Monday, May 15, 2006


On May 21, 1967, members of an obscure political sect called Lapiang Malaya (Freedom Movement) started massing in Taft Avenue in Pasay City, a suburb of Manila. They were dressed in peculiar blue uniforms with red and yellow capes. What made their otherwise colorful uniforms ominous were the accoutrements that came with them--long bolos and anting-anting.

They had come from the rice fields of Luzon, and their mission was to march on Malacanang Palace, the presidential palace in Manila, and overthrow the government of then President Ferdinand Marcos.

They were led by an octogenarian named Valentin de los Santos, variously described either as a fanatic or a cult leader. But Valentin de los Santos was not your run-of-the-mill fanatic. An old political warhorse, he had run for President of the Philippines several times under the same political party, the Lapiang Malaya. He was revered by and had a large following of peasant farmers.

This ragtag band of bolo-wielding protesters was met by heavily armed troopers of the Philippine Constabulary (PC), who fired warning volleys above the heads of the farmers. Emboldened and believing that their anting-anting had protected them from the deadly hail of bullets, the farmers charged the PC ranks with their bolos. This time, the troopers fired at center mass, and carnage ensued.

This incident became known as the Lapiang Malaya massacre and just added to the list of bloody events laid at the doorstep of President Marcos. It would be many years before any reckoning of any kind for this incident and many others would catch up with Ferdinand Marcos.


Did the Lapiang Malaya have any martial arts training of any kind, as suggested by the bolos and the anting-anting?

Did Valentin de los Santos really believe their anting-anting would protect them from bullets, or was this the final act of a madman shouting his last suicidal hurrah?

Did Valentin de los Santos survive the carnage?

Where were you, and what do you remember about the event when it happened?


Blogger donlindz said...

there must be a sort of research to be conducted on this matter. did they really believe in their anting-anting or that the story must have been tampered. they must have bolos or not but did they really attacked malacanang by bolos when malacanang have been well-entrenched which cannot yield to bolo persons?
worth looking for for the sake of history not only because he must be my relative.

12:58 AM  

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