Piece of Information - Diego Silang
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Diego Silang


Diego Baltazar Silang was born on December 16, 1730 in Aringay, La Union. His parents were Miguel Silang from Aringay, and Nicolasa Delos Santos from Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

When he became a young man, Diego worked as a helper for Fr. Cortes y Crisolo, the parish priest of Vigan. He was very witty, and a fast learner. He became fluent in Spanish. He was then entrusted by Fr. Crisolo to be his messenger. He would deliver messages from Vigan to Manila; traveling by boat. On one instance, the boat he was riding were attacked and wrecked by the wild Zambal natives along the coast of Zambales. The passengers were either drowned or killed by the natives; but Diego was lucky to be spared. He became a slave to the natives whom he soon befriended. A Recollect Missionary ransomed him.

After that incident, he went back to his duty-carrying letters to Manila. He married Josefa Gabriela, a young widow from Santa, Ilocos Sur.

Once again during his travel to Manila, Diego encountered another incident. He was waiting for the Galleon Filipino from Acapulco when he saw the British Squadron entered Manila Bay; that was September 1762. The British were demanding the surrender of the city, but the Spaniards refused. The British forces bombarded the city on September 24, 1762. Manila was finally captured on October 1762.

Diego Silang realized that the Spaniards were also weak. He went home to Pangasinan and contemplated over his thoughts with his parents. They agreed to form a revolt. He conspired with Lopes, his relative who led the camp in Pangasinan. He went to Vigan and started an uprising. The people of Vigan were open to his ideas.

Soon after, simultaneous uprisings happened in Pangasinan, Cagayan, Laguna, and Batangas. He was called the leader of the Ilocanos. Meanwhile, the Spaniards were busy fighting against the British forces and tried to stay in power in the provinces. Diego, who was becoming popular, was caught and imprisoned. Father Millan, who once gave shelter to Diego, helped him to be released.

As soon as he got his freedom back, Diego started to work double time. It excited the people thus he attracted many followers who joined him and led an army. He became more cautious and prepared to possible attacks of the Spaniards. He assigned guards who were stationed by the sea and land. He was becoming successful in building an army. Simon de Anda, magistrate of the audencia, ordered for his surrender within 9 days, otherwise he would be treated as a traitor.

Silang never surrendered; instead, he tried to conspire with the British forces. He wrote a letter addressed to the British leader stating his acknowledgement of the British majesty. He, in return, received an appointment by the British government as Sarjento Mayor and Alcalde Mayor. He gained the power to choose minor and subordinate officials.

He was becoming a pain in the neck of the Spaniards. Anda planned for Diego's assassination. He offered reward and Spain's gratitude to whoever can turn down Diego. Miguel Vicos (a mestizo) and Pedro Becbec, both were friends of Diego, accepted the task.

May 28, 1763, the two visited Diego Silang at the Casa Real in Vigan. They shot Diego on his back that led to his death. After he died, his wife, Gabriela Silang, continued his missions.



Diego Silang y Andaya (December 16, 1730 - May 28, 1763) was raised as an Ilocano; his father was Pangasinense. Diego Silang was a revolutionary leader who conspired with British forces to overthrow Spanish rule in the northern Philippines and establish an independent Ilocano nation. His revolt was fueled by grievances stemming from Spanish taxation and abuses, and by his belief in self-government, that the administration and leadership of the Roman Catholic Church and government in the Ilocos Region (which at this time did not include Pangasinan) should be invested in trained Ilocano officials.

Born in Aringay, Pangasinan (an area in present-day Caba or Aringay, La Union), Silang worked as a messenger for a local Castilian priest in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Bright, passionate and fluent in Spanish, he ferried correspondence from the Ilocos to Manila, journeys that gave him his first glimpse of colonial injustice and that planted the seed of rebellion.

Spain allied with France during the Seven Years' War, in opposition to Great Britain. The British in response sought to diminish the Spanish Empire. The seizure of Manila by British naval forces in October, 1762, and the subsequent surrender of the Spanish Philippines to Britain during the British occupation of the Philippines, inspired uprisings in the farthest north of Ilocos Norte and Cagayan, where anti-Spanish sentiments festered. Though Silang initially wanted to replace Spanish functionaries in the Ilocos with native officials and volunteered to head Ilocano forces against the British, desperate Spanish administrators instead transferred their powers to the Catholic Bishop of Nueva Segovia (Vigan), who rejected Silang's offer. Silang's group attacked the city and imprisoned its priests. He then began an association with the British who appointed him governor of the Ilocos on their behalf and promised him military reinforcement. The British force never materialized.

Diego Silang was killed by one of his friends, a Spanish-Ilocano mestizo named Miguel Vicos, whom church authorities paid to assassinate Silang.

After Diego Silang's death, his wife, Josefa Gabriela, took command of the revolt and fought courageously. The Spanish sent a strong force against her. She was forced to retreat to Abra. Mounted upon a fast horse, Gabriela led her troops towards Vigan but was driven back. She fled again to Abra, where she was captured. On September 20, 1763, Gabriela Silang and about a hundred of her followers were executed by the Spanish authorities.



Diego Silang
(1730-1763)

He led the revolt of the Ilocanos in opposition to the tribute and abuses of the Spanish officials. Born in Aringay, La Union, on December 16, 1730. The revolt started in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. He was killed by Miguel Vicos, a Spanish mestizo who bore grievances against Diego Silang.




References:

http://www.globalpinoy.com/ch/ch_category.php?category=heroes&name=Diego%20Silang&table=ch_heroes&startpage=1&endpage=15

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diego_Silang

http://park.org/Philippines/centennial/heroes11.htm
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