April 25, 2018

The Katipunan’s Attacks on Lian and Talisay, Batangas in 1896 as Narrated by Artemio Ricarte

Originally captioned:  Ang labanan sa Tribunal Munisipal ng Nobeleta ng ika-31 ng Agosto ng taong 1896.  Image source:  Artemio Ricarte's Himagsikan ng manga Pilipino Laban sa Kastila.
Originally captioned:  Ang labanan sa Tribunal Munisipal ng Nobeleta ng ika-31 ng Agosto ng taong 1896.  Image source:  Artemio Ricarte's Himagsikan ng manga Pilipino Laban sa Kastila.
[Keywords: Katipunan, Philippine Revolution, Artemio Ricarte, Lian, Talisay, Magdalo Faction, Magdiwang Faction, Santiago Alvarez, Mariano Riego de Dios, Juan Cailles, Katipuneros, Guardia Civil]
Artemio Ricarte was a Batac, Ilocos Norte-born general who fought for Philippine independence from both Spain and the United States1. As such, he had a front row seat to the many encounters between the Katipunan or the Philippine Revolutionary Movement and the Spanish colonial government.

From his memoirs2, which were written in 1908 while he was imprisoned by the American colonial government, we are able to extract accounts of the Katipunan’s attacks on Spanish outposts in the Batangas towns of Lian (spelled as Liyang by Ricarte3) and Talisay.

The Attack on Lian

The attack on Lian was under the leadership of the Katipunan’s Magdiwang faction, which was based in the town of Noveleta in Cavite. On the 3rd of October 1896, “katipuneros” (members of the Katipunan) led by Generals Santiago Alvarez and Mariano Riego de Dios along with Nasugbu-born Colonel Juan Cailles assembled at the town of Magallanes in Cavite.

Armed only with bolos, spears, bows and arrows and a few guns, they proceeded to the town of Lian in Batangas (Ricarte used Batangan the province’s old name). There, the “katipuneros” laid siege upon an outpost of Spanish guards. While waiting for the surrender of the Spanish guards, on the third day of the siege, a band even played music to honor Alvarez.

The assembled crowd was drunken with jubilation and was, therefore, taken aback when there was a sudden volley of gunfire. Everyone scampered for their lives, including Alvarez, out into the fields and into the hills. Some even swam across a river as they fled.

The gunfire, it was subsequently learned, came from Spanish troops stationed in the town of Balayan, some ten kilometers away as the crow flies. Cailles, who must have been sent to scout Balayan, was blamed for not having given advance warning to the “katipuneros” that troops were on the way to break the siege.

The Attack on Talisay

While Lian was under attack, another Katipunan army, led by General Emilio Aguinaldo, was also on its way to attack an outpost of Spanish guards in the town of Talisay at the foot of the Tagaytay mountain range. The army was under the leadership of the Katipunan’s Magdalo faction, which was based in the town of Kawit in Cavite.

Ricarte wrote that Aguinaldo was blessed with a bit more luck than Alvarez because after a few days of laying siege upon the Spanish outpost, he and his army were able to capture Talisay.

Members of the Spanish Civil Guard, tired and hungry from the siege of the convent and church where they were kept imprisoned by the siege, attempted to escape late one night. To their misfortune, they fell right into the hands of the Katipunan.

As it happened, these members of the “Guardia Civil” were not even Spaniards at all but Filipinos. Initially, they were treated as captives by the Katipunan – until most of them started changing allegiances from the Spanish colonial government to the revolutionary movement.

Notes and references:
1Artemio Ricarte,” Wikipedia.
2 Ricarte’s memoirs were entitled “Himagsikan ng manga Pilipino Laban sa Kastila.” The edition referred to for this article was published in 1927 in Yokohama, Japan.
3 Even up to the present day, there are still those in western Batangas who continue to call Lian as Liang or Liyang.

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