AGAIN, it is in our ASP (Archaeological Studies Program) Library in UP Diliman that I discovered another gem: a slim book titled 'Glimpses of the History of Balingasag' by Garcilaso Vega y Fernandez. This book was written like a narrative and is full of valuable historical data of the old hometown of the author. One of the stories that found in it is about the beautiful Julia "Lolay" Valmorida, the wife of Capt. Vicente Roa y Racines.

I am reprinting this short narrative in full:

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"During the Filipino American war, a number of young men from Balingasag joined the Philippine Armed Forces. Among them were Crisanto M. Vega, Juan B. Valmores, Antonio Moreno, Juan Nulo, Pastor Salvacion, Emeterio Valmores, Jacinto Salvacion and many others. The inhabitants supported the cause by contributing money, rice and blankets and delivering them to Faustino Vega who in turn sent them to the Filipino Forces.

Julia Valmorida, a beautiful Balingasag woman just married a young soldier from Cagayan by the name of Vicente Roa, when the Filipino-American war began. Julia was not an ordinary girl. Instead of staying at home, just like the other soldiers' wives, she never left her husband but went with him to where he was assigned and she witnessed the many fights, skirmishes, bloody encounters and escapades in which her husband was an active participant. She was present in that famous battle of Agusan (Barrio of Cagayan) on May 14, 1900, where her husband was one of the recognized heroes.

It was said that not far from the battlefield, she delivered her first child. Her husband was notified of it in the thick of the fight. Because he could not leave his soldiers to visit her, he sent his bloody shirt with a message to his wife to wrap the newly born babe with it, as a way of baptizing the child, not with water, but with his own blood, and instructed her to give the child the name "Vicenta" in his memory. After this incident, a song was dedicated to the unhappy widow and became very popular for a time in town, with the following ending:

Lolay, ayaw pagkasakit,

Kay si Vicente atoa na sa langit.

(Lolay do not be sad,

Because Vicente is now in heaven)"

Reading her story made me realize that it was not only Cecilia Capistrano and Vivencia Velez de Gaerlan who followed their respective spouses, Gen. Capistrano and Maj. Justo Gaerlan, during the entire war, but also Lolay. It took a lot of courage and great love for her soldier husband to follow him wherever he went with his men, unmindful of the hardships of moving from one hideout to another for her husband was one of the most wanted men by the Americans. She met dangers along the way and she was at that time, a young wife who was pregnant with their first child!

A few decades later, their only child Vicenta married Judge Pedro Roa. She bore him eleven children namely: Godofredo, Godofredo Segundo, Helena, Godofedo Teberio, Godofredo Pedro, Helena Segunda, Godofredo Senesio, Helteresita, Godofredo Semo, Ninofredo and Milagros. One of her great grandson, Dante Roa is a kagawad of Barangay Consolacion.

As for Lolay, she later married her brother-in-law, Leoncito, who was also a widower. It is said that he was so enamored of her beauty that he secretly hid all the anting-antings of his brother, Vicente, and that this was the cause of his death in the battle of Agusan Hill.

But that is what we call "tinoho-an sa buktot" or superstitious belief for those anting-antings have no power over life and death of a person. The union of Leoncito and Lolay produced five children, Amparo, Soledad, Marina, Ester and Linderico. The lovely Ditas Edmilao-Gualberto, manager of the local DXIM-Radyo ng Bayan, is their granddaughter. Dr. Jovencio "Boy' Roa Jr., a prominent doctor at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center, is one of the coupke's great grandsons. (prroa50@yahoo.com)