Friday, January 18, 2013


Teacher, Pharmacist, and Revolutionary Figure
Little is known about the early life of Feliciano Jokson, one of the thousands of
revolutionaries who gave up not only their youth but also their lives to the cause of the Motherland.
According to one source, Jokson was born on June 9,1868 in the old district of Quiapo, Manila.
Although he started to go to school at an early age, his family’s meager resources forced him later
to temporarily discontinue his studies. Nonetheless, driven by his desire to rise above this family’s
penury, he resolved to save enough money in order to complete his education, and thereby earn his
rightful place in the then colonial society.
He enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas, where he acquired around 1895 a degree in
pharmacy. Two years later, he established his own pharmaceutical shop on the Escolta. It became
a secret meeting place of members of the Katipunan, the underground organization founded by
Andres Bonifacio in 1892 at a house in Binondo, not far from that fashionable street. By then he
had already become one of them, with no less than Dr. Pio Valenzuela, a trusted associate of
Bonifacio, having inducted him into the organization. Often, Jokson would spend his own money
to help spread the cause of the Katipunan.
On November 21, 1896, some time after Bonifacio’s death, he accompanied Jose
Alejandrino, who would later become a general, to the headquarters of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in
Kawit, Cavite to offer their services to the full-blown revolution. They were assigned the task of
procuring the arms and ammunition, which the revolutionary army sorely lacked. It was a
daunting task. Traveling incognito amidst the ongoing battles in and out of Cavite, they had to slip
through enemy checkpoints to evade capture. It was especially dangerous for Jokson who, as
Alejandrino’s main contact man, was in charge of the conveyance of messages in and out of the
country and, thus, was constantly on the move.
Driven by a revolutionary zeal that astounded even his fellow rebels, Jokson constantly
pressed Alejandro to launch an “arms-smuggling expedition.” He sailed for Hongkong via a
streamer, staying in its charcoal box during the whole voyage. From the ship he contacted
Alejandrino, urging him to follow suit with the money collected for the arms, which were being
kept in a warehouse. Since Alejandrino was under constant surveillance, the arms could not be
transported immediately to the Philippines. They had to wait it out.
His first attempt to smuggle arms occurred at a time when the waters of the China Sea
were quite rough. Jokson, accompanied by another Filipino, Tomas Consunji, was undeterred. He
persisted in crossing it in a small launch that carried the contraband. Only when the big waves
threatened to engulf them did he turn back.
In another such enterprise, he secured a steam-launch in Hongkong and hired an English
captain and two Chinese nationals to operate it. He and two other Filipinos completed the party.
The boat would have sailed smoothly up to its destination. After a while, however, they were
forced to return to Hongkong due to the shortage of drinking water. As it turned out, the captain
had purposely allowed that to happen by unstopping the water tank’s faucet.
Jokson returned to the country eventually. He continued to take part in the struggle for
freedom, his revolutionary fervor undampened by his unsuccessful attempts at arms smuggling.
Around April 1897, he journeyed to Maragondon, the new seat of the revolutionary
government earlier established in Tejeros, where he repeatedly proclaimed, “Mabuhay ang
Kalayaan ng Pilipinas!” to boost the morale of his fellow rebels, and announced the imminent
arrival of the arms procured from Hongkong and eventual victory of the revolution.
Later, through his request and initiative, General Aguinaldo authorized the formation of
the gobierno departmental of Central Luzon, encompassing the seven provinces of Tayabas
(Quezon), Laguna, Morong (Rizal), Manila, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Bataan. He served as its
secretary de fomento. Other officials were Fr. Pedro Dandan, president; Anastacio Francisco, vicepresident;
Paciano Rizal, secretary of the treasury; Teodoro Gonzales, secretary of interior; and
Cipriano Pacheco and Antonio Montenegro, governors. It was around this time that he allegedly
showed Gen. Artemio Ricarte (Vibora) a picture of what eventually came to be the Philippine flag,
with its “three colors, one sun and three stars.’
In December 1897, the “Pact of Biak-na-Bato,” was signed between the revolutionists and
the colonial government. Many rebels, including Jokson, opposed the pact. According to General
Ricarte in his Memoirs, Jokson opposed it because he was angered at being left out in the initial
talks in Pugad-Baboy, in Kalookan, from where he rallied his forces to persevere in the struggle.
His campaign against the Pact of Biak-na-Bato was so vigorous that rebels from as far away as
Cebu, following his example, likewise defied the treaty.
In March 1898, he tried to launch an attack on the city of Manila, but because the
headquarters of his men was itself attacked, his plan fell through. He and his men had assembled
on Calle Camba in Binondo when a Spanish force attacked them in the process killing many of
Jokson’s men. Those who had not been killed instantly were mauled to death.
Jokson proceeded to Laguna, but by then, he was already a wanted man accused of
continuing the war upon the orders of the friars. His description had been disseminated and his
capture ordered by Gen. Pio del Pilar. Thus, upon reaching his destination, he and his followers
were arrested by his fellow revolutionary Venancio Cueto. They were incarcerated in the latter’s
house, treated like common prisoners. Their situation improved, however, after Jocson met and
talked with Apolinario Mabini, who was staying in the same house at the time.
Upon learning of Jokson’s capture, General del Pilar went immediately to Laguna. He
gained custody of Jokson and his men, but only after he had pledged before Gen. Paciano Rizal
that he would not yield Jokson to the Spanish government or allow any harm to befall him.
How Jokson, the intense revolutionary, met his death is not absolutely clear. Ricarte wrote
that he disappeared mysteriously while in Del Pilar’s custody, for which Del Pilar was allegedly
accountable. General Alejandrino speculated that he was killed by fellow rebels bent on
surrendering rebel arms, perhaps in exchange for money offered by the colonial government. On
the other hand, in the autobiography of Capt. Pascual Casimiro, written in 1920 printed in the
work of anthropologist and biographer E. Arsenio Manuel, the author stated that he was shot
“treacherously” by the Spanish Guardia Civil in a place called Hagdan-Bato in Mandaluyong. The
biographer, Pedrito Reyes, gave May 4, 1898, as the date of his death.
Isabelo de los Reyes cited him as the “Farmaceutico de mucho mérito, que prestó grandes
servicios a Patria en 1896-97 (Outstanding pharmacist who offered great sacrifices to the Nation
in 1896-97).” To perpetuate his heroic role in the national struggle for independence, two streets
in Manila were named after him by the City Council. On June 21, 1913, the alley located between
then Lakandula and P. Ortega Streets, stretching from Plaza Leon XIII to Folgueras Street, was
officially named Jokson. Later, on 9 January 1917, a then proposed street to be carved out in the
area known at the time as the Santa Clara Estate, was likewise designated “Feliciano Jokson
Street”. This is probably the presently marked F. Jhocson located between A.H. Lacson (formerly
Forbes Street) and M. Earnshaw Streets.

Alejandrino, Jose M. The Price of Freedom. Translated into English by Atty. Jose M.
Alejandrino Manila: Filipiniana Reprint Series, Solar Publishing Corporation, 986
Alzona, Encarnacion. Editor and Translator. Julio Nakpil and the Philippine Revolution
Manila: 1964.
Bauer, Charles A. “More Street Names of Manila and their Origins”, Historical Bulletin.
Volume XVI, Nos. 1-4 January-December 1971, p. 365.
Galang, Zoilo M. Encyclopedia of Philippine Biography. Volume II Manila: P. Vera and
Sons, Co., 1936.
Kalaw, Teodoro M. The Philippine Revolution. Trans. Into English By Frederick H.
Stevens & Antonio Amechazurra. Manila: McCullough Printing, 1956.
Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography. Volume II. Q.C.: Filipiniana
Publications, 1970.
Ricarte, Artemio. Memoirs of General Artemio Ricarte Manila: National Heroes
Commission, 1963.
Ronquillo, Carlos V. Ilang Talata Tungkol sa Paghihimagsik nang 1896-97. Isagani
Medina, Patnugot Quezon City: Isagani R. Medina, 1996.
Photo in Ronquillo, Carlos, p. 537

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