Teresa Magbanua: Joan of Arc of the Visayas

Teresa Magbanua y Ferraris, popularly known as "Nay Isa" to people who are close to her is regarded as the "Visayan Joan of Arc." Teresa was born in Pototan, Iloilo on Oct. 13, 1868. She studied at the Colegio de San Jose in Jaro, Iloilo; in 1885, and was sent to Manila and enrolled at Colegio de Santa Rosa and then at Colegio de Santa Catalina. She was a classmate of Doña Aurora Aragon, the wife of President Manuel Quezon. Teresa finally obtained a teacher's certificate from the Colegio de Dona Cecilia in 1894, and had taught in several schools in the province of Panay.

When she married Alejandro Baldero, a rich landowner from Sara, Iloilo, she gave up her teaching career to work on the farm. While on the farm, she learned the rough ways of farm life, learning how to ride a horse and fire a pistol. By then however, the Philippine revolution had started and two of her brothers had become officers in the revolutionary army.

She joined the revolutionary forces at the age of 28. In the battlefield, she bravely led men soldiers. Her unit won the battle of Sap-ong near Sara, Iloilo. The commander of the Revolutionary foces in the Visayas, General Martin Teofilo Delgado, commended her bravery and military abilities and entrusted her leadership in many military encounters throughout Panay island. Nay Isa fought the Americans in the Battle of Iloilo City on Feb. 11, 1899.

After the fall of the Filipinos' regional headquarters in Sta. Barbara, Magbanua shifted to guerrilla tactics. In 1900, she disbanded her unit and surrendered.

Nay Isa remained childless and was widowed shortly after the outbreak of the war with the Japanese. Teresa sold all her property in Iloilo to help finance the guerrilla forces. She migrated to Mindanao and lived with her sister, Maria, in Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur. Here she would die in August 1947 at the age of 78, with the rare distinction of having fought all of her country's colonizers.



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