Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Filipino Martyr: FLAVIANO A. YENGKO
FLAVIANO A. YENGKO
One of the unsung heroes of the Philippine Revolution was Flaviano Yengko, a law student
of the University of Santo Tomas who, at a young age joined the revolution and rose to the rank of
a revolutionary general. He was the hero of the battle in Salitran, Cavite.
Flaviano Yengko, the third of the seven children of Basilio Yengko and Maria Abad, was
born in Tondo, Manila on December 22, 1874. Soldiery was not new to Yengko when he joined the
revolution, as his father was formerly first sergeant of the Spanish Carabineros or carabineers.
After finishing his secondary studies at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, he took up
teaching certificate for primary schools at the Normal School, which he completed in 1894. He
obtained his Bachelor of Arts at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran before he proceeded to study
law in the University of Santo Tomas.
Yengko became popular in the university not because he was the brightest but because of
his generosity and versatility. His gold-rimmed spectacles had been pawned several times to raise
funds to help a friend in need. As for giftedness, he was an eloquent orator and debater, an awardwinning
painter, good singer and skilled pianist. One of his paintings, “A Landscape”, was awarded
a prize in the Regional Exposition of the Philippines held in Manila in 1895. Aside from these,
Yengko was always meticulously and neatly dressed, a characteristic which he carried during his
revolutionary days. He wore neatly pressed uniform and well-polished shoes after every combat.
Like any man his age, a woman in Cavite caught Yengko’s attention. He won the woman’s
heart but not the approval of the woman’s father who had the impression that Yengko was not
manly enough because of his dandy appearance.
In August 1896, the revolution against Spain broke out. Yengko courageously accepted the
challenge to fight for his country by leaving the law school and joining the Katipuneros. He left a
note to his mother saying, “Mother, I am leaving without your consent and knowledge because I
will be fighting for our fatherland.”
On November 8, 1896, he reached Imus and presented himself to General Emilio
Aguinaldo, who assigned him to transport gunpowder from Manila to Cavite. But Yengko
immediately tasted real battle the next day, November 9, at the Battle of Binakayan, during which
he manifested such courage. Consequently, General Aguinaldo took him in the general staff with
the rank of captain, and from there rose to the rank of a colonel to brigadier general.
By February 1897, Spanish General Cornelio de Polavieja launched an intensive offensive
in Cavite, which became the center of the Revolution. Heavy battles followed one after the other
with the Spanish forces in the winning side. They took Zapote Bridge on February 17 and Silang on
February 19. On February 22, the Filipino troops joined forces to recover the town but were greatly
repulsed by the advancing enemy. On February 28, Perez Dasmariñas was taken. It was during this
battle that Yengko was promoted brigadier-general. As the Spanish troops advanced to Salitran,
Yengko’s troops with the forces of General Juan Cailles and Crispulo Aguinaldo hoped to defend
the town by facing the enemy in Sabang, a barrio on the way to the town proper.
The Spanish army assaulted Salitran in the early morning of March 1. Outnumbered and
weakened, the Filipino troops retreated under heavy fire of the Spanish forces under Colonel Pedro
Zabala. Yengko was shot in the abdomen and was treated to the military hospital in Imus
surrounded by his comrades and the woman she love. He, however, succumbed to his wound on
March 3, 1897.
Eminent Filipinos. Manila: National Historical Commission, 1970.
Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of Philippine Biography Volume 1. Quezon City: Filipiniana
Quirino, Carlos. Who’s who in Philippine History. Manila: Tahanan Books, 1995.
Zaide, Gregorio F. Great Filipinos in History. Manila: Verde Bookstore, 1970.