Melchora Aquino de Ramos (January 6, 1812 - March 2, 1919), popularly known as "Tandang Sora," was a Filipino revolutionary who played an important role in the Filipino revolution against the Spanish colonizers. Despite her old age, she looked after the sick and injured Katipuneros and gave moral support and prayers, earning her the name "Mother of the Katipunan" or revolution.
Melchora Aquino was born to well-off parents who were farmers, Valentina de Aquino and Juan Aquino, on January 6, 1812 in Barrio Banlat, Caloocan, Rizal – currently known as Banlat, Balintawak, Quezon City.
She was able to write and read when she was young and grew up to be a pretty lady. Thus, during the Santacruzan festivity, she often portrayed the role of Reyna Elena.
Among her suitors, she found Fulgencio Ramos as the most persistent and thus married him. He later became cabeza de barangay (barangay captain). They soon had six offspring: Simon, Juan, Juana, Estefania, Saturnina, and Romualdo.
Known to be amiable, Melchora was well liked by her neighbors. She also had a good singing voice and so was asked to lead the pabasa during holy week, not only in her community but also in other nearby communities.
When her husband died, she then played the role of both a mother and a father. She managed their farm as well as the other businesses of their family as left by her husband. She thus showed her bravery, patience, nobility and industry amidst all the trials that she faced.
On February 20, 1919, aged 107, she died in Banlat, at the house of Saturnina, her daughter. She was buried at La Loma Cemetery, in the Mausoleum of the Philippine Veterans of the Philippine Revolution.
Role in the revolution
When the katipuneros arrived at Melchora’s place on August 23, 1896, she gave them 100 cavans of rice, 10 carabaos, as well as other needs while having their revolution. She cared for the sick and the wounded too.
Later on, the Americans freed and sent her home. On February 26, 1903, she boarded S.S. Uranus, with 76 others who were exiled, and was warmly welcomed by the community – part of which were her children and grandchildren.
In her last years, she soon became unintelligible and lived in Balintawak’s hills. Already very old, her children (the ones who survived) and grandchildren were the ones who took care of her by that time. She did not acknowledge the material gifts the government was trying to give her then. For her, these rewards were not important, although she herself was in poverty. She already became contented with having helped the Katipunan and even suffered six years of being cast out for defending the Philippines’ freedom.
- de Guzman,Jovita V.,Vicente A. Santiago,Remedios T. de Leon and Teresita E. Erestain. Women Of Distinction; Biographical Essays on Outstanding Filipino Women of the Past and the Present. Philippines: Bukang Liwayway, 1967
- “Melchora Aquino.” Phil-Heroes. http://phil-heroes.s5.com/heroes_data/maquino.htm (Accessed on September 25, 2011).
- “Filipino Women Revolutionaries.” The Philippine History Site. http://opmanong.ssc.hawaii.edu/filipino/women.html (Accessed on September 18, 2011).
- “Melchora Aquino.” Elaput.org. http://www.elaput.org/tndnsora.htm (Accessed on September 25, 2011).