Teresa Magbanua: The Heroine of the Philippine Revolution

A native of Pototan, Iloilo, Teresa Magbanua, with her courage, patriotism and military ability, became a heroine of the Philippine Revolution.

Educated at Colegio de San José in Jaro, Iloilo, and in Manila, where she earned a degree in education, Magbanua became a teacher back in Pototan. She was revered as an excellent, if strict, teacher. Upon marrying Alejandro Balderas, a wealthy landowner from Sara, Iloilo, she became a homemaker.

teresa magbanua

Magbanua was adept at battle, because she spent much of her time fencing, studying firearms and horseback-riding in her husband’s ranch. She was among the first to enlist when the Philippine Revolution reached Iloilo, against her husband’s wishes. She offered her services to her uncle, Gov. Perfecto Poblador, one of lloilo’s highest-ranking revolutionary officers Poblador rebuffed her on account of her gender. “Now, General,” she replied, “you know that I can ride and shoot better than you can. Give me men to command and I will show you how a woman can fight for her country.” Her uncle consented. After all, her brothers had already joined the revolution. Pascual, the older of the two, became a brigadier general in Emilio Aguinaldo’s army and the younger, Elías, became a major.

Magbanua was victorious in many battles. Both her allies and her foes regarded her as a general, although no records exist that she was ever promoted to general. She continued the fight after the fall of the Filipinos’ headquarters in Sta. Bárbara, shifting to guerilla warfare.

Finally, in 1901, she surrendered to the Americans. At the outset of the Japanese invasion, Nay Isa, then a widow, sold her property in Iloilo to help finance the guerrilla resistance fighters Later, she moved in with her sister in Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur, and died in August 1947.

Source: Reynaldo Gamboa Alejandro and Vicente Roman Santos in Estilo Ilonggo: Philippine Southern Lifestyle published by KCC Innovations in cooperation with DOT (2009)

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