The First Philippine Republic in Benguet (conclusion)

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By Linda Grace Cariño

Baguio Stories

Saturday, January 4, 2014


THE Star-spangled Banner Marches In.

It is a sad thing that the story of the first Philippine Republic must be told in conjunction with the American theft of it. And so it is, too, in Benguet.

A cross-check between sources has American troops getting to Benguet in November, 1899, in search of the Paterno party.

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(25) And thus, Paterno, Gerona, Juan Carino, Larauan, and Carantes are recorded as seeking refuge in the Larauan house in Tublay.

(26) In March or April of 1900, Larauan is captured by American troops after they kill a kinswoman of his, and subsequently imprison him in San Fernando. Unbeknownst to his captors, the bulk of the Republican papers remain hidden in a barrel in his house until after his release, when he returns them to Paterno. Juan Cariño, Mateo Carantes, Pedro Paterno, and Julian Gerona escape to Itogon, where Paterno and Gerona are captured in April. Cariño is shot in the leg, but manages to escape, as does Mateo Carantes. The former is captured in Kabayan in May, and imprisoned in San Fernando.

(27) Sources do not say what happens to Carantes.

Of Osmeña, Wilson writes that he is in Manila by Paterno’s orders, and thus misses being hunted by American forces in Benguet.

(28) But Bagamaspad and Pawid have Osmeña being persuaded to surrender and being paroled. Quezon is said never to have surrendered, but goes back to Manila.

(29) In June, Paterno is back in Manila, talking peace with the Americans. Gerona, tagged “the irreconcilable nationalist politician,” is on a boat to Guam, one among 56 other exiles, in January, 1901.

(30) The next mention of Juan Cariño has him back in Tublay, and then swiftly cuts to him serving in the Philippine Legislature in Manila from 1916-23. Mateo Carantes is back in Kafagway, ranching. Larauan is, like Cariño, next located in Tublay, its mayor in 1922.

(31) One wonders when they are released and what happens to them before they are released from the American prisons. Mateo Cariño, Juan’s younger brother, is next mentioned as being designated Baguio Presidente with the American establishment of “civil” government in 1901, and declining in favor of his son, Sioco.

(32) One next wonders why a current paradigm has it that the American “occupation” of Benguet is one of benevolent assimilation, bloodless, pleasant, even. Is it?

Fry states that after the United States “declares” a military government in the Philippines (read: Martial Law), in La Trinidad, the primary task of Commanding Officer Evan Johnson is to locate and capture Paterno, president of the “insurgent” Congress and Juan Cariño, just as “insurgent” Governor of Benguet. Fry’s account of the US military occupation of Benguet includes stories of the “insurgent” war. One of them has Johnson approaching afore-quoted Scheerer, a German ethnologist who is a friend of Paterno and the Cariños, for help. Another has American military authorities calling for Scheerer’s trial on five charges laid against him, for helping Paterno and providing medicines for Juan Cariño. Scheerer is also labeled by said American military authorities as "...an associate and helper of Paterno, Cariño, Almeida,and other agitators, insurgents and convicted criminals; a war traitor ...and aider of the guerilla assassins of American soldiers… (who) cannot be fit to serve the United States in any place of honor, trust, or emolument.”

(33) The passages of Fry’s accounts do not seem to be describing swift and bloodless at all. They sound like a war story, as they should.
Declassified American military intelligence reports situate yet another Cariño, Juan’s youngest brother Sinon, declared an “insurrecto” by the American General Duvall after Sinon tries, in May, 1900, to secure a pass at San Fernando in order to board the Manila-bound steamer. The reports have Sinon undergoing a series of “interrogations” by the American military, with the main point, it seems, of getting him to say that a satchel of gold caught in his possession belongs to his older brother Juan. Sinon is then jailed sans trial for some eight months, and is released to die only after he contracts tuberculosis. The time of his release coincides roughly with the American set-up of a civil government in Benguet.

(34) Besides, no war is ever kind.

Governor Juan Cariño, Governor of Benguet under the Aguinaldo Republic, Mateo Carantes, Magastino Larauan, Piraso, Sungduan, likewise Baguio Presidente Mateo Cariño – these are just a few of the native Ibaloi clansmen who, in the bold tradition of their forefathers, battle Spanish, and later, American forces, making history as we do NOT know it, this ignorance actually causing a good number of Philippine history texts to state, with reckless abandon, that the Cordillera did not participate in the Katipunan-led revolution.

(35) The truth is, the first Philippine Republic in Benguet is quite a war story, playing out against a backdrop of a proud local native history and its attendant culture, which sees its demise as American colonialization moves in.

And move in with a vengeance America does. She first appropriates for herself a military “camp,” over a property its native owner later sues the “state” for.

(36) Then she appropriates for herself Ibaloi gold mines, legislating herself into the picture, and legislating native ownership out of the picture.

(37) Then she further appropriates for herself a “hill station,” the ultimate imperialist status symbol in colonized Asia, where she “charters” a Baguio City over vast Ibaloi properties. Of La Trinidad, she makes a giant farm which grows vegetables that Americans in the Philippines pine for: zucchini, lettuce, tomatoes, etc... (38) – we now call them “Baguio” vegetables.

Baguio goes on to become the colonial hill station the Americans envision it to be, even now exhibiting a “colonial” American charm while it battles with 21st century urban trends. To this very day, however, it remains a bone of contention that the Americans charter a city over Ibaloi properties, which goes to the very heart of the burning issue of ancestral land in the Cordilleras. “Benguet” becomes the name the “province” identifying the places the Ibaloi and Kankana-ey tribes call home.

As for the first Philippine Republic in Benguet, it is two things. First, it is a last stand for the Aguinaldo Republic, a little known chapter that is somehow missed in the telling of the story. Second, it is the event which signals a revolutionary change in the world order for the Benguet Igorots, who must surrender land, gold, cattle, and lifestyles as a heavily armed brand of American imperialism moves in to stay.

Time and hindsight are wonderful things. For one, they allow a sense of clarity over perspectives that may once have been colored by overly popular sentiments, i.e., that the American “assimilation” of Benguet is benevolent and bloodless. On the contrary, it is a significant episode of war, and quite gory.

That said, let us cut to the here and now, November, 2000. It is 101 years, the same month even, since that American incursion into Benguet in pursuit of the officials of the first Philippine Republic in 1899. At this conference, this writer is gratified to be one voice which calls attention to this little known footnote and that it should find its rightful place in the history of the Philippine Republic of 1898 and the attendant Filipino-American War. Likewise, that the Benguet heroes of this war be rightfully acknowledged for their contribution to that first Republican cause and the bigger cause of the freedom Benguet was always a bastion for, for centuries on end before June 12, 1898.

NOTES
(1) Lawrence Lee Wilson, The Skyland of the Philippines, p.34. See also Sanders A. Laubenthal, A History of John Hay Air Base, p.7.
(2) Lawrence Lee Wilson, Ibid.
(3) Heirs of Mateo and Bayosa Carino Foundation, The Carino Case Over Camp John Hay, p.6.
(4) Nela Florendo, “The Cordillera and the Revolution,” Baguio Midland Courier (April 26, 1998), p.A.
(5) William Henry Scott, among others. Refusal to submit to foreign subjugation is a running theme in many works which treat of the Igorots during the Spanish era. For particulars, see W.H. Scott’s The Discovery of the Igorots and his Notes on the History of the Mountain Provinces, Chapter I. Another enlightening source is Delfin Tolentino (ed.), Resistance and Revolution in the Cordillera.
(6) Scott’s other works can also be consulted for this, to include Cracks in the Parchment Curtain and Other Essays in Philippine History,History on the Cordillera.
(7) Joanna K. Carino, “The Carinos and Baguio-Benguet History,” Folio 1, p 43.
(8) Ibid, pp 44-59. See also W.H. Scott, Notes on the History of the Mountain Provinces, Chapter I and Lawrence Lee Wilson, Igorot Mining Methods and Legends.
(9) Ferdinand E. Marcos, Tadhana, Volume II, pp 128-9.
(10) Ibid., p. 366
(11) Ibid. pp. 67-9, 179, 248, 258, 345, and others. The pages of Tadhana are filled with rich accounts of slavery in the islands even during their Spanish occupation.
(12) W.H. Scott, Discovery of the Igorots, Chapter 4.
(13) Otto Scheerer, recorded by W.H. Scott in German Travellers on the Cordillera.
(14) Joanna K. Carino, “The Carinos and Baguio Benguet History” Folio 2, pp 52-4.
(15) Best presented in W.H. Scott, Notes on the History of the Mountain Provinces, Chapter I.
(16) W.H. Scott, Discovery of the Igorots.
(17) Annavic Bagamaspad and Zenaida Hamada-Pawid, A People’s History of Benguet, Chapter 5.
(18) Ibid., p.171-2.
(19) W.H. Scott, History on the Cordillera, p.138.
(20) Annavic Bagamaspad and Zenaida Hamada-Pawid, pp.170-2.
(21) Sanders A. Laubenthal, A History of John Hay Air Base, p.4.
(22) Lawrence Lee Wilson, pp.76-8.
(23) Annavic Bagamaspad and Zenaida Hamada-Pawid, p.185.
(24) W.H. Scott, Discovery of the Igorots, pp.213-14. See also his History on the Cordillera.
(25) In particular, see Sanders A. Laubenthal, p.5.
(26) Lazaro P. Guitierrez (ed.), Baguio and Benguet in the Making, p.17.
(27) Annavic Bagamaspad and Zenaida Hamada-Pawid, p.188.
(28) Lawrence Lee Wilson, p.79.
(29) Annavic Bagamaspad and Zenaida Hamada-Pawid p.187.
(30) Teodoro M. Kalaw, The Philippine Revolution, p.265.
(31) Lazaro P. Gutierrez.
(32) Ibid. p.14.
(33) Howard T. Fry, A History of the Mountain Province, Chapter I. Said chapter reads like a war movie.
(34) Ruby C. Giron, “Ibaloi Participation in the Revolt Against Spain,” Baguio Midland Courier.
(35) “Mainstream” Philippine history books, like aforementioned revolutionary account of Kalaw, for example, have no mention of the first Philippine Republic’s Benguet chapter. It is such an absence which in all probability results in the misconception that, as a flyer for 1998’s Centennial celebrations itself says, “ ...the Cordillera did not participate in the Katipunan-led revolution... ”
(36) This is the landmark case for native title, “Cariño vs. Insular Government,” Supreme Court of the United States, Philippine Appeals: 212 U.S. 449. See also Philippine Reports: 7 Philippines 32, 41 Philippines 935.
(37) Angelo J. De Los Reyes and M. Aloma (eds.), Igorot, A People Who Daily Touch Earth and Sky, Vol. II, Ch.2.
(38) See Robert R. Reed, City of Pines: the Origins of Baguio as a Colonial Hill Station and Regional Capital.

This column wishes one and all a blessed 2014!

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 04, 2014.

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