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Thursday, November 21, 2019

General Gregorio del Pilar


Gregorio del Pilar was born in San Jose Bulakan, Bulacan on November 14, 1875, he came from an illustrado (middle class family).  He was the son of Fernando del Pilar and Felipa Sempio and nephew of  Marcelo H. del Pilar.  

He was a brilliant and courageous military leader and his success in battles caught the attention of Emilio Aguinaldo.  He moved up in the military ranks and became Aguinaldo's most trusted aide.   At the age of 23, he was promoted as general, making him the youngest general of the Philippine Revolutionary Forces, he was nicknamed the "Boy General" due to his youthful age. 

The death of Del Pilar came in the Battle of Tirad Pass, when he was given the task to secure the defense of Tirad Pass - a passageway in Cordillera mountain range.  His job was to stop the pursuing American troops and put more distance between them and the fleeing Emilio Aguinaldo.

In this historic place, he fought and held back the strong invading Americans, with only 60 men and giving Emilio Aguinaldo time to escape the American conquerors. It was a one-sided battle but General del Pilar fought bravely and he paid his heroism  with his life. He was shot and killed on December 2, 1899 at the age of 24.

Before he died he wrote, "I am surrounded by fearful odds that will overcome me and my gallant men, but I am pleased to die fighting for my beloved country."

The American victors looted the corpse of the fallen general.  They got his pistol, diary, personal papers, boots and a lady's handkerchief  with the name "Dolores Jose" (his sweetheart), diamond ring, gold watch, shoulder straps and a gold locket.

But a chivalric American officer, by way of redeeming his countrymen's vandalism, gave the late hero an honorable burial and called him "An Officer and a Gentleman" in an inscription of his tombstone.

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