Monday, August 31, 2015

Remembering Col. Maximo Abad on National Heroes Day, Marinduque concentration camps, burning of houses

National Heroes Day in the Philippines (last Monday of August), is a national public holiday to honor and remember the country’s national heroes, both known and unknown whose acts of courage enabled the Philippines to grow as a nation.


Towering among local heroes in the island-province of Marinduque is Col. Maximo Abad, hero of the Philippine-American War, the second phase of the Philippine revolution. Abad led the Marinduque revolutionary forces and defeated the Americans in the "Battle of Pulang Lupa". 
Many historical buffs could easily draw the conclusion that the exploits of the more celebrated national heroes would pale in comparison to the war exploits in that battle of this great local hero.
The most comprehensive account of the U.S. Army's pacification of Marinduque was authored by Andrew J. Birtle and was published in the Journal of Military History 61 (April 1997).
Conclusively in that comprehensive article, Marinduque in those days was where the earliest harsh employment of "population concentration", euphemism for concentration camps, the burning of houses and other forms of violence against men and animals were used as technique to make people subservient to new foreign masters. Shades of this technique are uncannily still employed in this tiny island-province until today - to bring people into subservience as a study of its contemporary political history will show.
The Birtle account begins with the following gripping lines:
“The severity with which the inhabitants have been dealt would not look well if a complete history of it were written out”.  
”So wrote Philippine Commissioner William Howard Taft concerning the U.S. Army's campaign on the island of Marinduque during the Philippine War of 1899-1902. The pacification of Marinduque was characterized by extensive devastation and marked one of the earliest employments of population concentration in the Philippine War, techniques that would eventually be used on a much larger scale in the two most famous campaigns of the war, those of Brigadier Generals J. Franklin Bell in Batangas and Jacob H. Smith in Samar..." 
Taft would later become the Governor-General of the Philippines and later serve as the 27th President of the United States (1909-1913).
But other than the Birtle account, what more do we know about Col. Maximo Abad since very little is known about his life?
A couple of days ago, thanks to the Internet, I have received via this blog additional information from a reader, RA Sor, as comment to an article I wrote five years ago, "Tracing the footsteps of Col. Maximo Abad" which, in the spirit of National Heroes Day, are both reproduced below: 
AvatarRamon L. Abad is half brother of Ramon "Daddy Amon" Sunico, Francisca "Mama Ne" Sunico-Monzon (wife of MLQU founder Chairman and President Leoncio Monzon and Julito Sunico. Consolacion Lozano Abad was married to a Sunico, widowed then married Col. Abad.

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      Colonel Maximo Abad married a Consolacion Lozano (pure Spanish decent daughter of a Galleon Captain Lozano. Colonel Maximo Abad was father to Ramon L. Abad. However he had other issue from other women in his life.

      Col. Abad lived with his family in Pikit North Cotobato, he was an applicant for homesead patent in Pikit, however the Japanese War prevented titling in his name of the land he developed. His lot houses the Municipal Government, School, Church and of late a pineapple farm which operates on his property without the consent of his heirs.
      Documents relative to his ownership over said lot is in Malacanang Library, a case was filed in Pikit with counsel Atty. Benedicto on record.

    TRACING THE FOOTSTEPS OF COLONEL MAXIMO ABAD

    by Eli J. Obligacion

    (Photo: Labanan sa Pulang Lupa dance-drama, 2007, written and directed by Eli J. Obligacion)

    TRACING THE FOOTSTEPS OF COL. MAXIMO ABAD... AND CAPT. TEOFILO ROQUE


    Lt. Col. Maximo Abad is probably one of the most elusive among the Filipino soldiers who fought during the Philippine-American War, the hero who led the Marinduque revolutionary forces and defeated the Americans in the “Battle of Pulang Lupa”. During the last four decades after the first commemoration in Marinduque of this, now annually-celebrated event, facts about Abad have remained equally elusive. 

    So little is known about him – the Maximo Abad who tenaciously adhered to the cause of Marinduque’s defense and Philippine Independence. For one, the name does not appear in the Centennial Resource Book, “Ang mga Bayani sa Ating Kasaysayan” listing of famous and unsung heroes, a project completed in connection with the Philippine Centennial in 1998. 

    The Philippine National Police provincial headquarters in Marinduque is named after him: “Camp Col. Maximo Abad”. Yet, for years the Camp has tried, in vain, to also trace his mother's surname so the initial could be appended between “Maximo” and “Abad” in the welcome signage there.

    Since nothing really appears to have been written about Abad’s background, (except his well-documented exploits in the Marinduque battle), we felt it appropriate to try to dig into some old documents, surf, recollect, and ask around here to trace his steps, to know a bit more about our celebrated hero. After all, August 31 is a holiday for national heroes. 

    Birtle (U.S. Army’s Pacification Campaign in Marinduque, April 1900-April 1901), described him as “a moustachioed school teacher from Luzon’s Cavite province”. We dig up an old Boac fiesta souvenir program with a brief description of the town’s history naming Maximo Abad as a “Maestro” in the first school for boys established there, “Escuela de Nino”, and that he was from Imus. Imus, of course, has always been associated with the resistance movement, and this might explain his early association with Gen. Mariano Trias, from whom he’d eventually be getting orders in the course of his Marinduque exploits. So we’re beginning to find connections. 

    Birtle contends that the civil and military leadership of the resistance movement on Marinduque was firmly rooted in the island's middle and upper classes, and that the insurrection was also in many ways a 
    family affair. 

    The American writer then goes on to tell us that Abad’s brother-in-law, Capt. Fausto Roque commanded the 1st Guerilla, and that Fausto had a cousin, Teofilo Roque (of the Battle of Paye fame whose biography also appears nowhere and likewise, needs to be written for history buffs). Teofilo commanded the 2nd Guerilla. 

    That leads us to the Roque residence in Mercado St., Boac, hoping to find more clues, particularly the name of Abad’s wife and children, if any, because that was our original intent.

    We find that Fausto and Teofilo were cousins, indeed. But at the moment, no one remembers the name of Maximo’s beloved wife. They had a son for sure, we are told, but there's uncertainty if they had other children too.

    We, however, unearth some information about Teofilo, the Paye hero. Teofilo was born in 1873, the son of Tomas Roque*, native of Bulacan, and Juana Navaroso, a local lass from Boac. Teofilo was the third of nine children. He graduated as a law student at Ateneo de Manila, and was still a bachelor in 1898, when he served as Lieutenant in the Marinduque Revolutionary Force.

    By the time the Paye episode transpired he was already married to Filomena “Nena” Morente. The marriage did not produce any offspring. He was 60 when his wife died, then moved to Manila where he died in August 1942 at age 69. That appeared to give us some idea about the Teofilo Roque persona.

    Then we zoom in again on the Abad character, one who has been described as passive, and turn to the internet. 

    Wikipedia credits Abad for being one of Gen. Licerio Geronimo's riflemen in the Battle of San Mateo (erroneously referred in that site and in many other sites as "Battle of Paye"), which occured on Dec. 19, 1899. But since a major confusion has been caused by Wikipedia in calling it by another name, and considering the fact that it was Abad's men who were involved in the real Battle of Paye on July 31, 1900, in Boac, Marinduque (led by Capt. Teofilo Roque), we'll have to consider it a confused claim unless backed up by verifiable references.

    We then discover the text of a Supreme Court document dated Oct. 22, 1902, that showed Abad was earlier charged and convicted for having denied to an officer of the U.S. Army the existence of certain rifles which had been concealed at the time of his surrender in April 1901. It appears that he appealed the conviction and the Supreme Court held that the violation committed by the appellant Abad falls within the scope of “treason” and “sedition” and covered by the amnesty proclamation. The Court decided that Abad was entitled to the benefits of the proclamation and ordered that he be discharged
    .
    The Maximo Abad surrender photo. Abad is accompanied in this photo by his comrades who had earlier surrendered, and by Col. Harry Hill Bandholtz of the Philippine Constabulary.

    So, this shows that the Americans pulled one over him after having dangled the carrot that ensured fair treatment if he surrendered. He did surrender on April 15, 1901, at Boac’s town plaza in an impressive ceremony attended by the townspeople.

    We then come across other leads, chancing upon a listing of municipal heads in Imus from 1888 to the present which showed an entry: “Maximo Abad (1910-1912)”. That appears to tell us that our man returned to Imus and even became its mayor eight years later.

    What happens next? A passage from Cotabato’s history states a new twist, thus:

    “The first Christian settlers in Cotabato from outside of Mindanao, mostly coming from the province of Cebu, arrived in Pikit on June 17, 1913 at the behest and as a result of the efforts of the late President Sergio Osmeña, who was then the Speaker of the Philippine Commission. Expenses of their transfer to the "Land of Promise" were subsidized by the government. The administrator of the colonies given to the settlers at that time was a superintendent by the name of Maximo Abad, a government appointed official, who took care of the settlers’ needs like food and farm implements. There were six more batches of colonies that arrived thereafter...”

    It therefore appears that the adventurous spirit of Abad never waned and he journeyed to a vaster frontier that imposed bigger challenges.

    Col. Maximo Abad

    Finally, we find something as we come across a site attempting to trace genealogies:

    “Col. Maximo Abad (deceased) Husband of unknown and Consolacion; Father of Ramon Lozano Abad and Josefina”

    And related information stating that “Ramon Lozano Abad” was “Half-brother of Ramon, Francisco and Julito”

    Fresh leads. He appears to have remarried and raised more children, and three appear to be half-brothers. In time, someone might prove instrumental when we finally gain access to the Revolutionary Papers tightly guarded within the confines of the National Archives.

    It's not an easy task to put it all together. But we're seized by the inescapable feeling that tracing the paths of an elusive person brings. We feel it's a good start. A great National Heroes Day for me, I might say.



    Sources:
    (*Tomas Roque (Dec. 29, 1841-June 6, 1907): Boac Gobernadorcillo from 1877-1979 and 1897-1898. Helped in the local distribution of Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibustrismo” together with Marcelo Mirafuente of Boac; was authorized by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898 to recruit and train soldiers who eventually figured in the Paye and Pulang Lupa battles. “Tomas Roque Street” in Boac named after him.
    Source: Document from granddaughter Juanita Roque-Enriquez as told by Joaquin Roque, a son of Tomas Roque)

    The Journal of Military History 61(April 1997) The U.S. Army's Pacification of Marinduque, Philippine Islands, April 1900-April 1901 by Andrew J. Birtle.
    Interview with Mrs. Fe Corazon Enriquez-Recalde. She supplied documents on Teofilo Roque prepared by her mother, Juanita Roque based on an account by Joaquin Roque, a brother of Teofilo.

    http://www.wowphilippines.com.ph/explore_phil/place_details.asp?content=history&province=61
    http://www.msc.edu.ph/centennial/hero/bicol/page10.html
    www.en.wikipedia.org
    www.ulongbeach.com
    www.gini.com

    Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio figures in today's commemoration.
    Now where's Col. Maximo Abad's resting place?

    Susong Dalaga Hill

    Susong Dalaga Hill
    Susong Dalaga Hill from Bagtasan isthmus

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