Eulalio Villavicencio and Gliceria Marella Villavicencio
Eulalio Villavicencio was born in 1842. He was a wealthy shipowner who contributed his wealth to help the Propaganda Movement and the revolutionary forces in their fight against Spain.
In October 1871 Eulalio married Gliceria Legaspi Marella who was born to one of the landed and wealthy family of Taal, Batangas. Both hailed from Taal’s wealthiest families, with businesses in shipping and sugar. Together, they contributed a big part of their fortune and efforts to support the Philippine Revolution.
In January 1892 even before the Philippine-Spanish War erupted, Eulalio went to Hongkong and delivered personally P18,000.00 of their funds to Dr. Jose Rizal to finance the propaganda movement against Spain. Eulalio brought back propaganda pamphlets and an ivory dagger given by Jose Rizal as a memento to his wife.
The Spaniards accused Eulalio of being a filibusterer and imprisoned him in the Old Bilibid Prison in Manila when his connections with the revolutionary movement had been confirmed. The Spaniards tried to convince Gliceria to reveal the secrets of the Katipunan in exchange for the release of her husband. However, she turned them down and said “ I love my husband as few wives can, but I would consider myself un-worthy of carrying his name if I will procure his liberty at the expense of his country’s blood“. Eulalio was eventually released after a year in prison. However, he died of illness 3 months later because of his incarceration.
Eulalio and Gliceria owned a family ship called the “SS Bulusan” which was purchased in 1893. They donated this ship and it became the first warship of the Revolutionary Government.
Doña Gliceria Marella de Villavicencio (b. May 13, 1852 – d. September 28, 1929) was named Madrina-General de las Fuerzas Revolucionarios (Matriarch-General of the Revolutionary Forces) or simply “godmother of the revolutionary forces” by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo during the proclamation of the Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898, ”in recognition of the valuable services and her effective monetary aid to the Revolutionist army.”
Her passion in supporting the revolution against the Spaniards, and later the Americans, was inflamed by the death of her husband, Don Eulalalio Villavicencio in February 1898. He was incarcerated by the Spaniards along with Pablo Ocampo and Dr. Ariston Bautista for supporting the Katipunan and the revolutionary movement.
Of the material aid she extended to the insurrectos the most notable was the SS Bulusan, a ship which made trips from Manila to Batangas and back. It also transported Filipino soldiers, armaments, ammunition and food supplies for the maintenance of the revolutionary forces.
Gliceria and her husband strongly sympathized with the Revolutionary movement. They closely followed the events leading to the Revolution and helped disseminate propaganda literature (including the fiery periodical La Solidaridad) that roused the people to action.
SS Bulusan ship, the first naval ship of the Revolutionary Government donated by Gliceria to General Emilio Aguinaldo became the first warship of the Revolutionaries. Completely provisioned by her, the ship was used in the Bicol and Visayan regions and transported Spanish war prisoners for confinement in Romblon. She converted her residence into an army headquarters. With her initiative as well as moral and financial support, the “Batalion Malaya” was formed which reached as far as Tayabas, Capiz and Iloilo.
When the Americans grabbed the inevitable victory of the Philippine Revolution against Spain from the Filipino insurgents, Gliceria remained active in the struggle against the new conquerors. She supported General Miguel Malvar, who under overwhelming odds stubbornly continued the war against the Americans forcibly transferred her whole family to Manila under heavy guard. They confiscated her pro9perties and turned her home into an army hospital. Later, however, realizing the family’s prestige and the respect which the towns-people of Taal had for her, the American army were forced to return her family to Taal.
Gliceria continued to care for her children although her life was destined to have more than its share of burdens. She was loving and solicitous to her offsprings throughout her life. She taught them how to row, ride horseback, swim and handle the sword and the revolver. Gliceria died on September 25, 1928. She had six (6) children: Jose, Mariquita (married to Gregorio Agoncillo), Vicenta, Rita (married to Vicente Ilustre), Sixto and Antonio.