Luciano San Miguel

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Luciano San Miguel (January 7, 1875-March 28, 1903) was a Katipunero connected with the Magdiwang faction (led by Gen. Mariano Alvarez). San Miguel became one of General Aguinaldo's best generals during the Filipino-American War. In 1902, he established the Bagong Katipunan--a rebel unit that fought the Americans in Rizal and Bulacan. Among the three generals, San Miguel was the only active one during that time.

He was born in Noveleta, Cavite on January 7, 1875. Little is known about his childhood and adolescent years. Records of him only reveal facts on his career as soldier during the Philippine-American war. He was married to well-known mestiza daughter of the wealthy Chinese Ong Capin.

The Military Leader

San Miguel commanded the sector of San Juan del Monte in Bulacan. An incident in 1899 led the Americans to be in close proximity with the troops of San Miguel. This triggered the Americans to unfairly declare war against the Filipinos.

The American command moved the First Nebraska Regiment from Manila to the high grounds of Santa Mesa, east of the walled city on the January 21, 1899. It placed the regiment in the Third Military Zone of the Filipino forces in Manila. The Filipinos were near the picket outpost of the Nebraskans at Santol. The native soldiers had occupied all the Spanish blockhouses after the surrender of Manila in August except for Blockhouse No. 15 or Fort San Antonio Abad. This was the massive stone fort in Malate-Pasay that was in the control of the Americans.

The regiment belonged to the Second Division of Eighth Army Corps under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. San Miguel's troops would repeatedly exert pressure on the regiment by crossing their line and entering the American zone. On February 2 of the same year, a Filipino patrol penetrated 100 yards into the American zone. MacArthur complained to San Miguel in which the latter responded in a letter assuring him he did not gave out such orders.

McKinley justified the war against the Filipinos due to the provocation they received from them. He stated that the Filipinos started the war by a prepared attack against the American lines on February 4. This was contradictory to Aguinaldo's records of which relates that San Miguel was in Mololos during that time. The colonel was called upon the president and were detained there until the afternoon. He even missed the last train for Manila. He and General Ricarte got on a special train from Malolos to Manila by Februay 5.

San Miguel was the principal commander of Zambales and Pangasinan. He was heavily attacked in Zambales during mid-December of 1899 to January 1900. But he did not surrender nor was he held captive by the Americans.

The Reorganization of Katipunan

He ordered the reorganization of the Katipunan in his department in December 6, 1899. San Miguel addressed the civilians of each pueblosto undergo rites if they want to become a member of the revolution. They were prescribed to kneel before the crucifix, swear their loyalty to the country and fight to the death. In addition, they had to sign the oath of membership in their own blood. They would become soldiers fighting for the freedom of the country.

San Miguel ordered two primary functions to the members of Katipunan. They were expected to provide information and furnish provisions to Katipuneros and to the army operation in the vicinity of enemy held areas. In addition, it was their duty to maintain order in the towns and to prevent crimes and anarchy. Those who did not comply were to be considered enemies of the Katipunan. He had extremist view as of the role of military leadership. It was in his belief that only generals have the sole right and duty to protect the nation. He considered the leaders of the Federal party as traitors who settled less for the freedom of the country.

The Americans labeled San Miguel as the well-known leader of the ladrones, thieves and other criminals. They were crossed when San Miguel decided not to surrender and take the oath of allegiance to the [[United States].

The Late Message

He was killed on March 28, 1903 during an encounter with the Americans in Pugad-Babuy, Rizal. He is one of only two generals of the army of the 1st Philippine Republic killed in action during the Philippine-American War. He was one of only two Filipino revolutionary leaders who did not accept American rule. Before he went into Battle, San Miguel sent a letter to Apolinario Mabini in 1903. He requested for an advice should he attack the Americans head on to achieve freedom. Mabini delayed his reply for he wanted to fully assess the situation. In his letter addressed to San Miguel dated 27th of March spoke of the lack of arms of the Filipinos and freedom will be obtained through peaceful means. Unfortunately, the general did not get it. The messenger reported to Mabini that he gave the letter to San Miguel's second in command.


(accessed May 9, 2008).

  • Corpuz, O.D. 2005. The Roots of the Filipino Nation. Quezon City: The University of the Philippines Press.
  • Southern Luzon and Bicol, Philippines Unsung Heroes. From the Centennial Resource Book: Ang mga Pilipino sa Ating Kasaysayan.

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