30 Interesting and Historic Facts About Diego Silang - A Filipino Hero, the Ilocos Liberator
One of the most notable Filipino heroes from Ilocos region in Northern Philippines is Diego Silang. This freedom fighter is well remembered in Philippine history as one of the first Filipinos who revolted against the Spaniards during the more than 3 century Spanish colonization.
Here are some of the most interesting and important facts about Diego Silang.
1. This revolutionary leader’s complete name is Diego Baltazar Andaya Silang and was born on December 16, 1730 in Aringay, La Union – a province located south of Ilocos Sur.
2. He was baptized as Diego Baltazar on January 7, 1731.
3. Silang was married to Josefa Gabriela Silang – an Ilocana-Spanish mestiza. They were both 27 years old at the time of their marriage.
4. Diego Silang is known to be a brilliant and passionate boy and notably fluent in Spanish.
5. His mother, Nicolasa Delos Santos, was an Ilocana and his father, Miguel Silang, was a Pangasinense. They belonged to the principalia, a privileged upper class during the Spanish regime.
6. As a young boy, he worked as a messenger of Fr. Cortes y Crisoloa, parish priest of Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
7. As a messenger, he ferried correspondence from Ilocos to Manila – the capital of the colonial government.
8. During one of his travels to Manila as messenger, his boat was attacked by native Zambals along the coast of Zambales. Other passengers were drowned and others were killed.
9. Silang was held as a hostage and was released by virtue of ransom delivered by missionary Recollects.
10. The travels of Diego Silang from Ilocos to Manila gave him an insight of the many abuses and injustices of the Spaniards that planted the seed of rebellion and desired to establish an independent Ilocano nation.
11. While in Manila, he saw how the British defeated the Spaniards which gave him the idea that it is possible to overthrow the Spanish forces in Ilocos region.
12. On his return to Ilocos, he started to form his Ilocano forces on a mountain that overlooks the city of Vigan. This mountain is now known as Mount Silang.
13. During the British occupation of the Philippines in the early 1760s, which was brought about by the so-called Seven Years War between Great Britain and France/Spain, he volunteered to the Spanish authorities to head Ilocano troops to fight the British.
14. The mayor of Vigan at the time, Antonio Zabala, sent Silang to prison upon learning of the latter’s propaganda and plan but was released with the help and intervention of Provisor Tomas Millan, the foster father of Silang's wife.
15. Desperate Spanish administrators transferred the power to church officials headed by the bishop of Vigan, formerly known as Nueva Segovia.
16. Originally, Silang just wanted to replace all Spanish officials in Ilocos with native born officials.
17. The bishop rejected Silang’s proposal to fight the British. Disappointed by the situation, Silang’s group attacked the city and imprisoned its priests on December 14, 1762.
18. As a leader and a soldier, Silang is known a good and well disciplined military officer. For funds needed by his troop, he seek the people’s support.
19. Diego Silang conspired with the British forces through the leadership of Lt. Gen. Dawson Drake. He was appointed governor of the Ilocos on their behalf.
20. As governor of Ilocos, he replaced all Spanish officials with qualified and competent Ilocano civil and military officers.
21. The British promised Silang and his troop military reinforcement but the British force never came to reality.
22. On 28 May 1763 at about 3:00 o’clock PM, Diego Silang was assassinated in Casa Real, Vigan by one of his friends, a Spanish-Ilocano mestizo named Miguel Vicos.
23. The Church and the Spanish authorities paid Vicos and a certain Pedro Becbec to kill Silang. He died in his wife’s arms and was only 32 years of age when he died.
24. In 1763, right before Diego Silang died, he met the lovely impressionable girl Maria Theresa, a nursing student from Pampanga.
25. After his death, his wife, Josefa Gabriela took command of the revolt against the Spaniards.
26. She fought gallantly and courageously but was unable to defeat the strong force sent by Spanish authorities. She retreated to the neighboring province of Abra.
27. She led her troop to Vigan once more but she was defeated and fled once more to Abra were she was captured.
28. On September 20, 1763; Josefa Grabriela Silang and her troop were summarily executed with her being hanged the last.
29. Several institutions, towns and barangays were named in honor of Diego Silang.
30. A Philippine Navy ship was named in honor of Diego Silang – the BRP Diego Silang (PF-9). It was an Andres Bonifacio class frigate of the Philippine Navy which is in commission from 1976 to 1990.