Sadly, Lipa only has a few monuments honoring its local heroes and illustrious individuals. One such monument was the historical marker and bust of Don Lauro Solis Dimayuga, which was once displayed at Lipa Plaza Independencia in the 1990s. Unfortunately, the marker was dismantled anonymously and is no longer visible to the public.
Lauro Solis Dimayuga was the only child of Don Catalino Dimayuga y Reyes from his first marriage to Doña Filomena Solís y Metra. Since the baptismal records from 1849-1870 are missing, it could be estimated that Lauro was born between 1870 and 1871, as his parents were married in 1869. Lauro had half-siblings from his father’s second marriage to Doña Romana Aguilera y Esguerra, namely Rafael and Prudencia.
For his education, Lauro attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila where he earned his bachillerato, (equivalent to a high school diploma today) with honors. His father then sent him to Spain for further studies and sought the assistance of his friend, Dr. José Rizal, to guide him to become a productive member of society. In a letter addressed to Rizal, Don Catalino expressed his aspirations for Lauro to pursue a career that would be beneficial both for him and the country.
“In almost all my letters, as you know, I have tried to convince Lauro of the advantages of preparing for a career, whatever it might be, so that he would become a useful man in society. He can pursue it there in Madrid or else abroad. I am glad now of your good decision which coincides with my wishes, though I am disturbed and uneasy about the disease, incipient scrofula, which you have noticed in him, even if it is not serious… Pardon this egoism which is natural in a father like me whose son is far from home and is exposed to all kinds of risks. I have to seek support for him and no one else but you could do, because of your worth, disinterestedness, and thousand qualities that you possess, as well as my very special esteem for you which I am pleased to express now and always.”Don Catalino Dimayuga to José Rizal
Letter of October 8, 1890, written in Lipa, Batangas
An English translation of the Original Spanish.
Lauro, along with his cousins Gregorio Aguilera Solís and Baldomero Luz Roxas, joined several groups formed by Rizal while they were in Paris, including the Kidlat Club and the Indios Bravos. These organizations aimed to excel in intellectual and physical pursuits to gain the respect of the world and to challenge the Spanish colonial concept of the term “indio.“
Dimayuga played an active role in the propaganda movement and joined the Asociación Hispano-Filipina, a group of Filipinos in Spain that advocated for reforms in the Philippines. Notable among the organization’s activities was the submission of a protest to the Spanish Overseas Ministry on September 26, 1890. The protest denounced the eviction of inquilinos (tenants) who were engaged in disputes with the Dominican friars over the increased land rent at the Hacienda de Calamba.
As a Freemason, Lauro Dimayuga expressed his anti-friar sentiments through his essays entitled Un Frase de Amor and Las Bellas Lipenses. These literary works ultimately earned him the ire of the Spanish friars in Batangas and in 1896, Fr. Domingo La Prieta, the Augustinian Parish Priest of Lipa, accused him of religious sacrilege for allegedly taking communion without confession during a Sunday Mass, holding the host in his mouth, and passing it on to another person. This accusation eventually led to his imprisonment in the Batangas Provincial Jail that same year.
While in prison, Lauro Dimayuga’s life took a turn for the better as he underwent a spiritual transformation under the guidance of the secular priest Father Anastacio Cuento Cruz of Taal. Serving as the chaplain of the Batangas Provincial Jail, Fr. Anastacio provided comfort and spiritual guidance to the prisoners, including Lauro, who became one of his regular attendees during Mass and other religious activities.
On May 3, 1897, a violent uprising occurred in the Batangas Provincial Jail, and Lauro was one of the ninety prisoners who chose not to participate in the riot. Despite his non-involvement in the uprising, Lauro was unfairly punished and was shot to death without a fair trial on May 4, 1897, in the courtyard of the provincial jail. Mariano Ponce provided further details of Lauro’s death in a letter he sent to Antonio Vergel de Dios. The letter describes Lauro’s brave and noble behavior during his last moments and how he accepted his fate with courage and dignity.
“The most horrible are the circumstances surrounding the execution of Lauro Dimayuga. Several prisoners in the Batangas Jail rioted, killed all the guards, and fled toward the open fields, taking all the weapons they could find. Some ninety prisoners remained in prison, unwilling to escape, despite all the doors being left open. A body of troops from the neighboring town arrived, and their commanding officer saw the ninety prisoners (more or less) who had stayed behind. But rather than reward them for their fidelity, he ordered that they be rounded up in the courtyard and fired upon. You cannot imagine how disgusting and sad that scene was. The men ran from one side of the courtyard to the other hurling insults, curses, and protests at their killers. They begged to be spared from the barbarous slaughter, but eventually fell one on top of the other in the most horrible agonies. That is how they were all killed. The officer responsible for this received only a gentle rebuke from his commander-in-chief. Lauro Dimayuga, one of the prisoners who chose not to abscond, was spared from the slaughter because he was in the quarters of a guard during the uprising and had prevented the rebellious prisoners from killing him. However, two or three days after the massacre, the few friars of the province came to Batangas. When they discovered that Lauro was alive, they spared no effort to ensure that he was executed. One morning, a sergeant or corporal went to Lauro’s cell and informed him that he had orders to execute him immediately. Lauro displayed great calmness throughout, to the point of jokingly telling the soldier to let him have breakfast first, in effect, ordering him to bring him breakfast, which he ate very confidently. Afterward, he put himself at the disposal of the corporal or sergeant, who led him to the courtyard. When Lauro was at the execution site, he requested that the soldier shoot on his command, to which the soldier agreed, firing when Lauro shouted, “fire.” The process could not have been cut shorter: no records filed, no extreme unction, nothing.”
Mariano Ponce “Naning” to Don Antonio Vergel de Dios
August 31, 1897
Cartas Sobre La Revolución
Lauro Dimayuga was considered a martyr and a symbol of valor and patriotism. In honor of his sacrifice, a street in Lipa where his house once stood was named after him, and a historical marker was installed by the National Historical Institute (now NHCP) in his honor. The marker was unveiled on January 25, 1991, at the grounds of the Lipa City Hall.
Despite passing away at a young age, Lauro Dimayuga left behind a wife, María Boria del Valle, and a son named Carlos Juan Rafael Valentin Dimayuga, born in Sampaloc, Manila in 1892. Carlos grew up to become a journalist and eventually settled in Vietnam, where he married Marie Jeromine Canavaggio, a French-Vietnamese woman. The direct descendants of Don Lauro Dimayuga now live in France.
3 Replies to “The Fearless Batangueño: Lauro Solís Dimayuga”
There must be somewhere the monument was transferred . Suggest we report to the the NHC the disappearance and what they can can suggest to the Lipeños. Was the mayor who was responsible for its transfer/ disappearance liable? What’s the penalty if any.
We Filipinos lack heroes, not because they weren’t born but because they were unknown, hidden,. Do our Batangueños students read Claro M. Recto? Do our Lipeños know Enrique Laygo?
Sadly, the present generation of students is unaware of their literary works. Their identities were only confined to names of streets and research among a few scholars.
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