Dead men tell no tales

It's that time of the year again when we pause to commemorate the "First Cry of Nueva Ecija" that took place on September 2, 1896 and earned for our province a ray in the sun adorning the Philippine flag.

Trivia: So which of those eight rays is Nueva Ecija? I'll tell you if you tell me which of the 50 stars in the US flag is California...

It's time to again point out -- all in caps, bold and even underlined -- that the September 2 event involved TWO  key players.

One was Mariano Llanera, capitan municipal (mayor) of Cabiao, the one much written about, as he survived through two Philippine revolutions, against the Spaniards and the Americans, and died at past 80 in the 1930s.

The other was Pantaleon Valmonte, capitan municipal of Gapan, the silent one, as the guardias civiles and Pinoy voluntarios arrested him on September 3, a day after the San Isidro mayhem, took him to Barrio Calaba, also in San Isidro, and shot him dead.

Poor Lolo Pantaleon. He couldn't even complain when some historians later murdered him a second time by misspelling his name as "Belmonte", before being buried a second time by omitting his participation in the San Isidro incident. (I will explain in the next issue why I refer to the San Isidro September 2 event as "mayhem" and "incident".)

Lucky Gen. Llanera. He managed to stay around for quite some time to regale historians with his accounts of 'Unang Sigaw" and be amply rewarded with the frequent mention of his name and the publication of lengthy reports on his exploits in history books.

And we, Valmontes, couldn't even find a single existing photo of Lolo Pantaleon, save for an observation by Lolo Joaquin -- Pantaleon's only son -- when he was still alive, that one of the general's  great-grandchildren and coincidentally a namesake bore striking similarities to him, but nobody considered the idea of photographing the great-grandson and, aided by Adobe Photoshop, pass his picture off as that of the general.

True, dead men tell no tales, and living men tell lots of them.

But it's equally true that dead men have relatives who can tell tales on their behalf.

I'm not too sure about this, but it seems that these days, there's a greater chance of meeting a person surnamed Valmonte than somebody surnamed Llanera. I digress, but how many persons surnamed Rizal, Bonifacio, Mabini or Lopez Jaena have you met during your lifetime?

So, to Lolo Pantaleon, don't worry. You may be very dead, but we'll tell the story for you and keep your name and memory very alive.

Trivia: Where is Gen. Pantaleon Valmonte's mortal remains? I was told once that during Todos los Santos, his direct descendants would go to the San Isidro public cemetery to visit his grave. If true, then why hasn't his body been returned to his hometown 112 years after his death?! 

They killed him, buried him in another town,misspelled his name, tried to obliterate his role in "Unang Sigaw ng Nueva Ecija"...

Ang malas naman!

[August 31, 2008]