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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Leading Filipino Women: Teresa Magbanua

Teresa Magbanua
Joan of Arc of the Visayas
(1871 - 1941)

            Teresa Magbanua was a teacher who fought in the Philippine Revolution.

Teresa’s Early Life
            Teresa Magbanua was born in Pototan, Iloilo on October 13, 1868. She was the second daughter of Juan Magbanua and Alejandria Ferariz.
            Teresa had a good education. She studied for seven years in the Saint Joseph’s College at Jaro, Iloilo. Then, in 1887, she went to Manila and entered the Santa Rosa College. Later, she went to Santa Catalina College to be trained as a teacher.

Teresa, the Teacher
            Teresa took the entrance examination for teachers as soon as she graduated from the Santa Catalina College. She passed the examination.
            For several years she taught in different towns in Iloilo. She won the praise of everyone, for she was a hardworking teacher. She was not fond of going to parties.
           When she married Alejandro Baldera she stopped teaching and lived on a farm. Here she learned how to use a pistol and ride a horse. This knowledge proved valuable to her when the Revolution broke out.

Teresa Joins The Revolution
           When the Philippine Revolution started in Luzon in 1896, the Visayan Islands joined the revolt. The whole island of Panay became a battlefield. The rebels were under the command of General Martin Delgado. His assistant was Teresa’s brother, Pascual Magbanua.
           Teresa joined the rebels. She was the first woman in Panay to fight for Philippine freedom. At first General Delgado did not want to let her join his army. “Our country needs women as well as men in our fight for liberty. Can I not fight even if I am a woman?” Teresa asked him. The General gave in and Teresa joined his army. She was a good leader, and the general soon gave her the command of a small army.

Teresa’s Battles
           Teresa’s first battle was fought in the barrio of Yating, Capiz. In the battle of Sap-ong on a mountain near Sara, her men were almost defeated. They had few weapons and very little food. But Teresa led her men so well that they won the battle.
           Then came the sad news of her brother’s death. He was killed in Negros Occidental. His death greatly saddened Teresa, but she kept on fighting.

Peace Returns
          The Revolution ended. In 1900, Panay joined the rest of the islands in accepting the new American government. Teresa returned with her husband to their farm and she lived the rest of her days in peace. She died in August 1947.
          But she had earned a place in the history of our country.

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