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. 


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


The Magalang Elementary School is the largest public elementary school in Magalang. It was established in 1901 by the Thomasite, Mr. William S. Irey. The first site of the central school was located across of the municipal building; (the present site of Magalang Tennis Club). When the school increased its enrollment, the insular education authorities transferred the school to the present site. However, due to lack of school buildings around the islands, an assemblyman representing Nueva Ecija, Don Isauro Gabaldon drafted a bill to appropriate one million pesos to construct schoolhouses with using concrete and sturdy materials around the islands. His bill was eventually enacted and it was known today as Act No. 1801. The law was fully implemented and the so called "Gabaldon" schoolhouses were constructed in each municipality all over the islands. Magalang Elementary School was one of the benefited on the new law. The Gabaldon building floor plan of Magalang Elementary School was designed by the American architect, Mr. William Parsons. It follows the Plan Number 6 of standard schoolhouse plan designed by Parsons. The same floor plan was also implemented in other central schools in other municipalities such as Macabebe, Arayat, Candaba and Betis in Pampanga, and in Victoria, Tarlac. The construction of the new Gabaldon building was approved by the Director of Education in 1915. It was inaugurated in January 6, 1916 during the administration of municipal president, Don Alfredo G. Ganzon. The new Gabaldon building was initially used as classrooms for Grades 3 and 4 classes. 


The new building has six classrooms and in 1920, it was added another two new classrooms. In 1939, another one classroom was added to Gabaldon building. When Japanese successfully occupied Magalang in 1942, they took several houses and buildings in the town proper and they were converted as military garrisons and outposts; including the Gabaldon building. This building was initially used as military hospital of the Japanese and later, as execution grounds. When the Americans liberated Magalang in 1945, the Gabaldon building was severely damaged. In 1946, the Gabaldon building was repaired and restored, with funds sourced from the War Damage Fund and from Parents Teachers Association funds. Since then, the Gabaldon building was used primarily by the Grades Three and Four classes until the present. The massive preservation and restoration of the building was made possible when the Department of Education's heritage school building restoration program funded its restoration during the last terms of former principal, Mrs. Elena N. Magtoto in 2012. In 2014, the Gabaldon building was finally back into glory during the administration of the present principal, Mrs. Barbara M. Cadiang. 

Photo Credits:

Gabaldon Building; Capagmasusian king Qng Aldo Pangasilang ning Magalang, Diciembre 13-14, 1954.

Grade III class of Raymundo L. Sanchez, Gabaldon building, Magalang Elementary School; S.Y. 1937-1938; Courtesy of Dr. Ignacio P. Morales  


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 56 and 195.

Bureau of Public Works Quarterly Bulletin, Volume 4, Number 1; April 1, 1915

Bureau of Public Works Quarterly Bulletin, Volume 4, Number 4; January 1, 1916