The Vision of Francisco Dagohoy
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By: Quennie Ann J. PalafoxLocated in the heart of Visayas, Bohol became the battle ground for Filipinos who rose in arms against the Spaniards in pursuit for absolute freedom. The most prominent of which was Francisco Dagohoy- the ringleader of the uprising that lasted for 85 years, the longest in history of the Philippines. This personal vengeance against the persons turned into a serious and major uprising that will endure for many years even after the death of Dagohoy. This movement aimed to make Bohol once more a land of free men, can be considered as one of the earliest victory of Filipinos over the Spaniards as the island fell into the hands of the natives. Bohol, a disk-shaped island, the size very much similar to Cebu, was the place where the vessel Concepcion was abandoned and burned after Magellan’s death in Mactan in 1521. In 1565, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi entered into a blood compact with Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol to establish friendship with the native ruler. Soon after the conquest of the archipelago, religious jurisdiction over the island was given to the Society of Jesus. In 1744, the district of Inabangan in the northwest coast of the island was put under the auspice of Father Morales. He sent out a native constable named Dagohoy to arrest a renegade indio, but Dagohoy himself was killed instead. Francisco, Dagohoy’s brother, brought the corpse back to the village for burial in consecrated ground, according to the Catholic practice. Probably irked that the man had failed in his mission, Father Morales refused permission for a Catholic burial and Dagohoy’s cadaver lay rotting for three days. Francisco infuriated at the unsympathetic and treatment by the parish priest, he cursed the Jesuit and sought for revenge by persuading the natives of the district to unite with him in overthrowing the Spaniards. Some 3, 000 men and their families abandoned their homes in the lowland and trekked to the inaccessible mountainous interior where they built a fortification. In a remote region in the mountains between Inabangan and Talibon, Dagohoy established his headquarters and proclaimed the independence of Bohol. Dagohoy and his men sallied out in lightning raids on the lowland towns, assaulting the local Spanish garrisons, looting the churches, and slaughtering Spaniards, particularly the Jesuit priests. On January 24, 1746 one of Dagohoy’s bold warriors killed Father Giuseppe Lamberti, an Italian Jesuit and parish priest of Jagna. The Spanish authorities were worried by the remarkable successes of Dagohoy. In 1747 Bishop Juan de Arrechedera of Manila, then acting governor-general, dispatched a Spanish expedition to Bohol under the command of Don Pedro Lechuga, Dagohoy resisted this expedition and forced it to withdraw to Zamboanga. Later Bishop Miguel Lino de Espeleta of Cebu, who became acting archbishop and governor-general, tried to pacify the rebels. But Dagohoy refused to listen to him. The rebellion assumed dangerous proportions. Numerous recruits, disgusted at the string of injustices and tyranny committed by the Spaniards, joined Dagohoy. Except for a dozen coastal towns and villages protected by armed Spaniards and native police, the rebels controlled the island. The bishop, a creole, tried to defuse the situation in Bohol by offering to send secular priests to administer the parishes. The insurgents, however, remained firm in their rebellion. They would not accept the presence of civilian official. Evidently, Dagohoy and his followers were not against the Catholic religion, but resolutely refused to come again under the political domination of Spain. The Recollects replaced the Jesuits, and Father Pedro de Santa Barbarra, who was stationed in Baclayon, ascended the mountains to interview Dagohoy. He was welcomed and well treated, but Dagohoy courteously refused to give up Bohol’s independence....
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