Leader of the longest revolt
Except for being known to be a native of Bohol, no other records point out to the early life of Dagohoy from his birth to childhood but he became known to be the leader of the longest revolt in Philippine history from 1744 to 1829.
Dagohoy’s revolt was spurred by his desire to avenge his brother to the Jesuits. His brother was the town constable, who was killed while carrying orders of the Jesuit Father Gaspar Morales to run after a renegade indio and was denied Christian burial by the same priest for reason that his brother could have died in a duel. After burying his brother without the Church’s blessing, Dagohoy convinced his people to fight the Spaniards and soon many Boholanos, who were already burdened from paying tribute and rendering forced labor, readily joined him. They plundered San Xavier, the Jesuit hacienda, on their way to the mountains between Inabangan and Talibon where Dagohoy established his headquarters and proclaimed the independence of Bohol.
Fierce and combat ready, Dagohoy and his men launched successive attacked on garrisons and Churches. On January 24, 1746, Father Giuseppe Lamberti, the Italian Jesuit and parish priest of Jagna was killed. Shortly after, Father Gaspar Morales, whom Dagohoy loathed, met his death from the hands of the native rebels. The personal crusade of Dagohoy had long turned into a libertarian struggle for the people of Bohol so that even after Father Gaspar died, he did not stopped waging war against the Spaniards.
He became a marked man that the Spanish authorities had to liquidate. In 1747, Bishop Juan de Arrechederra, then acting governor general of the Philippines, dispatched the expedition forces of Pedro Lechuga based in Zamboanga to capture Dagohoy in Bohol. The expedition force, however, failed in its mission and returned to Zamboanga. When the Jesuits were expelled from the country and the Recollects took their place in 1768, Dagohoy’s rebel group was still active that even priests like the Recollect Father Pedro de Santa Barbara and Bishop Lino de Espeleta of Cebu, who became governor-general, tried to convince him to surrender to no avail.
The Boholanos maintained their independence from the colonial government until August 31, 1829, when they, battle weary and weakened by the death of Dagohoy, were eventually defeated by the Spanish military that continued to strengthen its drive against them. They made their last stand in the mountains of Boasa under the command of Handog and Auag, the two brothers who continued to lead them after Dagohoy died. No records point to the exact date and cause of death of the great leader of Bohol but it was surmised that he died of old age or sickness before 1829.
According to the combat report of Captain Manuel Sanz, the veteran Spanish soldier who led the last and successful expedition against the Boholanos, more than 400 rebels died in action during the last battle, about 3,000 fled to other provinces and 19, 420 surrendered. Such number showed the extent of Dagohoy’s influence. Governor Ricafort later granted executive clemency to those who surrendered and allowed them to live in the lowland villages, now the towns of Batuan, Balilihan, Catigbian and Bilar.
In honor of Dagohoy, a historical marker has been installed on his grave on Mt. Magtangtang in Danao, Bohol.
Eminent Filipinos. Manila: National Historical Commission, 1970.
Gwekoh, Sol H. “F. Dagohoy-Brave Filipino who Defied Spain” The Manila Times. August 9. 1966.
Zaide, Gregorio F. Great Filipinos in History. Manila: Verde Bookstore, 1970.