Obscured by its far more famous neighbor, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Paoay Church, is the birthplace of Valentin Diaz.
If one has to be asked who was or were the founders of Katipunan, only Andres Bonifacio would easily be named. And Valentin Diaz could easily escape from anyone’s roll call, albeit hardly mentioned in Philippine History classes.
This Ilocano revolutionary was born to Geronimo Diaz and Maria Villanueva in Paoay on November 1, 1849. Eight years later, they moved to Tayug, Pangasinan. When José P. Rizal founded La Liga Filipina on July 3, 1892, Diaz became a gobernadorcillo member. He was appointed as the treasurer of the Katipunan when it was founded on July 7, 1892, shortly after Rizal was banished to Dapitan. In 1895, he was a major of the Philippine Revolution Army.
Signed by Governor General Fernando Primo de Rivera and General Emilio Aguinaldo on December 14, 1897, the Pact of Biak-na-Bato called for a truce between the Spanish government and the Filipino revolutionaries, provided amnesty and monetary compensation, ordered voluntary exile of the top revolutionaries to Hong Kong. As a signatory of the Pact, he was banished to this British Crown colony in 1897. Diaz was promoted as a colonel during the Philippine-American War (1899-1902). He died in Manila in 1916.
In 1951, the National Historical Commission placed a marker to the site of Diaz’s birthplace.