"Trivial, No more."
What was virtually regarded as less important moment in Philippine history, “Labanan sa Malinta" (Battle of Malinta), will be given the prominence it deserves with the unveiling of a historical marker from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
Formally turned over by NHCP to the local government of Valenzuela yesterday, April 22, the marker can be found inside the New Valenzuela City Government Complex at Barangay Karuhatan, where the battle approximately happened 114 years ago.
The Marker reads:
LABANAN SA MALINTA(Battle of Malinta)
26 MARSO 1899 (26 March 1899)
Naganap ang sagupaan ng mga sundalong Pilipino at Amerikano hindi kalayuan sa simbahan ng Malinta, kung saan napaslang ang ilang kawal ng 22nd U.S. Infantry kabilang si Col. Harry C. Egbert, 26 Marso 1899. Bagaman nadepensahan ng mga Pilipino sa unang bahagi ang kanilang posisyon sa Malinta, kalauna’y napilitan silang umatras pahilaga sa paglusob ng dagdag na kawal ng puwersang Amerikano. (The battle between Filipino and American soldiers took place near the church of Malinta, where some soldiers of the 22nd US Infantry died, including Col. Harry C. Egbert, 26 March 1899. Though the Filipinos were able to defend their position in Malinta during the first half of the battle, they were later forced to retreat to the north as American reinforcement encroached.
Malinta used to be a vast hacienda which stretched to as far as parts of Novaliches, which also used to be part of the old Polo (now Valenzuela City). The American forces must pass through Malinta before they could advance to the town proper of Polo where the Filipino military troops’ command center was led by its Director de Guerra, Gen. Antonio Luna. It was, therefore, necessary to seize it first. But the Filipino revolutionary forces, which, in all likelihood, may have included some Valenzuelanos, did not yield so easily.
It was a battle they have clearly won. Local historian, Jerry Gracio wrote on his paper, "Ang totoo, nakubkob ng mga Amerikano ang Malinta, pero hindi nila natalo ang mga Filipino sa labang ito. (The Americans may have seized Malinta, but they did not defeat the Filipinos in this battle."
According to Philippine historical accounts and supported by American historical archives, during the battle on March 25, 1899, the Filipinos erected large poles bearing flags as markers to determine the exact range of advancing American troops. And when they were approximately at 200 yards away, the Philippine revolutionary forces fired at them, a tactic, regarded by some American documents as “accurate.” Many were killed among the Americans, including the commander of the 22nd Infantry of the United States Army, Colonel Harry Clay Egbert.
NHCP Executive Director, Ludovico Badoy said during the unveiling that the Filipinos were merely forced to retreat because of the Americans sent more reinforcement.
American war historian Marcus Wright described how the Filipinos fled. “…dividing up, after the manner of the Indians, so that they could not be successfully pursued.”
Years after the ”Battle of Malinta,” the Americans placed four cannons to honor their comrades. However, only the cannons survives to this day - the one in honor of Col. Egbert. Since its excavation in September 2012 at Dulong Tangke in Barangay Malinta, the 10-foot, 14-ton piece of artillery has been restored by the city government with assistance from NHCP. It is now on display beside the marker.
In 2011, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 30, recognizing “Battle of Malinta Day,” a notable point in the history of Valenzuela City and a celebration of the heroism of its people.
As Ms. Gina Batuhan, Chief of the Historical Sites and Education Division of the NHCP, said, “Historical markers are the people’s constant reminder of the Filipinos’ acts of heroism.” With an official historical marker now in place, it shall become a solid reminder of the valor of the nameless Filipino and Valenzuelano heroes of the "Battle of Malinta”.
The NHCP is the government agency that identifies and recognizes historical sites.
This is the second historical marker placed by the agency in Valenzuela City. The first one is located outside the house of the revolutionary hero and the City’s namesake, Dr. Pio Valenzuela.