Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Filipino Martyr: MARINA DIZON-SANTIAGO
Heroine of the Philippine Revolution and one of the first women initiated into the
Katipunan, Marina Dizon y Bartolome was born on July 18, 1875 at Tronzo suburb of Binondo, in
Manila, to Jose Dizon, one of the thirteen revolutionary martyrs of Cavite. She was also a cousin of
Emilio Jacinto. Having lost her mother, Roberta Bartolome was barely eight months old, her aunt
Josefa Dizon, Emilio Jacinto’s mother took care of her. Under such a family atmosphere, her
patriotism and nationalism easily came to the fore.
She obtained her early education in a private school conducted by Maestro Timoteo Reyes
(also called as Maestro Tong). Later she enrolled in a public school under Doña Aniceta Cabrera,
where her future husband Jose Turiano Santiago happened to be one of her schoolmates. She
studied music, painting and modeling and became an accomplished singer and declaimer. She was
also a guitarist and violinist of the Trozo Comparsa Band .
She wanted to be a teacher but her father frowned on the idea. One night in 1893, she was
accompanied by Emilio Jacinto to the house of Don Restituto Javier on Oroquieta Street. There in
the presence of Gregoria de Jesus, the young wife of Bonifacio, Josefa and Trinidad Rizal and their
nieces, Angelica Lopez and Delfina Herbosa, Marina was initiated into the Katipunan. The
initiation was presided by the Supremo, Andres Bonifacio.
A very active member of the organization, Marina presided over initiation rites for women,
kept the records, and acquainted new members with the constitution and teachings of the
Katipunan. She would always remind the members: “Be cheerful at all times; do not show fear of
impending rebellion. Be prepared to be orphans and widows some day. Be brave and carry on. She
led the woman in dancing and singing acts to distract the attention of the Spanish patrol units
when the Katipunan have meetings or gatherings.
She was elected secretary of the Katipunan women’s chapter along with Josefa Rizal,
president; Gregoria de Jesus, vice-president; and Angelica Lopez as fiscal.
Even within a risky situation and secrecy of their work, a love bloomed between Marina
and Jose Santiago Turino, an accountant in a business firm, a childhood friend and they met again
in the Katipunan. On September 16, 1894, they were married in Binondo Church.
It was on August 1896, when the Katipunan was discovered. Her father was executed in
Cavite and her husband Jose Turiano was arrested and imprisoned. To avoid having the records of
the Katipunan fall to the hands of the authorities, she burned them. She sold her valuables to raise
money to bribe the guards in order to let her visit her husband in jail. She found temporary peace
when, on September 11, 1897, her husband was released. The American occupation in 1899 forced
Marina and her family to transfer residence to Maycauayan, Bulacan. They moved to Tarlac, Tarlac
when the hostilities ended. There she left Jose with Dr. Marcelino de los Santos and proceeded to
Bamban. Jose slipped unnoticed to Manila where he found work as an accountant in Manila. But
he was suspected as a revolucionario and an order for his capture was issued by the Americans .
He avoided arrest by fleeing to Hong Kong. He and Marina, however, were reconciled when he
came back later to the Philippines.
Dizon was widowed during the Second World War. In the twilight years of her life, she
lived with her unmarried daughter in Caloocan. She passed away at the age of seventy-five on
October 25, 1950.
Hilario-Soriano, Rafaelita, Ed. Women in the Philippine Revolution. Quezon City: Printon
Quirino, Carlos. Who’s Who in Philippine History. (Manila : Tahanan Books),1995.
Varias,-de Guzman, Jovita, Ed. Women of Distinction : Biographical Essay on
Outstanding Filipino Women of the Past and the Present. Philippines : Bukang
Villaroel, Hector K. Eminent Filipinos. Quezon City : Textbook Publishers,1965.a