Being Social Studies as my favorite subject back in the old days, monuments and heraldry have always fascinated me. And I noticed that several monuments had heroes and military commanders mounted on a horse.
Equestrian statuary goes back to ancient history. For several periods of world history especially in Europe and in the US, it has become a tradition and an art.
There was an urban legend on hoof position such that if a horse’s front legs are in the air, it is deemed that the rider died in battle; a front leg up means he was wounded in battle or died of battle wounds. But if all four legs are on the ground, he died outside battle.
Apparently, this urban legend is not applicable in the Philippines.
For example at the Emilio Aguinaldo National Shrine in Kawit, Cavite, the horse of the first Philippine president was riding on, its right front leg is in the air. On February 6, 1964, General Aguinaldo died due to coronary thrombosis at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.
At the Aklan Freedom Shrine in Kalibo, General Francisco del Castillo‘s horse’s right front leg is up. On March 17, 1897, the young leader of the Aklan revolutionists was killed by an assassin during a fight in the present-day Pastrana Park.
Down south in Hamtic, Antique can be found the General Leandro Fullon National Shrine. General Leandro Fullon was the commanding officer of the Visayan forces during the Philippine-American War. When Antique became province by virtue of Act No. 114, General Fullon became its civil governor of Antique until his death on October 16, 1904.
In Santa Barbara, Iloilo where the Cry of Iloilo Revolution was held, the statue of General Martin Delgado is surprisingly not mounted on a horse. General Delgado became the first civilian governor of Iloilo from 1901 to 1904. He died in Culion, Palawan on November 12, 1918.
The hero of the Battle of Tres de Abril has two different depictions. More popularly known as Leon Kilat, General Pantaleon Villegas led the Cebuanos in an uprising on April 3, 1898. The following day, they gained control of the city as the Spanish soldiers retreated back to Fort San Pedro.
But on April 8 (Good Friday), Leon Kilat was assassinated by his aide-de-camp Apolinario Alcuitas and other co-conspirators inside the house of Timoteo Barcenilla.
These monuments are but few equestrian statuary erected all over the Philippine archipelago giving honor and tribute to our heroes and military commanders.