Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Remembering the Battle of Tirad Pass

Filipino soldiers, gearing up against the invaders

On this day, exactly 119 years ago a group of small Filipino soldiers made their last stand at Tirad Pass.

They were 60 men. Poorly armed and equipped, hungry and exhausted. Most of them walked for hundreds of miles barefooted. They were led by the 23 year old "boy General" Gregorio del Pilar. The hero of many battles in Bulacan.

Gen. Gregorio del Pilar a few months before his heroic death at Tirad Pass

Facing below them, readying themselves for an all out assault against the Filipino strong hold were nearly 600 well fed, well led American soldiers that were armed with the very latest war equipments.

At about 6:30 in the morning of December 2 1899, the fighting commenced. With the help of a local villager, he led a group of Americans up a trail by which they could emerge to the rear of the Filipinos' positions. Six hours after the battle began, 52 Filipinos lay dead or dying. Those who were lying wounded were all bayoneted. Among the dead was General del Pilar. The Americans lost 30 dead and 9 wounded.

"A good Filipino is a dead Filipino"

The night before the battle, General del Pilar wrote in his diary:

"The General (President Emilio Aguinaldo) has given me the pick of all the men that can be spared and ordered me to defend the Pass at all cost. I realize what a terrible task has been given me. And yet I feel that this is the most glorious moment of my life. What I do is done for my beloved country. No sacrifice can be too great."

Am American soldier, Lt. Dennis Quinlan later buried his body and left a plaque that said:

"Gen. Gregorio del Pilar, Died December 2, 1899, Commanding Aguinaldo's Rear Guard, An Officer and a Gentleman."

Just like the brave 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae, they too have to pay the ultimate prize.

Let us not forget the heroes of Tirad Pass.


Anonymous said...

yes, with our 23 year olds now, with their laptops,MP3's and what have you, tirad pass might as well have been another afternoon tear-jerker. We dont anymore produce patriots the way we used to. how sad.

And to think the guys at thermopylae are now immortals...

"give me a thousand filipinos, and i will conquer the world".
- Gen. Douglas McArthur

"your are confused...just because they are so polite...so nice...so gentle... but they are the world's best fighters..."
- Bob Arum, on the eve of Pacquiao-de la Hoya fight 2008

shri-visayan kid

kim said...

our country needs new heroes...
if only they can see what is going on to the country they love, the country they gave their life to..
the country we all love..
our heroes would not be happy to see what is going on to the Philippines now.