Chabacano Literature Project

Showcasing Our Zamboangueño Culture To The World






Author:A.R. Enriquez

A Palanca Award Laureate


The Revolt of General Gueremon Tenorio




Antonio Enriquez


Ramiroville,  A. Ramiro Street

Carinugan, Barrio Balulang

Cagayan de Oro City 9000

Misamis Oriental Province,



Tel No. (088) 233-2952










The Revolt of General Gueremon Tenorio






A. R. Enriquez




Bio: Antonio Enriquez


            Born (1936) and reared in Zamboanga city, Mindanao island, was graduated secondary school at Ateneo de Zamboanga, 1953, and his few terms in college were insignificant. The footloose Antonio Enriquez spent between college terms shuttling from one casual or odd job to another.

            But it was years later working with a Manila geodetic surveying company in a watershed project in Liguasan Marsh, in Muslim Maguindanao, in early ‘60s , which changed his life: that change forged a special bond with nature, its mystery and danger, and the rustic life.

            Hence, some years later after he returned home in 1964 from Liguasan Marsh, a short story appeared in the Philippines Free Press, “The Outlaw,” and years, years later  his first novel of course was set in Liguasan Marsh, called Surveyors of the Liguasan Marsh, University of Queensland Press, Australia, 1981; indeed, a change and a beginning.

            From then on collections of short stories appeared: Dance a White Horse to Sleep & Other Stories, UQP Australia, 1977; The Night I Cry and Other Stories, New Day Publisher, 1980; in 1996, The Unseen War and Other Tales from Mindanao; and The Voice from Sumisip &Four Short Stories, both by Giraffe Books.

            A second and third novel also came out: The Living and the Dead, Giraffe Books, 1994, and Subanons, UP Press, 1999.

            He has been a recipient of literary awards in fiction, like the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for literature in the short story category and its grand prizes for his novels; other awards include UMPHIL for “fiction in English,” UP National Fellow for Literature, S.E.A.-Write Award, Bangkok, Thailand, and Hawthornden International Retreat for Writers Fellowship, Scotland, U.K.

            Unpublished novel:

            1) bio-novel: Not All Slept in the Dark Nights; 391 pp.; September, 2003.

            2) historical novel: Samboangan: the Cult of War; scheduled publication by U.P. Press, Diliman, Quezon city; 650+ pp.; April 2006.

            He resides in Cagayan de Oro city, with his wife Joy Viernes and four grandchildren, since the family moved here middle of 1979.                                               



Author’s Note


            Inspired by the real life story of Brigadier General Vicente Alvarez y Solis (April 5, 1862 – November 22,1942), who led the Zamboangueño revolt that ended some 200 years of  Spanish intermittent colonization, 1595-1662; 1719-1898,  of Zamboanga peninsula. On May 18, 1899, under a barrage of bombardment, Governor General Adolfo de los Rios and the Spanish forces surrendered the Fort of the Lady of the Pillar in the island to El General and his rebel forces, and were expatriated to Spain on the Transatlantic ship Philip XIII.

            Celebrated as the only Filipino insurrecto to capture thirteen Spanish gunboats at Basilan Straight, Zamboanga peninsula, with their complete ordnance, and a merchant vessel, Butuan. Appointed brigadier general for Mindanao region, May 4, 1899. Succeeded in overthrowing the Spaniards in 1899, but failed against the U.S. forces. Failure wasn’t entirely due to the stronger North American arms; rather because of the betrayal of one Mayor Isidoro Midel of barrio Tetuan and the collaboration of the hinterland Visayans and Moros, then known as Americanistas. One of the  most prominent leaders of the Americanistas was Rajah Muda Mandi, the top  Muslim leader then.

            The novel concentrates on the evil and wickedness of this betrayal, without of course isolating the bravery and heroism of the Filipino insurrectos. But the Filipinos’ final success and victory was denied them by this treachery (as it was with General Emilio Aguinaldo by the Makabebes of Pampanga province). It brings out the question: will our inspirations for freedom, for higher life be always impaired by them? The novel therefore dwells too on this tragedy.



Rationale and Concept of the novel


            Contrary to general belief, and opinion, the revolution of the Filipinos against Spain did not take place only in Luzon, but also definitely here in Mindanao, particularly in Zamboanga where the forces of the Spaniards were then concentrated. Because here was Fort Pilar, where thousands of Spanish soldiers and conscripted Indio (derogatory name given to the Filipinos by the Spanish colonials) auxiliary force coming from the Visayas and Mindanao had fled to when Spain recapitulated to the North Americans in 1898 A.D. In my study of that war, and in the many stories by scholars of history, my impression is that it is as though the Filipinos themselves knew nothing of the role  played by the Zamboangueño insurrectos in our 1898-99 revolution; and even of our own scholars none heard of General Alvarez. And this in spite of his appointment, with the other generals, as brigadier general for the region of Mindanao, and, consequently, published in several periodicals of that time. The source of the notice came from no other than from the highest and ultimate authority, the Malolos Congress. He was not just a self-appointed general, or “leader of a gang”, as written by an American historian sometime ago; it was intentionally, we suspect, written to malign and belittle the Zamboangueòo leader and military general duly appointed by the Malolos Congress itself. ‘History as written by the victor,’ a saying attributed to no less than the Emperor Napoleon.

            And the other concept we wish to expunge is the false and tragic impression of many about our revolution against Spain: that the debacle and defeat of our revolution is our lack of heroes, Indios bravos, rather was due to the egotistical ambition and treachery of our revolutionary officials. We hope that this novel will not only “entertain and delight” --- but serve as a paradigm that this malevolent trait should cease to flow in our veins, as it denies our country greatness, and from other nations their admiration.

            Here, in the novel, General Tenorio, as his real life counterpart General Alvarez, was able to defeat the Spaniards; but his victory was short , and he did not really have time to savor it. Since he was betrayed by one of his officers, the mayor of Tetuan, Laureano Artang (Isidoro Midel in real life), an ambitious man --- and not unlike President Aguinaldo of the New Philippine Republic, who was betrayed by the Filipino soldiers also, the Makabebes.

            After the victory celebration, how many months only had passed, Alcalde Artang murdered the right-hand man of General Tenorio, his name Melanio Marquez, a major in Tenorio’s revolutionary army, and took all the rifles and machine guns of the insurrectos, and delivered them to the Americans.

            So painful it was to General Tenorio (Alvarez), he was devastated, for the Norte Americanos earlier had no wish to invade Zamboanga because they observed and believed so strong and fortified were the Filipino revolucionarios --- as seen in the clashes between them and the Spaniards. In fact, the commandant of the North American forces told his higher official in Manila that he would not invade Zamgboanga unless he had an additional force of 2,000 soldiers.

            So, we shall show here, that even if there is guile and treason, not lacking is the valor and bravery of the Filipinos. This we should not forget, and whatever the biased historians make it appear, especially in the books that were written by the foreign authors, the Zamboanga revolutionarios defeated the Spaniards here who had waved the white flag, and the Filipinos later raised our own Philippine flag at the Fort Pilar. This many do not know, even among the Zamboangueños, in particular in this epoch or era. And we booted out of Zamboanga the Spaniards who had oppressed and put us in bondage for over three and a half centuries. Not true that the Spaniards left Zamboanga at their own will; they were forced out by the bravery and love of fatherland of our revolutionaries.

            One other thing which we should make clear here in this historical novel, that the Moros did not help General Alvarez, as a pseudo historian had written. Because what shows from authoritative sources is that Datu Mandi (fictional protagonist Mahmud Hassan ), the rajah muda then of Zamboanga peninsula, went to the side of the Norte Americanos, and like Mayor Midel (Alcalde Artang) and him they were called “Americanistas,” pro Americans. One U.S. Vice-Admiral called Potter, who was here in Zamboanga as a young lieutenant, wrote this fact in his book Sailing the Sulu Sea (Belles and Bandits in the Philippines),E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., New York, 1940.

            But not only brave was our General Alvarez (Tenorio), he was honest and could not be bribed by  the Americans, who offered him $75,000, if he surrendered the plaza of Zamboanga. His reply: “Tell the Americans we will never surrender Zamboanga! No amount of money can make me sell my fatherland.”

            Indeed, the bravery and valor of General Tenorio and the Zamboangueòo insurrectos was unquestionable. Permit us to quote, using again the words of Vice Admiral Potter (Browne):

            “All vessels [British, German, French, and Japanese]  came within a mile of Zamboanga even if they did not stop there. And yet, by the time our gunboat Manila ... toward the advancement of American interests thereabouts, the flag of the Filipino insurgents, commanded by ‘General’ Vincente (sic) Alvarez (Tenorio) , had flown defiantly over the town for six or seven months, and had flaunted in full sight of every passing steamere. The situation became a hissing and a wagging of the head!”

            And more,

            “... after six months of blockade, the town of Zamboanga remained as untaken as Troy at the end of the ninth year of siege.” 

            With this on our mind, I believe that day is not far away when our compatriots will see the significant, and real role, General Alvarez and the Zamboangueño rebels played in our revolt against Spain. That here in Mindanao the Indio rebels beat the Spanish colonists and booted them out; thus, not just in Luzon or Visayas was the hand raised by the Filipino insurrectos for our independence, and against centuries of oppression and iron rule of colonial Spain.


Information Sheet


1)  Title – The Revolt of General Gueremon Tenorio

2)  Author – A. R. Enriquez

3)  Author’s Bio

4) Author’s Note

4)  Ratonale and Concept

7)  No. of pages - 340

8)  No. of chapters – 29

9) No. of words – 77,443 

10) Attachment: typescript of novel

¡§Philippine Copyright "¶ 2006 by A. R.  Enriquez¡

Copyright © 2006 A.R. Enriquez and  All Right Reserved.  No copying or reproduction allowed without the expressed written consent of the Author and


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