June 6, 1899

[Kalaw: The following morning, June 6th, General Concepcion received a telegram from the President of the Council of Government advising him of the death of General Luna at Cabanatuan the day before, on June 5th.]

Immediately I went to see General Aguinaldo and told him of the lamentable happening showing the telegram I received and he showed great surprise not being able to say a word for five minutes, and then said at last: “Please return to your headquarters; in the meanwhile reserve to yourself such a grave incident and order the presentation to the captain-generalship of all the forces armed with mausers!”

 


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.

[2]Balaon.

[3]Mariano de los Santos.


April 28, 1899

Col. Mas Arguell [Manuel Arguelles]  & Lieut Col. Jown [Florentino Torres] [and] [an] Adj.  [of] Gen. Luna [Ambrosio Flores] yesterday [went] through McArthur’s lines to proper terms of peace asking for cessation of hostilities. After interview with Otis they were turned over to Press [Provost] Marshall. This is probably ending of the insurrection. Calumpit fell & our troops are still advancing along whole line. The crossing of Rio Grande [in] Pampanga is said by Gen. Wheaton to have been one of greatest feats of modem tactics.


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.