Melchora A. Aquino (January 6, 1812 - March 2, 1919), popularly known as "Tandang Sora," was a Filipino revolutionary who played an important role in the Philippine Revolution. Despite her old age, she looked after the sick and injured Katipuneros and gave moral support and prayers, earning her the name "Mother of the Katipunan."
Aquino was born in Barrio Banlat, Caloocan, Rizal (now Banlat, Balintawak, Quezon City) to Juan Aquino and Valentina de Aquino. When she was young, she often portrayed the role of Reyna Elena during Santa Cruzan. She also frequently sang in the pabasa in her town.
When her husband died, she took good care of her children while managing their farm.
Role in the Revolution
During the Philippine revolution in 1896, Aquino opened her house to Andres Bonifacio and the Katipuneros. She gave them food and took care of those who were sick and wounded. When the Spanish authorities found out about her activities, Bonifacio advised her to move to Novaliches to hide. However, they were still able to arrest her on 29 August 1896.
She was first held captive in the house of the cabeza de barangay, then transferred to the Bilibid prison. Although she was interrogated by the Spanish authorities, she did not reveal the hideout of the Katipuneros. She was deported and exiled to Guam.
Her children took care of her until she died on 2 March 2, 1919 in the house of her daughter, Saturnina, in Banlat. Her body was laid to rest in the Mausoleum of the Veterans of the Philippine Revolution in North Cemetery.
- de Guzman, Jovita V., Vicente A. Santiago, Remedios T. de Leon, and Teresita E. Erestain. 1967. Women Of Distinction: Biographical Essays on Outstanding Filipino Women of the Past and the Present. Philippines: Bukang Liwayway.
- National Historical Commission of the Philippines. 2015. Martyrs & Patriots. Accessed 3 April 2021. https://nhcp.gov.ph/resource/filipinos-in-history/martyrs/.
- Zaide, Gregorio. 1970. Great Filipinos in History. Manila: Verde Bookstore.