Eugenio Cabezas, one of the “Thirteen Martyrs of Cavite,” was born in 1855 to a watchman in Santa Cruz, near Paambundok, Manila. It was from his father that he learned to be a watchmaker. He was the eldest of four brothers, the others being Leon, a merchant; Jose, a government vaccinator; and Francisco.
He moved to Cavite at the invitation of his uncle. There he made a good name for himself as a goldsmith and watch repairman. His shop, located on Calle Real (now called Trece Martires Street), flourished. He employed extra helpers: Julian Ventura, a watch repairman from Manila; Felipe Concepcion, from Cavite; and his town cousins, Felipe and Roberto Cabezas, who both trained in his shop. His expertise as a watchmaker came to the fore when in 1892, he exhibited a clock made of bamboo at the Exposicion Real de Cavite. It earned him a diploma of honor.
Cabezas, despite his being a mason, dabbled in the making of decorative plate works for the carros that carried santos during processions.
Cabezas was a member of the Katipunan. He was responsible for enlisting the support of Severino Lapidario in the revolution of 1896. He had fought with a Spanish officer once.
Cabezas did not share the sentiments of General Emilio Aguinaldo about starting hostilities on August 31, 1896. He felt it was not the proper time, as their group did not have enough arms and men. He later learned and then conveyed the message to Lapidario that eight provinces, Cavite included, were already under martial rule.
Not long after the outbreak of the revolution, Cabezas, with 12 other men, was arrested and jailed. They were executed on September 12, 1896. Their remains lie buried in the monument erected in their honor as martyrs.
After Cabezas’ execution, his cousin Felipe continued the relojeria for his heirs.
Cabezas was married to Luisa Antonio of Cavite, who died on November 9, 1901. They had seven children: Jose, who died on May 3, 1928; Soledad, who remained single; Ramon, who was married to Julia Rosal; Fidela, Ramon, Carmen, and Emiliano, who died very young.
Saulo, Alfredo and Esteban A. de Ocampo. History of Cavite : The Mother Ground of the Philippine Revolution, Independence Flag and National Anthem. Trece Martires: Provincial Government of Cavite, 1985.
Quirino, Carlos. Who’s Who in Philippine History. Manila : Tahanan Books,1995.
Zaide, Gregorio F. Great Filipinos in History. Manila: Verde Bookstore, 1970.