Palaris Revolt

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The Palaris Revolt took place in the year 1762 to 1765 in Pangasinan, Philippines led by Juan dela Cruz (Palaris) of Binalatongan, also known as San Carlos City. San Carlos City as it is today is in a new location, the transfer was effected after the Palaris Revolt (see Cortes, Rosario Mendoza. Pangasinan, 1572-1800. (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1974; New Day Publishers, 1975)).

Contents

Purpose of the Revolt

The Palaris Revolt has one main purpose, and this was to push the government to fulfill the petitions of the people. They went to Andres Melendez who was at that time the head of the friars in Lingayen presenting the following petitions of the people.

  1. The return of the taxes paid by the people for the year of 1762
  2. Filipinos sent to Mindanao to fight against the Moros should not be charged with taxes;
  3. The four persons that guard the prisoner should wear Polo so as to show that they are not working for free;
  4. That the schoolmaster of the all-boys school was to be stripped of his position because of his slyness;
  5. Don Joaquin Gamboa should be removed from his office as the alcalde-mayor of the province;
  6. Andres Lopez, a native was must be granted permanence as the Master-of-Camp of the province and henceforth, this position must be made exclusive to the citizens of Binalatongan. And finally,
  7. The removal of all the schoolmasters and church officials including the convents under the Spaniards in the event that the above mentioned petitions are not met.

Major Events of the Revolt

The British influenced the revolt of the people of Pangasinan under the leadership of Juan de la Cruz, or more popularly known as Palaris, Together with him is his brother, Domingo in the name of “Magalog”, Juan dela Vera in the name “Ungkatin” and the Hidalgo brothers.

Having heard the news of the revolt, Governor General Simon de Anda of Bacoor lectured that the people of Pangasinan about obedience to the Spaniards and tax payment while stayingg hidden from the British in Manila since he appointed himself to be the governor of the Philippines. Anda asked his assistant Juan Antonio de Panelo to dismantle the formed group of Palaris but was unsuccessful in his attempt because of the lack of soldiers.

Anda also tasked all of the friars to fight-off the rising revolts of Palaris but also rendered unsuccessful since they did not have enough the military power. In Lingayen, vicar Melendez submitted to the petitions of Palaris and in order to assure his safety, he issued a document stating that he approved of the petitions of the people of Pangasinan. Having found out that vicar Melendez had approved of the petitions, Anda wait straight ahead to Archbishop Bernardo Ustariz, who at that time the Archbishop of Nueva Segovia in Vigan, Ilocos Norte. Thus came to a temporary end with the victory of Palaris and the assignment of an all-native leadership in Pangasinan.

The Departure of the British and the start of a new revolt

The British and the Spaniards came to a settlement also know as the Treaty of Paris on March 1, 1763 in France. It was mentioned in this treaty that the British vacates the Philippine islands after 18 months stay in Manila. Meanwhile, back in Bacoor, Sim[on de Anda again made a move to dismantle the group of Palaris. On November 18, 1794, he ordered the friars and leaders of Pangasinan to stop at any means the revolt. The people of Pangasinan were all also ordered to burn the document made by vicar Melendez to prove their loyalty to Spain.

The friars persuaded the group of Palaris to their side so as to gain back their positions in the government. Anda then ordered the return of those that escaped to Pampanga back to Pangasinan and that Joaquin Gamboa be returned back as the Alcalde Mayor of Pangasinan but was very much rejected and so Jose Acevedo was appointed for the position.

The people of Pangasinan calmly accepted the changes that happened especially the return of the Spaniards in the country with the belief that there would be improvements in their leadership. But to the people’s demise, the Spaniards started off with a new set of taxes and were back with their cruel ways. With the firearms that they had collected from the military base camp of the Spaniards in Lingayen and no experience in warfare, the group of Palaris was re-awakened and started once more with the revolt.

The First Batte: Bayambang

In preparation for the first battle, Palaris made sure that his soldiers were equipped and well prepared to what they are up against. It was his plan that they take on the Spaniards in Manila before they entered Pangasinan. He asked his men to dig along the shore of Bayambang river to serve as barricades to block the Spanish soldiers from Pangasinan. Anda, the temporary governor of Manila again contacted Palaris but was ignored. Palaris then called on all of the armed forces in the area to fight against the Spaniards at Manambong in Bayambang.

Two days had passed before the Spaniards armed forces reached Palaris’ group who just been waiting for them to arrive. Palaris tasked his soldiers to spread out in the shores of the river to face the approaching Spaniards. After seeing that the river cannot be crossed, the Spaniards sent out messengers to advice the group of Palaris to surrender.

If the Spaniards have guns, we have canyons!

Palaris faced the messengers who asked him several times to surrender and forewarned him of the consequences for not surrendering. Palaris quickly answered with “If you have guns, we have canyons”. Pedro Tagle, head of the Spanish army signaled to charge. Palaris then also signaled to charge, but the Spaniards retreated back to their camp at the other side of the river since they were clearly out-numbered.

The Second Battle: Barrio Pias

After the previous encounter with the Spaniard, Palaris’s group wasted no time and began to build up once again their weaponry. Two months after, they received news that a group of the Spaniards was headed towards Mapatalan, San Fabian under the leadership of Manuel Arza for the purpose of crushing the group of Palaris. Palaris then divided his group into 2 sub-groups where one group was sent to Mangaldan to anticipate the coming of the Spaniards in that area and the other half was taken to barrio Pias in Santa Barbara.

The group that was sent to Mangaldan spent their nights in merry-making until 2 in the morning where thay were awakened by the sound of canons firing at Palaris’s group at barrio Pias. The group proceeded quickly to barrio Pias and the battle ended with a draw. Hundreds were killed at the battle at barrio Pias since both sides did not have enough man-power to overthrow the other. The bodies together with the broken weaponry were disposed of in the cliff in Santa Barbara which ended the second battle in Pangasinan in 1764.

Third Battle: Dagupan

The Spaniards attack Dagupan in 1764 with the intension of finally dismantling the Palaris group. When Palaris had news that the Spaniards were then at Dagupan, he sent his whole army to combat the Spaniards. Their attack was so swift that they almost captured the Spanish leaders at Calasiao but they had no time to destroy the building that contained these leaders.

The battle at Dagupan lasted for a week. Due to hunger and fatigue; the group of Palaris retreated to Calasiao where after crossing the river and destroyed the bridge so as they could not be followed by the Spaniards.

Final Frontier: January 1765; Calasiao

Palaris attacked the Spaniards but were over-powered by the Spaniards and were forced to retreat back to barrio Ymbo. Suffering with hunger, injuries, majority of Palaris’s soldiers together with himself and his remaining officers Carlos and Satur went into hiding in the forest.

Palaris then secretly fled from barrio to barrio; from barrio De Dios to other barrios, to barrio Magtaking and finally to barrio Pao where he lived taking care of his relatives and living with his sister Simeona who later on betrayed him to Commandant Pedro Bonardel because of his abuse to her. Together with Simeona, Bonardel and his soldiers went to where Palaris is staying. Upon nearing the house of Simeona, she asked the Spaniards to go on hiding until she gave a signal. After Simeona served lunch to Palaris, she gave a signal to the Spaniards who then came and killed Palaris on-site.

The Butchery of Palaris’s Body

The body of Palaris was dragged across Binalatongan and was paraded in front of the townspeople. The Spanish leaders gave speeches about their victory and had the body of Palaris chopped into several pieces to strike fear among the people. Palaris’s head was hung at the end of the bridge in Cava. The Left arm was cut and hung at the bridge of Caapangan and the right arm at the bridge of San Juan. His feet are also cut and hung at different places. His left foot was hung at the bridge of Manat and the right foot was placed at Malabago. His heart was taken from his chest and was hung at Taloy.