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Moment in Nueva Vizcaya  (Dupax) History 100 years ago

From the book, SITTING IN THE DARKNESS

Americans in the Philippines by   David Haward Bain

 In the fifteen months following Aguinaldo’s dramatic disappear­ance, some seventy thousand American troop. had not been able to halt the insurrection or catch its human inspiration. Having now received such promising news that Captain Taylor in the Pantabangan garrison had apprehended a courier from Aguinaldo himself, Fun-ston lost no time in directing Taylor to have the messenger escorted to San Isidro “with all possible speed.”

Two days later, his sentries hustled a bedraggled courier into his office. Dressed in rags and obviously hungry, exhausted, and de-moralized, the Filipino clutched his wide-brimmed straw hat in his hands as the general began a preliminary interrogation.

His name?

Cecilio Segismundo.

His village of origin

Dupax, Nueva Vizcaya province.

His “tribe

Ilocano.

His occupation?

Policeman in the native constabulary of Manila under the Spanish. later an insurgent corporal under Major Nazario Alhambra and of­ficial courier to el presidente, Emilio Aguinaldo.

And his story?

Segismundo’s tale explained his general dishevelment A small party of insurgents consisting of Segismundo, one sergeant, and four pri­vates had made a punishing trek, traveling in a generally southwest direction for nearly one month through unforgiving mountains and jungles without adequate supplies or civilian support. They had at­tempted to slip around the American patrols at the garrisoned Pa­cific coastal village of Baler, but, characteristic of the bad luck that had plagued them throughout the journey, they had strayed into an ambush by an American scouting party on the Plain of Tuntunin, near Baler. Two of them were killed. The survivors ran out of food, became desperate, and clambered through a high mountain pass through the Sierra until they finally came down onto the Central

From here several version of the story appeared on how  much force was use  to   extract the information from. It included a version that he  wished to  live and return to Nueva Vizcaya and renounced Aguinaldo. Never the less the dispatch led to the capture of Aguinaldo in Palanan, Isabela  by   using trickery.

Mark Twain wrote

The Macabebes fired on those men and two fell dead; the others retreated, firing as they ran, and I might say here that they retreated with such great alacrity and enthusiasm that they dropped eighteen rifles and a thousand rounds of ammunition.

Sigismondo rushed back into the house, pulled his revolver, and told the insurgent officers to surrender. They all threw up their hands except Villia, Aguinaldo's chief of staff; he had on one of those new-fangled Mauser revolvers and he wanted to try it. But before he had the Mauser out of its scabbard he was shot twice; Sigismondo was a pretty fair marksman himself.


100 years ago.. The St Louis Exposition

 

In 1904 the famous St Louis Expo was held.  The Filipino American National History Society is holding our conference commemorating the centennial celebration that brought the Life and Culture of the Indigenous tribes of the Philippines. Here is my take on the upcoming historical event whose members includes Fil-Am historians from Nueva Vizcaya, Estrella Alamar (Chicago)and Alex Fabros (San Francisco)

 St Louis FANHS 2004 Conference.

 The timing and location of the FANHS 2004 conference could not have been better. This year marks the St. Louis World Expo centennial (1904) and the Lewis and Clark Expedition bicentennial (1804).

 The Expedition changed the anatomy of the United States, making St. Louis the nation’s heartland.  The path to the Columbia River ignited a coast-to-coast dream of the immerging republic. Earlier, the mighty Mississippi River was the “west coast” of the new nation as the French controlled the river thanks to French Canadian explorers. Meandering cities along the river were St. Louis, Missouri, to New Orleans, Louisiana, legacies left by King Louis VII. In the years during world exploration, the Europeans’ difficult search of a passage to the Pacific prompted Magellan to go by a southern passage, to the edge of the world that brought him to the Philippines.

 St. Malo is an isolated bayou with French name. The river water and the Gulf Stream meet and become marshland and barangay. The real St. Malo is located in northern seacoast of France. Sometime during the long period between the Lewis and Clark west coast expedition and the St. Louis Exposition, the first Filipino-American settlement was built in this strange place.   Lafcadio Hearn was commissioned by New Orleans to write about the existence of this amphibian community of Filipino-Americans. The companion artist drew the dozens of houses that appeared to be poking out of the water on sticks.  Houses with covered balconies and rear open-air gardens were copies of the Badjao houses of the southern Philippines.  They brought the weatherproof style that combatted the harsh elements of rising tide and wind of the gulf coast.  Killer hurricanes eventually swept the settlement and the people eventually assimilated into the Saint Bernard and adjoining community.  Alex Fabros related to me once about Agustin Feliciano, a Bikol who had landed in New Orleans and later served in the American Navy in the war of 1812. Ironically, the St. Louis Expo in 1904 showcased the indigenous people of the Philippines and the houses they lived were transplanted in an almost like carnival atmosphere.  Had the fair been held earlier and the river flow reversed, St. Malo itself could have floated up into the heartland of America.

 It was rumored that the early Filipino fought alongside the French pirate Jean Lafitte in the battle of New Orleans. This might just simply be romantic fantasy that seduces our historical minds as the life of pirates. The Civil War almost broke the Union. The Asian-American participation was barely a blip on the screen.  Most of the Filipinos who joined the conflict were just sailors onboard the Union Ships.  Naval gun battles were engaged mostly in open sea but some encounters brought riverboats into action. USS Conemauh, a side-wheel Union ship, took part in blockading the Mississippi River. Onboard this vessel was Joseph Bernardo, a Filipino who had enlisted in Philadelphia from New Jersey.

 Like the Saint Louis Exposition, this will be a great time for the Filipino American historians to present the Filipino-American experience in midland America. The 2006 National Conference in Hawaii will also be a bicentennial celebration: in 1906 the first wave of farm workers landed in Hawaii.