The Bancao rebellion of 1622 in Carigara, Leyte

Friday January 06, 2012 ()

The rebellion of 1621 1622 in Carigara, Leyte broke out while the Bohol uprising of Babaylan Tamblot was going on. To the Spaniards their success in Bohol was very important for it would check revolts from other villages and other islands. Chief Bancao of Carigara, Leyte however became impateint.

The Spaniards believed Bancao was at least 75 years old at the time of the revolt. The Spaniards noted that Bancao was "very old and decrepit".

Below is how the Spaniards
described the Bancao rebellion.

The natives of Carigara in the island of Leyte became impatient, and revolted without waiting for the result in Bohol, incited thereto by Bancao, the ruling chief of Limasava (Limasawa), who in the year 1565 received with friendly welcome Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and the Spaniards who came to his island, supplying them with what they needed, for which Phelipe II (Philip II) sent him a royal decree, thanking him for the kind hospitality which he showed to those first Spaniards. He was baptized and, although a young man, showed that he was loyal to the Christians; but, conquered by the enemy [of souls], he changed sides in his old age.

This man lived in the island of Leyte, and with a son of his and another man, Pagali (whom he chose as priest of his idolatry), erected a sacred place to the divata, or devil, and they induced six villages in the island to rebel.

In order to remove from them their fear of the Spaniards, these men told their followers that they could change the Spaniards into stones as soon as they saw them, by repeating the word bato, which signifies "stone" and that a woman or a child could change them into clay by flinging earth upon them.

Father Melchor de Vera went to Zebu (Cebu) to give warning of this sedition and obtain aid to check it. Captain Alcarazo equipped an armada of forty vessels, in which were embarked some Spaniards and many friendly Indians, also the father rector of Zebu and Father Vera; these united with the forces (both Spanish and Indian) that the alcalde of Leyte had. They offered peace to the rebels, but the latter spurned it with contempt.

Our men, divided into three bodies, attacked them; and, when that which Don Juan de Alcarazo commanded came in sight of the rebels, they fled to the hills. Our soldiers followed them, and on the way put to the sword or shot those whom they encountered; and, although the compassion of the Spaniards spared the children and women, these could not escape the fury of the Indians. Many of the rebels died, the enchantment not availing them by which they had thought to turn the Spaniards into stone or clay; the rest saved themselves by flight.

The Spaniards came to a large building which the rebels had erected for their divata; they encamped in it ten days, and then burned it. Some one pierced with a lance Bancao, the chief instigator of the rebellion, not knowing who he was, whom two of his slaves were carrying on their shoulders and immediately his head was placed on a stake as a public warning. He and his children came to a wretched end, as a punishment for their infidelity and apostasy; for his second son was beheaded as a traitor, and a daughter of his was taken captive.

To inspire greater terror, the captain gave orders to shoot three or four rebels, and to burn 8 one of their priests-in order that, by the light of that fire, the blindness in which the divata had kept them deluded might be removed. The Spaniards also cut off the head of an Indian who had robbed Father Vinancio ( Vilancio) and broken to pieces an image of the Virgin, and kicked a crucifix; and his head was set up in the same place where he had committed those horrible sacrileges. There were many who, in the midst of so furious a tempest, remained constant in their religious belief.

Murillo Velarde's Hist. de Philipinas, fol. 17, 18
Diaz's Conquistas, pp. 132-136
The Philippine Islands,Vol 1, No 38, Blair, Emma Helen, ed. d.1911.


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