Friday, January 18, 2013

Filipino Martyr: ANDRES MALONG

Leader of the Pangasinan Revolt
Andres Malong was the leader of the short-lived but devastating revolt in Pangasinan in
1660-1661. A native of Binalatongan, Pangasinan, Malong was the province’s master-of-camp, the
governor’s right-hand man in dealing with the natives. He was a timawa. An Augustinian account
described him as highly intelligent and clever. Although it was his job, as master-of-camp, to
impress upon his fellow Pangasinenses the advantages of having the Spanish overlord, he had
other ideas. Unknown to his Spanish masters, he was sowing the seeds of revolt in the minds of the
It was the time of the Dutch invasion of the Philippines. A thousand natives were
employed in Pampanga and Bataan to cut timber for the building of ships. They were recruited not
just from those provinces but also from Pangasinan, the Ilocos, and Cagayan. After working for
eight months away from their families and without being paid their meager salaries, they had
grown agitated.
The mutinous situation was turned into an open revolt by Pampangos, led by Francisco
Maniago, a master-of-camp like Malong. However, this revolt in Pampanga was easily quelled,
without any blood being spilled on its soil. The one that spread to Pangasinan by Andres Malong,
was something else.
Malong’s revolt targeted only the Spanish government officials, not the Spanish priest.
Obviously, Pangasinenses had a deep reverence for all things Christian. Malong ordered the
people not only to attend masses and to pray, but also to guard churches and convents to keep
them from harm. This attitude reflected the sincere appreciation of the people towards priests in
the province who, according to Spanish chronicles, were dedicated to their mission of
Christianizing the natives and assimilating them into a civil society. It was even recorded that
these priests regarded the natives as their brethren and jealously guarded their safety as members
of the flock. It was the abuses committed by the lay Spaniards, including encomenderos and
alcaldes that actually fueled the revolt. The first stirrings of the revolt occurred in Malangue
(Malunguey in other accounts), but the authorities quickly suppressed these with the aid of
soldiers from Pampanga. However, it was to take a violent and bloody turn soon enough.
On December 15, 1660, a mob led by Malong raided the house of the alguacil mayor of
Lingayen, Nicolas de Campos, killing him and his family and setting fire to the house. The force of
the discontented increased each day, in each town. Any town, which refused to join the revolt, was
razed to the ground. For dilly-dallying, Bacnotan was besieged by the rebels. The town’s alcalde
mayor and his family tried to escape by the river, but they were overtaken when their boat hit a
sandbar, and were massacred. Only the town priests were spared.
With the death of Spanish town officials, Malong proclaimed himself “King of
Pangasinan.” His rebels were then in control of the whole provincial territory, from Bolinao in the
west to the Ilocano-populated towns of present-day La Union. Even the Zambals, a mountain
people who refused to heed the call of civilized life, were enticed to join the revolt.
With the people of Pangasinan united under him, Malong thought of spreading and
consolidating the forces of rebellion in all of Luzon under his command. He sent 6,000 men under
Melchor de Vera to Pampanga and another 3,000 men to Ilocos under Pedro Gumapos, retaining
only 2,000 men under his immediate command. Unfortunately, Pampanga was, by this time,
already at peace with the Spaniards. The Pampanga leader Maniago, who had initiated the revolt
in the province, was for Spanish rule once again.
The Spaniards responded to Malong’s revolt with a two-pronged attack, both river-borne
and by land. Their troops were augmented by Pampangos, mestizos, Japanese (from Dilao, now
Paco), Zambals, and Pangasinenses from Bolinao. Having sent the bulk of his army away, Malong
faced the Spaniards with a depleted force, which proved no match to them in firepower and
military training. The Spaniards overcame the rebel’s chief town, Binalatongan, which the rebels
themselves had already burned to the ground. They had retaken Lingayen earlier without a fight.
The rebels retreated to the forest, hoping to get back at their enemy in an ambush, but the wary
Spaniards did not fall into the trap.
Meanwhile, Melchor de Vera’s army was defeated at Magalang. He was captured and
hanged in Binalatongan. That of Pedro Gumapos met a similar fate in the Ilocos. He was hanged
in Vigan.
Soon, scores of rebels deserted King Malong and disbanded, asking the Spaniards for
forgiveness. Some of them offered to help the Spaniards track down Malong.
Malong was captured on February 6, 1661 in a hut between Calasiao and Bacnotan. He
was with his mother. He was brought to Lingayen for trial and executed there, by firing squad.
(Some accounts say it was in Binalatongan that he was tried and executed - shot as he was sitting
on a rock.) In the aftermath, most of his ardent followers were hanged- the usual penalty for
treason. It is said that Malong died a Christian, implying that despite initiating a revolt against the
Spaniards, he never renounced the Christian faith.

Blair, Emma H. and Robertson, James A. The Philippine Islands 1493-1898 Volumes 38 and 41.
Cleveland, Ohio: The Arthur H. Clarke Co., 1903-1909
Constantino, Renato. The Philippines, A Past Revisited. Manila: The Author, 1975.
Cortes, Rosario Mendoza. Pangasinan: 1572-1800. Quezon City: University of the
Philippines Press, 1974.
Pacis, Vicente A. and others. Founders of Freedom. Quezon City: Capitol Publishing
House, Inc., 1971.
Roces, Alfredo R. ed. Filipino Heritage, the Making of a Nation Volume 5. Manila:
Lahing Pilipino Publishing Inc., 1978.

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