Today in Philippine History, November 11, 1858, Martin Teofilo Delgado was born in Santa Barbara, Iloilo

Friday November 09, 2012 ()

On November 11, 1858, Martin Teofilo Delgado, revolutionary general in the Visayas and Mindanao, was born in Santa Barbara, Iloilo, the second child of a rich and aristocratic Spanish mestizo family. He finished his early schooling at Santa Barbara Parochial School. Later, he enrolled at the Seminario de San Vicente Ferrer in Jaro. He later went on to enroll at the Ateneo Municipal in Manila and obtained his diploma as a school teacher.

After finishing his studies in Manila. He returned to his hometown and taught in a public school for some time. At the age of 25, he was chosen teniente mayor, later made capital municipal and juez de paz, which positions he held with distinction.

   Martin Teofilo Delgado
   (Martin Teofilo Delgado)

Shortly after Commodore George Dewey had smashed the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay on May 1, 1898 and blockaded the capital, the hard-pressed Spanish colonial government organized Filipino volunteer militia in the different regions of the Philippines. General Ricardo Monet, the Politico-Military Governor of Iloilo Province, appointed Martin Delgado as captain and commander of the voluntarios in Santa Barbara.

Delgado, popularly known as Tan Martin, however, turned around and joined the revolution against Spain.

On November 17, 1898, at the plaza of Santa Barbara, Tan Martin proclaimed the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Visayas and Mindanao. He raised the Philippine flag sent by General Emilio Aguinaldo. It was the first time that the Filipino national flag was hoisted outside of Luzon Island. When the flag reached the top of the bamboo pole, the air reverberated with cries of Viva Filipinas! Fuera España! Viva Independencia!.

The provisional Revolutionary government was shortly replaced by a Politico-Military government on November 23, 1898, composed only of the Visayas.

On December 2, 1898, the Independent Republic of Negros and the Cantonal Government of Bohol (established in August 1898), merged with the Panay government that included Romblon (part of Capiz), based in Iloilo, and was renamed Federal Republic of the Visayas.

On December 25, 1898 Don Diego de los Rios, after more than a month of intense fighting wherein the Visayans militarily defeated the Spanish forces in Iloilo, surrendered to the Federal Republic of the Visayas, led by General Martin Delgado, at Plaza Alfonso XIII (present day Plaza Libertad) in Iloilo City.

On April 28, 1899, President Emilio Aguinaldo abolished the Federal Republic and appointed Delgado as the civil and military governor of Iloilo Province under the central Philippine government. He waged guerrilla warfare against the Americans on Panay Island.

On February 2, 1901, General Delgado formally surrendered in Jaro to the American military governor Edmund Rice. Up to the time of his surrender, Delgado was the chief insurgent leader in the island of Panay. He was recognized by the Americans as "the ablest leader" on the island and honored him with the appointment of the First Governor of Iloilo province upon the establishment of the Civil Government on April 11, 1901. His appointment became effective on May 1, 1901.

On March 3, 1902, the first local election was held. He was elected governor of Panay and served until 1904. After his term, he returned to his hometown of Santa Barbara and served for eight years as superintendent of a leprosy sanitarium.

He spent his last years as superintendent of the leper colony on the island of Culion where he died on November 12, 1918 at the age of 60.

A statue was erected in his honor in the town square of Santa Barbara, Iloilo in 1998 during the occasion of the Philippine Centenary celebrations.


  1. Pambansang Komisyong Pangkasaysayan
  2. Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 by Arnaldo Dumindin (
  3. Photo credit: Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 by Arnaldo Dumindin


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