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FROM THE MAIL: Tandang Sora gets flowers on 207th birth rites

January 10, 2019 - Thursday 6:01 PM by Severino Samonte

A simple commemorative program and floral offerings highlighted the celebration on Sunday of the 207th birth anniversary of the revolutionary heroine, Melchora Aquino, otherwise known as Tandang Sora, at her national shrine in Sitio Banlat, Barangay Tandang Sora, Novaliches, Quezon City.

The office of President Rodrigo R. Duterte led the list of flower donors for the occasion.

Barangay Tandang Sora Chairman Marlou Ulanday led the wreath-laying rites, together with representatives of Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista, Vice Mayor Joy G. Belmonte and former Senator Santanina Tillah Rasul, recipient of the 2019 Tandang Sora Memorial Award.

Aside from Malacañang, the other flowers came from the Quezon City government, QC 6th District Rep. Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Chief Supt. Joselito Esquivel Jr., the Knights of Columbus Assemblies of Tandang Sora, Katipunan, Melchora Aquino, and grandchildren of the heroine.

History shows that Melchora Aquino was born on January 6, 1812 in Banlat, then a part of Greater Balintawak. Despite her being 84 years old when the revolution against Spain broke out in August 1896, she joined the revolutionaries led by Gat Andres Bonifacio and was called Mother of the Katipunan.

She used to go as far as Barrio Binugsok in Novaliches, about six kilometers away from her home, to treat the wounded and the sick Katipuneros under the shade of a large duhat tree in the area.

Due to her revolutionary activities, Tandang Sora was arrested by the Spanish authorities in Barrio Pasong Putik, near the present Barangay Greater Lagro, Novaliches.

After a few days’ incarceration at the Old Bilibid Prison in Manila, she was exiled to Guam. She was allowed by the Americans to return to the Philippines on February 26, 1903. She died at the age of 107 in 1919 and was buried at the Mausoleum of the Veterans of the Revolution at the Manila North Cemetery.

On her 158th birthday on January 6, 1970 and 51 years after her death, Tandang Sora’s remains were transferred to her new shrine at the Himlayang Pilipino Memorial Park in Pasong Tamo, Novaliches.

A final transfer of the heroine’s remains was made on January 6, 2012, her 200th birth anniversary. This time, she returned to where she was born in 1812—in Banlat, Balintawak, which eventually became a part of Novaliches when it was created as a town in 1855.

Most history books showed that the so-called “First Cry” of the 1896 Revolution took place at Tandang Sora’s yard.