Tiagong Akyat was one of the most famous outlaws in Philippine history. He terrorized Manila and the nearby provinces in the 1920s, looting homes and establishments. There was a legend that he only looted the homes of the rich and even helped the poor. Such was his notoriety that rarely had a newspaper been issued in any day without any news about him.
Born Santiago Ronquillo in Imus, Cavite sometime in the late 19th century, Tiagong Akyat got his moniker because he simply entered homes and loot it of its wealth amidst the horrified residents (it should be noted that during the early 20th century, few homes had gates).
Legend has it that Tiagong Akyat possessed an amulet that made him invisible. This amulet is called "Tagabulag" in Philippine folklore. People believed that this was the reason why the Manila police failed to capture him, despite huge rewards awaiting for the person to bring to Police Tiago "Dead or Alive".
Yet, despite Tiagong Akyat's notoriety, there was existing rumors that he was a "Robin Hood" character, helping the poor and looting the rich.
In 1923, Manila Chief of Police John Fulton Green received an intelligence report that Tiagong Akyat was seen in Noveleta, Cavite. In cooperation with the Philippine constabulary, Green organized a formidable force to capture Tiagong Akyat. It was rumored that Tiago may have been ill when the Constabulary surrounded the house in Noveleta where Tiago was hiding.
Despite Tiago's defenseless condition, the constabulary riddled the house with multiple shots, killing Tiago.
The Manila police was criticized for this overkill, despite the fact that they ended the career of one of the most famous outlaws in Philippine history.
Actor Ramon Revilla later personified Tiagong Akyat in the movie "Hulihin si Tiagong Akyat". It was a highly erroneous film based mainly on urban legends about Santiago Ronquillo.
- Ang Kamatayan ni Santiago Ronquillo Lipang Kalabaw, Maynila, February 22, 1923
- Editoryal: Hulihin si Tiagong Akyat Telembang, Maynila, January 18, 1923