Gabriela Silang

Born: Barangay Caniogan, Santa, Ilocos Sur.

March 1731 – September 1763


Maria Josefa Gabriela Cariño was the first Filipino woman to lead a revolt during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. Gabriela was first married to Tomas Millan, a wealthy businessman in Ilocos, at the age of 20. After three years, Gabriela was widowed. Later on, Gabriela met Diego Silang who fought towards the independence of the Filipino people, and the two married in 1757. Gabriela then became an active member of Diego’s insurgent force, becoming one of his closest advisors.

In 1762, Gabriela and Diego fought together in the revolt against the Spaniards. The revolt was successful in the beginning, but was later derailed by supporters of the Spaniards. On May 28, 1763, Diego was assassinated by the order of the royal and church authorities of Manila. The rebels lost hope after Diego’s death, and none of the men stepped up to become a leader.

Gabriella stepped up and became the leader of the rebellion. Gabriela rode on horseback to Abra to establish headquarters, reassemble troops, and to rally the Tingguian community to fight.

Gabriela quickly gained support and was called “Henerala,” woman general.  On September 10, 1763, Gabriela’s troops descended on to Vigan but were ambushed by the Spanish garrison. Many of her troops were captured while Gabriela and her uncle were able to escape.

The Spanish caught them on September 29, 1763 and was hung in Vigan’s plaza.

Gabriela’s bravery and passion continue the people’s struggle.