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.
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.
"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."