Francisco Dagohoy, born Francisco Sendrijas, was the leader of the 85-year-long rebellion against the Spanish colonizers in Bohol. It was the longest revolt in Philippine history (1744–1829). The town of Dagohoy, Bohol is named after him.
The Bohol flag has two bolos (swords) representing the revolts led by Dagohoy and Tamblot. The swords serve as a reminder that the natives of Bohol are ardent freedom fighters should oppression befall them.
Myths about Dagohoy
Little is known about the early life of Dagohoy due to the lack of official records and supporting documents. According to historians, his real name was Francisco Sendrijas. He was a barangay captain from Inabanga, Bohol.
One myth about him was he possessed supernatural abilities, thanks to his amulet that kept him protected from the enemies' blows. Thus, the name “Dagohoy” may have originated from the word “dagon,” meaning “amulet.”
Another story said that the hero was enchanted with the power of a gentle wind called “hoyohoy” in the Cebuano tongue. It was believed that Dagohoy could ride on the wind, allowing him to leap over great distances. Thus, “Dagohoy” could have been a combination of the words “dagon” and ”hoyohoy.” The name Dagohoy would then mean “Talisman of the breeze,” according to Jes Tirol, a local historian.
It was also said that Dagohoy could see in dark tunnels and caves as if it was lighted by daytime, and that he also had the power to become invisible.
The Dagohoy Revolt
The history of Bohol has seen two important uprisings against the Spanish: the Tamblot and the Dagohoy revolts. On one hand, the Tamblot uprising was led by a certain Tamblot who was a babaylan or a shaman. His position as a native priest left him in charge of protecting the faith of the Boholanos.
On the other hand, the Dagohoy revolt was a rebellion against the injustices and oppression visited upon the Boholanos by the Spanish colonizers. Dagohoy was angered when a Jesuit priest refused to give his brother Sagarino a Christian burial after the man had died trying to bring a fugitive to justice.
After the incident, Dagohoy called for his fellow Boholanos to rebel against the Spanish authorities.
Initially, Dagohoy led 3,000 Boholanos in his uprising. This number later grew to 20,000. They were able to defeat the military forces sent by Spanish authorities to thwart their rebellion, and managed to hold them off for 85 years. During the revolt, communities were set up in the mountains and they were run by a free government of the Boholanos.
Officers of the uprising set up headquarters in a cave in the town of Danao. The cave is now called the Francisco Dagohoy Cave. It had secret passages that Dagohoy had supposedly used to evade Spanish troops sent to capture him.
There were repeated attempts to subdue the Dagohoy uprising, and nearly all ended in drastic failure. On 7 May 1827, the colonial government sent a force of 2,200 Filipino-Spanish soldiers led by Alcalde-mayor Cairo to Bohol. Cairo managed to win several encounters with Dagohoy's compatriots, but ultimately lost to the fierceness with which the Boholanos fought.
A campaign led by Captain Manuel Sanz then went underway in April 1828. It took the Captain and his soldiers a whole year of battling the Boholanos before they managed to end the rebellion.
The date given for which the revolt officially ended is 31 August 1829. The 19,420 Boholano rebels who had lived to see Dagohoy's uprising end were pardoned by General Mariano Ricafort who was then the governor-general of the archipelago.
When the revolt was finally subdued by Spanish troops, many of Dagohoy's followers chose to end their own lives rather than submit themselves to the colonizers. Their remains can still be found in the Dagohoy cave.
Dagohoy is remembered in history books as the hero who led the longest revolt against the Spanish colonizers. A town in Bohol was named after him. A marker was also erected on his grave on Mt. Magtangtang in Danao, Bohol.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines also had a marker placed in Magtangtang, Danao, Bohol in commemoration of the his heroic feats. Dagohoy Memorial National High School in Bohol was also named after the him.
- Bohol-Philippines. “Francisco Dagohoy: A Slice of History and Myth.” Accessed 22 June 2010. https://www.bohol-philippines.com/francisco-dagohoy.html.
- Mga Aklasan Ng Charismatic Pinoys. “Si Dagohoy, Ang Mapagpalaya Ng Bohol.” Accessed 22 June 2010. http://www.elaput.org/chrmidex.htm.
- National Historical Commission of the Philippines. 2015. Martyrs & Patriots. Accessed 10 April 2021. https://nhcp.gov.ph/resource/filipinos-in-history/martyrs/.