FLAVIANO YENGKO (1873-1897)
LIKE General Edilberto Evangelista before him, General Flaviano Yengko, a Manileño, became a Caviteño by paying the ultimate price. They died within days of each other, Evangelista in the Battle of Zapote, February 17, 1897, and Yengko in the Battle of Anabu II, near Salitran, Dasmariñas, on March 3, the third day after being hit by an enemy bullet. In the same battle Spanish General Antonio Zaballa was killed together with his aide-camp. Tit for tat.
Yengko, a young intellectual of 23, left his home on Azcarraga street (now Recto Avenue), leaving a note to his mother that he was going to “fight for the Fatherland”. He was going to show his girl friend’s father that he, too, could fight in the battlefield like one of her suitors.
He reached Cavite on November 7, 1896, and two days later he received a baptism of fire in the famous Battle of Binakayan, Kawit, November 9-11, in which General Emilio Aguinaldo’s army of voluntaries repulsed a two-pronged Spanish offensive under the overall command of Governor and Captain General Ramon Blanco. In then Lachambre offensive the following year, Yengko, along with Generals Crispulo Aguinaldo and Juan Cailles, decided to defend Salitran, the gateway to the rebel capital of Imus, against determined enemy assaults.
Yengko was hit in the abdomen by an enemy bullet, and his men carried him off the battlefield as he continued shouting commands to his troops. His girl friend was allowed by her father to nurse him, but her tender solicitude proved of no vail. Yengko succumbed to urinal complication.
Born in Tondo, Manila, on December 22, 1873, to a middle class couple, Basilio Yengko and Maria Abad, Flaviano completed a course at the Escuela Normal de Manila, thus qualifying himself as a maestro de acenso. He continued his studies and obtained the Bachelor of Arts degree from the Letran College. He was taking up preparatory law at the University of Sto. Tomas when the Revolution broke out.
A man of many-faceted talent, Yengko was a wizard in piano and in painting, a good orator, a debater and athlete. People who knew him said that Yengko was “neatly dressed and even daintily perfumed during the roughest combats.”
(Sources: (1) Eminent Filipinos. Manila, National Historical Commission, 1965; (2) Sol H. Gwekoh, “Flaviano Yengko: Dasmariñas hero, “Hall of Fame, Manila Times, December 21, 1966; and (3) Pedro S. de Achutegui, S.J. and Miguel Bernard, S.J., Aguinaldo and the Revolution of 1896. A Documentary History. Quezon City, Ateneo de Manila University, 1972.)
LUIS R. YANGCO (1841-1907)
POPULARLY known as the “King of Manila Bay and Pasig River” for owning a vast number of river boats and inter-island ships, Luis R. Yangco had been a capitan municipal of Binondo district and regidor (councilman) of Manila. The Spanish authorities arrested him on September 16, 1896, hardly three weeks after the discovery of the Katipunan secret society and the First Cry of Pugad Lawin. Reason: he was found to be secretly supplying Filipino revolutionist with funds, foodstuffs, and other materials. After six months he was released from prison, and Yangco, together with his only son, Teodoro, promptly packed up their belongings and left for Spain.
Yangco’s patriotism, of course, did not end there. Returning to the Philippines in 1898, after the outbreak of the Spanish-American war, he was appointed by General Emilio Aguinaldo as director general of the treasury of the Revolutionary Government. Yangco survived both the Revolution against Spain and the Philippine-American War that followed. But he continued his activities as a civic-spirited citizen and businessman to the end of his days.
Born in Bacoor, Cavite, on august 19, 1841, the son of Regimio Yangco, a mestizo sangley, and Agatona Ronquillo, a Spanish-Filipino mestiza, Yangco was orphaned at the age of 12, and thereafter he began working for a living under the care of a kind hearted aunt who gave him a little education. At the Cavite waterfront he did odd jobs as errand-boy for sailors and cargador of passengers’ luggage. It was his exposure to life at the waterfront that set Yangco a – dreaming of some day owning “many ships like those in the bay.”
Through hard work and thrift he was able to save enough money to buy a banca which he used for transporting drinking water, ferrying people across the bay, and bringing zacate (horse fodder) and other goods for residents along the Pasig River. In due time he was able to purchase a sailboat for inter-island trading. This became the nucleus of a fleet of 28 steamships. In addition he engaged in other lucrative business.
Yangco became a widower twice, and remarried two times. His first wife, Ramona Arguelles de Corpus, was from San Antonio, Zambales; the second, Dominga Lam; and the third, Victoria Ubim, by whom he had two daughters and one son. Teodoro, his only son by his first wife, was a chip off the old block. When Luis Yangco died on October 16, 1907. Teodoro continued his father’s business, increasing the family fortune many times over.
[Source: (1) Gregorio F. Zaide, Greatt Filipinos in history. Manila, 1970; and (2) Sol H. Gwekoh, “Pioneer Shipper,” Hall of Fame, manila Times, date of publication inadvertently misplaced.]