Today in Philippine History, November 14, 1875, Gregorio Del Pilar was born in Bulacan, Bulacan

Monday November 14, 2011 ()

On November 14, 1875, Gregorio Del Pilar, one of the youngest generals during the 1896 Philippine Revolution against Spain, was born in Bulacan, Bulacan.

Popularly known as the “Boy General,” he became General Emilio Aguinaldo’s confidante and right-hand man.

Also casually known as "Goyo," he came from a poor family and had to peddle rice cakes and even served as "houseboy" for his aunt until he finished his Bachelor’s degree course from Ateneo de Manila University at age 20.

Gregorio del Pilar   
(General Gregorio del Pilar)   

When he was 13 years old, Goyo became a messenger for his uncle, Deodato Arellano, who took the responsibility of distributing propaganda materials to the different societies after his other uncle Marcelo Del Pilar left the country for Spain.

At age 21, Goyo joined the Philippine Revolutionary Forces against the Spanish rule in August 1896 under the leadership of Andres Bonifacio, as a field commander fighting Spanish garrisons in Bulacan.

A sharpshooter and a fearless soldier, Goyo’s first major fight was in the Battle of Kakarong in Bulacan. From then, he was promoted time and again until he was made full general at the age of 23.

He later joined General Aguinaldo, who set up his own republican government at Biak-na-Bato in San Miguel, Bulacan. He earned Aguinaldo’s respect and confidence, and he even accompanied Aguinaldo to Hong Kong after the truce at Biak-na-Bato.

Upon Aguinaldo’s return to the country to set up his First Philippine Republic, Goyo was appointed section leader of the revolutionary forces in Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

His bravery was so widespread that even the Americans recognized it, even asking for his presence during the peace conference between the Philippine Republic and the American Occupation Forces.

   Col. John M. Stotsenburg
   Colonel John M. Stotsenburg
During the Philippine-American War, he won in the Battle of Quingua, also in Bulacan, on April 23, 1899, killing the highly-decorated Col. John M. Stotsenburg (Clark Air Base in Pampanga was originally named Fort Stotsenburg).

On the lighter side, the young general was not at all guns and war; he was also a gentleman, soft and tender, with quite a number of girls swooned over him. In the battlefield, he even carried souvenirs of women he loved.

However, on December 2, 1899, the young Del Pilar died at the Battle of Tirad Pass, where he was earlier sent by General Aguinaldo together with 60 soldiers to secure the narrow and perilous passageway so that Aguinaldo and his men could retreat safely to the north.

With his body unburied for days and exposed to the elements, an American officer, Lt. Dennis P. Quinlan, gave the body a traditional U.S. military burial.

On Del Pilar's tombstone, Quinlan inscribed this description: "An Officer and a Gentleman."

In a diary that was recovered from Del Pilar's body, the following entry was written:

"The General has given me that pick of all the men that can be spared and ordered me to defend the Pass. I realize that a terrible task is given to me. And yet I feel that this is the most glorious moment of my life. What I am doing now is for my beloved country. No sacrifice can be too great."

Source: Philippine News Agency archives
Photo: Wikipedia


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