Galicano Apacible

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Galicano Apacible (b. June 25, 1864 - d. March 2, 1949) who was a cousin of Dr. Jose Rizal, co-founder of La Solidaridad and Nacionalista Party, and formed the Hong Kong Junta, was also a former Governor of Batangas and former Representative of the 1st District of Batangas to the 2nd and 3rd Philippine Legislature of 1909 to 1916.

Early Life

Born on the 25th of June, 1864 in Balayan, Batangas, he was the youngest of the three children of Don Vicente Apacible and Catalina Castillo.


Kanoy, as he was fondly called, was eight years old when he completed his preparatory course. He went to the private school of Benedicto Luna and then enrolled at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in high school. Kanoy and his older brother, Leon, lived in a boarding house at 15 Anda Street, in Intramuros with their cousin, Jose Rizal. When Rizal transferred to another boarding house (that of Antonio Rivera on Santo Tomas Street - later Postigo Street, also in Intramuros) Galicano and Leon moved with him. In Rivera's boarding house, they formed a student orchestra called Estudiantino, where Kanoy was a flute player. They also organized a secret society called El Compañerismo led by Jose Rizal, whose main objectives were mutual protection, and civic and patriotic education. Although he wanted to study law he took up medicine because this was what her mother wanted (because his brother Leon was already studying law).

He enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas. Because of the outdated teaching method and the humiliating treatment shown by the Dominican professors to the Filipino students, many of his classmates chose to continue their studies abroad. Galicano himself had a fight with one of his friar professors that he had to leave the university. He had already completed the fifth year of the medical course when he went to Europe. He finished his Bachelor of Arts degree at the Institute of Tarragona and his Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Barcelona in November 1889. He studied at the Universidad Central de Madrid for his doctorate in Medicine.


While in Spain, Apacible was president of a political society called Asociacion Filipina Solidaridad en Barcelona. He was also one of the founders of La Solidaridad. He made trips to France, attracted not only by the delights of Parisian life but by the hospitals which gave him opportunities to practice his French as well as his medicine. During the Universal Exposition in 1889, he joined Rizal, T.H. Padre de Tavera, Antonio Luna and many other Filipinos who were in France at that time. They discussed the best ways to improve the situation in the Philippines. One of the topics discussed was what language should be adopted if the Philippines were to be independent. When he went back to the Philippines, his family was under persecution by the Spanish government: His brother Leon, a judge of the Court of First Instance, had been exiled to Lepanto and Rizal had been arrested and deported to Dapitan. It was rumored that he too would be arrested and imprisoned.

He stayed in Hongkong, with Rizal's family. He had no money so he borrowed a hundred pesos from a fellow passenger, Alejandro Amechazurra of Manila. Learning about this, his mother full amount in payment and a letter of thanks to to Mr. Amechazurra. It was his mother's practice, which she taught among her children, to pay debts promptly even without waiting for the creditor to demand payment.

In 1892, upon returning to the Philippines, he found that he was under suspicion for his political activities in Spain and on account of his being a Freemason of the 33rd degree, a fact which he never denied.

To escape the political force common under the bloody rule of Governor Camilo Polavieja, Apacible applied for a position on board the British S.S. Zafire that regularly Journeyed from Manila to Hongkong. He was immediately accepted as the physician.

After making a few voyages, he resigned and settled in Hongkong. He served as an adviser to the Alto Consejo de los Revolucionarios (High Council of the Revolutionists). While in Hongkong, he was named chairman of the Comite Central Filipino (Filipino Central Committee) based there. He was sent to Tokyo as a special agent to secure arms and ammunition for the revolutionaries. He met leading figures such as Marquis Ito, Count Okuma and Dr. Sun Yat Sen. The latter was his closest companion as they were both working for the freedom of their countries.

In 1899, he was sent to the United States along with Rafael del Pan as delegates of the Revolutionary government. They tried to seek the intervention of the American government in their goal to make peace with Spain.

Back to the Philippines

In 1903, Apacible returned to Manila and practiced medicine. He worked at the San Lazaro Hospital from 1906 to 1907 when he was elected governor of Batangas. Then he was elected and served as Representative of the 1st District of Batangas in 1909 to 1912. In 1911, he became vice-president of the Nacionalista Party and a member of its Executive Committee. From 1917 to 1922, he was Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources(he was the first Filipino Secretary of Agriculture under the U.S. regime), but resigned due to ill health.

Galicano Apacible bust monument at the (Batangas Capitol, Historical Park).

In 1944, he had an accident. Then followed physical inactivity that impaired his health. In 1947, he got blind. He died on March 22, 1949 and was buried at the La Loma Cemetery in Manila.




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