One of the unsung heroes of the Philippine Revolution was born in Taal, Batangas on May 13, 1852. She was Gliceria Marella-Villavicencio, the third of seven children of the wealthy couple Vicente Marella and Gertrudis Legaspi. At an early age, the responsibility of looking out for the welfare and estates of the family fell on the hands of Gliceria. She then married Eulalio Villavicencio who also came from another opulent family who was involved in the ship making industry. But most importantly Gliceria married a man who shared the same sentiments as hers.
The married couple was in favor of the revolution; they secretly aided the Filipino revolutionaries financially and provided them with the different materials they need to execute their plans. They even offered their home serving as an avenue where important meetings were held by well-known people in history today. In this regard, they have given Dr. Jose Rizal a huge sum of money, amounting to 18,000, to help him in publishing and distributing his novels. The couple caught the attention of the Spaniards, and the guardia civil were ordered to do a search inside their house. Eulalio was taken to Manila and was put behind bars for sedition. Saddened by what happened, Gliceria went and worked in Manila, but still, her principles remained. In 1898 Eulalio obtained freedom, but after a few month sdied because of his failing health.
Even after her husband’s death, Gliceria who was fondly called by people as “Aling Eriang” continued giving support to the revolutionaries. One of her greatest contributions to the revolution was donating the ship “Bulusan”, which served as the first warship of the Filipinos. Even after the end of the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines, Aling Eriang continued supporting and aiding the revolutionaries, and this time against the new colonizers – the Americans.
Like the Spaniards, the Americans were also threatened with the support and love that Aling Eriang’s was getting from the people, which made them suspicious. Eventually, Aling Eriang was transferred back to Taal where she spent her remaining days as a loving mother. Aling Eriang was known in history as the “Madrina-General de las Fuerzas Revolucionarios” (Matriarch-General of the Revolutionary Forces), unfortunately only a few would know her story.
Gliceria Marella-Villavicencio. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.orosa.org/GLICERIA MARELLA-VILLAVICENCIO.htm
photos: “Gliceria Marella-Villavicencio: A Revolutionary Figure You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.” NOLISOLI, August 26, 2019. https://nolisoli.ph/66528/gliceria-marella-villavicencio-csanjose-20190826/.
Justine M. Arguelles