May 14th, 1900

We received letters from Manila; from [illegible] dated April 6. From General Tinio’s letter, I was informed of the death of Miguel Aguinaldo. Without any precaution taken, this letter was read before the President. It made him sigh and say, “For the country.”


February 5th, 1899

It was a terrible day. From 6 in the morning the fighting began by sea and land. In the afternoon our forces were unable to continue the defense at Caloocan, where the grenades and incendiary bombs fell. Two fell directly on the church tower and confusion ensued. The forces retreated toward Tinajeros and Polo. Left behind when evening came were General Pantaleon García and Major Soriano.

Fully informed of this happening, the President left Malolos for Caloocan and Malabon ordering our forces to return and occupy these places; and if the enemy wanted to retake them, they should do so shedding their own blood in the attempt. The order brought renewed vigor among the troops. Caloocan was garrisoned anew as far as Navotas and Malabon.

The Director of War, Antonio Luna, was in the battlefield the whole Sunday afternoon, stopping the advance of the enemy with a small number of troops, thus showing his bravery and fearlessness on this occasion. Everybody agreed that he was worthy to be in the hierarchy of Division Generals who had displayed their insignia of distinction. This event won for him the general applause and an appointment as Defense Chief of the railroad line.

Five days later, the Americans occupied Caloocan after suffering many casualties. From then on, the line of defense extended along Tinajeros and Tuliajan and as far as Novaliches, where the enemy, suffering many casualties, doubted the possibiilty of breaking that line. They finally pushed the line owing to the fact that grenades were hurled from the fleet in the bay. Seeing the futility of continued resistance, our troops allowed the enemy to advance, but with sizable and numerous casualties, while they retreated to Calumpit and Baliuag to fortify the new line of defense.

Having taken the Tuliajan line, the Americans continued advancing with slight resistance. Malolos was occupied as far as the Bagbag River in Calumpit, where they were quartered for some time.

The Philippine Government, having lost the Tuliajan line to the enemy, evacuated Malolos and transferred to San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, where the Congress convened by Pedro A. Paterno dissolved the Mabini Cabinet and Paterno was called to form a new one. It must be noted that the session, in my humble opinion, was illegal; for, according to news, it was composed of fourteen members only, including their President. The majority of the members present were Mabini’s enemies. That session, therefore, which resulted in the downfall of the Mabini Cabinet, was unconstitutional.

Paterno, now in power with the support of his followers, proposed peace, accepting autonomy. But an unexpected move—a proposed coup d’etat—on the part of General Luna, who was in Cabanatuan, banished from everybody the idea of accepting autonomy; in turn, they became strong advocates of Independence.

 

 


February 4th, 1899

It was a beautiful day, Saturday, February 4, 1899.[1] There was peace and happiness everywhere in Malolos because on this day the (peace) Commissioners were to read before Congress the results of the conferences held with the American emissaries of McKinley to reach an agreement between the two nations. Happiness, because the Filipino nation had high hopes that at the end of the conference an agreement favorable to the aspirations of our people would be reached.

In the afternoon, Congress began its session; a numerous public invaded the temple of laws to listen to the outcome of the conferences. Almost all the representatives were at their posts. The session began. Gracio Gonzaga, Secretary of Fomento, representing our government, read the results of the conferences held with the American envoys headed by Schurman,[2] and the Filipinos headed by Florentino Torres.

It was clear that the envoys of the Imperialist Party were not invested with the powers needed to pass any resolution; thus, messages were telegraphed to the McKinley cabinet. In short, nothing was accomplished during the conferences except wasting our time and dampening the spirit of our people.

Coincidence, fatality, Machiavellian stratagem, or concerted action between the American Army and their envoys—the truth is that on that same day, Saturday, February 4, the last groups of soldiers sent by McKinley disembarked at the plains of Santa Mesa with their cannons facing San Juan del Monte, where the advance forces of the Filipinos were stationed. On that day, the talks were terminated without coming to any agreement. Our fears did not take long to come to a head.

The evening was quiet with a silver moon shining; Malolos was happy; a dance was being held in the house of Mrs. Concha del Rosario, widow of Mapúa. Gen. Artemio Ricarte and Col. Luciano San Miguel, commanders of the Santa Ana line in Manila, were paying homage to Terpsichore. While Malolos was in deep slumber without any suspicion of an unrest, between midnight and 1 o’clock in the morning, an unusual noise woke the unsuspecting inhabitants. The cry of “War” reverberated everywhere. The hostilities had begun!

We woke up at 1 o’clock and went to the Central Postal Station, where we met the Honorable President of the Philippine Republic issuing orders. All the prominent members of the government were also there: Gen. Ricarte, Col. San Miguel, [Teodoro] Sandico, and others.

About 3 o’clock, Gen. Ricarte and Col. San Miguel boarded a train for Sta. Ana; Moreno and I accompanied them. At 5 a.m. we reached the station at Caloocan and continued on foot to Maypajo. Before reaching it, Ricarte and San Miguel separated from our group and took the road to La Loma; Moreno and I proceeded to the trenches at Maypajo and reached them at 5:30 a.m. Here we learned of the impossibility of reaching Manila; Moreno has been appointed chief of the volunteers from Manila.

After a while some soldiers from detachments in Solis arrived informing us that they were leaving because they had no longer any cartridges. I left Moreno at 6 o’clock to be in Caloocan with the intention of establishing an emergency field hospital while waiting for the military health unit to take some action. A few steps away sounds of guns and cannons rent the air while shots whistled by, instilling in me the fear that the end was near. During intervals, I made my way and reached unscathed the municipal building where I intended to attend to the wounded. I had hardly gone upstairs when I saw a warship in the bay opposite the building. I left for the railroad station; but barely twenty meters away a grenade fell. I entered the station and saw a wounded man, but as I did not have anything with me to help him, and knowing the impossibility of requesting medicines from Malabon, I departed and took the train for Malolos.

When I arrived home, Choling[3] told me that I was a coward because I had abandoned the fighting. I explained to her that I had come to get bandages and medicines because there were none there. I went to the drug store and requested everything needed for first aid. When I inquired for the cost, the pharmacist refused to collect. At 1 in the afternoon of the 5th, after lunch, I returned to Caloocan bringing my surgery satchel. I found [Antonio] Luna, José, [Leon Ma.] Guerrero and [Anastacio] Francisco, Inspector General of Military Health.

At 4 p.m. a stretcher arrived bringing [José] Torres Bugallon, Major of the General Staff, with a broken right thigh; he was very pale, looking almost bloodless owing to profuse hemorrhage. He stretched his hand upon seeing me, relating at the same time how he had been wounded.

He said, “I was leading the troops when I felt I was wounded, but continued marching about fifty meters farther; then I fell. I felt I was being dragged and then I lapsed into unconsciousness. I did not know anything more until I found myself here today. Bitter and endless fighting continued on both sides.” I asked him to stop talking and he kept silent.

Luna and I applied first aid to him then he was transferred to the Lolomboy Hospital at Bocaue. He died, however, on the way. The body was taken to Malolos, where it was buried. I was left in Bocaue, where I intended to establish a hospital; but with the presence of De Jesus and Cordero of the medical corps, I proceeded to Meycauayan, where I spent the night. On the following day, I stayed in the Polo station to attend to the wounded. On the third day, seeing that the medical staff of the military unit had taken complete control of the situation, I returned to Malolos.

[1] Manuscript carries year of 1900.

[2]Jacob Gould Schurman.

[3]Consuelo de Santos, youngest daughter of Marcelino de Santos; Barcelona married her on July 6, 1901.