A detailed account of the Sumuroy rebellion as told by a Spaniard

Wednesday November 09, 2011 ()

(We are presenting here this account from Emma Helen Blair's collection as it is in the archives of the University of Michigan Special Collection (digital) Library except for page 1, page 2, and the last page (15) where they are formatted for easy read.)

(Page 1 and 2)

There was an Indian named Sumoroy in the village of Palapag (a municipality in the present day province of Northern Samar), who was regarded as one of the best, although he was one of the very worst, and was as evil as his father-who, accredited with the same hypocrisy, was a babaylan and priest of the devil, and made the other Indians apostatize. He was greatly addicted to drunkenness, and he had so promoted it [in others] that all the village was contaminated with this vice, as well as that of lust - vices so closely allied to idolatry, of which truth there are many examples in Holy Writ. The inhabitants of Palapag were corrupted by those evil habits at the time when Governor Don Diego Fajardo - with the intention of relieving the near-by provinces of Tagalos and Pampanga from the burden of working, at the harbor of Cavite, in the building of galleons and vessels necessary for the conservation and defense of these islands - had ordered the alcaldes of Leite and other provinces to send men thence to Cavite for that employment. That was a difficult undertaking, because of the distance of more than one hundred leguas, and the troubles and wrongs to the said Indians that would result from their leaving their homes for so long a time. The father ministers went to the alcaldes, and the latter to Manila, to represent those troubles and wrongs; but the only thing that they obtained was a more stringent order to execute the mandate without more reply. Consequently they could do nothing else than obey the orders of the superior government, although they feared what very soon occurred. But what good end could so mistaken and pernicious a decision have ?

As soon as the inhabitants of Palapag saw that the alcaldes-mayor were beginning to collect men to send them to the harbor of Cavite, they began to go oftener to the meetings in the house of Sumoroy and his father, and to begin (when heated with wine, the ordinary counselor of the Indians) to organize their insurrection. They quickly appointed leaders, of whom the chief was Don Juan Ponce, a very influential man and a bad Christian, but married to a wife from a chief's family in the village of Catubig; she was very different from him in her morals, for she was very virtuous. The second leader was one Don Pedro Caamug, and the third the above-named Sumoroy. Then they discussed the murder of the father minister, Miguel Ponce of the Society of Jesus, an Aragonese, at the suggestion of that malignant sorcerer and priest of the devil, the father of Sumoroy, who charged that undertaking upon his son.

(Page 15 of the document above)

The chief leader Sumoroy and his sorcerer father refused to put in an appearance, or to talk of peace. But the very ones whom he had caused to rebel killed him, and carried his head to Don Gines de Rojas, although they had been so loyal to him before that when the alcalde-mayor of Leite went at the beginning to reduce them to peace, and asked them as the first condition to deliver to him the head of Sumoroy, they, making light of the request, sent him the head of a swine. But afterward, as a token of their true obedience, they delivered the head, without any one asking for it. Don Juan Ponce remained in hiding in the island of Cebu for a long time, but after having obtained pardon he returned to Palapag; there he committed crimes that were so atrocious that the alcalde-mayor seized him and sent him to Manila, where he paid for those crimes on the scaffold. He who had the best end was Don Pedro Caamug; for he was the first to present himself, and showed great loyalty in the reduction of the others. He continued all his life to be very quiet, and was governor of his village, where he was highly esteemed; and it was proved that he was not the one who had killed Father Vicente with his hands, although he was captain of that band. Moreover, it was found to be advisable to overlook much on that occasion, as the quiet of all the Pintados Islands, who were awaiting the end of the rebels of Palapag, depended on it.

Diaz's Conquistas (pp. 517-523) via The Philippine Islands, 1493-1803; explorations by early navigators, descriptions of the islands and their peoples, their history and records of the Catholic missions, as related in contemporaneous books and manuscripts, showing the political, economic, commericial and religious conditions of those islands from their earliest relations with European nations to the beginning of the nineteenth century; [Vol. 1, no. 38], page 114-128, Author: Blair, Emma Helen, ed. d.1911.


Comments (A detailed account of the Sumuroy rebellion as told by a Spaniard )