November 16th, 1899

Departed for Tubao, where we rested in the evening; then to Aringay, Cava and Bauang, where we took our meal; then to Naguilian. We intended to stay here to rest for several days; but at 10 o’clock in the evening of the 19th or thereabouts, the proximity of the enemy forced us to flee, taking the trails through the mountains of San Fernando and Bacnotan to the outskirts of San Juan and Balanang, where we arrived at 8 o’clock in the evening. We slept here; and on the following day, the 21st, started for Bañga and Tagudin, where we took our lunch. We continued our trip to Candon. We spent the night in this place. The next day, the 22nd, we headed for Salcedo, where we ate lunch; then for Concepción, where we spent the evening. On the 23rd, we departed for Angake. We suspended our trip for a few days, until the 30th, when we proceeded to Cervantes, Lepanto.

November 15th, 1899

In the morning the Americans attacked us. We departed for Alava, then for the ranchería of Famy, where we stopped for the night. We were visited by Gen. Tinio in Pozorrubio. When he learned that I did not have a horse, he ordered one of his cavalry men to give me his, which was a small but strong stallion, including the saddle. Thanks to this general, I did not have to travel on foot again.

Between Alava and Rosario, the wife of the President fell unconscious. She had to be carried in an improvised hamaca[1] as she could not ride her horse anymore.

[1]Hammock made of rattan carried from the shoulders of two or more men and used in traveling during the Spanish times.

November 13th, 1899

About 5 in the afternoon, we left Bayambang with the President, his family, and escort for Calasiao and Santa Barbara, where we joined General Gregorio H. del Pilar and his brigade. Without any rest during the night, we took the road to Pozorrubio, stopping for a while between Manaoag and San Manuel. On the afternoon of the 14th, we entered Pozorrubio and rested in the convent. On our way between Manaoag and San Manuel our rear guard was cut off by the enemy. It included the President’s mother and his son, Secretaries Buencamino, Alas, Ylagan, Gerona, Osmeña,[1] Col. José Leyba, and our baggage.

[1]Sergio Osmeña, who became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1907, during the American regime.

November 10th, 1899

The whole family left Villasis at night for Bayambang. On reaching the ford before Alcalá, the President’s daughter, Flora Victoria Aguinaldo y del Rosario, died without her mother knowing it. It must have been midnight. At dawn, on the 13th, we reached Bayambang. The President’s wife, still unaware of her daughter’s death, requested me to buy more medicine for her when we passed by a drugstore. On my way, I met the President and informed him of the demise of the girl. Without a word to his wife, he, accompanied by P. Aglipay[1] went to bury the child at the Bayambang church.

[1] Gregorio Aglipay, a Filipino Catholic priest who founded the Philippine Independent Church in 1902. He took active part in the Philippine Revolution of 1896.

May 16th, 1899

Paterno, upon assumption to power, as President of the Council of Secretaries, made the following appointments:

Felipe Buencamino…………………………. Foreign Affairs
Hugo Ilagan………………………………….. Finance
Severino de las Alas………………………… Interior
Mariano Trias………………………………… War and Navy
Leon Ma. Gerra[1]……………………………… Agriculture, Industry and Commerce
Aguedo Velarde……………………………… Public Instruction
Maximino Paterno…………………………… Public Works and Communications
This was known as the Paterno Cabinet.
The Mabini Cabinet was composed of:
Apolinario Mabini……………………………. President
Mabini………………………………………… Department of Foreign Affairs
Teodro Sandico……………………………… Department of Interior
Mariano Trias (Arcadio del Rosario, acting) Department of Agriculture
Gracio Gonzaga…………………………….. Department of Fomento
Baldomero Aguinaldo………………………. Department of War and Navy
Cruz Herrera (acting)……………………….. Department of Public Instruction

The Foreign Affairs portfolio was given to Cayetano Arellano, who, however, did not assume office after taking his oath.

Once the Paterno Cabinet was established, peace negotiations were considered based on a proposal of autonomy patterned after Canada’s. In fact, he gathered in San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, Generals Luna, [Pio del] Pilar, and other chiefs to deliberate on the idea. Buencamino read a well-reasoned proposition; but it was taken by those present with reserve. The officers left for their posts, the majority of whom reserved their opinions.

The American advance, arrested in Calumpit, finally broke the line by attacking Quingua, then Pulilan, from which point they penetrated Calumpit suffering many casualties. They continued advancing to Apalit, Santo Tomas, and San Fernando, where they stationed themselves for a few months. Since the capture of Calumpit, the Filipinos fortified Bambang and established the capital of the Republic at Tarlac.

It must have been May 9 when Congress was convened at San Isidro, resulting in the resignation of the entire Mabini Cabinet. Once the “unreasonable” person was out of power, the conservatives spread the news everywhere that peace had been declared. It even reached the mountains, and was a powerful reason for those taking refuge in the environs of Biyak-na-bató to return to their homes. Numerous families went back to the towns believing that very soon peace would be a reality.

I went to Malolos after I left Polo. Then I accompanied the family of Mariano de Santos to Baliuag and San Miguel de Mayumo. When the latter was captured by the Americans, we took to the sitio of Balaong[2] near Biyak-na-bató. We had two houses here for two large families. We had to provide thirty-three cavans of palay or more and some sacks of salt for a year’s supply.

We moved into the houses. The family of Nazario Constantino was joined by his brother-in-law, Santos de Castro of Polo with his three sons, his cousin Teresa, and the family of Lucio Ongsiaco; and that of Santos was joined by the mother-in-law of Nano[3] with her companions. The two houses were full.

With the capture of San Miguel, fearing that the Americans might conduct an inspection, we spent the night in the Tañganan cave. The next day, about midafternoon, we returned to the house and found the other members of the household preparing to return to their respective homes, as news of peace were being circulated all around from mouth to mouth. During the night, all our belongings were placed in the carts that had arrived from San Rafael.

The next day, May 15, all of us, riding on the fifteen carts, were on our way to San Rafael.

Major Soriano and I should have stayed behind; but we believed it to be our duty to take them as far as the environs of said town. It must have been about 5 o’clock in the afternoon when we saw the town proper from afar, but we had to pass through the populous barrio of Caiñgan towards which we were riding. Soriano and I should have returned by now; but at the insistence of the young girls who invited us to dine with them, we accompanied them to the barrio about 7 in the evening.

[1]Leon Ma. Guerrero.


[3]Mariano de los Santos.

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.