Friday, October 23, 2015

Heneral Antonio Luna and Antonio Fogata

They're both Antonios. They were not contemporaries. Both were Ilocanos.

Source: University of Michigan Digital Library,
Antonio Fogata was from San Narciso, Zambales, whose roots came from the Ilocos in the late 1830s. Possibly, he knew that the Heneral was related to the Posadas family of that town.  Fogata was called 'Bottiog' by his town mates because of his wide abdominal girth. He was a government worker when he came back to the town. My mother told us that he was the best friend of my grandfather, Bottiog, in fact, gave  his music sheets (he was a composer) to my grandfather who kept them in a baul.  After the Second World War, they were found to have all been eaten by termites.

To many young men born at the end of the 1800s or the early 1900s, Antonio Luna was a hero.

Fogata, for one, already a popular Ilocano poet-writer in the 1920s, greatly admired the Heneral. He wrote for El Filipino, a trilingual fortnightly (Ilocano-Spanish-English) published in the 1920s. Archival copies for the years 1925-1926 are in the University of Michigan's 'The United States and its Territories, 1870-1925: The Age of Imperialism' library collection.

Fogata wrote a pagbasaan (reader) on the Heneral in Ilocano, a biography set for release on 31 October 1926. It was advertised in El Filipino as a must-have, must-read book available at a very low price (nalaca ti bayadna).

We have not found a copy of that book in the UP and National Libraries. Fogata could have kept a copy but this was destroyed by Mt Pinatubo's ashes in 1991. Even his copies of Bannawag where his Ilocano works were featured all perished during that volcanic eruption.

What remains are digests from the book published as Pacasaritaan ti biag ni General Antonio Luna y Novicio (Narrative on the life of General Antonio Luna y Novicio) in the special edition of El Filipino of 31 October 1926 to commemorate the Heneral's 60th birthday.

Source: University of Michigan Digital Library,

The extracts dwelt on Antonio Luna as a student here in Manila, his academic performance at the Ateneo Municipal, where he earned his bachelor of arts degree, and at the University of Sto. Tomas, where he took up pharmacy. The next section Ni Luna cas Farmaceutico, Quimico ken Bacteriologo (Luna as pharmacist, chemist and bacteriologist) described his education in Europe, at the universities in Barcelona and Madrid, where he gained his license as pharmacist; in Belgium, where he obtained his expertise as chemist; in France, where he honed his scientific skills in bacteriology.  Fogata's account named the renowned chemists and pharmacists in prestigious European laboratories under whom he trained.  When he returned to Manila in 1894, he was most qualified to compete for the post of head and professor of the 'Laboratorio Municipal de Manila.' He bested other talented Filipinos who also took the examination for the post.

The section Ni Luna Cas Mannurat described Luna as writer and propagandist. He wrote a book of poems dedicated to the girls at the colleges of Sta. Catalina and Concordia. He wrote for La Solidaridad.  His Impresiones Madrilenas de un Filipino was criticized by the Spanish journalist Mir Deas. This led to an altercation which Luna wanted to settle with a duel but Mir Deas tcowardly avoided.

Of course, the narrative ends with Luna's stint as commander of the revolutionary army and how his life ended at the hands of Aguinaldo's loyalists in Cabanatuan.

Aside from the Fogata work spread in 14 pages, that special edition also contained accounts of the assassination/death of Luna by Artemio Ricarte and Teodoro M. Kalaw. Ricarte's was in Ilocano and its English translation; Kalaw's was in English. Ricarte was recalling what he heard from Mabini during their exile in Guam.


  • Fogata, Antonio. 31 Oct 1926. Pacasaritaan ti biag ni General Antonio Luna y Novicio. El Filipino: revista mensual. 2(8):10-25. Manila: Filipino Publishers. Retrived from the University of Michigan Library collection, 'The United States and its Territories, 1870-1925: The Age of Imperialism.  URL:

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