Lonoy, Jagna Massacre
The Lonoy, Jagna massacre was one of the unfortunate historical events that took place in the island of Bohol during the Philippine-American War in 1901. The Americans, to avenge their losses during an encounter with Filipino guerrillas at the Kabantian Pass, intensified their operations against the insurgents, known to be camping in the different parts of the province. Two Filipino guerrilla encampments were reported to them and they were believed to be in the upper part of Lonoy somewhere in Boctol or Clavecita mountain range overlooking Sierra-Bullones.
Lonoy is a hilly barrio of Jagna, more or less 10 kilometers from the Poblacion. The terrain is rugged with narrow winding paths and chopped roads going forever upwards towards the Boholano camp led by Miguel Valmoria. The area along the route is a good site for an ambush and is the camp of Captain Gregorio Caseñas.
On March 5, 1901 Valmoria received a communication from the general headquarters of Pedro Samson that the Americans were heading towards his camp in Lonoy, Jagna. The day after, Valmoria ordered Capt. Caseñas to prepare a surprise attack for the Americans who will pass by his camp first in Mt. Verde of barangay Lonoy.
Believing that the American troops will pass through Lonoy, Jagna via a narrow path, Caseñas and his men immediately dug trenches and foxholes along both sides of the path. They covered the holes and camouflaged themselves in them.
There were exactly 413 men, including Caseñas hiding in the trenches and foxholes. They patiently and excitedly waited for the eventual encounter. They were only armed with daggers, machetes, bolos and spears. Only a few have actual firearms.
On the morning of March 8, 1901, the Filipino guerrillas were themselves ambushed. Two American platoons attacked them from the rear while one platoon on each end of the pass blocked their way. There was nowhere to run. Caught in surprise, they were momentarily immobilised. They were not able to raise their arms to retaliate. They were shot and bayoneted in the trenches and foxholes that they themselves dug. They were mercilessly killed for the American troops previously received orders not to take any prisoners. In the end, only seven guerrillas were able to escape and the Americans were inflicted with only three casualties and 10 wounded soldiers.
The success of the Americans was attributed to a fellow Boholano, Francisco Salas, a pro-American. He led the troops to the position of the guerrillas along the path to the rear of their defences. His betrayal caused the death of 406 guerrilla soldiers, including that of Capt. Caseñas. The martyrs of Jagna perished on Easter Sunday 1901. The burning of Jagna followed where only the church complex and a few houses were spared.
The 1st Philippine independence was proclaimed on June 12, 1898 at General Aguinaldo’s headquarters in Cavite. Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo was declared the 1st President of the Republic of the Philippines. Peace and order reigned in the areas controlled by the Republic particularly in Luzon. With the help of the Malolos Congress, all necessary agencies were set up to run the government smoothly.
The Americans and Filipinos lived peaceably together but the cordial relationship was short- lived. The Filipinos reacted in anger at the signing of the Treaty of Paris wherein the islands of the Philippines were transferred from Spanish rule to American at the payment of the amount of US$20 million to Spain.
The Filipinos resented such an act. It was a big slap on their faces where the Philippines and the Filipinos were sold like common goods by the Spaniards to the Americans. Hostilities eventually broke out. The resistance movement started in Manila and spread all over the Philippines, including Bohol.
Upon the declaration of Philippine Independence, the people of Tagbilaran organized a Regional government whose officials were loyal to the Revolutionary government of General Aguinaldo. They reported such action to him in Cavite.
On January 16, 1899, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo issued a decree on the elections and organization of the armed forces in Bohol. Only a few months after the election of government officials and the formation of the Regional Revolutionary government, Tagbilaran was captured by the Americans in March 1899.
The Revolutionary government moved to the mountains – to the interior part of Bohol and continued to fight the Americans. The resistance movement grew. Pedro Samson became the recognized leader of the revolutionary movement of Bohol with Miguel Valmoria as his right-hand man.
A year and a half later, on September 15, 1900 a battle occurred in Kabantian Pass resulting in the massacre of close to a hundred American soldiers. Kabantian Pass is a narrow pass along the highway between Duero and Guindulman, Bohol. Here, the guerrillas, led by Captain Martin Cabagnot fought fearlessly the well-equipped American troops in an open combat, armed only with bolos and spears. The Americans were not able to use their weapons for fear of hitting their fellow Americans.
The middle picture of the official seal of the Municipality of Jagna personifies Capt. Gregorio “Goyo” Caseñas, the last man downed by the American forces during the massacre at Mt. Verde in barangay Lonoy, Jagna.
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