Friday, November 28, 2014

Forgotten Filipino Heroes: Pio del Pilar

by Antonio C. Antonio
November 23, 2014

When Filipinos talk about heroes, we seem to automatically refer to the following illustrious names: Dr. Jose Protacio Realonda Mercado-Rizal; Andres de Castro Bonifacio; Apolinario Maranan Mabini; Gen. Emilio Famy Aguinaldo, etc.  Our history books, more often than not, often refer to these names as Philippine heroes… leaving the impression that they are the only ones.  However, there really is a long line of heroes that accompany this patriotic group.  They are often referred to as the forgotten Filipino heroes.  Here is one of them.

Pio del Pilar (July 11, 1865 – June 21, 1931) was born in Culi-Culi, Makati City.  His real name was Pio Isidro but was forced to adopt his father’s middle name to avoid arrest during the Philippine revolution against Spain.

In 1896, Pio del Pilar jined the Katipunan in Culi-Culi that was called Matagumpay and was given the name of Pang-una with the rank of Colonel.  He designed a war flag for their Katipunan chapter which was a blood-red flag and a white triangle with the capital “k” in each angle, and in the middle a half sun with seven rays.

On November 9, 1896, Pio del Pilar was the leader of the rebels that defended Binakayan, Bacoor and Las PiƱas and was able to capture several Spanish officers and soldiers.  This earned him the rank of Brigadier General.  He was appointed the army corps commander by Andres Bonifacio and when the Supremo died, he joined Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s forces and became one of the trusted generals.

During the Philippine-American war, Pio del Pilar led the guerrilla attacks in the provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Rizal but was captured in Morong, Rizal.  In 1901, he was exiled in Guam and after a year he was granted amnesty by the United States.

Culi-Culi in Makati City was renamed after Pio del Pilar and a statue was built in his honor along Makati Avenue.  But in spite of the efforts of the people of Makati City to honor their favourite son, ordinary daily commuters along Ayala Avenue would stare blankly at del Pilar’s statue and silently ask themselves, “Sino siya?”

Reading literature about our heroes should rekindle our patriotic spirit aside from learning from the life and time of these forgotten Filipino heroes.

Just my little thoughts…

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