PATROCINIO V. GAMBOA
Revolutionary Heroine of Jaro
Dubbed as the “Heroine of Jaro,” Patrocinio Gamboa was born on April 30, 1865 in Jaro,
Iloilo to Fermin Gamboa and Leonarda Villareal. She obtained her education from private tutors
and from an avid reading of the Spanish classics as well as newspapers. Being a daughter of a
wealthy and prominent family, she was well-known in the community. She was devoutly religious,
independent-minded, and brave in heart.
As a young woman in Molo during the days of the Propaganda Movement, she read the
novels of Jose Rizal, the orations of Graciano Lopez-Jaena, and copies of La Solidaridad which
circulated secretly in the Visayas as well as in Luzon. These writings, which depicted the abuses of
Spanish officials, stirred her patriotic spirit.
She was already a full-grown woman of 31 when the Philippine Revolution broke out in
August 1896. After the Cry of Balintawak, Tia Patron, as she was popularly called in her province,
joined the revolutionary leaders in her province. She followed closely the developments in Luzon
while being deeply involved in the secret activities of the Comite Conspirador (Committee of
Conspirators), which was founded in Molo in March 1898 and subsequently expanded into the
Comite Central Revolucionario de Visayas (Central revolutionary Committee of the Visayas), with
Roque Lopez as president.
In Santa Barbara, Iloilo leaders of Panay established the Revolutionary Government of the
Visayas, which recognized the authority of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo as president of the
Revolutionary Government of the Philippines. Highlighting its inaugural ceremony on November
17, 1898 was the official hoisting of the Filipino flag, which was sewn by Tia Patron with the help of
several young women of Molo. This flag, which was patterned after the Philippine flag made by
Mrs. Agoncillo in Hong Kong, became the rallying symbol of the Visayan patriots during the
libertarian struggle against the Spaniards and later, the American invaders.
Tia Patron undertook the risky mission of delivering the flag from Jaro to Santa Barbara.
With the help of Honorio Salinap, they staged a scene wherein she posed as a loudmouthed wife
and he a henpecked husband. They were hauling a tartanilla, a horse-drawn vehicle covered with
grass. Inside was hidden a saber. The flag was wrapped around her body. The Spanish guards
suspected nothing. They were able to deliver the flag and the saber to the leaders of the Iloilo
uprisings. She proved that her sex was an asset in the Revolution. She gave more proofs of her
value as a woman and a rich man’s daughter to boot – when she acted as an intelligence officer.
She was able to cross enemy lines easily because of it and to safely deliver military dispatches to the
different combat commanders. She collected war contributions from the Chinese in Iloilo and
gathered food and medical supplies, as well as arms and ammunitions, for the revolutionary forces.
She even risked her life in the battlefields, where she and her volunteer nurses recruited in Molo
nursed the wounded and comforted the sick.
Her patriotic services to the Revolution were known to many people in Iloilo, including the
revolutionary leaders who, after the war, became prominent officials in the civil government
established by the United States. In 1901, when the government offered her a pension for those
services, she politely refused, saying: “I do not ask for a pension. I give my services as a love
offering to my country. I do not ask any compensation for those services.”
Tia Patron filled her home in Molo with Philippine memorabilia which she had collected
over the years. These included valuable antiques, paintings, pictures of Filipino heroes, and a
bronze bust of Rizal by Guillermo Tolentino, the noted sculptor. During such holidays as Rizal
Day, Bonifacio Day, National Heroes’ Day, and Independence Day, she was always the first one in
the town to display the Filipino flag.
She remained single up to her death on November 24, 1953. She was buried with military
honors at the Balantang Veteran’s Cemetery in Jaro.
In her honor, a marker was installed in Jaro, Iloilo on December 21, 1980.
Ancheta, Herminia M. and Michaela Beltran-Gonzales, Filipino Women in Nation Building,
Phoenix Publishing House Inc., Quezon City, 1984.
Sonza, Demy P. Illustrious Ilonggos Volume I, Iloilo Provincial Historical Committee, Iloilo
Quirino, Carlos. Who’s Who in Philippine History. Manila: Tahanan Books, 1995.
Zaide, Gregorio Great Filipinos in History, Manila, 1970.