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Students put teacher’s heroism on digital map

by SMART Public Affairs | Jul 13, 2015
[13 July 2015] Thanks to students of Eastern Samar National Comprehensive High School (ESNCHS), the story of Eugenio S. Daza’s heroism is now accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.

The team from Eastern Samar National Comprehensive High School behind the winning Doon Po Sa Amin
entry “Eugenio S. Daza: Hero of Eastern Samar”. (L-R) Arriane Aculan, teacher-coach Roderick Abellar,
Christopher Jhon Gonzales, Kris Antoinette Benitez and teacher-coach Marcos Anacta.

Daza is credited as the brains behind the September 28, 1901 encounter between Filipinos and American forces in Balangiga, a town in eastern Samar. Daza, with the help of fellow patriots Custodio Salazar and Valeriano Abanador, reportedly engineered and executed a successful attack on an entire company of American forces occupying Balangiga.

The encounter is now more popularly known as the Balangiga massacre, although accounts differ on whether “massacre” refers to the near wipeout of American soldiers at the hands of Filipinos, or to the Samar campaign hatched by the Americans in retaliation, where Filipino men, women and children over 10 years old were ordered killed on sight.

What the Balangiga encounter establishes though is that the fight for Philippine independence remained strong in Samar even after the capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo by the Americans on March 23, 1901, and the brave acts of people like Daza who are among “many Filipino heroes whose stories are just waiting to be uncovered from the country’s history chest,” according to the ESNCHS students.

And tell it they did via Doon Po Sa Amin an annual search of wireless services leader Smart Communications, Inc. for the best hometown stories on history, traditions, festivals and activities, places to visit, notable people, unique plants and animals, special delicacies, and local products.

Arriane Aculan, Lorenz Matthew Afable, Kris Antoinette Benitez, Christopher Jhon Gonzales, Trisha Rae Sabate, Ma. Romellie Tabuena and Ramon Kenneth Tiu felt it was high time that Daza’s heroism was recognized not only in Eastern Samar, but in the rest of the world.

Daza, who is also known as Lolo Enyong, was born in Borongan, Eastern Samar, on November 15, 1870 to Juan Cinco Daza and Magdalena Campomanes Salazar. After earning a degree in education in 1888 at Escuela Normal de Maestros in Manila, he taught at the Borongan Municipal School then later established his own school under the Spanish administration, which is now called the Eugenio S. Daza Pilot Elementary School (ESDPES).

He stopped teaching during the 1896 revolution against Spain to join the revolutionary forces in Samar. It was as an infantry major under the command of Brig. Gen. Vicente Lukban, the politico-military governor of Samar appointed by Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo, that Daza planned the attack which would go down history as the "worst single defeat" of the US military in the Philippines.

After surrendering to the Americans in 1902, Daza was elected Representative of Samar's 3rd District to the First Philippine Assembly. He died at the age of 84 in Calamba, Laguna. In deference to his last wish, his remains were brought to Borongan and buried on December 29, 1954.

Daza, who served as representative of Samar's 3rd District to the First Philippine Assembly,
with President Emilio Aguinaldo. (Photo courtesy of Eugenio Roy Daza)

“We want to share our version of ‘David and Goliath’ with the entire world, that in the province of Eastern Samar, a simple elementary teacher in the person of Lolo Enyong Daza outwitted the heavily armed, battle-wise American soldiers from China in the battle of Balangiga,” said Roderick Abellar, the students’ teacher-coach.

Abellar said there is no mention of Daza in Philippine history books. “It is our hope that Daza be given due honor and recognition just like Gen. Vicente Lukban, Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo and other local heroes.”

Aside from the school which now bears Daza’s name and a bronze statue of him erected at Brgy. Alang-Alang, less than a kilometer away from the town plaza, the City Government of Borongan has also asked the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to include November 15, Daza’s birth date, as a special non-working holiday of the province.

World War II veterans and Borongan City police render a salute to honor the memory of
Eugenio S. Daza in front of his monument in Borongan City, Eastern Samar.

Doon Po Sa Amin, si Eugenio S. Daza: Bayani ng Silangang Samar” won third place last year and gave the school its first win in Smart’s DPSA video-making contest, the country’s first and longest-running crowd-sourcing competition designed to uncover the best and the most unique Filipino hometown stories.

Encouraged by their win, Abellar says that the school is submitting more entries to the DPSA contest this year. Submission of entries to Smart’s 8th DPSA Contest is ongoing and open until September 25.

For more information on the contest, visit DPSA website. You may also follow DPSA on Facebook, on Twitter, or subscribe to its Youtube channel to view other Pinoy local stories.