NHCP unveils historical marker of Pampanga’s ‘nameless youth hero’
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) officially corrected a longtime historical claim that Rajah Soliman was the first Filipino to die for freedom.
In a short ceremony held recently, NHCP marked in front of the municipal hall of Macabebe, Pampanga a nameless historical marker to commemorate the martyrdom of the “first native to give up his life for independence,” one identified only as the “Brave Youth of Macabebe”.
NHCP Chairman Maria Serena I. Diokno, who led the unveiling of the marker, noted that it was the first time in the history that the commission issued a nameless “Panandang Pangkasaysayan”.
The nameless hero, as the chairman referred, was a young Kapampangan chieftain who led a naval force of 40 caracoas (warships) and 2000 warriors from Macabebe and Hagonoy across Manila Bay to fight the conquering spaniards led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in Bangkusay on June 3, 1571.
Diokno stressed out that this Kapampangan native should be honored as the first Filipino, and maybe the first Southeast Asian to give up his life defending freedom against foreign invaders. She clarified that some historians made a mistake in saying that it was Rajah Soliman who died in the Battle of Bangkusay.
The youth leader was named Tarik Soliman by local historians and older Filipinos who have encountered the hero’s name in history books. In Pampanga, he was known as “Bambalito”, whom many believed to have lived around the 16th century.
Although his real identity has not been fully established, Diokno said that the commission decided to unveil its marker in Macabebe, as an initial step in correcting the history.
In the same ceremony, NHCP researcher Ian Christopher Alfonso launched his book entitled “The Nameless Hero: Revisiting the Sources of the Filipino Leader to Die for Freedom”, which cites all the primary sources of the Macabebe hero's existence and role in history.
Alfonso said that together with the Center of the Kapampangan Studies of the Holy Angel University (HAU), the book was made possible.
“It took me almost six years to finish writing the book. Of course, we carefully researched it,” adding that there are few documents which surfaced along the way.
Alfonso noted that the book was a tribute to his father who is also from Macabebe, and to other Filipino youth, for them to be aware of the Kapampangan hero’s martyrdom.
He added that the book also aims to advance future researches to give way to a clearer recognition of the nameless hero.
Meanwhile, Mayor Annete Flores-Balgan expressed her gratitude for the said commemoration. “This marker is an honor to the Macabebe folk and it proves the loyalty and bravery of our people.”
Balgan said she had been long aggressive in pushing for the inclusion of the Macabebe hero on the list of the country’s national heroes.
She shared that since 2010, she has been organizing various activities to honor the youth leader -- One of which is a lecture series on Kapampangan Studies making awareness of the heroic acts and characteristics of the youth leader.
Prof. Robby Tantingco, Holy Angel University (HAU) vice president for external affairs and head of the university’s Center for Kapampangan Studies, on the other hand, said that it is high time to give due honor to the Macabebe hero and he will continually advocate for the correction of history books and historical markers pertaining to the existence of the said hero.- Erika Mariel Gines
NHCP Chairman Maria Serena Diokno, Mayor Anette Flores-Balgan, Municipal Council Secretary Marion Yambao and NHCP's Carmela Arevalo lead the 'Paglagda ng Katibayan ng Paglilipat ng Panandang Pangkasaysayan' at the unveiling of the 'nameless hero'...