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Flag of the Filipino forces in Bicol.

An Eyewitness Account of the Battle of Agdangan
The Battle of Agdangan

Immediately after the battle, some reinforcement were sent from Minalabac but came too late or some ran into American troops. When the Americans entered Baao on the afternoon of February 24, they found it half deserted, only the foolhardy who refused to leave their homes remained with the rest of the people moving to the outskirts of the town.

After the battle of Agdangan, the Filipino forces were too scattered to mount any effective counterattack and fighting the Americans turned into a long and protracted guerilla war.

The battle of Agdangan ended in the defeat and disbandment of the Filipinos but gave time for the retreating Filipino chiefs to regroup in the different mountain fastness of the Bicol region or melt into the civilian populace.

The fight at Agdangan pales in size and magnitude compared to other battles, but its significance lie in the fact that it was fought by a greatly outnumbered, ill-equipped but determined group who, though aware of their limitations against a superior enemy, still risked death and bitter capture to demonstrate a steadfast love for native land and liberty.

The noble spirit that led the defenders of Tirad Pass to fight against overwhelming odds may have been the same guiding spirit that drove the men in Agdangan to stand their ground.

When the Filipino army of Aguinaldo fought its guerilla war against the U.S. Army, the Filipino-American war never really ended in defeat for the Filipinos. The war ended longer than it should and engaged two-thirds of the Army of the United States in almost three thousand recorded encounters and cost the U.S. government more money than it took to buy the Philippines from Spain.

What happened in Agdangan a little over 100 years ago remain obscure and deserved only a line in one or two published history books in Camarines Sur. The men who stood there with puny arms and numbers but believed in a sacred and worthy goal remain unknown and unrevered.

We remember Agdangan for the massacre of civilians by the Japanese in World War II, so now, let us add to that memory the failed attempt to stop a powerful enemy but a victory in spirit of all freedom loving Filipinos.

The battle fought in the fields of Agdangan may be insignificant but it proves that the Bicolanos deserves to be included among those that occupy a pantheon in Filipino psyche, those that we call -- HEROES.

Author's Note: The reconstruction of the events in the Bicol region was gathered from the Lucha Y Libertad vol 2 by Elias Ataviado and the unpublished Bikolano Martyrs by Ignacio Meliton and Jacinto Ursua. The reconstruction of the Battle of Agdangan was taken from the Biography of Ludovico Arejola by Manuel Artigas, and from the writings of Luis Dato and several affidavits of veterans of the combate de Agdangan gathered in 1938 by Ignacio Meliton. All sources are available in their original form at the University of Nueva Caceres Museum and were made available to the Author by the Museum Curator, Mr. Clode Ciron.