Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew the Apostle 

St. Bartholomew the Apostle or also known as San Bartolome Apostol is the patron saint of Magalang. Every August 24, we celebrate his feast day; commemorating his sacrifices and martyrdom to spread the good news of our Lord. But, who is St. Bartholomew? How he was one of the twelve apostles of the Lord? According to Biblical narratives especially in John 1:43-51, Bartholomew was known also as Nathanael. His connection to the Lord started when his friend Philip who later become also one of the apostles; told him, "We have found the one whom Moses wrote about in the Book of the Law and whom the prophets also wrote about". Nathanael, known for being frank and skeptic was attracted by Philip's remark. "Can anything good come from the Nazareth?". Neverless, Philip persuaded Nathanael to see Jesus; and when Jesus see Nathanael, he told that he is the "the true Israelite, incapable of deceit". Then Nathanael asked Jesus, "How did you know me?". Jesus answered that he saw under the fig tree before Philip called him. Then Nathanael told Jesus, "You are the son of God, and king of Israel". Jesus told Nathanael that "You will see greater things than these".  Then Nathanael or Bartholomew started follow Jesus. When the apostles commissioned, Bartholomew and Judas Thaddaeus introduced Christianity to Armenia. He converted Polymius, king of Armenia to Christianity. Astyages, Polymius brother consequently ordered Bartholomew's execution. According to traditions, he was flayed alive, and beheaded. Other sources told that he was even crucified downward.

Image of San Jose (left) and the original image of
San Bartolome Apostol (right)
(San Bartolome Parish, Magalang, Pampanga)

When the Augustinians established Magalang in April 30, 1605, it was placed under the protection of San Bartolome Apostol. Many years had past, Magaleños revered San Bartolome as their protector during revolts, wars and calamities. As remarked by Louis A. Stone, an American soldier of Company I, 41st Infantry stationed in Magalang church convent in 1901, he observed the sacredness of Magaleños during the feast of San Bartolome. He remarked that, "Nothing much of interest happened in San Pedro de Magalang, until the twenty fourth of August, then, there came a sacred celebration of St. Bartholomew's day by the natives of this little mountain town. Long day before, they started their music and processions all over the town. Being assisted by all natives around the town and the nearby villages, they had been preparing for this grand feast for several days. And when the time came for the celebration, they were ready. After marching around the town for a while, and playing their national airs, they repaired to the church and there, went through a solemn service for an hour or two, in memory of their departed saint. After which they all went to their homes of their friends, where the fattened calf had been killed, and the feast was consumed with considerable appetite ". 

 Image of San Bartolome Apostol
located in San Bartolome Chapel, San Bartolome,
Concepcion, Tarlac.
San Bartolome's old image in San Bartolome Church in Magalang was carved during the administration of Fr. Fernando Vasquez, OSA, who was credited for the installation of finishing touches of the church. The image itself was formerly located in the main altar of the church. However, due to preservation, it was placed in the old baptistery of the church. The features of this image are the apostle itself is holding a knife was said to be used in flaying his skin, and a bible symbolizing its mission to carry the good news of the Lord. The old image of San Bartolome in barrio San Bartolome, Concepcion, Tarlac is said to be the original image of the old Magalang church located in the same place, and the former earned the moniker as balen melacuan. According to a popular account, the said image was prevented by the old residents of San Bartolome to be brought by the group of settlers, transferring the town proper to the present site in barrio San Pedro in 1863. Thus, the image remained in barrio San Bartolome until present. Its chapel was made up of stones taken from the old ruins of old Magalang church flooded by the disastrous flood in 1863. The features of the image are same with the old image of San Bartolome in Magalang, however, it has a bronze chain on his hand together with the bible and he standing above the falling Satan. 

Repository bearing the relics of San Bartolome Apostol
located in San Bartolome Parish, Magalang

San Bartolome's relics are located in different parts of Europe. His large skin and many bones are initially located in the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew the Apostle in Lipari, Sicily; however they were transferred in Basilica of San Bartolomeo in Benevento, Italy. A small part of relics were given by Emperor Otto II to Rome and it was kept in the basilica of San Bartolomeo, all'Isola in Rome. A small relic of San Bartolome was recently enshrined in San Bartolome Parish in Magalang last July 21, 2017, and it was the first San Bartolome church all over the Philippines had this sacred relic. Miracles are attributed to San Bartolome in association of heavy objects. It was credited also for saving many lives in Magalang during Japanese occupation. San Bartolome is also the patron saint of tanners, shoemakers, butchers, and even persons with neurological diseases. San Bartolome together with San Judas Tadeo is the patron saint of Armenia. In the Philippines, aside from Magalang, the city of Malabon; Catbalogan, Samar; San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija and the small barrios of San Bartolome in Sta. Ana, Pampanga and San Bartolome, Sto Tomas, Pampanga is under the patronage also of San Bartolome. Some works of art are dedicated to San Bartolome. The famous is the masterpiece of Michaelangelo, The Last Judgement in Sistine Chapel, Vatican; where the image of San Bartolome was painted and he was holding a knife and his whole flayed skin bearing the likeness of Michaelangelo. The biggest and mellowest San Bartolome bell of San Bartolome Church in Magalang was also dedicated by the parish priest of Magalang, Fr. Fernando Vasquez, OSA, to San Bartolome crafted by Hilario Sunico in 1890.  

Photo Credits:


The remaining photos are came from the author's personal camera shots.


Saint Bartholomew the Apostle skinned alive for spreading his faith by Corazon Damo Santiago, www.businessmirror.com.ph; issued, August 28, 2014.

Stone, Louis A., Two Years in the United States Volunteer Army, Or Around the World Under the Stars and Stripes, Webster Country Times, Clay Kentucky, 1901. page 65. 


In the observance of the History month this August; and the upcoming celebration of National Heroes' Day, we must remember the contributions of Magaleños for their heroic acts for attaining freedom and their determination to fight the individual rights of every Magaleños and every Filipinos. In this post, these are some Magaleños who valiantly contributed their acts to preserve freedom and uphold social justice:

Lorenzo D. Camaya- a native of neighboring town of Angeles, born in September 2, 1863 to Adriano Camaya and Inocencia Dayrit. They later migrated to Magalang to seek greener pastures. Lorenzo was appointed as teniente tres by the Spanish government in 1887. However, he secretly joined the Katipunan. In 1897, together with the young Major Servillano Aquino, they hatched a plan together with prominent elites of Magalang on how to liberate the town from the Spanish rule. Lorenzo in that time was initially enlisted as teniente under the command of General Francisco MacabulosDue to his later exploits, he was promoted to comandante (major). He fought valiantly in battle of Camansi together with other Magaleños like Candido Niceta and Carlos Guiao. He also fought the breakaway forces of General Pedro Pedroche in old Magalang church convent in 1898. He further promoted to coronel (colonel) of the revolutionary army; and he was assigned in Tarlac. He was captured by the Americans in 1900 and he was sentenced to death. He was granted pardon in 1904 and he returned in Magalang. He married Andrea Mendoza Lacson, daughter of former gobernadorcillo of Magalang, Don Aniceto S. Lacson in July 13, 1917. Two years later, Lorenzo died in November 21, 1919. His only child, Anunciacion was adopted by his nephew, Eusebio Aquino, who later become the local socialist leader of Magalang and second in command of Hukbalahap during Japanese occupation. 

Members of Katipunan Chapter of Barrio La Paz- a certain Juan Culantiro, right hand man of Lt. Lorenzo D. Camaya secretly organized a Katipunan chapter in barrio La Paz. The new members initiated pacto de sangre and they signed their signature using their own blood. Among the recruits are, Feliciano Torres, Gregorio Mallari, Froilan Pineda, Maximo Manabat and others. Their weapons used are talibong and a dagger.  

Members of Katipunan Chapter of Barrio Sto Rosario- the group of Capt. Gregorio Samia, Lt. Lino Tayag, Lt. Enrique Datu and their 83 recruits initiated the pacto de sangre with the forces of General Francisco Macabulos. Half of members of this chapter was placed under the command of Lt. Lino Tayag. He collected the members' contributions and he secretly delivered to General Macabulos, who was encamped in Camansi in Mt. Arayat. 

Eusebio Aquino- a native of Concepcion, Tarlac, he was related by blood to General Servillano Aquino. He later setup his blacksmith shop in barrio San Nicolas in Magalang, (in the present day old Pasudeco terminal). He was known for his skills in creating farm tools. He also served as supervisor in different construction projects. One of the projects he supervised is the construction of Shop Building (Industrial Arts building) of Magalang Elementary School in 1932. In 1934, he joined the local chapter of Aguman ning Maldang Talapagobra, founded by Pedro Abad Santos. In 1937, he was fielded by AMT in local elections, but he was defeated by the former police chief, Jose M. Navarro. He again, ran for mayoralty post in 1940 but he was defeated again by Jose M. Navarro. In 1942, he was the one of the founding fathers of Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon known as Hukbalahap. He was then second commanding officer of the entire movement; he setup his headquarters in Camansi in Mt. Arayat; and he was credited for saving several American soldiers who escaped from Death March and some American airmen. He led the Squadron 3-V together with his sons, Pablo (Commander Paul) and Felix (Commander Flax) and an amazona, Remedios Gomez (Commander Liwayway). This squadron inflicted heavy losses against the Japanese forces attempted to capture Camansi. His forces are also responsible to the early liberation of Magalang in January, 1945; before the Americans entered the town. After the war, Huks continued their resistance against the new republic of the Philippines. However, Tatang Bio, died and he was buried in the foothills of Mt. Pinatubo. His last wish that his remains "will not be retrieved until the fruits of the revolution become a reality". Tatang Bio married Ciriaca Gabriel of Mexico, Pampanga and they had five children; Abelardo, Aquilino (Commander Kinung, who also ran in mayoralty contest in Magalang in 1955, but he was defeated by his relative, Orencio A. Gueco), Pablo (Commander Paul) married Brigida Manaloto, Felix (Commander Flax) married Remedios del Mundo, (a daughter of Faustino del Mundo who will led a mafia shadow government in 1960s. He was later known as Commander Sumulong). An only daughter, Gloria married Peregrino Taruc, brother of Huk supremo, Luis Taruc.

Vivencio B. Cuyugan, Sr.- born in January 13, 1895 in San Fernando, Pampanga to Saturnino P. Cuyugan and Antonia Y. Baron of Magalang. He obtained law in Northwestern University in the United States. He supported his law studies in the United States through boxing. During his stay in the United States, he initially learned socialism through his lawyer, Clarence Darrow in Big Chicago Brawl in 1926. He met Darrow when the elder Cuyugan landed in jail after he defended a certain Marasigan, a native of Batangas. The latter lost his an ear when an apparent racists ganged up on him in a bar where Filipinos are banned. The Filipino community there pooled funds and hired Darrow to defend Cuyugan. He was freed in no time. Upon his return to the Philippines, he managed his vast estate in barrio Sta Maria in Magalang and he treated his tenants firmly and equally. His influence in socialism grew when he joined Pedro Abad Santos' Socialist Party of the Philippines. He later elected as municipal vice president of San Fernando in 1927 and 1931. In 1937, he was elected the first socialist mayor of San Fernando and whole over the Philippines under the Socialist Party of the Philippines. During the war, he was among the founders of Hukbalahap. He also organized the first Hukbalahap squadron in barrio Sta Maria in Magalang composed of his loyal tenants. He served as mayor of San Fernando until the liberation; however, the Americans removed him as mayor in 1945 due to his leadership of Hukbalahap. After the war, he continued his advocacy for the emancipation and upholding the rights of the farmers and workers. He also gave away his landholdings to his tenants. He also supported labor unions. He also known for his advocacy for the protection of the environment; who fought the Pampanga Sugar Development Company or known as Pasudeco; whom the socialists had accused of polluting the San Fernando River. However, the elder Cuyugan and his family were put to jail and tortured in 1953 on a charge that he was a communist. He died in Manila in March 16, 1971. He married Felisa Amurao and they had six children; Aida, Fernando, Fe, Vivencio, Jr., Panopio and Maria Luisa.

Photo Credits:

www.oocities.org. Retrieved: August 12, 2017


Bartolo, Louie Aldrin L. and Dizon, Lino L., The Magalang Book: The Historical Life and Culture of a Kapampangan Town (1605-2015), Manila (2016), National Commission for Culture and the Arts, pages 35-42 and 63-71.

National historical agency recognizes Pampanga's socialist mayor by Tonette Orejas, March 17, 2017 www.newsinfo.inquirer.net. Retrieved: August 13, 2017.

Additional information provided by Vivencio Amurao Cuyugan, Jr., son of the late mayor Vivencio B. Cuyugan, Sr.