Pinaglabanan: The First Shot of the Revolution

At the crossing of the Pinaglaban and N. Domingo Streets of the present-day San Juan City, the first hostility of the Philippine-Spanish Revolution occurred. At dawn on August 30, 1896, Andres Bonifacio and his 800-strong yet poorly-armed Katipuneros faced off with the well-armed 100-man, well-trained Spanish soldiers.

Battle of Pinaglabanan Monument in San Juan City
The Battle of Pinaglabanan Monument is found at the crossing of Pinaglabanan and N. Domingo Streets in San Juan City.

Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Sancho Valenzuela and the freedom fighters eventually captured El Polvorin, a powder depot located in San Juan del Monte. But the Spaniards withdrew to the old deposito, the water reservoir in the town. This was after the Spanish commander was shot down by Bonifacio‘s only gun.

Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan CityBy noon time, the dreaded 73rd Regiment composed of properly-trained and well-equipped Filipinos under the command of Spanish officers dealt a fatal blow to Bonifacio‘s revolt. Bonifacio and his troops retreated towards Sta. Mesa where they met these conscripts. At the end of this hostility, Bonifacio‘s forces were left decimated as 153 of his men were killed in action and 200 were captured.

Museo ng Katipunan in San Juan CityBecause of this battle, or to be correct a massacre, and the growing uprisings in the provinces of Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna,Morong (now Rizal), Nueva Ecija and Tarlac, Governor General Ramon Blanco declared immediately placed these and Manila martial law.

Spirit of Pinaglabanan in San Juan CityIn 1974, the Pinaglabanan Shrine was dedicated and opened to the public.The Spirit of Pinaglabanan made by Filipino sculptor Eduardo Castrillo was also unveiled. On August 30, 1976, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines installed a historical marker in Pinaglabanan Shrine.

Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan CityThe Battle of San Juan del Monte in Pinaglabanan may have resulted to a disaster in terms of casualties but not devastating to the psyche of the Filipino freedom fighters as the flames of revolution and the cry for independence persisted until the Spanish colonizers were overthrown.