26. MAGALANG WAS ROBBED BY THE BANDITS


Five years after the transfer of Magalang from San Bartolome, presently known as balen melacuan; Magaleños are still in their painful phase of recovery due to destruction of the town caused by large floods swept by Parua River. In 1866, the Augustinian cura parroco of Magalang, Fr. Ramon Sarrionandia started the construction of the present edifice of San Bartolome Church. However, on August 12, 1868, Friday, a band of robbers or tulisanes robbed the town. Fr. Ramon Sarrionandia attempted to save the town by offering the demands of the bandits. However, he was shot by the bandits, and due to the incident, the Magaleños were united together to fight the bandits. This incident was published on the Spanish daily periodical, based in Madrid, known as La España. And this is how started:

About four o'clock in the afternoon, ten armed men forcibly entered the tribunal (municipal building) and they took one prisoner. These men are wearing chaquetas, while their leader, a certain Isidoro Guintu known as "Doro" was armed with a stick. The lieutenant, constables and the guards were taken by surprise and they are subsequently tied up. Another twenty men followed, and they are armed with rifles, midgets, revolvers, pistols and kampilans (bolos). This group sacked the houses at the right of the plaza up to the front of the church convent. Most Reverend Fr. Ramon Sarrionandia, who directed the construction of the new church alerted his people on the attack. He ordered the doors of the convent will be closed and to ring the bells to give warning for the attack of the tulisanes (bandits). When the tulisanes came, Fr. Ramon, known for his strong character and energy, opened the windows and asked them of what they need. The bandits subsequently demanded money. Fr. Ramon offered them two hundred pesos in exchange for not sacking the town again. The bandits demanded more money even the funds for the construction of the new church. When Fr. Ramon refused to their new demand, the bandits lost patience and surrounded the convent. They shoot the parish priest three times. Fortunately, Fr. Ramon was only injured and he was slightly maimed. He limped down on the stairs and he quickly escaped by riding on his carriage.

The tulisanes continued their looting around the town. They sacked the Chinese merchants and they took Don Carlos Vega, a Spanish sergeant as their prisoner. He was tied up and his two horses are taken away by the bandits. In meantime, the bantayanes rang the bells who peals reach the barrios; alerting the residents to the attack. One man took a horse and he ran to neighboring town of Mabalacat to report the incident. The commander of guardia civil quickly marched in Magalang to repel the bandits. The parishioners formed a rear guard to protect the parish priest's escape; they are equipped with bow and arrows, and spears. 

The bandits soon abandoned the town. But they are pursued by the alerted residents of the town led by Captains Eduardo and Felipe and the members of town principalia; who volunteered to pursue the bandits. The townspeople engaged with the bandits, and they rescued Don Carlos. The people of barrio Buensuceso joined the Magaleños to pursue the bandits on the thick forest of Mt. Arayat. The Magaleños managed to kill a bandit, and they recovered a midget, pistol, bolo and knives from the fleeing wounded bandits. Later, the cavalry arrived in the town in six o'clock in the evening to pursue the bandits. After the attack, the parish priest was given medical assistance. No one of the townspeople were reported killed or wounded. 

Photo Credit:

Magalang Church during construction; Juan D. Nepomuceno Center of Kapampangan Studies, Holy Angel University, Angeles City. 

Sources:

Bartolo, Louie Aldrin L. and Dizon, Lino L., The Magalang Book: The Historical Life and Culture of a Kapampangan Town (1605-2015), Manila, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2016, pages 82-84.  

From the Spanish periodical, La España, Madrid, España, August 13, 1868


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