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COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 1

)
by
Edelito C. Sangco
http://www.islandlife.me/category/colorum-facts

My earlier posts on “Colorum: Stigma of a Socorronhon” had elicited mixed reactions. Others praised it as a
fine piece of history while some branded it as a hate campaign against the people of the neighboring town of
Dapa.
Let me categorically state that I preferred to start my posts on the subject in that manner to catch the interest
of the present internet-savvy generation of Socorronhons and hopefully would tickle their imagination on the
plight of the people who came ahead of them and for them to appreciate the essence of the words of
George Santayana, a Spanish-born American author of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
who aptly said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
While it is true that I posted the truth that the humiliations suffered by my generations of Socorronhons, and
much more with those older than me, had lighted the fire of animosity on my part against the people of the
said town but that same fire was slowly doused with water as I was able to dig deeper into the story of the
Colorum Uprising. That same story I shall reveal for the first time in this and my future posts, hoping in the
process that today’s generation of Socorronhons would appreciate their forebears and take pride of being
descendants of the Colorum defenders.
It was in 1992 when I attended the Seminar-Workshop on Local History Writing in Placer, Surigao del Norte
sponsored by the Philippine National Historical Society that I found the impetus to start writing the history of
Socorro. The inputs provided by Prof. Leslie Bauzon of the University of the Philippines and Prof. Resil
Mojares of the University of San Carlos’ Cebuano Studies Center had provided me a road map on that
daunting task. But it was the piece “The Powers That Failed: The Story of Colorum Uprising” delivered by
Mr. Fernando Almeda that had sparked my desire to write the story of Colorum Uprising from the viewpoint
of a Colorum descendant. Credit is due to my friend and idol, Euly V. Eleazar of Cantilan, Surigao del Sur,
for giving me valuable information on the output of his previous research work on the subject which my
sources in Socorro failed to provide.
In 1917, scores of families from Leyte belonging to the Cofradia de Sagrado Corzaon de Jesus under the
abbotship of Geraldo “Andoy” Lasala arrived in Socorro, Surigao del Norte,Philippines to seek greener
pasture and live a peaceful and happy island life. The families bearing the surnames Lasala, Eleazar, Dizon,
Sarno, Sabalo, Tapales, Paler, Cadano, Capistrano, Maturan, Yamson, Tamayo, Magallanes, Alvares,
Silong, Timcang, Supangan, Jualo, Bordas, Cubillanes, Quiban, Questeria and Gelsano comprised the
group. The families of Coniato and Buntad were also among the group as they joined the exodus during
their stop-over at Sitio San Jose, Albor town in Dinagat. Due to their devout practices of catholic life,
majority, if not all, local inhabitants decided to join their group including the families of Taruc, Dotillos,
Cordita, Banaybanay, Espuerta, Arco, Alabat, Dumalag and Lagapa. Also the Juanite, Antigro, Sangco,

HighBeam Research. 15 Sep.The IFI steadily gained ground and stability with the membership of 60 leading citizens of Navotas. Galavia. which the later politely turned down citing potential conflict with Fr. Fr.highbeam. preserving the moral purity and sacredness of Christian doctrines. the violation of Council of Trent decisions stipulating that only members of the clergy should administer parishes.” Manila Bulletin. if not notoriety.” Since then. Msgr. Cornelio Berquel of the Parish of Dapa who was earlier convincing them to affiliate with his parish. Felix Van der Pol of the Parish of Numancia. On August 3. Sarong. at the Zorilla Theater. 2009. led by Doña Saturnina Bunda. Lampad and other families from Mainit decided to join the group. the term “colorum” widely gained acceptance. led the establishment of the Philippine Independent Church. the growth in the number of Filipino clergy. Learning of the existence of the Cofradia. where Barrio Pamosaingan then belonged. Van der Pol felt insulted with the thumbing down by Lasala of his invitation. The Philippine Independent Church continues to be a Filipino people’s church. 1902.(Opinion). Among the factors that led to the founding of the IFI were the centuries-old issue on the secularization of Philippine parishes. and the 1896 Philippine Revolution that ended friar dominance in the country. Surigao del Norte. COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 2) It is worthy to turn back into the pages of Philippine history as it relates to the story of the Colorum Uprising which happened in Socorro. In one of his visits to Barrio Pamosaingan. Philippines that affected the tranquility of the townsfolk’s island life.Telen.com>. Bohol and Tesado families from Pamosaingan decided to join the group. Ancog. Maisog. among the Numancia and Dapa parishioners to the extent of branding all the people of Socorro with that derisive name. Labe. officially the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). 2010 <http://www. eliminating deceptions and misinterpretations. “Philippine Independent Church 107th Foundation Day. Complementing these development were the American efforts to quell Filipino armed resistance. he invited the Cofradia leader Geraldo “Andoy” Lasala for a dinner meeting. He then shouted invective words against the hapless Cofradia leader and branded the Cofradia de Sagrado Corazon de Jesus as “Colorum”. Fr. Isabelo de los Reyes. The migrant Galanida. Historians recognize the Philippine Independent Church as a milestone in the history of the Filipino libertarian struggle. Father Cornelio Berquel of the Parish of Dapa was so appreciative of the group that he frequently visited the place to officiate Sunday Mass. which literally meant “Unregistered. Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp. . He then persuaded Lasala to affiliate in the Parish of Numancia. Gregorio Aglipay became the Philippine Independent Church’s first chosen Obispo Maximo or Supreme Head. had trained his sights on the group. The Philippine Independent Church has become part of the Old Catholic Utrecht Union/Union of Utrecht Association of Churches and constitutes the second largest Christian denomination in the Philippines with approximately two to six million members nationwide and with large congregations as well in the United States and parts of Asia. patriot and revolutionary hero. the clamor for the Filipinization of parishes. and selecting its own clergymen. and 14 influential Filipino priests from various parishes in the country.

a. For most people. Felix Lantayug himself visited the place. Cofradia’s conversion to the Aglipayan Church proved to be the turning point of the history of Socorro. the fire of nationalism was ignited among the hearts and minds of majority of the Cofradia’s leaders and members so that they decided to embrace the Aglipayan Church and abandoned their devotion to the Catholic Church.Due to the sudden increase of political power. the transition period from the old way of life to the new way of life is the most . Their protagonism for the Filipino Church was finally realized. This is why people generally do not appreciate the opportunities presented by change. Surigao del Norte. he was rebuked by the Cofradia leaders notably Clemente Eleazar. When he preached about the doctrines of the Philippine Independent Church. In the year 1922. Instead. In the later part of that same year. he possessed a rare personal quality to arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm. But before digging deeper into the story. and in order to give justice to the oppositors of the decision to leave the Catholic Church. business processes. Nevertheless. The individual may not accept the likelihood that the change will really take hold. Resistance: What Is It Change shakes up the world that a person has come to know and exist well in. disrupts the status quo. Confidence Loss of what is familiar to a person may create a high degree of uncertainty and anxiety.k. who was a close associate of Aglipayan Bishop Montemer. organization designs. Undoubtedly. Comfort. an attribute which is comparable to the present-day Mike Velarde. the Secretary of the Cofradia. it is just proper to dwell into the what. the established ways of operating and relating to one another are disrupted. There are four core elements of an individual’s existence in an organization that become disrupted when presented with a major change. Juan Canete. In addition. as Juan Bajao arrived in Socorro upon orders of his friend Felix Lantayug. Philippines had elicited resistance from prominent leaders of the group which led them to break away from the Cofradia. Those are commonly referred to as “The Four C’s” – Confidence. the new Church. they see the threats. and Control. The Philippine Independent Church strengthened and intensified their influence towards the masses. Competence A change such as the introduction of new technology. when he broached the idea of transferring to the new Church. etc. Competence. such as that brought about with the implementation of a new system and in this case. COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 3) The change in the religious denomination of the Cofradia members in Socorro. why and how of resistance so that you can ascertain the feelings and actuations of the people who rejected the situation. abandon island life and migrated to other towns in the mainland Surigao. His mission was to pave the way for the establishment of the Philippine Independent Church in the place.a. He befriended the Cofradia leaders with the hope of winning their hearts and eventually embrace the Aglipayan Church.

others may be swayed to the resistor’s position and may join in resisting. familiar processes and tools. These telltale signs will tell you why there is resistance. These private instances range from an individual making no effort to learn about the implementation of the new system (e. relating and managing start to break down at all levels. such an act of overt resistance can be very harmful.g. Covert resistance can be especially dangerous because it may gain significant momentum before it is surfaced. not attending meetings). the new method of worshipping Control As a general rule. people need to feel in control of their lives and personal futures. the status quo offers the security and comfort of established lines of power and authority. This is when the established ways of working. Surigao del Norte. It was Clemente Eleazar. it offers stability and predictability. If left unanswered. caution. Poor cross-functional communications and relationships. and paralysis may keep the individual from moving toward the new way of doing things. to a message delivered by a leader in a private meeting. a story that has shaped the island life of the people of the place. resources. and clear expectations. Inadequate training on new systems. Philippines.unstable and disruptive. and a workable environment include: Lack of knowledge and procedures. to a quiet talk among two or more peers. In short. Overt resistance will frequently surface as unrestricted comments made by a resistor in a rather public forum. covert demonstrations of resistance can be more damaging than public ones.. the Secretary General of the Cofradia de Sagrado Corazon de Jesus who publicly resisted the idea in a public meeting called to discuss the merits and demerits of transferring to the new- . Comfort This is a time when an individual usually focuses on the loss of familiar ways of operating and is concerned with issues associated with personal safety and security. We like knowing what is expected of us and knowing how to do things. Lack of teamwork knowledge or skills and. Private. like in this case. Fear. COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 4) It was both the overt and covert resistance to the change from their usual catholic way of life to the Philippine Independent Church that defined the history of the Colorum Uprising in Socorro. Depending upon the individual’s level of influence with others. Whether or not an individual likes the way things currently are. Willingness issues are ones that cause people to resist by blocking their readiness to emotionally invest in the initiative and include: The current state is fine. which generally fall into one of two categories – Ability or Willingness. Why change? Resistance: How Is It There are two kinds of resistance – overt and covert. Typical Ability issues that cause people to resist because being “able” depends on having specific knowledge. Resistance: Why Is It Change has a look and feel that can be identified.

Yet. Philippines purposely to fight against the Philippine government. he branded such prayer meetings as activities attributable to cults. they were made as spies of the catholic priest to monitor all the activities of the cofradia and its new-found congregation. Eventually. that sent alarmed bells to the civil and military authorities that a rebel “colorum” movement had been hatched in Bucas Grande Island. as animosity had already occurred between Fr. the police and military authorities were alarmed with the reports. some resistors in the person of Romano Arco. Catholic Parish Priest of Dapa who. the Cofradia continued with its usual Church activities when they were still under the Roman Catholic Church such as the holding of two prayer meetings per day. the said priest was already feeling suspicious on the prayer meetings of the group. Police and constables assigned in the neighboring towns of Dapa and Numancia inSiargao Island were dispatched at random to the island to conduct investigations only to find out that the islanders were law-abiding. there were many instances that Fr. Fr. was enraged with the decision of the Cofradia to break away from the mother church. Cornelio Berquel. despite their innocence. led by the Cofradia leader Gerardo “Andoy” Lasala and the oppositors. usually led by the lay leaders locally termed “decorions” were sanctioned. God- fearing and true followers of Christ. a number of local inhabitants fall victims of atrocities committed by the law enforcers who still adhere to the Guardia Civil-type of treating suspects in . which they called “pagdayeg” (praise). by Fr. Catholic Parish Priest of Dapa. It is to be noted that such church services. COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 5) It was the persistent and unfounded reports fed by Fr. Surigao del Norte. Genaro Sabalo and Bertoldo Paler had made secret meetings with Fr. Subsequently. There was a heated debate that occurred as both the proponents. the first being done every three o’clock in the afternoon which they called “completas”(completeness) and the second being done every seven o’clock in the evening. Unknown to Lasala and other Cofradia leaders. True to the priest’s design. But it was the covert resistance to the decision to embrace the new Church that became a spark of the Colorum Uprising. led by Eleazar passionately presented their arguments. Armed with fabricated testimonies of his spies in Socorro. Berquel alerted the civil and military authorities that a “Colorum” movement has been hatched in the place to rebel against the government. and even praised to high heavens. Socorro. Berquel and the Cofradia. Eleazar and some loyal sympathizers broke away from the Cofradia and migrated to Cantilan town in the mainland Surigao. expectedly. Cornelio Berquel.found Church. Cornelio Berquel when the Cofradia was still within the fold of the catholic faith. Meanwhile. As expected. a charge which seriously threatened the peaceful island life of the inhabitants. Nevertheless. Lasala’s arguments prevailed over that of Eleazar’s and the decision was formally made to abandon the Catholic Church and embrace the doctrines of the Philippine Independent Church. In fact. Worst. Berquel himself would officiate mass in time for the said prayer meetings.

Captain Valentin Juan himself visited the island to conduct investigation. regarded the islanders with deep suspicion. but the captain asked for the prosecution of the Colorums who. Again. Socorro. they stopped a Sunday mass. In Pamosaingan. the Provincial Commander of thePhilippine Constabulary. he had sent telegrams to Manila saying that migration of land seekers from Leyte was heavy. Valentin Juan proceeded to Barrio Pamosaingan where he met Martin Telen and Diego Juanite and investigated them about the existence of the colorum group. He was convinced that indeed. Philippines upon hearing the news that his father was being manhandled by the law enforcement officers. He did not indicate for a possibility of an armed outbreak. When Consigna fearfully denied the presence of such secret group. Capt. he was repeatedly beaten and. Just as he was about to board his boat. In the capital town of Surigao. ordered all the people to go outside of the church and divested all the scapulars and religious. Subsequently. especially those whom they suspected to be members of the secret “colorum” group to the extent of kicking them with their boots and hitting them with their rifle’s butt. the Barrio Lieutenant. Bohol and son of Barrio Lieutenant Pablo Lagapa. Afterwards. When he inquired about the reported “colorum” rebel movement being hatched in Socorro. Afterwards. Their return to the island . COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 6) Albino Lagapa. he chanced upon Melchor Consigna who was gleaning within the vicinity of the boat. The law enforcers also maltreated the elders of the island. As expected. he held the old man’s feet and trusted the victem’s head into the sea waters. articles. He assigned agents to spy on the Colorums. Juan manhandled the pair in front of the barrio people. Likewise. Surigao del Norte. there was a plot being hatched in Bucas Grande Island against the government. professing all kinds of supernatural powers. Mr. Jose Juanite. Captain Valentin Juan. including that of healing the sick. who was a student in Loboc. went home also upon learning that his siblings were castigated in Barrio Pamosaingan. As early as July of 1923. Capt. Then the Provincial Commander returned to Socorro and proceeded to the wharf where his boat was docked. they piled them on the ground and burned it in full view of the stunned parishioners. he ordered the old man to come on board and investigated him on the alleged rebel movement. including antique. not content with the blood oozing from the victims mouth. but the move turned out to be a fatal blunder as they committed the same atrocities against the local elders. went home to Bucas Grande Island. he made a courtesy call at the house of Pablo Lagapa. the two had denied the existence of such group. Juan was so enraged that he had severely beaten and manhandled the Barrio Lieutenant thereby causing the hapless victim to vomit with blood. a student in Cebu City. he said. Capt. were deceiving and swindling the ignorant people.investigations. an act resembling the torture committed upon the Saint Lorenzo Ruiz de Manila. Upon reaching the place. Lagapa explained that the alleged group never existed in the place.

Private Taloc. Afterwards. Albino. Surigao del Norte. in his efforts to appease the enraged soldier. together with his buddies Placido Rafol and Martin Telen were chatting at the Pamosaingan barrio wharf while enjoying the sight of the horizon turning to crimson and orange as the sun was slowly buried into the bosom of the ocean. Subsequently. It was during a fine late afternoon that Jose Juanite. Subsequently. Philippines. Valentin Juan to continue with the investigation. It was a fine Sunday morning that a group of men led by Constable Private Pedro Taloc were having a coconut wine. Lagapa got his “lambitan” in a quick as flash manner and managed to hack the soldier’s neck causing his instantaneous demise. They were happily recalling . who were close friends of Albino Lagapa and who had witnessed the incident.proved to be another milestone in the history of the Colorum Uprising which affected the island life of the Socorronhons. Lagapa tried to explain to the lawman that he was coming home just to know the real score in preparation for his plan to file a formal complaint with the military authorities and convinced the law enforcer that he had no plan to take revenge. Ciriaco Timcang chopped the soldier’s head. Socorro. who was already under the influence of the local wine. After the incident. When Lagapa reached the vicinity of the store. The soldier was part of a two-man team being left behind by Capt. raised his hands as a gesture of surrender. the Constable noticed that he was sporting a sharp-pointed bolo locally termed “lambitan” tucked on his back with the handle positioned at the back of his neck as it was customary of the local men in those times to sport such weapon for self-defense purposes. accosted the young man and asked if indeed he was the son of the Barrio Lieutenant who was rumored to have gone home to take revenge on the plight of his father who had suffered brutalities in the hands of the soldiers. an event which helped ignite the Colorum Uprising that greatly affected the island lifeof the people of Bucas Grande Island. Just as Taloc was about to fire his gun. But Taloc had continued to become rude in his remarks against the young student. But the soldier took Lagapa’s act as a preparatory move to get his sharp-pointed bolo thereby pushing the lawman to aim his gun towards the later. Quisada thrusted his “lambitan” on the lawman’s chest causing the latter’s death. he chanced upon Albino Lagapa who was walking past the pair of coconut trunk being utilized as cat walk en route to the barrio proper from Sitio Puyangi. COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 7) Fanning the fire on the story of the colorums taking up arms against the government was an uncalled for incident that happened in Barrio Pamosaingan during the Christmas time of 1923. words were spreading like wildfire in the province of Surigao that the “colorums” in Socorro were already taking up arms against the government. As the soldier peeped through the store’s window. drinking spree at the sari-sari store of Mariano Alvares exactly at the site where Cindy Eva Store now rises. locally termed “tuba”. After a short altercation. ran at full speed towards Sitio Tugop where Private Francisco Cabacas was taking a bath. Pacio Quisada and Ciriaco Timcang.

Capt. Surigao Provincial Command to pound the colorums into pieces to the extent of disturbing the island life of the inhabitants. Juanite and company just ignored the acts of the strangers as they were apparently drank. had helped reinforce the story that indeed that people of Socorro were already on a combative mode against the government. commandeered a non-motorized boat and paddled their way to Dapa and reported the incident to the civil. In fact. Nevertheless. Uriarte committed the biggest blunder of his life because he miserably failed to send advance notice to Lasala about his impending visit to the island. Valentin Juan to spy on the activities of the colorums. after an exhaustive playing sessions. At that moment. Their short encounter in Cagdianao had paved the way for the development of an enduring friendship between Uriarte and Lasala. Placido Cariaga. COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 8) The untoward incidents in Bucas Grande Island. On January 7. Nevertheless. the Provincial Commander of thePhilippine Constabulary. Cariaga then hurled insults at Juanite whom he accused of coming home from his studies in Cebu to take revenge against the law enforcers who manhandled his siblings. The two prisoners. the insults turned to serious as the lawman drew his gun and aimed the weapon at Juanite. his police companion. It is worthy to mention that the . left Surigao City on board the gun boat M/B Captain Clark. It is worthy to mention that Uriarte was the policed chief of Cagdianao in Dinagat Island when the cofradia made a stopover in the said place en route to Bucas Grande.the days of their boyhood. 1924. a policeman from the nearby town of Numancia (now Del Carmen). who were apprehensive of any military personnel visiting the place. together with three companions. At the start. Philippineshad cemented the resolve of Capt. who later turned out to be agents planted by Capt. The incident. he had second thoughts on the veracity of the reports for he personally knew Andoy Lasala. The Dapa police official then embarked on a mission to go to Socorro to personally see Lasala and get first hand information on the incident straight from the mouth of his friend. and one of the three prisoners. Uriarte arrived at Socorro wharf on board a sail boat. the men guarding the wharf. as a virtuous man. Their destination was Barrio Pamosaingan located in the western part of Bucas Grande Island with the mission of neutralizing the colorum rebels at all cost. when. who had managed to escape from the wrath of the wharf guards. An altercation ensued which developed into a full-blown encounter resulting to the death of the policeman and his companions. Accompanied by a police man and three prisoners. Surigao del Norte. arrived the scene. the cofradia leader. Valentin Juan together with his combat men. swarmed the sail boat before it can position in the docking area and killed Uriarte. military and church authorities. Socorro. they would retire to the wharf and enjoy watching the sunset. Nevertheless. which happened without the knowledge of Lasala. The Chief of Police of Dapa named Pedro Uriarte was saddened upon hearing the news of the death of the constables and policemen in the hands of the cofradia members. Valentin Juan.

the Constabulary Provincial Commander. Capt. boarded their small banca and moved slowly towards the shore. They arrived Pamosaingan right after lunch time of January 8 of the mentioned year. shouted back that the law men could utilize the small boats on board their gun boat. Juan Guillermo. who had already started wading through the waters. The boat had find difficulty to dock at the barrio wharf because the tide was at its lowest ebb. Capt. As a spontaneous reaction to the death of their comrades. Miguel Borja one of the boatmen of the bancas boarded by the military men. who was with the group of men gathered in the house of Cayetano Antigro. the Pamosaingan defenders were determined to repel the attackers as they vigorously pursued their counter attack in waves. Lt. After two hours of waiting. As they were nearing the shorelines. Sensing that the military men were about to be subdued by the colorums. retreated towards one of the floating bancas. all of the military men. Hence. Jose Juanite. However. COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 9) The sight of the death of the advancing soldiers in the hands of the “colorum” defenders during a skirmish in Barrio Pamosaingan. in Bucas Grande Island. the Chief of Police of that town as Barangay Pamosaingan was under his area of responsibility. it was proven that there is might in courage and determination as the aggressors had fallen into the shore lines one after the other. hurriedly turned the boat back and paddled his way out of the vicinity of the combat. 1924 had terrified the other military men serving as onlookers of the encounter because never had they imagined that the locals. Juan Guillermo ordered for an assault at the group of men in the house of Cayetano Antigro resulting to the instantaneous death of eight persons including the house owner. except the Numancia police chief and the machinist Sgt. Valentin Juan. Garde. Juan shouted to the men in Pamosaingan to fetch the soldiers and carry the lawmen in their shoulders. were that brave and determined to stand their ground in defending their beloved island. ordered his men to alight and wade through the knee-deep waters while the Provincial Commander just remained in the banca. Indeed. Captain Juan’s fleet had made a stopover and stayed overnight in the town of Gigaquit before proceeding to Numancia to fetch Aurelio Apostial.boat they were using was named after the American Military official Capt. Philippines in the afternoon of January 8. Socorro. The Provincial Commander was enraged but he cannot help but wait until the tide would rise. who were used to a peaceful island life. Jose Juanite ordered for a counterattack against the soldiers which signaled the onset of the gruesome battle between the guns of the attackers against the spears and sharp- pointed bolos (lambitan) of the defenders. Lt. Diego Juanite chased him and they . Subsequently. Clark Lewis who was killed by Captain Adriano Concepcion in the two-year rebellion that occurred in Surigao in 1902-03. Valentin Juan. the aide de camp of Capt. Surigao del Norte. Nevertheless. Though lacking in arms and ammunitions and unmindful with the sight of their fallen fellow islanders.

As the smoke of the battle had cleared. they pushed the banca towards the high seas. Garde started the engine and ran it at full speed though the anchor was not yet hauled up resulting for the gun boat to go merry-go-round until Estrada had maneuvered to ride on the boat and cut the rope using his bayonet. The Manila Times also came out with the story that 1. Philippines in that unfortunate afternoon of January 8. Valentin Juan and Lt.engaged in a one-on-one encounter on board the banca resulting to the death of Diego. Juan laid down beside the dead body of Juanite pretending to be dead as the banca had slowly been drifted by the current away from the site of the encounter.000 colorums killed eighteen soldiers. simultaneously stabbed the Provincial Commander’s chest and stomach using their lambitan. a total of sixteen constabulary men led by Capt. Juan’s head using his scythe. Nevertheless. The Elizalde-owned El Debate Newspaper in its January 9.” Varied accounts of the encounter were raised in the newspapers but they were one in saying that the first shot came from the soldiers. COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 10) Various stories came out as an aftermath of the encounter in Barrio Pamosaingan. Capt. Afterwards. Surigao Province. Gorgnio Timcang also swam towards the boat and cut Capt. The New York Times of the United States of America in its January 11. Afterwards. 1924 issue came out with a story that 100 fanatics attacked the soldiers in retaliation of the death of their comrades. two of the colorum defenders Fernando Tesado and Juan Altraca swam and chased the drifted banca and upon reaching thereat. Estrada hid at one of the exposed coral reef taking cover for his two companions who struggled their way to be on board. 1924 issue came out with a story: “Mindanao Fanatics Killed Troopers. Some accounts were having an iota of truth but the others were tainted with exaggerations that reshaped the image of the peaceful island life of the Socorronhons. the machinist Sgt. Pushed by extreme fear. Thus the four constabulary men and the Numancia police chief turned out as the only survivors of that unfoertunate encounter. 1924. In his desire to spare his life from the wrath of the colorum defenders. The bodies of the Provincial Commander and Diego Juanite were drifted to the capital of Surigao where they were buried while other casualties were buried right in the heart of Barrio Pamosaingan. in Bucas Grande Island. were able to escape from the hands of the local defenders by swimming towards M/B Captain Clark gun boat. the three of them took turns in shooting the defenders who chased them on board their paddle boats resulting to massive casualties on the side of the colorums. three constables Sergeants Gruiar. Socorro. Estrada and Tecson. Sensationalization and enlargement of stories beyond bounds were normal . Meanwhile. Juan Guillermo were the casualties on the side of the government while forty eight colorum defenders led by Jose Juanite were killed during the encounter.

The patrol gunship USS Sacramento (PG-19) called the “Galloping Ghost of theChina Coast” left the port of Cavite with one . he said that in other parts of the province. The notion that there were formidable colorum forces fomenting a revolution were just products of extreme fear by the provincial officials who were not used at handling similar situations. sent a wire to Governor-General Wood. Lantayug was nowhere to be found in Socorro nor in any part of the Surigao province as he was already in Calbayug. At last. It was only Lasala. Further.occurrence in some newspaper accounts. six hundred were under the command of Juan Ramoso and another large group under the command of Juan Basmayor and Benito Maisog converged in Barrio Timamana in between the towns of Placer and Tubod in the mainland. Samar. the national government of the Philippines under the American Commonwealth was convinced that there was an emergency in Surigao and a striking force was dispatched to contain it. Socorro. which served as basis for exaggerated news on the incident. Valentin Juan in the trip to Barrio Pamosaingan but backed out in the last minute. Socorro.” Such exaggerated news had helped fan the fire of unfounded stories that madmen in Bucas Grande Island. Coleto. Chief Executive of the Philippines under the American Commonwealth and asked for immediate deployment of troops to Surigao for fear that the capital town would be attacked by the colorums. According to Cortes. “more than one thousand colorums were up in arms in Barrio Pamosaingan and Socorro only. Lasala and Bajao were all based in Socorro but they were not engaged in religious fanaticism. “the colorums were like madmen feasting on the hearts of the fallen soldiers. Diez in Manila to inform the later on the dangerous peace and order situation in Surigao because of the imminent attack by the colorums. Alejandro Lasala and Juan Bajao. Surigao del Norte. a virtuous and God- fearing leader who was in Socorro during that time. ready to attack the capital town of Surigao. Provincial Governor Pedro C. when the unrest broke out. Secondly. who first decided to go along with Capt. Diez in Manila. Further. former Assemblyman Inocencio Cortes wired Surigao Representative Clementino V. COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 11) The lack of crisis management competence of the local authorities in Surigao to handle the unrest in Bucas Grande Island. Such telegram was furnished to the various newspaper establishments and radio stations in Manila which served as basis of the exaggerated accounts of the encounter. Philippines which disturbed the normal island life of its inhabitants. Surigao province were already on a warpath against the government. Lantayug.” The civil authorities in Surigao province were rattled on the unverified accounts of the incident. was tainted with exaggerations. there were eighty who were hiding in Sitio Puyo and in other parts of the towns of Gigaquit and Bacuag. there were sixty fanatics in Cabuntog (now General Luna) under the leadership of Felix Lantayug. The wire of former Assemblyman Inocencio Cortes to Surigao Representative Clementino V. For one reason. but the most exaggerated of all stories about the event was the news that. had helped aggravate the situation more so that they based their action on unverified reports.

The presidential yacht named “Apo” was told to proceed to Iligan and ferry the 15th Constabulary Company to the site of the unrest. For the fourth time. The first unit. Bowers’ troops arrived in the western side of Bucas Grande Island and docked at Barrio Pamosaingan but found the place to be deserted. Ole Maloe and Major Stevens left their Jolo station and went to Camp Overton in Zamboanga with Surigao as their destination. 1924 when the USS Sacramento dropped anchors in front of Socorro but later on decided to proceed to the neighboring town of Dapa. the third unit under the leadership of Pedro Intsik was stationed at the nipa plantation on the western side of the barrio. he decided to proceed to Socorro located in the eastern side of the island. the cofradia leader. They divided their forces into four combat units with each group serving as line of defense. The US Coast Guard Cutter “Polilio” was ordered to depart from the port of Tacloban to support the patrol gunship. Bowers sent a 24-hour ultimatum for the colorums to surrender. Rizal. the colorum leader. The USS Sacramento traveled to Bucas Grande Island carrying the orders of General Rafael Crame. Commander In Chief. It was early morning of January 22.Philippines. Col. was stationed right within the vicinity of the wharf. Gerardo “Andoy” Lasala. However. a unit was deployed atop “guwardiyahan. The gunship commander Lt. Furthermore. Further. The men of the Sulu Expeditionary Forces under the command of Col. 1924. to attack all colorum bases in the island. headed by Silvino Aliling was stationed inside the church. the colorums held their ground and maintained their decision not to surrender. Surigao del Norte. Socorro. Bowers.” an uphill narrow passageway towards Sitio Lubo intended as escape route when the combatants would retreat from the encounter. but the later flatly declined it. which is now the central portion of the town plaza near the monument of Dr. Col. On the other hand. otherwise. the able-bodied men were busy planning and executing their defense plan. under the command of colorum leader Albino Lagapa and assisted by his brother Clemente Lagapa and an aide Aurelio Supangan. Constabulary Chief. January 25. women and elderly of Bucas Grande Island. Alarmed by the ultimatum. COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 12) The order of evacuation for the children. which is now the site of the house of Mr. women and elderly to Lubong Dako and Sitio Pig-ot in Barrio Sudlon had brought countless miseries to the usually peaceful island life of the children. Huge fox holes . Socorro would be attacked at six o’clock in the morning of Wednesday. Mario Mascardo. children and the elderly to SitioLubong Dako and in Pig-ot within the vicinity of Barrio Sudlon. Col. the second unit. Jose P. Finally. Frank Jack Fletcher had separate orders from Admiral Thomas Washington.hundred Constabulary officers and men and a Marine machine gun team on board under the command of the former Philippine Military Academy Superintendent Lt. Hence. Clarence H. Asiatic Fleet (CINCAF) to investigate the serious uprising of the colorums and submit a separate confidential report about the incident. ordered the evacuation of all women. Bowers had sent three letters demanding the surrender of Albino Lagapa.

with the go signal of the CINCAF. The coconut trees caught within the blast site were either cut or caught fire. we noticed that they were hesitant to come out of the open. Instead. patrol gunship commander. Socorro. After disembarking. Col. An account of Aurelio Supangan. Lt. had this account on the shelling incident: “It was six o’clock in the morning. they hurriedly ran away and boarded back to their canoe and speeded towards the gunship. Crude and weak the colorums’ defense plan might be. immediately wired Admiral Thomas Washington. 1924. Bowers. it is still a mystery until nowadays on the rationale behind the decision of the constabulary and navy commanders to refuse direct confrontation with the poorly armed and untrained colorum defenders. Col. the aide of colorum leader Albino Lagapa stationed within the first line of defense in the barrio wharf had this to say: “The soldiers canoe docked at the shorelines fronting Socorro. We were nervously waiting for their assault. Lt. Surigao del Norte. together with their men docked at the shorelines to conduct reconnaissance but they were met with deafening silence and overwhelming calmness of the environs as the colorum defenders were just watching every details of the attackers movements. Asiatic Fleet (CINCAF) and requested for permission to bombard Socorro by means of shelling. Upon boarding back at the USS Sacramento. Subsequently. On board a wooden canoe.were dug in each of the three stations in the barrio proper of Socorro while large boulders were gathered atop “guwardiyahan” ready to be rolled over the narrow passageway in case the attackers would pursue the retreating defenders. Clarence H. 1924 while in the company of my fellow women-cooks being stationed at a dirty kitchen situated within the vicinity of the fox hole in the nipa plantations on the western side of the barrio proper when we heard a thunderous sound followed by a loud blast on the ground near our station. Frank Jack Fletcher. Fletcher fired 4-inch Mortar Battery with the barrio proper as enemy target. more or less. My grand mother Eugenia Bohol-Sangco.” . Philippines. but their bravery and determination to defend their beloved island were beyond question. The bombardment lasted for four hours. The impact was so extreme that my ears almost blew up. of January 25. However. as what was being done by the soldiers at Pamosaingan in the past 8th of January. At exactly five o’clock in the morning of January 25. who was assigned as cook for the colorum defenders. Clarence H. Frank Jack Fletcher. the patrol gunship USS Sacramento dropped anchors at the place where the locals called “sabangan” in front of Socorro. Lt. more or less. the men in uniform frantically ran towards the coconut plantations with each and everyone of them hiding behind the coconut trees. COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 13) The decision of Lt.” Candidly. Commander In Chief. the patrol gunship commander. Bowers to withhold the assault had puzzled the colorum defenders who were not used to combat operations but were plain citizens enjoying a peaceful island life in Bucas Grande Island. to be executed by untrained combatants with weak weaponry. leader of the constabulary and marine striking force and Lt.

we saw a small banca sailing from the gunship towards the sea shore with soldiers and a machine gun on board. Socorro. Armed with the U. We stopped firing and immediately retreated carrying our wounded leader.” Nevertheless. COLORUM UPRISING: THE UNTOLD STORY (PART 14) Despite lack of training and weak weaponry. The twenty of us stationed in the first line of defense waited for them.S. more or less. Our face to face battle lasted for more than three hours until our leader was hit with an enemy bullet in his left arm which pierced into his chest. Silvino Aliling the leader of the second line of defense stationed in the church situated at the heart of the barrio. had realized the futility of their stand. our leader Albino Lagapa. As the attackers neared our station. only the men from both the second and third line of defenses were able to retreat leaving the men of Lagapa stationed in the first line of defense to face the attackers. of January 25. In effect. It was only during the time when an enemy bullet hit the left arm piercing through the chest of Albino Lagapa that the colorum resistance ended. after the patrol gunship was through with bombarding the barrio proper. Bowers backed up by a machine gun unit of the Marines. The account of Aurelio Supangan. who were just plain citizens used to peaceful island life in Bucas Grande Island.Sensing that the attackers were engaged in siege warfare. stood their ground in defending their beloved island from the advancing constables backed up by US Marines.” he sent men to pass the words for their retreat towards the escape route hoping to lure the remaining men of Col. was hit by an enemy bullet in his . thus: “It was ten o’clock in the morning. After the four-hour bombardment. Surigao del Norte. advanced towards the barrio proper ready to wipe out any remnants of the shelling. which the colorum defenders had confiscated from the fallen soldiers in an earlier encounter in barrio Pamosiangan. the colorum defenders. who was tasked to sound his shell trumpet locally termed “budiong” to signal the counterattack against the intruders. Clemente Lagapa. the constabulary men of Col. the locals relentlessly fought against the attackers. The troopers then advanced towards our position. Bowers hiding in the coconut trees to chase them towards “Guwardiyahan. Instead of sounding his “budiong. the colorum leader because his station was the target of intense mortar fire from the gunship. who was carrying his brother in his shoulders. Krag-Jørgensen variant M1899 Constabulary carbine model built for use in the Philippines. they were welcomed by fires of resistance from the colorum defenders under the command of Lagapa.Philippines. A fierce face to face battle ensued for more than three hours between the highly trained and sophistically armed soldiers against the untrained colorum defenders who were only using the short and long arms confiscated from the fallen soldiers during the January 8 skirmish at Barrio Pamosaingan. 1924. I didn’t know the exact bullets I fired but I was sure I had hit enemy targets. ordered us to aim our loaded rifles and fired towards the advancing troopers. Nevertheless. Then they were joined by the soldiers who were hiding behind the coconut trees. the ones carrying the machine gun first and followed by the rest. close aide of colorum leader Albino Lagapa vividly described the event. his retreat order failed to reach Albino Lagapa.

. my eldest brother. situated at Sitio Sosyo. my favorite “kasing” or top which I always tuck in my short’s side pocket.” While we were on board the onlypassenger boat in town named “M/B Apron” owned and operated by Ingko Jose Alabat. situated a few meters away from the house of Cirilo Esaga in Sitio Caitan. As we disembarked. I packed my clothing including of course. Barangay Roxas in San Isidro. the soldiers stopped advancing and allowed us to escape. I noticed the surge of children running towards our docking area. there was no casualty on the government side. COLORUM!: THE STIGMA OF A SOCORRONHON (PART 1) by Edelito C. of 1975 that my mother told me to get ready for we will be going to Siargao to engage in “pamulig. According to the accounts of other writers chronicling the event. Our destination was the farm of Manoy Conrad. . When our boat was approaching towards the port. “Colorum! Colorum! Taga-Above! Taga-Above! Pinadaya! Pinadaya! ”Sensing that I was surprised with what had happened and knowing that I didn’t understand what the children were saying. As we entered into the woods. Afterwards.” a local term for assisting in rice harvesting of someone else’s field. hence vacation month. Barangay Navarro. I took the cudgels in carrying our leader in my shoulders while Clemente was carried by another companion as others were covering us in order to delay the advancing soldiers. one of the towns situated in Siargao Island. Albino Lagapa turned out to be the lone casualty on the colorum side.” My heart almost broke out as I witnessed the last breath of our beloved leader. Immediately. Immediately. Our leader then tapped my back signaling me to stop. tell your children and your children’s children to fight for truth and justice.a story strongly objected by a colorum defender’s son who actually saw the body of the fallen soldiers. I laid his body beside a spring and in a broken voice he uttered the following words: “My life is about to end comrades. I was imagining what sight was awaiting for me at the town of Dapa. Province of Surigao del Norte. was the burial ground of the fallen colorum leader. You who would be left behind. my mother held my left hand . We then dug a hole where we laid him to rest. the children took turns in laughing and taunting at us.back causing him to fall. As the battle’s smoke cleared. Sangco It was early in the morning of the first day of my Grade III school break. carry on the fight. Philippines. Those who would be lucky enough to survive this onslaught. getting in the process a share of one-tenth of the harvest made. we retreated towards Lubong Dako carrying with us the wounded Clemente Lagapa.” Little did I know that the spring we used to drink water with during our bird sling shooting sessions in our elementary days. I was excited for the trip because it was my first time traveling to that land which others call ”Poblacion.

My blogs on the matter are not intended to open healed wounds. such event had left a big question mark on my young inquisitive mind. 1977. Surigao del Norte. you got to know about the real thing. Little did I know that a similar situation would happen to me in the later years of myelementary life. After that event. Surigao del Norte.” Candidly.. Don’t you worry. the local defenders fought against the mighty government forces under the American Commonwealth led by Governor-General Leonard Wood.. as you grow older. It was only in the recent years that the taunting had stopped. While we were taking a walk towards Sitio Sosyo. my mother said: “Titing.LO. Absurd and demeaning words were taunted at a lowly Socorronhon like Colorum. being divided into (2) patrols with me serving as Senior Patrol Leader.RUM! CO. Philippines. We were sixteen boy scouts picked from selected schools in Socorro. two (2) patrols of boy scouts from Dapa were merged with the two (2) patrols from Socorro.LO. wherein. I finally found time to ask my mother on the actuations of the children towards us. To comprise into a full troop. you are still too young to comprehend the story behind. just as I . the Socorronhons became the object of ridicule among the people from the neighboring towns especially Dapa and the capital town of Surigao. that I was already selected as the Senior Patrol Leader of the troop. thanks to the people of Socorro themselves who strived hard to excel in all aspects of island life to prove that they are worthy of respect. Nevertheless. Thanks God!.. However. I never experienced the same circumstance again as that was my first and last trip as a young boy to Siargao Island. Sir Canor Galanida.firmly and towed me towards the waiting passenger jeepney as the gleeful children were following us. We were billeted in Camp Callejo together with the scouts from various schools in Siargao Island. I was told by one of our two Socorro Scout Masters. When I was in Grade VI. the other being Sir Nanding Piao.Philippines.. Taga- Above and Pinadayawhenever he or she steps in the above towns’ soils. but just to tell you how our generation suffered such humiliations and how we coped with such situations more so that such taunting had a big impact on my life and the way I viewed the people of the said town. were the majorettes followed by children-buglers harping the tune of CO.RUM! I was about to ask my mother about the event but she signaled at me to keep quite as she glanced at the non-Socorronhon passengers of the jeepney who were looking at us until we reached and dropped off at Barrio Roxas. the disembarking passengers coming from Socorro. COLORUM!: THE STIGMA OF A SOCORRONHON (PART 2) It was in the early part of 1924 that the Colorum Uprising broke out in Socorro. though not that healed completely as instances of prejudice still occasionally cropping up until nowadays. I was so lucky to have been selected as one of the delegates to the 6th National Boy Scout Jamboree held in Malagos. Davao City in December. The event resembled that of a parade and as if we. more so that it was the first time in my island life that I experienced such event more so that it was not the way we children greet visitors in our beloved town of Socorro.

I was talking intimately with Alex about the situation. the Senior Patrol Leader blew his whistle signaling the fall in. Since then. Everytime I went to Siargao.was about to assume the post. Alex was already holding his scout’s knife when I and my fellow scouts from Socorro took turns in embracing and appeasing him. Hence. Just as we were marching at the tune of the Senior Patrol Leader’s whistle. .) I didn’t have the impulse to hold back my tears as I listened emphatically to the tales of my friend. my scout masters just told me that I am still too young to understand the real story. I belong to the second line the third line being occupied by Dapa scouts.”(Those people from Dapa were really looking down at us Socorronhons. the fire of animosity towards the townsfolk humiliating us had already engulfed in my psyche. he said: “Nakatamay ra gajud na taga Dapa nato taga Socorro. in a cracked voice. I just bowed my head in submission. should be the Senior Patrol Leader because I was too small to command respect from the scouts. Immediately. ila rako singgitan ug Colorum!. When we returned to our tent. It was then that Alex Galo punched the naughty boy’s face causing him to fall into the pit we dug for rubbish. Kada adto naho sa Siargao. I heard the scout to my right repeatedly uttering the word: “CO-LO-RUM! CO- LO-RUM! At first the taunting was a little bit slower but it got lauder and louder as the other Dapa scouts were laughing. Hence. a fire that was doused with gasoline every time I heard stories of a lowly Socorronhon being taunted and humiliated in the said town. a Scout Master from Dapa insisted that a certain scout also from the said town. Nevertheless. before I was able to dig deeper into the story myself. his teeth started grinding. to my left was my new-found friend Alex Galo of Barangay Nueva Estrella in Socorro and to my right was a scout from Dapa whom I know as a son of a prominent practicing lawyer in the said town. teardrops started oozing out of his eyes and. I approached Sir Canor and Sir Nanding and asked them why is it that they are taunting us as Colorums? To my dismay. His face got reddish. whose name I still remember but chose not to mention here. they were always taunting me as Colorum. Afterwards. I made a vow to myself that when I grow up. I shall dig the story behind. I was appeased by Sir Canor and Sir Nanding to just accept because it was a common situation in Siargao Division that Socorronhons were being looked down. We were forming into four lines.