Teresa Ferraris Magbanua “Visayas’ Joan of Arc”

As we are celebrating the National Heroes Day, I would like to share one of my most looked up Philippine Heroes.

Teresa F. Magbanua is the sole Filipino woman ever documented in Philippine history to have led soldiers in the Visayas, specifically Iloilo. She was a brave and inspiring woman who fought for liberation against the Spanish and American soldiers and finally the Japanese.

She was born on October 13, 1869 at Pototan, a small town of Iloilo. She was born with well-heeled parents hence was able to afford to earn a teaching degree and taught in her hometown.
She belongs to a family of revolutionaries thus during the colonial times, she volunteered her services where she became an outstanding horseman and marksman. She led a group of soldiers in the Battle of Barrio Yoting, Capiz in early December 1898.  She also outfought the Spanish troops at the Battle of Sapong Hills near Sara.
On the later parts of her campaigns, she suffered a great grief from the early death of her brothers, General Pascual Magbanua and Elias Magbanua, at the hands of traitors.

After fifty years of being idle, she returned to the battlefield where she financed a guerilla resistance movement. The movement consisted of liberators together with the Allied Filipino soldiers of the 6th, 61st and 62nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army. In addition, the 6th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary and the Ilonggo guerrillas against the Japanese in the Battle for the Liberation of Iloilo. She was customarily referred to as the “Joan of Arc” by her fellow soldiers.
After years of services in the battlefield, she migrated to Mindanao and lived the remaining times of her life with her sister Maria in Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur, where she died at some time in August, 1947.
Her inspiring contributions:
  1. Teaching by example. In particular, she taught love of country and courage to defend freedom and liberty when she volunteered to become part of the Philippine resistance against the Spanish, American and Japanese forces. She was imbued with the spirit of volunteerism and heroism at the time when her country needed it. Thus, making a sterling example to the Filipino people.
  2. Dedication to duty and service when she fought the American and Japanese forces for the same reasons that she fought for against the Spaniards.
  3. Women can lead men in battle. She literally broke the stereotype of a woman who stays at home and takes care of the family. In the case of Teresa Magbanua, she sacrificed her hours for the family for her country. For this effort, she could be easily said to be a pioneer or one of the pioneers of Philippine feminist movement.
  4. Women can lead in the battle against tyranny and oppression. 
  5. Without saying it literally after she said, “The situation in a country at a particular time creates its own breed of heroes and heroines,” anyone can be a hero at his own time, in his or her own way.
  6. Lastly, the greatest legacy she has made for the Filipino people was her fight for Philippine freedom and democracy as shown by her actions. According to Gregorio (Gregorio, 1976), “The important role of a teacher is (to serve) a bulwark of democracy (Gregorio, 1976). The state of Philippine education and society during her time contributed to the creation of a woman with the fighting and saintly spirit like Joan of Arc.
References:


“I want our people to be like a molave tree, strong and resilient, standing on the hillsides, unafraid of the rising tide, lighting and the storm, confident of its strength.” – Manuel L. Quezon
“The Filipino is worth dying for” – Ninoy Aquino

“Instead of aspiring to be a mere province, aspire to be a nation; develop an independent not colonial mentality; resignation is not always a virtue it is a crime when it encourages oppression. There are no tyrants where there are no slaves.” – Dr. Jose Rizal
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