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Maria Josefa Gabriela Silang

Gabrela Silang or Maria Josefa Gabriela Cariño Silang in real life was the woman who bravely fought alongside other Filipinos in the Spanish revolution. Born on March 19, 1731 in Caniogan, Ilocos Sur young Gabriela was adopted by Don Tomas Millan, a very wealthy and known businessman. He became her legal guardian and later her husband. In their 3 years of marriage, Gabriela failed to have a child with him and after sometime her husband died.

In the year 1757, Gabriela re-married again to his co-rebel Diego Silang who was also the groups’ leader. The groups’ goal was to free Ilocos from the cruel Spaniards. Whenever the troops battle, Gabriela always went with them to give support and help with the battle. Unfortunately, one of her husband’s close friends betrayed them, which resulted to Diego’s death and downfall.

After her husband injustice death, Gabriela took over what her husband left. She led the Filipino rebels in their fight for justice and freedom. In September 10, 1763, Gabriela’s troops attacked the Spanish in Vigan but the Spaniards were ready for them. Gabriela alongside her uncle and 7 other members escape the attack and fled. A few days later, they were caught and was hanged in Vigan.

María Josefa Gabriela Cariño Silang (March 19, 1731-September 29, 1763) was the first Filipino woman to lead a revolt during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. An active member of the insurgent force of Diego Silang, her husband, she led the group for four months after his death before she was captured and executed.

Born in Barangay Caniogan, Santa, Ilocos Sur, Silang was a mestiza, of Spanish and Ilocano descent. She was adopted by a wealthy businessman who later married her at the age of 20, but left after three years. In 1757, she married again, this time to 27-year-old indigenous Ilocano rebel leader, Diego Silang. She became one of his closest advisors, a major figure in her husband's collaboration with the British and the brief expulsion of Spanish officials from Vigan, Ilocos Sur during the British occupation of the Philippines.

On May 28, 1763, her husband was assassinated by order of royal and church authorities in Manila. After her husband's death, she fled on horseback to the mountains of Abra to establish her headquarters, reassemble her troops, and rally the Tingguian community to fight. They descended on Vigan on September 10, 1763. But the Spanish garrison was ready, amassing Spanish, Tagalog, and Kapampangan soldiers and Ilocano collaborators to ambush her and rout her forces. Many were killed. She escaped, alongside her uncle Nicolas and seven other men, but later caught on September 29, 1763. They were summarily hanged in Vigan's plaza, with Gabriela being the last to die.

Her ferocity and death became a symbol for Filipino women, their pre-colonial importance in Filipino society and their struggle for liberation during colonization.

Maria Josefa Gabriela Silang

After the death of Diego Silang on May 28, 1763, the fight was carried on by his wife, MARIA JOSEFA GABRIELA SILANG, and his uncle, Nicolas Cari&ntildeo. She too lost her life for freedom's sake on September 30, 1763.

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