Tuesday, March 3, 2015


"Nagsabado sa Pasig" is the term use to describe and glorify the Katipunan action in Pasig in August 29, 1896-Saturday. In the early weeks leading to that fateful day in August, the commander of the Spanish detachment in Pasig, the then Lt. Manuel B. Sityar had been noticing uncommon gatherings of men in the wee hours of the night in the areas of Pasig and Mandaluyong. But the rainy season had prevented him to investigate and learn more of this gatherings. In fact, one of the most important Katipunan meetings the "Asamblea Magna",   happened in May of the same year in Pasig.

Pasig town center in the late 1890's.  Seen here is the church and also the waterway, the famous "Bitukang Manok"

Beginning August 1896, the local Katipunan leader in Pasig Gen. Valentin Cruz started sending secret feelers to the Katipuneros from different "visitas" or "barrios" around Pasig that uprising could happen soon. Andres Bonifacio and some members of the Kapitunan council at that time had seek refuge in the Morong area (Rizal Province) protected by the local Katipunan chapters of the great plains of Morong/Marikina-Pasig area..the so called "Pantayanin". Arrest of suspected Katipunan members in Manila had already started in the last days of July after the discovery of Katipunan  paraphernalia in a Manila printing shop .

On Aug. 28,  Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto went to Mandaluyong to confer with the Katipunan leaders there. The next morning, Bonifacio held another meeting. He told his men that it was now time to begin the uprising then asked if they were ready. When the men said yes, there was also this tearing of the cedula symbolizing the break with Spain etc. After that, General Cruz, and other Katipunan leaders traveled to their respective towns to alert their troops.

In the  light of dusk of August 29, 1896, while Bonifacio was preparing his men in the attack of Mandaluyong the sons of Pasig led by Valentin Cruz were attacking the Spanish detachment in Pasig. Pasig historian Dean Carlos Tech described the events as follows:

  "Nightfall of Aug. 29, the men from the Pasig barrios of Pineda, Bagong Ilog and Ugong crossed the San Mateo River to Maybunga, where they joined the forces from Santolan, Rosario, Maybunga, Palatiw, Sagad, Poblacion, Pinagbuhatan, Bambang, Kalawaan, Buting and other barrios of Pasig. After some final battle instructions, the gallant sons of Pasig, armed with scythes, bolos, spears, a few guns and their determination to fight for freedom under the leadership of General Cruz, marched to attack the town. The townsfolk, who were in a fiesta mood, lined the streets, cheering their heroes on. (It was a precursor of the fiesta mood of the Edsa uprising 100 years later.) There were almost 2,000 of them, representing almost every family of Pasig, from all levels of society, in a show of unity against tyranny. At Plaza de Paz, now Plaza Rizal, a sniper in the church tower hit a man from Bagong Ilog who thus became the first Pasigueño to offer his life on the altar of freedom. The revolutionaries attacked the Tribunal and the Guardia Civil headquarters, in what is now the Guanio residence, capturing 17 de piston rifles and three Remingtons. Manuel Sityar, the Guardia Civil commander, hid in the church tower. It was a glorious night for Pasig, and the whole town rejoiced in that firs victory of the revolution which the old folk remember as ''Nagsabado.'' 

General Valentin Cruz, this studio shot was done in a later year.

Lt. Manuel B. Sityar- Like other mestizos in the Spanish army, Sityar would later be recruited by General Antonio Luna in the revolutionary forces in the Philippine-American War. General  Luna would  also named him superintendent of the "Academia Militar"-the first military academy in the Philippines.

."Memorias Intimas" by Sityar has a different account.  Sityar evaded the Pasig Katipuneros and escaped to Pateros, he even inspected what happened there. The Katipunan revolt in Pateros was bolder and also bloodier compare to that of Pasig. What happened then the following days when the guardia civil reinforcement arrived in Pasig?. If ever it was indeed a victory, it was short. Valentin Cruz with his men joined Bonifacio's group and eventually got routed in Pinaglabanan.  Valentin Cruz was captured then tortured. He was tied  to a rope whereby his body was submerged head first to the river of "Bitukang Manok". He endured the torture and was later exiled to the Marianas. 

In an open forum/lecture in the late 1990"s about  the events of "Nagsabado", Pasig historian Carlos Tech was asked how many Guardia Civil were with Sityar that time, he answered,  only 2. When asked how many casualties were there on the side of the Pasig Katipunan, there was only one.

"Nagsabado" perhaps needs a new interpretation.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

AGUINALDO - BONIFACIO- Their views in the "Asamblea Magna" at Pasig. May 1896.

The "Asamblea Magna" at  Pasig. May 1896. (Gen. Santiago Alvarez-Memoir)

On May 3, 1896 a general meeting among Katipunan leaders called by Supremo Andres Bonifacio was held in Pasig. The venue was the house of local Katipunan leader, Valentin Cruz located near the Pasig church of the Immaculate Conception. The meeting would be known as the "Asamblea Magna". Perhaps one of the most revealing events in the history of the Katipunan.
The meeting was held to appraise what the Supremo called as "difficulties with which our Society is beset. " The movement had been exposed. Bonifacio wanted to act and start the uprising so as no to be forced against the wall. He asked the assembly; "What is your decision? Shall we rise in revolt now?” Aguinaldo then took the floor and cautioned the Supremo against acting hastily.Suggesting a thorough assessment to the situation and then saying: "I am against rising in arms now while we are not yet prepared to face the enemy.”
At this point Alvarez spoke and reminded the assembly of the dire situation they could be in once they start the uprising, likening it to those patriots exiled and persecuted after the event of 1872- Cavite Mutiny. Alvarez mentioned also Jose Rizal who at that time was exiled in Dapitan. It was at this point also that Aguinaldo spoke and asserted: “Mr. Chairman,” “I believe that what the brother who spoke before me had to say is correct and in consonance with the lofty ideals of the Katipunan. I therefore propose to defer any decision until after we have agreed on whether or not to seek the counsel of Dr. Jose Rizal in Dapitan.”
Bonifacio then called a recess. Saying: “we need a little rest and relaxation of the mind, so that we can respond more sensitively to the noble aspirations of the Katipunan.” After the recess a popular decision was then reached, that: The uprising pushed by the Supremo would be deferred until Dr. Rizal is consulted and that “Dr. Pio Valenzuela is hereby delegated to confer with Dr. Jose Rizal in Dapitan. He will be accompanied by a man who has lost his eyesight; Mr. Emilio Aguinaldo assures us that he can provide such a person who will pretend to seek the ministrations of Dr. Rizal."
The "Asamblea Magna" Pasig may have been the start of the crack between Bonifacio and Aguinaldo. It was also a reminder to Bonifacio that Rizal (despite exiled in Dapitan) still holds the primacy in the nationalist struggle. It could also be defined as "the potent sign of the Cavitismo", that Bonifacio is slowly being sidelined leading to the tragic events at Tejeros. Another striking fact in this memoirs was that Bonifacio was pictured here as somewhat "acting in haste" as contrary to that of Aguinaldo....and Aguinaldo was even suggesting consultation with Rizal. This part of the memoir about the "Asamblea Magna" somehow also questions the title "First President" being pushed to honor Bonifacio. What power and what character does this title holds that time?