The Dagohoy Rebellion (1744–1829)
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The famous Dagohoy Rebellion, also known as Dagohoy Revolution or Dagohoy Revolt, is considered as the longest rebellion in Philippine history. Led by Francisco Dagohoy, also known as Francisco Sendrijas, this rebellion took place in the island of Bohol from 1744 to 1829, [1] roughly 85 years.

It was one of two significant revolts that occurred in Bohol, Philippines during the Spanish Era. The other one was the Tamblot Uprising in 1621 led by Tamblot, a babaylan or native priest from Bohol which was basically a religious conflict.[2]

Unlike the Tamblot revolt, the Dagohoy rebellion was not a religious conflict. Rather, it was like most of the early revolts which were ignited by forced labor, Spanish oppression, bandala, excessive tax collection and payment of tributes.[3] On top of these injustices of the Jesuit priests, what triggered Dagohoy most was the refusal of the Jesuit priest to give a Christian burial to his brother who died in service while chasing a fugitive who went against Christianity. This provided the impetus for Dagohoy to call upon his fellow Boholanos to raise arms against the oppressors. The rebellion outlasted several Spanish Governors General and several missions.Francisco Dagohoy led the longest revolt against the Spaniards in Philippine history. The revolt took the Spaniards 85 years (1744–1829) to quell. Forced labor was one of the causes of the revolt. But what triggered the decision to rise up in arms against the Spanish authorities in Bohol was the refusal of a Jesuit priest to give a Christian burial to Dagohoy's brother.

Initially, Dagohoy was infuriated by the refusal of Father Gaspar Morales to give a Christian burial to his brother who died in service while chasing a fugitive who went against Christianity. Because of the said injustice, Dagohoy called upon his fellow Boholanos to raise arms against the oppressors. The rebellion outlasted several Spanish Governors General and several missions.[3]

In 1744, Bohol was ready for another serious insurrection against Spain. In that year, Father Gaspar Morales, the Jesuit curate of Inabanga, ordered Sagarino, a constable, to capture a man who had abandoned his Christian religion. The brave constable pursued the fugitive, but the latter resisted and killed him. His corpse was brought to town. Morales refused to give the constable Christian burial because he had died in a duel and this was banned by the Church.

Francisco Dagohoy, a cabeza de barangay, was the brother of the now deceased constable named Sagarino. When Dagohoy learned about his brother's death, he searched for his brother's body. He found it and brought the remains to Inabanga for a Christian burial. Morales, however, did not agree saying the Sagarino died in a duel. Also, Sagarino did not receive the last rites or the sacrament of extreme unction. Hence, giving him a Christian burial was contrary to religious practices at that time. What complicated the situation was the order of the priest to expose the rotting corpse for about three days in front of Inabanga Church. It is also possible, however, that since the priest refused to grant the request, Dagohoy decided to place the corpse there to force the priest to change his mind. Dagohoy eventually buried his brother without the benefit of a Catholic burial.

These strings of events led Dagohoy to make a vow to correct the wrong done to his brother. In the process, he stopped paying tribute to the Spaniards and refused to render the required "forced" labor. He also called upon his relatives, friends and the other residents to do the same and fight for their freedom.

Being so infuriated with the priest, he instigated the people to rise in arms. The signal of the uprising was the killing of Father Giuseppe Lamberti, Italian Jesuit curate of Jagna on January 24, 1744. Shortly afterwards, Morales was killed by Dagohoy. The rebellion rolled over the whole island like a tropical typhoon. Bishop Miguel Lino de Espeleta of Cebu, who exercised ecclesiastical authority over Bohol, tried vainly to mollify the rebellious Boholanos.

The ground was fertile for Dagohoy's call. Around 3,000 Boholanos rallied to his call and joined him in a revolt against Spanish injustice and tyranny. Together with other leading members of the Tagbilaran, Baclayon and Dauis principalia, Dagohoy proclaimed the "Independence of Bohol" in the mountains of Talibon and Inabanga. The concept of independence, however, might not be applicable at that time. What is most likely is that the revolutionaries stopped submitting themselves to the dictates of the Spanish authorities and decided to move to the mountains where they can live on their own in peace.

Dagohoy defeated the Spanish forces sent against him. He established a free government in the mountains, and had 3,000 followers, which subsequently increased to 20,000. The patriots remained unsubdued in their mountains stronghold, and, even after Dagohoy's death, continued to defy Spanish power.

Up there in the mountains, the revolutionaries established their headquarters, which they fortified with trenches of big rocks, just like the way some upland farmers pile up big rocks on top of one another in their farms. They also built dwellings for their families and cleared up some of the forest areas so that they can plant crops for their subsistence. Since Dagohoy has experience in leading a community being a cabeza de barangay, it is safe to assume that he set some rules and norms to maintain peace and order in the new community. When the other Boholanos heard about the revolt, they expressed their sympathy by joining the revolutionaries or by supplying them with arms and money.

The Francisco Dagohoy Cave in the town of Danao was the headquarters of Dagohoy. One of the many crystal-studded passages within Dagohoy's cave has an underwater route leading to dry land, and it is said that every time Spaniards would search the cave, Dagohoy would swim underwater through this passage to hide in the breathing space. [4] From time to time, the revolutionaries would raid the coastal towns, assault the Spanish garrisons, loot churches and kill Spaniards. In one of these raids, they killed the cura of Jagna, an Italian Jesuit priest, and Father Morales. Dagohoy fulfilled the promise he made over the grave of his brother and continued to lead the revolt until his death. It is unknown when and how he died. It is probable that he died of old age or sickness a little before or after the 1800s. What is certain is that the revolution did not end with his death.

The Spaniards were not happy with the Dagohoy-led revolt. In fact, there were several attempts to suppress it. The historian Gregorio Zaide has this to say:
“ News of the remarkable success of Dagohoy worried the Spanish authorities in Manila. In 1747 Bishop Juan de Arrechederra, acting Governor-General of the Philippines (1745–1750), dispatched a punitive expedition to Bohol under the command of Don Pedro Lechuga. Commander Lechuga won a few skirmishes but failed to crush the rebellion. In desperation, he sent a commando unit into the mountains to kill or capture Dagohoy, his sister Gracia, and other leaders. The commandos returned empty-handed because they could not penetrate Dagohoy's fortified stronghold. ”

The nationalist historian Renato Constantino also narrated Spanish efforts to quell the revolt. He said:
“ Perhaps the best indication of the importance and the success of this rebellion may be seen in the persistent efforts exerted by both the State and the Church to negotiate with Dagohoy. After the unsuccessful military attempts to suppress the revolt, it was the Church's turn to make the effort. Bishop Espeleta of Cebu tried to persuade the rebels to give up their resistance by promising to secure a general amnesty, to find remedies for the abuses of government officials, and to assign secular priests instead of Jesuits to the Bohol parishes. The rebels refused the offer. ”

The revolt continued. By 1770, five years before the waging of the American War for Independence against Great Britain, there were already about 30,000 revolutionaries in Bohol.

Twenty Spanish governors-general, from Gasper de la Torre (1739–45) to Juan Antonio Martínez (1822–25), tried to quell the rebellion and failed. In 1825, General Mariano Ricafort (1825–30), a kind and able administrator, became governor-general of the Philippines. Upon his order, Alcade-mayor Jose Lazaro Cairo, at the head of 2,200 Filipino-Spanish troops and several batteries, invaded Bohol on May 7, 1827. The brave Boholanos resisted fiercely. Alcade-mayor Cairo won several engagements, but failed to crush the rebellion. In April 1828, another Spanish expedition under Captain Manuel Sanz landed in Bohol. After more than a year of hard campaign, he finally subdued the patriots. By August 31, 1829, the rebellion had ceased. Governor Ricafort, with chivalric magnanimity, pardoned 19,420 survivors and permitted them to live in new villages at the lowlands. These villages are now the towns of Batuan, Cabulao, Catigbian, and Bilar.

It was only in April 1828, three years after the arrival of Governor-General Mariano Ricafort, that the Spaniards sent its strongest expedition to Bohol. This is understandable because Spain experienced problems in its other colonies in the 1800s. For instance, the Spanish American colonies revolted in 1810 until 1826, thus severing the link between Acapulco and Manila. It was, therefore, a hard time for Spain. It was no longer a world superpower as it was in the 16th century. And it could not quell the Dagohoy revolution in Bohol.

Probably to help save its face after its defeats from the forces of Dagohoy and its loss of colonies, Spain decided to put an end to the revolt using Spanish and native (like Cebuanos) troops. According to Zaide:
“ Fighting with desperate courage, the indomitable Boholanos resisted the enemy, whose heavy artillery pieces caused much havoc to their fortifications and took a terrible toll of human lives. Wearied by the ceaseless combat, weakened by hunger and thirst, and depleted in numerical strength, they made their last stand in the mountain of Boasa under the command of the valiant brothers, Handog and Auag. In June 1829, they fought their last battle and were crushed by Spain's superior arms. The survivors fled into the forest, where they grimly continued to carry on their hopeless cause. ”

The revolt ended formally on August 31, 1829. Manuel Sanz, commander of the Spanish forces, officially reported that 3,000 Boholanos escaped to other islands, 19,420 surrendered, 395 died in battle, 98 were exiled and around ten thousand revolutionaries were resettled in the areas of Balilihan, Batuan, Bilar, Cabulao and Catigbian. These figures all point to the fact that the revolt was widespread in the province. Being the insurrection's indtigator, Dagohoy continued to be a source of inspiration to his comrades even after his death.
[edit] Dagohoy's Legacy
Flag of Bohol Province, Philippines.svg

The Dagohoy rebellion features in the Bohol provincial flag as one of the two bolos or native swords with handle and hand-guards on top. These two bolos, which are reclining respectively towards the left and right, depict the Dagohoy and Tamblot revolts, symbolizing that "a true Boholano will rise and fight if supervening factors embroil them into something beyond reason or tolerance."[5]

Dagohoy will always live in the pages of Philippine history, not only as a good brother and a heroic man, but also as a leader of the longest Filipino insurrection on record. His revolt lasted 85 years (1744–1829). [1]

The town of Dagohoy, Bohol is named in his honor. It was Vice President Carlos P. Garcia who proposed the name "Dagohoy" in honor of the greatest Boholano hero, Francisco Sendrijas alias Dagohoy. The name Dagohoy is a concatenation of the Bisayan phrase, Dagon sa huyuhoy or talisman of the breeze in English. [6]

The Dagohoy Memorial National High School in Dagohoy, Bohol is also named in his honor and memory.