Gapan During the Revolt Against Spain
"Birth of An Army"
(Publ. by: Philippine Army)
The people's army at Antipolo and
Uyungan of over 100 men with 32 revolvers and small cannons merged with the
Masuyod contingent, and placed themselves under the overall command of General
Kiko (alias Labe), a lieutenant of Bonifacio. With renewed vigor, the
Katipuneros, armed with bolos and spears, and a few captured Remingtons, set
off for San Mateo, and attacked the town. General Mariano Gutierrez and his
Tungko troops, Bonifacio ordered, surrounded San Mateo. The enemy forces were
at the convent and parish house of the church, and they had six cannons.
General Malinis and De la Cruz gave orders to fire and a furious exchange of
fire from guns and cannons ensued the whole day until late in the afternoon.
Along the Langka river the Supremo ordered his soldiers to make effigies from
banana trunks and straw scarecrows. With KKK hats on the effigies, the duped
enemy wasted bullets on these dummies. Routed, the Spaniards fled leaving San
Mateo to the triumphant rebels. This was the first significant victory of the
Revolutionary Army over the Colonial forces.
But three days later, fresh Spanish troops arrived to
regain the area. After bitter fighting, Bonifacio and his troops retreated to
Balara, and engaged in another skirmish with the enemy. Bonifacio almost lost
his life in saving his comrade Emilio Jacinto. The Supremo's collar was
pierced by an enemy bullet in that battle known as Labanan sa Tubuhan.
The defeat did not stop Bonifacio from pursuing the
armed revolution, as around him public order was slowly collapsing. Simmering
resentment against Spanish rule exploded into terrible violence as Filipinos
took up arms against their colonial masters. The revolt quickly spread to San
Pedro de Makati, Pasig, Pateros, Taguig, Batangas, Laguna, Tayabas, Bulacan,
Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Cavite. In Nueva Ecija, katipuneros led
by Mariano Llanera, Municipal Capitan of Cabiao, and Pantaleon Belmonte,
Municipal Capitan of Gapan, wearing red ribbons, launched an assault on San
Isidro, capital of the province. Backed up by a band playing to stir them up,
Llanera's troops besieged the town and seized it from the Spaniards. It
took some time for the Spaniards in the province, taken by surprise at the
scale of the uprising, for them to gather sufficient reinforcements led by
Major Lopez Arteaga to arrive at the scene of battle. All-night fighting
followed. This time, the Spanish army prevailed as they retook the capital.
Our Beloved Gapan - A Short History
"Our Beloved Gapan - An Open Letter"
Author: Efren Pascual, NESHS '58 Alumnus
Publisher: NESHS '58 1998 Reunion Commemorative Magazine, May 1998
Based on written accounts, the first mission from Spainócomposed of four
Catholic priests, Fathers Contreras, Tendilla, Caballo and Salazarówas
established in the year 1595. The mission took as its first task the clearing
of forestlands in the province of Pampanga. One of the areas that they cleared
Bucana: main gateway to Gapan. [Click pic for full size]
During that time, Gapan was known as Ibon (Bird). One day, according to
historic accounts, while some Spanish soldiers were wandering around the
forest, they came about some natives who were on their knees, as if crawling (Pagapang),
while clearing the forest. Wanting to find out where they exactly were, the
soldiers asked the natives the name of that particular place.
The "laryuhan" area near Bucana. [Click pic for full size]
The natives, not understanding the Spanish language, presumed they were being
asked what they were doing and responded by saying Gumagapang kami,
("We are crawling").
The Spanish soldiers went on their way thinking that they were told that the
name of the place was Gapang. At the turn of the century, the last
letter G was dropped and the town since then became known as Gapan.
The original Gapan included the towns of Penaranda, General Tinio and San
Leonardo (all in Nueva Ecija) and San Miguel (in Bulacan). Gapan has a total
land area of 155.9 square kilometers or 15.590 hectares more or less.
Bottom: The Gapan-San Leonardo Bridge. [Click pic for full
size] . . . Right: "Inang Bayan" monument - a town landmark.
It has today passed the 100,000-population level, 90% of which are Catholics
and 10% are from different sects.
Gapan, having only one rural bank some years before, now has 14 banks, 40
groceries and 8 drug stores. Gapan is also now classified as a first class
Right: Gapan's Municipal Building. [Click pic
for full size]
Divina Pastora and Gapan: A History"
Samahang Gapan's 25th Anniversary Magazine
Pastora is synonymous with the town of Gapan. Suffice it to say the
town of Gapan in Nueva Ecija is particularly famous because of Birhen
In 1595, Fathers Contreras, Tendillo,
Caballo and Salazar, all Augustinian priests, managed to curve out a
settlement in the thick forest of the Sierra Madre mountains in Luzon which
was later known as the pueblo of Gapan. Fothwith, they built a small
chapel and convent alongside the presidencia, and were used as their
station on their way to their missions in Cagayan, Isabela and Baler. Not long
after, Gapan was created into a parish with the Magi or Three Kings as its
principal patron saints.
The Augustinian chronicle in the 16th
century mentioned that sometime in the early part of 1700, an Augustinian
priest brought to Gapan a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Spain. He
called the image Birhen Divina Pastora because the surroundings of
Gapan was largely a grazing ground for animals like horses, carabaos, sheeps,
cows, etc. He started the devotion to the Virgin Mary, which rapidly spread
throughout Gapan and as far as Candaba, Pampanga and Aliaga, Nueva Ecija.
For some unknown reasons, this Birhen
Divina Pastora statue was lost before the end of the 18th century. All
attempts to look for the missing statue failed. In 1850, while some shepherds
and farmers were on their way to a shade of a tree, they saw an image of the
statue. The statue depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary robed in blinking white,
her head covered with a wide-brimmed hat, one hand holding a cane and the
other tapping a sheep resting on her lap. The statue was only one and a half
feet tall. They notified the landowner what they saw and when they all came
back to that same spot, indeed there was really statue. They held a procession
of the statue, took it to the parish church where it was venerated in the main
Not long after the enthronement of the
statue of the Birhen Divina Pastora, a spring gushed forth in the main
altar of the church. Miraculous cures were told and retold by thousand of
devotees attributing these miracles to the intercession of the Birhen
Divina Pastora. The news about the miracles spread far and wide into the
northern provinces of Luzon. Unfortunately, the spring dried up in the early
1940s when some unscrupulous people started to commercialize it. However, the
Lord continues to perform miracles through the intercession of Birhen
The statue of Birhen Divina Pastora
has always been considered as the property of the Valmonte family of Gapan.
Through the untiring effort of Msgr. Felix Hernandez, former parish priest of
Gapan, the family o got motivated to give it to the Three Kings Parish on
Febuary 19, 1986.