Gomburza. How much do we know of Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora? Years before Dr. Jose Rizal was executed in 1896, there were these 3 martyrs garroted in Bagumbayan in 1872 for their suspected role in the Cavite Mutiny. Their martyrdom inspired our national hero to write another novel. El Filibusterismo was dedicated to their memory. I would even venture to add that they may have actually planted the seeds of rebellion or at the very least, inspired subsequent Philippine independence advocates. To them, we owe much. Indeed, the freedom we now enjoy was nourished by the blood of these martyrs. Let no one forget that.
The bodies of the three priests were buried in a common, unmarked grave in the Paco Cemetery which was built in 1820, and was originally intended for the victims of cholera epidemic. There they lay nearly forgotten. So so forgotten that a toilet once stood right above the place where the 3 martyrs were buried! Such irreverence.
Presently, a Gomburza Marker stands in Rizal Park where the 3 priests were executed, just a little behind and to the left of the Rizal Monument. Not too many know about it. If they do find it, they may even likely be surprised with the discovery. Don’t you just wish these martyrs were accorded more respect and attention?
Wen Manong Makes 3
Father Gomez hails from Santa Cruz, Manila. Father Jacinto Zamora hails from Pandacan, Manila. Both Manilenos. Only Father Burgos hails from the province. He is a purebred Ilocano from Vigan, Ilocos Sur. He grew up in this lovely 2 storey house built in 1788 which over time served as a Post Office (American Occupation) and as an office of the Philippine National Bank (1946-1965).
Right beside the Burgos Ancestral House is the Provincial Jail where the former President Elpidio Quirino was born. His father was then the Provincial Jail Warden. Still it does not explain why and how his mother happened to be there where his father worked. 😉 Perhaps there is a Provincial Health Officer or Doctor or Midwife in the Provincial Jail then? We asked, but no one seemed to know.
During the Spanish colonial period, there was an “imaginary” caste system in society. The Spaniards born in Spain were called “peninsulares”. Those born in Spanish colonies (to include the Philippines) were called “insulares”. And then there were the “mestizos” or half-breeds. And the lowliest of them all — the “Sangleys” (Chinese and/or Chinoys) and the rural “Indios”.
Father Burgos belongs to the “insulares”, having a Spanish army officer for a father and mestiza mother. A photo of his lovely mother hangs on the wall with an inscription that cites how the young Jose Burgos desired to be a lawyer but was dissuaded by his mother to instead become a priest.
When we visited the Burgos Museum, we were quite happy to find that the Museum is well-managed and has an interesting collection of archaelogical finds as well as memorabilia of Father Burgos and his family. Of interest , and quite unexpected, is the diorama showing local historical events. Like the construction of the lovely Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte. There was even a “Wall of Fame” featuring eminent Ilocano heroes and achievers. Guess who were there! As a hotbed of social unrest against colonial abuses, the Ilocos Region was most certainly not short on patriots in the league of Padre Burgos, the poetess Leona Florentino (sounds familiar? yes, of the Cafe Leona fame), the first Ilocano President, Elpidio Quirino, and ahhhhh, guess who’s the other Ilocano President? 😉