Gen. Vicente Lukban in his Military Uniform.
Note the masonic sash around his waist over his uniform
Sofia Barba, 1st wife of Vicente Lukban
Philippine Stamp Catalogue 1995
Vicente Lukban Family Circa 1929-1930
L to R: Rosita (Nene) and Husband, Jose Lukban (Peping), Paciencia Gonzales (2nd wife of Vicente Lukban), Lourdes Lukban (Lulu), Maria Lukban Mesa, Tomas Mesa. Children: Patsy Mesa, Benny Mesa
Gen. Vicente Lukban with cane
First Day Cover of Gen. Vicente Lukban Stamp
VICENTE R. LUKBAN
1898-1901 - General - Philippine Revolutionary Army
1898-1901 - Comandante Militar -Civil Governor - Bicol Region, Leyte and Samar
1901 -Lieutenant General-Comandante Militar -Visayas and Mindanao
1913-1915 - Tayabas Province - Governor
1916 - Tayabas Province - Governor
Vicente Lukban was born in Labo, Camarines Norte on February 11, 1860.
After his elementary education at Escuela Pia Publica in his hometown, he proceeded to Manila. He enrolled to get his Law Degree at the Ateneo de Manila and then at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran.
He became an Oficial Criminalista in the court of first instance in Quiapo, in the company of Marcelo H. del Pilar and Doroteo Jose. But he returned to Labo where he served as Delegado Municipal and Juez de Paz.
In 1894, he was inducted into the Masonic Lodge Luz del Oriente. Together with Juan Miguel, he founded Lodge Bicol in Camarines.
At the outbreak of the revolution, he was devoting himself to agriculture and commerce, founding an agrigultural society, La Cooperativa Popular. By 1896, his reach had widened because he was considered influential even as far as Tayabas province, where conspiratorical exertions were noted. Attending a meeting of the agricultural society in Manila, he was arrested on September 29. He was tortured and incarcerated in Bilibid Prison until May 17, 1897, when he was released together with many political prisioners upon being pardoned by the governor-general.
His revolutionary career began from thereon. He tore the Spanish document of pardon. He joined the staff of Aguinaldo who put him in charge og the construction of fortifications and collection of provisions. He became a confidant of Aguinaldo, starting from Biyak-na-bato extending to Honkong, where they went to exile late in 1897 as provided for in the Pact of Biyak-na-bato.
He stayed in Honkong from December 29, 1897 to July 3, 1898. He had no doubt the fight against Spain would be renewed and instructed Antonio Guevara "to prepare the people of Lukban" so that when he arrived in the Philippines, they could "begin operations" according to the instructions of Aguinaldo. He percieved, while still in Hongkong, the impending conflict with the Americans.
In 1898, upon his return to the Philippines, he was appointed a colonel in the revolutionary army and was assigned in the Camarines and Catanduanes. He formed the nucleus of his expeditionary army and obtained the needed arms in Tayabas province.
With his force composed of officials with "pleasing manner and proven valor" and "very disciplined" soldiers, he reached Camarines amidst the enthusiastic receptions of inhabitants. The same warm welcome greeted him upon his arrival in Albay. He found the region already freed from the Spaniards upon his arrival. His efforts were thus concentrated on the orderly functioning of the local civil and military administration.
On October 29, 1898, Aguinaldo appointed him to the Comandancia Militar of Camarines Sur with residence in Nueva Caceres. Organizing local militias, settling political disputes, collecting war contributions were some of the functions he had as the jefe militar.
Aguinaldo promoted him to General of Division on December 21, 1898 and gave him new fields of operation: Samar and Leyte. Upon reaching Catbalogan, Samar on the last day of December, the local inhabitants welcomed and swore to help him in his mission.
His first printed proclamation in the Visayas Compoblanos Samarenos y Leytenos, circularized on the first day of 1899, was a plea for unity to achieve the common good. On January 2, he took over the command of the province of Leyte, holding the position until April 27, 1899, when he was appointed politico-military governor of Samar. He remained as such until February 1902.
The fight against the Americans induced him to adopt an all-out guerilla warfare. He was succesful at it, Samar becoming "one of the few centers of the Republic's success." and "both Filipinos and Americans recognized that Lukban was responsible." He utilized the terrain effectively, building his arsenal in the Catbalogan mountains. He rallied the soldiers and people of Samar to persist with the struggle. He enhanced his leadership among the people when he contracted a civil marriage, his second, with Paciencia Gonzales, a Catbalogan belle, on February 11, 1901. This was celebrated in a large public gathering.
He accumulated rare victories over the American troops, the most glorious of which were in Catbalogan, Catubig and Catarman. The Americans offered 5,000 pesos as a reward for capture, causing hardship among the people and soldiers.
But he was undaunted. He even helped the people in the nearby provinces in carrying on the war. He sent a sergeant of the Samar arsenal to Leyte to manufatture saltpeter. An armorer went to Sorsogon and saltpeter workers were ordered to reinforce Albay and Ambos Camarines. When he learned that the military chief of Masbate surrendered his post to the americans, he dispatched an expedition there under Claro Pimental in late 1900. He assumed command and reorganized the province of Leyte when its governor, Ambrosio Mojica, surrendered.
On August 18, 1901, a column of Captain H.L. Jackson, 1st U.S. Infantry, patrolling along the Catarman River, unexpectedly discovered the headquarters of Lukban and in the encounter which ensued, the general was wounded but managed to escape. His wife and a few officials were captured.
Although there are no available documents to show exactly his role in the Balangiga Massacre, where almost all of Company C, 9th U.S. Infantry was annhilated by the Balangiga inhabitants in the morning of September 28, 1901, the sentiment is that he must have known of the plan and "most likely encoureged and controlled the situation," even if he was absent. Praise of the herosim shown was immediately forthcoming from him, and he urged the people of other towns to imitate their example.
As a result of the Balangiga massacre, the Americans led by General Jacob H. Smith waged a compaign of terrorism against him and the people of Samar. they also employed emissaries like Arturo Dancel to convince him to surrender. He declared he would not listen to any negotiation until the Americans had withdrawn from the Gandara Valley. Smith then ordered the Americans in Samar and Leyte to be armed even during mealtime, perhaps fearing another Balangiga.
His superiors like General Miguel Malvar had all praises for him and approved of everything he had done for the country. He even sought the cooperation of the Mindanao Muslims. Chariman Galicano Apacible of the Comite Central Filipino in Hongkong recomended his appointment as lieutenant general and military commander of the Visayas and Mindanao. the noose had tightened and he was captured by Lt. Strebler on February 19, 1902 and brought to Manila. He was imprisioned in Talim island in Laguna de Bay until July 15, 1902, when he was released.
He lived in Manila. In 1904 he and his brothers were arrested for sedition. They were aquitted by the Supreme Court; the charge was a concoction of the Manila police.
He turned to business and politics. In 1912 he won the governorship of Tayabas province, defeating a very powerful opponent. he was re-elected in 1916, but did not complete his second term. He became ill and died on November 16, 1916 in Manila.
Gen. Vicente Lukban - 1st row 4th from the left; Miguel Lukban as an 18 year old in his brother's staff - 1st row 8th from the left.