MIGUEL C. MALVAR
Miguel Malvar, one of the last Filipino revolutionary generals to surrender to the
Americans, was born in Barrio San Miguel, Santo Tomas, Batangas, on September 27, 1865. After
initially attending the town school in Santo Tomas, his parents, Maximo Malvar and Tiburcia
Carpio, sent him to the school of Father Valerio Malabanan in Tanawan.
Malvar attended another school to study Latinidad, which he did not complete. He married
Paula Maloles and engaged in business of raising poultry and livestock farm in Santo Tomas.
Because of this business, he had established acquaintance with Chinese merchants; one of them,
Carlos Palanca, helped him engage in the sugar industry. As his business widened, his influence in
the community grew and enable him to become the gobernadorcillo. His heightened status in the
community, however, did not make him lust for power but gave him a new purpose when he
realized the morally destructive influence of the parochial priest and Spanish authorities.
In 1896, the revolution broke out and Malvar responded. The respect he earned from the
town people made it easy for him to assemble band of followers to fight the Spaniards. He attacked
the Spanish military unit in Talisay, Batangas and was able to rescue his father from captivity.
Pursued by the Spanish authorities, Malvar fled to Cavite where he joined the revolutionary forces
of Aguinaldo. He had his taste of heavy battle in Zapote Bridge with the troops of General Edilberto
Evangelista who died in action. After Zapote, he fought in Indang, Bailen, Magallanes, and Alfonso.
On March 31, 1897, Malvar was promoted to lieutenant general and later as commanding
general of Batangas. He directed operations in Santo Tomas de Tanawan, Lemery and Talisay.
Together with General Trias, he directed the siege of San Pablo, Laguna. He was earning a
reputation for his brevity.
In December 1897, the peace pact in Biak na Bato between the Filipinos and the Spaniards
was signed, thereby, ending the revolution and allowing the Filipino generals to go on exile in
Hong Kong. Malvar followed his compatriots in the British colony in early 1898. There, he
delegated his task as cashier administrator of the revolutionary fund. After a few months of exile,
the Filipino Generals returned to the Philippines with a renewed determination to rid the Spanish
authorities in the country.
Malvar returned to the country in June 1898, bringing with him about 2000 rifles that
greatly helped his compatriots. Appointed commanding general of Southern Luzon, he organized
the forces in Batangas, Mindoro, and Tayabas. Eventually, the Filipinos won their victory,
prompting Aguinaldo to declare independence from Spanish colonialism on June 12, 1898.
Unfortunately, this independence from colonial rule was short lived.
On February 4, 1899, the Philippine-American War broke out. Malvar responded to the
new enemy with courage. He fought the American forces in Muntinglupa, San Pedro, Tunasan,
Kalamba and Kabuyaw. Appointed division general and chief of the second zone of operations in
Southern Luzon, General Malvar delegated his task with General Juan Cailles, his deputy. He
fought with the forces of General Artemio Ricarte in defending several towns of Laguna.
Faced with a better-trained and better-armed enemy, the Filipinos turned into guerrilla
warfare, which proved to be more effective. The American soldiers did not take this lightly. They
inflicted stricter measures in stopping Malvar and other guerillas. Aimed at starving them, they
took the civilians in military zones, and destroyed villages, crops and animals along with their
more intense military campaign that eventually resulted to the capture of Aguinaldo in Palanan,
Isabela on March 23, 1901. General Aguinaldo’s capture deteriorated the moral of the struggling
freedom fighters. Many of them surrendered while others were captured.
Malvar chose to keep what he vowed; to fight for freedom. Being the only revolutionary
fighting against a gigantic enemy, his resources depleted and strength depleted. The welfare of his
family and loyal soldiers droved him to surrender to General Franklin J. Bell on April 16, 1902. He
declared: “I surrender because my family and friends who have been accompanying me are all sick,
suffering and hungry; my children and my wife have suffered all kinds of hardships.” Months after
this, the Philippine Commission instituted the civil government of the Philippine Islands.
Malvar returned to his province and pursued his interest in agriculture. A principled man,
he graciously declined the offer for him to become governor of Batangas.
On October 13, 1911, he died of liver ailment in Manila. He was 46. His remains were
brought to Santo Tomas, Batangas and was buried with high military honors.
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Gwekoh, Sol H. “President After Aguinaldo” Sunday Times. September 26, 1965.
Manuel, E. Arsenio. Dictionary of the Philippine Biography Volume 1. Quezon City:
Filipiniana Publications, 1955.
Quirino, Carlos. Who’s who in Philippine History. Manila: Tahanan Books, 1995.