My Lolo Miguel the Hero (Part 1)
My maternal grandfather, General Miguel Malvar, was born on September 27, 1865 and, therefore, we his descendants together with the whole nation will be celebrating his 150th birthday on September 27 this year. I beg the indulgence of my readers if I use my column to remind Filipinos here and abroad about why my Lolo Miguel is considered a national hero. I am not particularly happy that he is especially remembered for his being the last Filipino General to surrender to the Americans. I don’t even care if, as some contend, there were other generals in other parts of the Archipelago who surrendered after him. The fuss about who was the last to surrender reminds me of how we used to celebrate the “fall of Corregidor” or the “fall of Bataan”. I am glad that we have since given more positive labels to these national feasts. As I hope to demonstrate in this short biography of my Lolo Miguel, his surrendering to American General J. Franklin Bell, who took command of operations in the province of Batangas and practised scorched earth tactics that took a heavy toll on guerrilla fighters and civilians alike, was an accident. His greatness should be attributed to the way he lived heroically many human virtues during his short life of forty six years, having died of a kidney disease which he contracted while fighting in the mountains of Makiling in the company, not only of his officers and soldiers, but also of his wife and children. Among the virtues I will highlight, in addition to the obvious valor or courage he displayed in waging war against both the Spaniards and the Americans are his humility, prudence, generosity especially to the poor and needy, honesty, and fidelity as a husband and father. I will also elaborate on how I, one of his numerous descendants, have tried to emulate him in these virtues with the hope of encouraging as many in the Malvar clan to do the same.