Filipino women, as much as the Filipino men, deserve recognition for their important role in the Philippine Revolution. Mostly mothers, wives and/or children of the Katipuneros, they followed their men, risking their lives on the battlefields and/or aiding the revolutionists in more conventional ways to advance the cause of freedom.
From Central Luzon and Manila
TEODORA ALONZO: 1827 - 1911
The mother of the national hero, she taught Dr. Jose P. Rizal the principles he stood and fought for when he grew up. She was persecuted by the Spanish authorities for being the mother of his reformist son. When offered pension by the US government, she said: “The Rizals offer their lives to their mother country because of their inherent patriotism and not because of money”
MELCHORA AQUINO: 1812 - 1919
Better known as Tandang Sora, this Mother of the Katipunan cared for the ailing Katipuneros, causing the Spaniards to exile her to the Marianas. She returned to the Philippines during the American regime and died at the age of 107.
GREGORIA DE JESUS: 1875 - 1943
Known as Lakambini and Mother of the Philippine Revolution. As the wife of Supremo Andres Bonifacio, she worked for the propagation and growth of the Katipunan: K.K.K. ng mga A,N.B. (Kataastaasan Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan) and was the custodian of all the papers, seal, weapons and other belongings of the KKK. She accompanied the soldiers in battle. When the revolution was suppressed by the Americans, she returned to peaceful life. She married another patriot, Julio Nakpil.
ESPIRIDIONA BONIFACIO: 1875 - 195
The youngest sibling of Andres Bonifacio, she helped the Katipuneros even when she had just lost her husband, Teodoro Plata. She would wait for the rebels to give guns stolen or collected from attacks on Spanish soldiers. As they would race back into hiding, she would quickly stash the weapons under her big skirt.
AGUEDA ESTEBAN: 1868 - 1944
Her first husband, called Tungkod, was a Katipunero who became a lieutenant colonel in the revolutionary army. She would go to Manila to buy saltpeter, copper, lead, and other materials needed by the army in making gunpowder and bullets. She would then deliver them to Cavite, where her husband was stationed. She was also a courier between her husband and Gen. Artemio Ricarte, whom she married after her husband’s death.
From Southern Luzon & Bicol
HILARIA DEL ROSARIO-AGUINALDO: 1877- 1921
The first wife of General Emilio Aguinaldo, she joined her husband in his campaigns. She lost her second baby while escaping capture by American soldiers. In 1899, she organized the Hijas de la revolution (Daughter of the revolution), which later became the Association Nacional de la Cruz Roja (National Association of the Red Cross.)
MARCELA M. AGONCILLO : 1860 – 1946
When he was in exile in Hong Kong, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo requested Marcela to make a Filipino flag. Marcela worked on the flag for five days with the help of her eldest daughter, Lorenza, and Mrs. Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, Rizal’s niece by his sister, Lucia. The flag was first unfurled at the balcony of the Aguinaldo residence in Kawit on June 12, 1898. Their home became an asylum for Filipino leaders. Even Josephine Bracken sought refuge there when the Spanish authorized threatened to arrest her.
The only woman general in the Philippine revolution, she fought in the battlefield against the Spanish forces and became known as “Henerala Agueda.” She helped in the attack on San Pablo town in Laguna. As she rode her horse, holding a gun in one hand and a dagger in the other, she called to her men to follow her and charge against the enemy.
GREGORIA MONTOYO (Kawit, Cavite): 1863- 1896
Standing on a trench, she held a long bolo in one hand and the Katipunan flag in the other while leading some 30 rebels in the Battle of Calero Bridge in Dalahican, Cavite. Her body was torn to bits when she was hit by an artillery shell fired from a Spanish gunboat.
GLICERA MARELLA VILLAVICENCIO: 1852-1929
She and her husband Eulalio contributed huge amounts of money to support the Propaganda Movement. They also helped disseminate leaflets, pamphlets, and copies of La Solidaridad. When her husband was arrested by the Spanish authorities, she refused to name Katipuneros and divulge secrets about the Katipunan, even if doing so would mean her husband’s release from prison. After her husband’s death, she converted their home into an army headquarters. She donated the family boat Bulusan to Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo to transport Filipino troops to Bicol and Visayas region. In recognition of her valuable services to the Philippines Revolution, General Emilio Aguinaldo named her Madrina-General de las Fuerzas Revolucionarios (Matriarch-General of the Revolutionary Forces) on June 12, 1898.
From Western Visayas
TERESA MAGBANUA : 1868 - 1947
An excellent horserider and sharpshooter, this sister of General Pascual Magbanua fought many battles against Spain and became the first woman General in the Visayas. She led a large group of men in the Battle of Barrio Yoting, Capiz in early December 1898. She outfought the Spanish troops at the Battle of Sapong Hills near Sara. She suffered greatly from the early death of General Pascual and Elias Magbanua, at the hands of traitors.
Editor’s Note: The above information were excerpted from the Centennial Resource Book: Ang mga Pilipino sa Ating Kasaysayan and from excerpts from Talambuhay ng mga Bayani by Rene Alba