Quality of Bohol’s military leadership during the ‘Boholano-American’ war

Topic |  

Quality of Bohol’s military leadership during the ‘Boholano-American’ war

Topic |  


In the early morning of March 17, 1900 the invading Americans landed at Nagtubô, Dauis Bohol (now: Miyacabac, Dauis Bohol). The Americans disembarked from the transport ship Elcano and led by Major Henry Hale.

Before the arrival of the Americans, the Boholanos had already organized the Republic of Bohol on June 11, 1899. The republic was headed by President Bernabe Reyes. The Bohol military force was first led by Don Braulio Flores but he was deposed and replaced by Don Pedro Samson with the rank of Sargento Mayor (Note: It was a rank equivalent to Army Major).



The Boholano officials met the American officials at the Provincial Tribunal and filed a protest. Major Hale responded that he was already taking over the government in Bohol but for lack of instructions he was willing that the Boholano government can co-exist.

Sarhento Mayor Pedro Samson inveigled the American Major Haled to appoint the members of the Boholano Army to become the policemen to help the Americans because they were already familiar with people and terrain.

Major Hale agreed and appointed Don Pedro Samson as the Chief of Bohol with 570 Boholano policemen or constables and supplied 40 guns. The Boholanos were then given training by the Americans.

Organizing for Resistance

At first the Americans were gentle and kind but later on became abusive and the Boholanos became restive. The endeavored to organized for resistance.

The cover for the organizational meeting was the nightly novena for San Roque because of the cholera epidemic. The final organization was made on the night of August 10,1900 at the house of Fernando Reyes or “Insik Ina”.


Military Officers


The officers of the Bohol Military to fight the Americans were: 1.) Colonel Pedro Samson – Over-all Commander. 2.) Lt. Col. Luis Toribio – Deputy Commander. 3.) Chief of Staff (Jefe de Estado Mayor) Manuel Miñoza. 4.) Major Miguel Balmoria. 5.) Major Pantaleon del Rosario. 6.) Captain Martin Cabagnot. 7.) Captain Sabas Ligones. 8.) Captain Leon Remolador. 9.) Captain Miguel Parras. 10.) Captain Juan Vaño. 11.) Captain Sabas Degondon. 12.) Captain Apolinario Olivares. 13.) Captain Jacinto Remolador. 14.) Captain Rafael Espuelas. 15.) Captain Ambrosio Sandoval. 16.) Captain Bartolome Doria.

Many other officers were appointed when the Boholano-American was started.

Officer Quality


The American unit that came to Bohol was the 44th Volunteer Infantry from California, USA. It was composed of the B and C Companies that was detached from 3rd Battalion.

As volunteers, this unit was practically inexperienced with only few months training in both its officers and men. We can understand why this American unit was always defeated by the Boholanos.


In the Boholano Army Col. Samson was a veteran of the Spanish Army. He rose to the rank of Sergeant which was the highest rank that could be reached by a Filipino. He was educated in San Juan de Letran and reached the 3rd Year of the “Segunda Enseñanza” or almost a college degree holder.

Lt. Col. Luis Toribio was also a veteran soldier in the Spanish Army and a degree holder. Chief of Staff Manuel Miñoza was a lawyer from Argao, Cebu and got married in Calape, Bohol. 

Major Miguel Balmoria was a graduate of the Spanish Military school, which was similar to todays Phil.Military Academy. He was also a veteran soldier in the Spanish Army. He switched side to the Filipinos when the Spaniards were defeated in Iloilo province and became an officer.

Major Pantaleon del Rosario was a Tagalog officer of the Army of President Aguinaldo. He was sent to coordinate the forces of Bohol and Cebu.

Captain Martain Cabagnot was an educated man and an expert in arnis and “doce pares”. Captain Sabas Ligones was a recent graduate in Bachelor of Arts when the war in Cebu started and returned to Bohol. He joined the Katipunan in Cebu.

Captain Juan Vaño was graduate in Surveying (now: Geodetic Engineering) from the University of Santo Tomas. Captain Bartolome Doria was also a Geodetic Engineer.

All the other officers were educated men usually a Bachelors Degree holder or almost a graduate in the Segunda Enseñanza.

Military Zones

During the Boholano-American, Bohol was divided by the Boholanos into five (5) zones and later on into six (6) zones.

Tagbilaran and its neighboring towns was the first zone. Calape and its neighboring towns was the second zone under the command of Chief of Staff Manuel Miñoza. Talibon and its neighboring towns of Getafe, Ubay, Ipil (now: Trinidad) and Batuanan (now: Alicia) was the 3rd zone under the command of Major Miguel Balmoria.

Jagna and the neighboring towns was the fourth zone under Captain Martin Cabagnot. Carmen and its neighboring towns was the fifth zone under Lt. Col. Luis Toribio.

Captain Bartolome Doria was the Chief Supply Officer and under the protection of Lt. Col. Toribio and in close coordination with Chief of Staff Miñoza.

The quality of the officers and men of the Boholano Army was comparable to the quality of 44th California Volunteers. The Boholanos have the advantage of knowledge of the terrain. It was the reason why the Americans were always defeated.

The Boholanos surrendered when the Americans employed the “Scorch-earth policy”. They burned and killed anything in their path. The American burned houses including the children and old people inside the house who could not run. If you will read church records known as “Libros de defunctos = Book for the dead” for years 1900 to 1901 you can read many “parvulos muerto violente = children died through violence”. The invading Americans were very cruel. The traditional story of children thrown upward and bayoneted to death happened during the Boholano-American War and not during the Japanese War in WWII. The Japanese killed the suspected Guerrillas not the children.


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