Top 10 Revolutionary Heroes Who Died Way Too Young

They say life is a candle. That it’s not how long you’ve lived that matters, but how well. That certainly rings true for these true blue Pinoy revolutionaries who have given for freedom and our first hand at democracy all their blood, sweat, and tears – and much, much more.
It was the great Mahatma Gandhi who said the famous YOLO quip which goes: “You only live once, but if you live right, once is enough.” Wow. So much nuggets of wisdom there. And I certainly hope we have hundreds of life to field, like those characters in an RPG game who just gets resurrected when you put the game on. Of course, going the Highlander way of living forever until someone severs your head from our body would be a very sweet promise. But, the reality is death is upon us. Whether we use a magic potion or use super-vitamins, we’re still finite beings. It’s remarkable then, how these young heroes of ours spent the best part of their lives for the motherland.

Lovely ladies and honorable gentleman, allow me to present to you top 10 Brains and Brawn of the Land who during the Spanish times fought for a better Philippines and died way too young:

The choleric Supremo, founder of KKK and unofficial first President of the Philippines, sure did not waver in his intentions of overthrowing the Spaniards. Sadly, however, his compulsive nature, of acting without thorough planning, got the better of him and he died in the hands of fellow compatriot’s execution-style – checkmated by the brilliant maneuvers of his greatest rival, General Emilio Aguinaldo.

Birthday: November 30, 1863
Deathday: May 10, 1897
Age: 33
Death: By execution

Here’s a bosom friend of Andres Bonifacio who alongside the Great Plebe was also as fiery and as steadfast in the cause of sending the Spaniards home for independence.
Sacay established the Tagalog Republic complete with a standing army becoming its first President in the process. However, though he lived to witness the defeat of the Spanish conquistadores, the Americans saw a dangerous enemy in him and with trickery finished him off along with his men.

Promised amnesty, Sacayand his men descended from the mountains and surrendered. Invited to Manila by Constabulary Chief Bandholtz, the long-haired leader and his men were welcomed to a feast with food and merrymaking only to be arrested in the middle of it all and days after hanged.

Birthday: 1870
Deathday: September 13, 1907
Age: 37
Death: By hanging

An Ilocano pharmacist by profession, Antonio Luna rose to become one of the most able generals – if not the ablest – of the Pinoy uprising succeeding Artemio Ricarte as commander of the Philippine Revolutionary Army. He was an able organizer and bring about to the fore professional guerrilla soldiers known as Luna sharpshooters.

Luna was a firebrand and in Spain nearly got in a duel with Rizal over a lady. Luna lived to see the Americans help overthrow the Spaniards and in fact organized the first military academy at Malolos, a precursor of the PMA.

Sadly, when he went he was summoned by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo to Nueva Ecija, Luna was killed by fellow Filipino soldiers, many of whom got entangled in his fiery nature in the past. Aguinaldo was in Tarlac and many believed Luna’s was a set-up.

The Americans who felt Luna’s militay genius in their subsequent battles against the natives called him “the only general the Filipino army had.” Aguinaldo suffered successive losses after and was eventually captured.

To note, before the Katipunan started its all-out war against the Spaniards, Rizal recommended to Bonifacio via Pio Valenzuela that they should seek the leadership of Antonio Luna if the revolution ever broke out.

Birthday: October 29, 1866
Deathday: June 5, 1899
Age: 32
Death: Murdered

A member of the supreme council, the clean-shaven Jacinto was a young Filipino General in the revolution who was one of its highest ranking officer. He was the author of theKatipunanCartilla and Bonifacio sought his advice in many matters.

To note, Jacinto studied law in UST and was a classmate of Manuel Quezon, and Sergio Osmeña. A loyal Bonifacio lieutenant, Jacinto refused to join the forces of Aguinaldo after the Supremo’s execution. Jacinto’s brilliance will soon come to a close as malaria found the better of him. He succumbed to the disease in Magdalena, Laguna.

Birthday: December 15, 1875
Deathday: April 16, 1899
Age: 23
Death: By malaria complications

The “Boy General” has become the stuff of legends. When the Philippine-American War broke out, Del Pilar his ultimate mark, his ultimate sacrifice.

Together with a 60-strong Filipino regiment in a Battle of Tirad Pass, he was ordered to fight and protect the rear of Aguinaldo who was escaping a hot pursuit operation by the American forces. Del Pilar stood his ground, paying his life in the process. Sadly, his cadaver was left to rot, unburied for days.

Fort delPilar, the PMA in Baguio is named after him.

Birthday: November 14, 1875
Deathday: December 2, 1899
Age: 24
Death: Fatally shot

He may have lost both his legs to polio but his role in the early days of the Philippine democracy is above and beyond many men with complete facilities.

A La Liga Filipina member, Mabini’s brilliance will shine upon the whole revolutionary movement as he became the most trusted confidante and chief advisor to Aguinaldo. Eventually, he would lead the first cabinet of Aguinaldo’s cabinet and one time Prime Minister.

Mabinidied of cholera in Manila.

Birthday: July 23, 1864
Deathday: May 13, 1903
Age: 38
Death: Cholera and complications

Jaena along with Plaridel and Rizal are the strong foundations of the Philippine propaganda movement. In fact, the three are called the triumvirate of the thePinoy propagandists.

Once, Rizal reprimanded Jaena for not being able to finish his medical studies. Jaena retorted: “On the shoulders of slaves should not rest a doctor’s cape.” To which the Rizal replied: “The shoulders do not honor the doctor’s cape, but the doctor’s cape honors the shoulders.”

Jaena served to be the first editor of La Solidaridad, an office succeded by Plaridel. Sadly Jaena died in Barcelona poor. It is said that because of utter lack of funds, often times he missed and resorted to picking used cigarettes in the streets to smoke and forget their hunger.

Birthday: November 30, 1863
Deathday: May 10, 1897
Age: 33
Death: Tuberculosis

#3: Juan Luna
Juan Luna
Luna had other ways to promote Philippine independence – via his arts. As a painter and sculptor he helped foment the flames of rebellion. He put the Philippines and Filipino creativity on the map upon his gold medal win in the 1884 Madrid Exposition of Fine Arts with his exemplary painting, giving utmost pride to Filipino firebrands.

In fact, his win is a major highlight in the memoirs of the members of the Propaganda Movement.

He is the older brother of another moustached hero here, Gen. Antonio Luna. He died of a heart attack.

Birthday: October 23, 1857
Deathday: December 7, 1899
Age: 42
Death: Heart Attack

Del Pilar or more commonly known via his pen name as Plaridel was a major force of the uprising. Born of well-to-do parents, Marcelo is the younger brother of the father of another A-lister here, General Gregorio delPilar.

Plaridel may not have directly lifted any firearms against the Spaniards but as a man of letters was instrumental in fanning the flames of the revolution. He published on his own La Solidaridad in 1890 and it is believed his statements before his death inspired the Katipunan. It says:

“Insurrection is the last remedy, especially when the people have acquired the belief that peaceful means to secure the remedies for evils prove futile.”

Birthday: August 30, 1850
Deathday: July 4, 1896
Age: 45
Death: Tuberculosis

No death may have summoned the revolution more than that of the execution of Rizal. It is interesting to note that both Rizal and Bonifacio suffered the same fate, summary execution in the hands of fellow Filipinos. Only thing Rizal’s was done out in the open while Bonifacio was done in secret.

Birthday: June 19, 1861
Deathday: December 30, 1896
Age: 35
Death: By execution

Folks, hope that one went well. Let us know who your best hero is. Please find the comments section below to serve the purpose. Also, I’ve provided nifty share buttons so you don’t have to do the hassle of a copy and paste.
Let me end up with a few lines from one of these leaders:

“Death comes to all of us sooner or later, so I will face the LORD Almighty calmly. But I want to tell you that we are not bandits and robbers, as the Americans have accused us, but members of the revolutionary force that defended our mother country, the Philippines! Farewell! Long live the Republic and may our independence be born in the future! Long live the Philippines!”

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  1. Eric says:

    My heroes are #1 Andres Bonifacio, #2 Antonio Luna. Both died from execution upon the order of Quisling Aguinaldo.

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