The Philippines’ First “First Lady”

I wonder if my fellow 90s kids or the i-Generation kids still know her by her historical title, much less by her nickname and real name.

Like many women who went against the grain of their time, who resolved to be their own masters and help determine the destiny of their nation, her story has been sidelined, mentioned only in passing as part of his-tory.

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She was a character on a different level of her own, given the times she lived in. She was a bright young girl, acing the examination given no less than by the governor-general. Later on, in her more mature self, her sharp wits helped her safeguard the documents of the fledgling revolutionary movement and to be the first person to decipher the secret code devised by the “Brain” of the revolutionary movement, Emilio Jacinto.

“I had no fear of facing danger, not even death itself, whenever I accompanied the soldiers in the battle, impelled as I was then by no other desire than to see unfurled the flag of an independent Philippines, and I was present in and witnessed many encounters.”

Her love was intense. Full of resolve. She fell in love and married a man of intense love also; with a man of burning love of country and love of freedom. She was not some mere Maria Clara. She was a fighter to the core.

While her husband was in command, she involved herself with fellow revolutionary women, fighting in combat, engaging in clandestine operations.

When her husband was betrayed, she accompanied him, endured with him the insult and brutality of petty, power-hungry men. She was violated, separated from her husband. And though she neither saw his body nor his bones, I very much like to think that the life they shared continued to inspire her to live on, struggle again, and love again.

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Later on in life, she categorically stated, “I had no fear of facing danger, not even death itself, whenever I accompanied the soldiers in the battle, impelled as I was then by no other desire than to see unfurled the flag of an independent Philippines, and I was present in and witnessed many encounters.”

She is a Filipina. Pride of the Motherland. A Revolutionary. A Loving Wife. Fearless Comrade-in-Arms. Mother. Muse. Hero.

And today, May 09, on the 143rd anniversary of her birth, we honor her memory and struggle.

Mabuhay ka, Gregoria de Jesus—Lakambini ng Katipunan, Kabiyak ni Gat Andres Bonifacio, Supremo ng Katipunan at Pangulo ng Haring Bayang Katagalugan.

Gregoria de Jesus. “Aling Oriang”. Lakambini ng Katipunan. Photo from Wikipedia

 

 

 


Banner Photo from Bahay Nakpil
Dom Balmes

Dom writes for pay by day and writes for passion by night. He is a Japan major at the University of the Philippines. He’s fond of ramen and anime but not of nice people.

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