Significant Battles in Bohol Part 3: Gaom resistance

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Significant Battles in Bohol Part 3: Gaom resistance

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Proem

After the death of Tamblot sometime in July 1622, the organized religion in Bohol became leaderless.  There were local “biriki” or religious leaders but none could attain the influence of Tamblot.

There are many Spanish records regarding the events after Tamblot but so far nobody has made some sense of the diverse records.

The Jesuit annual letters are easy to understand and follow but it is obviously biased in favor of the Jesuits.

In the National Library in Manila there is a compilation in microfilm that is not properly sorted out.  I tried to read the contents but it is difficult to read not only because it is written in old Spanish and will suddenly switch to Latin, but because the time line is topsy-turvy.

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Gaom and Gaam

Dr. Cecilio Putong in his book “Bohol and Its People” mentioned the name “Gaom” in relation to the town of Tubigon, Bohol. In some Augustinian Recollect records there is an entry regarding a person known as “Gaam”.  After diligent research, it seems that “Gaom” and “Gaam” were two different persons.

Gaom

Gaom was a native religious leader in Tubigon, Bohol.  When the Jesuits from Cebu tried to establish a Christian Church in Tubigon, it was Gaom who tried to lead the resistance.  The resistance was no really about the establishment of Christianity but who will lead the “converted” group.

It seems that the religious practices of Gaom’s group were similar to Christianity.  Gaom was willing to construct the church building and other appurtenances and only allow the Jesuits as a “passing” preacher or priest.

At first the Jesuits seem to agree but later on insisted that the Jesuits will take control of the church.  There started the conflict between Gaom and his followers and that of the Jesuits.

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The Jesuits and those who sided with the Jesuits were driven out of the church. It soon became deadly with battle lines drawn between the two groups.

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When I read the above records in the microfilm, I was taken aback.  It seems that the reason why the Jesuits could report thousands of converts in one day, as that the Boholanos were believer in a religion similar to Christianity.

It was only in Tubigon, Bohol where Gaom had a slight difference in interpretation.  It was Gaom who was the leader of the church (as a people).  The Spanish priests were just tolerated as visiting or guest preachers.

The difference in viewpoints was the reason why Tubigon, Bohol, even though relatively nearer to Cebu, took a long time to convert to Spanish Christianity than Baclayon and Loboc.

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Up to Dagohoy

Between the time to Tamblot in 1622 and Dagohoy in 1744 is a long time.  There were no significant conflicts between the Boholanos and the Spaniards because the main issue then was religion.  The Boholanos were not averse to Christianity because it was similar to the organized religion in Bohol.  (Note: Until now I still could not find the native name of Bohol’s religion.)

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During the time of Dagohoy and after, the conflict became political and significant battles were fought.

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