in 1744, found that Francisco Dagohoy was a master of guerilla warfare.

Francisco was known for his penchant for anting-antings (amulets). This worked to his advantaged as his followers eventually believed he possessed supernatural powers. On his neck hung a talisman which gave him "power" to appear and disappear. Stories abound about Francisco Dagohoy's ability to jump from hilltop to another and from one side of the river to the other. His followers eventually called him "Daganan". Dagang was the visayan word for feathers, perhaps playing up his ability to glide among the hills.

The Word Dagohoy itself is believed to be a mere contraction of two visayan words: " Dagon " and " Hoyohoy." Dagon is a charm of magical power and given to a good man by supernatural beings, while hoyohoy reffered to gentle breeze or wind. Francisco Dagohoy nurtured the image of a hero who had the magical powers of gentle breeze, to float and disappear as he wished. Francisco Dagohoy, mastered the numerous caves and underground rivers in Magtangtang, which have remained mysterious and critical to this day. This baffled the enemy to the end and to such an extent that even his followers heightened his mystic.

Francisco Dagohoy lived till he was 101, died of rabies, probably in 1825. The rebellion which he led outlived him, valiantly carried on by his brother Maximino, better known as Tugpa. By the time the joint Filipino-Spanish troops commanded by Capt. Manuel Sanz crushed the rebellion in 1829, it was already 85 years old. It remains the highlight in the Philippines struggle against the colonization unmatched in durability.

The stamp was issued in May 18, 1982.