I grew up in Malolos. Whenever I walked home from the old Immaculata Academy building, or when I go home after hearing mass at the Malolos Cathedral (Basilica Minore of the Immaculate Concepcion), I would often pass the status of Isidoro Torres right in the middle of the busy street going to the Malolos Public Market. As a young kid, I often wondered what this man could have done to deserve such a monument at a very prominent location right at the heart of the city.
He’s not a very famous hero, even to us Filipinos. He’s not among the first names that you would learn in Philippine history. I even had to look him up as a kid (and no, it was not as easy as whipping up my phone and typing his name in Google when I was young) to satisfy my curiosity.
Isidoro Torres: Early Years
Isidoro Torres was born on April 10, 1886, in Matimbo, Malolos, Bulacan to his parents: Florencio Torres at Maria Dayao. He studied under the cartilla with Maestro Jose Reyes and studied Gramatika in Malolos. He then finished secondary school in Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and Bachelor in Arts at the Universidad de Santo Tomas.
At the age of 16, he was accused of plotting to kill the parish priest, Friar Moises Santos, who collected expensive church fees from the people. However, he was proclaimed not guilty of the charges.
Read about another revolutionary hero from Bulacan, Trinidad Tecson (The Hero and Patriot from San Miguel, Bulacan) here: La Bulaqueña (The Bulacan Woman): Great Women of Bulacan (Series Part 1) – Bulakenyo.ph
Isidoro Torres: Our Hometown Hero’s Public Life
Better known as “Matang Lawin” in the revolutionary circle, Isidoro Torres, along with other Katipuneros, organized a group called Sangguniang Lalawigang Balangay Apoy, a local chapter of the Katipunan in Bulacan. He was among the revolutionaries who left their homes in Bulacan and brought their respective families to the forest when the revolution began.
He engaged in numerous battles and attained the rank of colonel when fighting raged around Biak-na-Bato. In June 1897, General Emilio Aguinaldo appointed him Brigadier General upon military departmental zones in Central Luzon at Mt. Puray.
During the inauguration of the Philippine Republic on January 23, 1899, Torres headed the 6,000-man strong Filipino Army that marched in the parade.
He also joined in the battles against the Americans.
After the Philippine-American war ended, he refused the Bulacan governorship, and he left for abroad with his wife. They fled to Singapore and later to Japan but returned in 1903 to settle permanently in San Antonio, Nueva Ecija. For two years, he served as peace justice in the town, after which he became a municipal councilor and later a member of the Philippine Assembly.
He died on December 5, 1928 at the age of 62.
Read about other people from Malolos who fought for our freedom and rights here: The 20 Brave Women of Malolos
Many of our local heroes in Bulacan may not be as popular as the other national heroes we were taught in school. However, we must always look back in history to learn from their courage and love for our country as we enjoy the freedoms they’ve fought for.
MABUHAY ANG LAHING PILIPINO!
- Torres, Isidoro. (2015). In V. Almario (Ed.), Sagisag Kultura (Vol 1). Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved from https://philippineculturaleducation.com.ph/torres-isidoro/
- Bulacan, Philippines: General Info: Heroes and Patriots: Gen. Isidoro Torres
- Isidoro Torres was born in Malolos, Bulacan April 10, 1866 (kahimyang.com)