KEEPING THE FAITH How the Last General of the Katipuneros continued the fight against insurmountable challenges Miguel Malvar y Carpio September 1, 1865 - October 13, 1911
Malvar was born in 1865 in Santo Tomas, Batangas to Maximo Malvar and Tiburcia Carpio. His father started a simple logging operation and later on progressed to owning rice and sugarcane fields just off the slopes of Mount Maquiling. Miguel was the eldest among three children. Miguel’s spent three years in secondary school Married to Maula Maloles, a childhood friend
The movement spread rapidly because of strong anti-friar sentiment. In Santo Tomas, this action was led by Malvar who had been elected gobernadorcillo in 1890 against the Recollect Fr. Garces.
Emilio Aguinaldo was scoring significant gains in Cavite. So successful was the revolution there that his army made a push across the Batangas border in late September 1896 and occupied Talisay in hopes of spreading the revolution. As a man of political power, Malvar personally put an army together and participated in the battle for Talisay with Aguinaldo's men. This was the start of Malvar's military life.
The revolutionaries lost most of the battles they fought. Fortunately, the colonial government's priority was to pacify Manila and the suburbs north of it. For a while there seemed to be a chance of keeping the revolution alive. Then on February of 1897, Governor-General Camilo de Polavieja ordered a multi-pronged attack on the southern provinces, which isolated Cavite from Batangas.
This caused the revolutionaries to retreat all the way to Biak-na-Bato where he later joined Sebastian Caneo of the Colorum and the bandit Aniceto Oruga, members of Macario Sakay's sister organisation from the Katipunan, to broaden his area of operation.
The signing of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato on December 14, 1897 ended the hostility between the Spaniards and the Filipinos. This pact was very much against Miguel Malvar’s decision.
After Aguinaldo's capture by the Americans on March 23, 1901, Malvar assumed control of all the Filipino forces. He setup his own government of the Philippine Republic, with him as supreme head and Commander-in-Chief, and waged guerilla warfare against American-held towns in Batangas.
In response, Brig. Gen. James Franklin Bell, in charge of military operations on Luzon Island, employed scorched earth tactics that took a heavy toll on Filipino guerrillas and civilians alike . Between January and April of 1902, there were 8,350 deaths out of 298,000. Some camps lost as many as 20% of the population. There was one camp that was two miles by one mile (3.2 by 1.6 km) in area. It was "home" to some 8,000 Filipinos. Men were rounded up for questioning, tortured and summarily executed.
He ordered the entire population of the provinces of Batangas and Laguna to gather into small areas within the poblacion of their respective towns by Dec. 25, 1901.
“ I would rather die at the front than spend the rest of my life explaining why I was not there.” James Franklin Bell was born on Jan. 9, 1856 in Shelby County, Kentucky. He graduated from West Point in 1878, finishing 38th in a class of 43.
By April 1902, many of Malvar's former officers had changed sides and had become volunteers for the American force and they exposed his hideaway.
Believing that a few more months of fighting would only imperil the masses and surrounded by Americans and their native troops, Malvar with his sick wife and children surrendered on April 13, 1902.
Malvar retired to a quiet farming life and prospered from the land he had fought hard for. He died in October 13 1911, the last general to surrender to American occupational forces.