Vicente R. Lukban (11 February 1860 – 16 November 1916) was a Philippine general during the Philippine-American War.
Lukban was born in Labo, Camarines Norte on 11 February 1860 to Agustin Lukban and Andrea Rilles. He finished his early education at Escuela Pia Publica, then studied at the Ateneo de Manila (now Ateneo de Manila University) and Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
He returned to Labo after resigning from his job at the Court of the First Instance. He married Sofia Dizon Barba and the union produced four children: Cecilia, Felix, Agustin, and Vicente. His wife died after their last child was born. He left his children in the care of his brothers and sisters so that he could devote his time to the cause of the revolution.
Philippine Colonial Revolution
Lukban worked as delegado municipal and Juez de Paz. In 1894, he was inducted into the Masonic Lodge, using the name Luz de Oriente (Light of the Orient). He then co-founded Lodge Bicol in Camarines with Juan Miguel. In 1896, he stopped working in the judicial office and and busied himself with agriculture and commerce in Bicol. He formed La Cooperativa Popular aimed at promoting cooperative business activities of small and medium scale producers for them to increase their income from the lands by selling their products without passing through middlemen. Part of the profits of the cooperatives were secretly remitted to the revolutionary movement of Andres Bonifacio. The cooperative also served as an effective covert means of spreading the ideals of the revolution. Their members could move around freely without arousing the suspicion of the Spanish Authorities.
In 1896, he centralized the funds of the cooperatives in the coffers of the revolution. He periodically remitted money to the evolving revolutionary movement. At the same time, he acted as an emissary of the Katipunan unit in Bicol to gather information about the Spanish movements in Manila and to determine how such movements affected Bicol provinces. In one of his trips to Manila, he was arrested by the Spanish authorities and charged with conspiring to overthrow the government. He was tortured and imprisoned in the Bilibid prison. He was released on 17 May 1897 after the Governor-General granted amnesty to political prisoners.
Afterward, he joined the armed forces of the revolutionary government. He was commissioned to serve as one of Emilio Aguinaldo's officers. He was among the few who assisted Aguinaldo in planning war strategies and activities. When the Pact of Biak-na-Bato was signed, Aguinaldo asked him to be one of the members of his party to go into exile in Hong Kong.
He used his time in Hong Kong studying military science under the Lord Commander Joseph Churchase of the British Naval command. This enabled him to master the arts of soldiery-fencing, shooting, gunpowder and ammunitions preparations, and the planning and execution of war strategies and tactics.
Shortly after proclaiming the Philippine independence in 1898, Lukban was given the rank of a Colonel then Comandante Militar of Bicol. Because of his successes in Bicol, he was promoted General of Samar and Leyte. While in Samar, Lukban married his second wife Paciencia Gonzales. This union produced eight children: Victoria, Juan, Maria, Fidel, Rosita, Ramon, Jose, and Lourdes.
On 31 December 1899, 100 Filipino riflemen under Lukban were gathered and there he proclaimed himself the new governor of Samar under the Philippine Republic, meeting little resistance. The US offered five thousand pesos for his arrest.
On 8 August 1901, American soldiers discovered Lukban's stronghold along Catarman River. They were met by charges of suicidal bolomen under Lukban’s command. Nevertheless, Lukban was soon forced to retreat inward, leaving behind an organized resistance network. Samareños caught cooperating with the Americans were executed swiftly and dramatically. When US General Arthur MacArthur offered Lukban amnesty in exchange for his surrender, he turned it down and swore to fight to the end. On 18 February 1902, Lukban was captured and imprisoned in Talim Island in Laguna de Bay until he took an oath of allegiance to the US on 15 July 1902.
He then engaged in business and joined politics. He was elected governor of Tayabas for two terms, which he was not able to finish due to sickness. He died on 16 November 1916.
- Agoncillo, Teodoro A. 1990. History of the Filipino People 8th Ed. Quezon City: Garotech.
- National Historical Commission of the Philippines. 2015. Vicente R. Lukban (1860-1916). Accessed 24 April 2021. https://nhcp.gov.ph/resource/filipinos-in-history/martyrs/.
- Quirino, Carlos. 1995. Who's who in Philippine History. Manila: Tahanan Books.
- Zaide, Gregorio F. 1970. Great Filipinos in History. Manila: Verde Bookstore.