Macario Sakay

Macario Sakay y de León (March 1, 1878 – September 13, 1907) was a Filipino general who took part in the 1896 Philippine Revolution against the Spanish Empire and in the Philippine–American War. After the war was declared over by the United States in 1902, Sakay continued resistance by leading guerrilla raids. The following year he established the Tagalog Republic with himself as president.[2]

Macario Sakay
Macario Sacay (300x612).jpg
General Macario Sakay
President of the Tagalog Republic
In office
May 6, 1902 – July 14, 1906
Vice PresidentFrancisco Carreón
Preceded byMiguel Malvar
(as Unofficial President of First Philippine Republic)
Succeeded byAbolished
Title next held by Manuel Quezon
Personal details
Macario Sakay y de León

(1878-03-01)March 1, 1878[note 1]
Tondo, Manila, Captaincy General of the Philippines, Spanish Empire
DiedSeptember 13, 1907(1907-09-13) (aged 29)
Manila, Philippine Islands[1]
Political partyKatipunan

Early lifeEdit

Macario Sakay de León was born on March 1, 1878 along Tabora Street, Tondo, in the City of Manila.[3][4] He first worked as an apprentice in a kalesa (carriage) manufacturing shop. He was also a tailor and a stage actor, performing in a number of plays including Principe Baldovino, Doce Pares de Francia, and Amante de la Corona.[4][3]

An original member of the Katipunan movement, which he joined in 1894, he fought alongside Andrés Bonifacio against the Spanish throughout the Philippine Revolution.[4][page needed] In 1899, he continued the struggle for Philippine independence against the United States. Early in the Philippine–American War, he was jailed for seditious activities, and later released as part of an amnesty.[5]

After the warEdit

Sakay was one of the founders of the Partido Nacionalista (unrelated to the present Nacionalista Party founded in 1907), which sought to achieve Philippine independence through legal means. The party appealed to the Philippine Commission, but the Commission passed the Sedition Law, which prohibited any form of propaganda advocating independence.[6][7] Sakay took up arms again.[4]

After the capture of AguinaldoEdit

Contrary to popular belief, the Philippine resistance to American rule did not end with the capture of General Emilio Aguinaldo.[8] Several forces remained at large, including one led by Sakay.[9] Sakay's rank and association within Aguinaldo's Revolutionary Government is unknown. When Aguinaldo surrendered to the US, Sakay seized the leadership of the revolution and declared himself Supreme President of the Tagalog Republic. He said this included all the islands of the Philippines from Luzon to Mindanao. Taking over the MorongNueva Ecija command and assigning his deputies to take charge of the other Tagalog regions, Sakay wrote a constitution in which traitors, or supporters of the enemy, were to be punished with exile, imprisonment, or death. In May 1902, Sakay and his men declared open resistance to the US and conducted guerrilla raids that lasted for several years.[10]

Tagalog RepublicEdit

Around 1902, Sakay established the Tagalog Republic somewhere in the mountains of Rizal. His first military circulars and presidential orders as "President and Commander-in-Chief" were issued in 1903.[4][page needed] Sakay's military circular No. 1 was dated May 5, 1903, and his Presidential Order No. 1 was dated March 18, 1903.[4][page needed]

Military organizationEdit

In Sakay's military circular No. 7, dated June 19, 1903, the government of the Tagalog Republic (called the "Republic of the Philippines") affirmed the formation of an organized army. The army units were composed of Kabohans (eight soldiers, equivalent to a squad), Camilleros (nine soldiers), Companias (117 soldiers, equivalent to a company, and Batalions (801 soldiers, equivalent to battalion).[4][page needed] However, in Sakay's Second Manifesto, dated April 5, 1904, it said the exact number of soldiers in the army could not be ascertained. There are insufficient documents to provide a basis for historians to speculate on the size of the Republic's army, but these demonstrate that Sakay's army existed and that it was led by officers appointed and commissioned by Sakay himself.[4][page needed]

In Sakay's presidential order No. 2, dated May 8, 1903, the government, in search of sources of weapons to carry out its struggle against the Americans, said that it was willing to confer military rank on citizens who could turn over firearms to the Presidential Office or any of the headquarters under its command. Ranks would be conferred by the following schedule: 10 to 15 firearms, rank of lieutenant; 16 to 25 firearms, captain; 26 to 36 firearms, major; 40 to 50 firearms, colonel.[4][page needed] In Sakay's military order No. 5, dated May 25, 1903, the government assigned the following color codes for the divisions of its army: artillery (red), infantry (light blue), cavalry (dark blue), engineering (dark brown), chief-of-staff (dark green), sanitary (yellow), and marines (gray).[4][page needed]

Planned kidnappingEdit

According to General Leon Villafuerte, his, Carreon's and Sakay's forces planned to kidnap Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, who was planning to visit the Philippines. The plan was to trade her to the Americans in exchange for the immediate recognition of Philippine independence. The kidnapping was not attempted since Longworth postponed her trip by train to Baguio.[4][page needed]

Surrender and betrayalEdit

In 1905, Filipino labour leader Dominador Gómez was authorised by Governor-General Henry Clay Ide to negotiate for the surrender of Sakay and his men. Gómez met with Sakay at his camp and argued that the establishment of a national assembly was being held up by Sakay's intransigence, and that its establishment would be the first step toward Filipino independence. Sakay agreed to end his resistance on the condition that a general amnesty be granted to his men, that they be permitted to carry firearms, and that he and his officers be permitted to leave the country. Gómez assured Sakay that these conditions would be acceptable to the Americans, and Sakay's emissary, General León Villafuerte, obtained agreement to them from the American Governor-General.[4][page needed]

Sakay believed that the struggle had shifted to constitutional means, and that the establishment of the assembly was a means to win independence. As a result, he surrendered on 14 July 1906, descending from the mountains on the promise of an amnesty for him and his officials, and the formation of a Philippine Assembly composed of Filipinos that would serve as the "gate of freedom".[11] With Villafuerte, Sakay travelled to Manila, where they were welcomed and invited to receptions and banquets.

One invitation came from the Constabulary Chief, American Colonel Harry H. Bandholtz, to a party in Cavite hosted by the acting governor Colonel Louis J. Van Schaick on July 17; it was a trap. Sakay and his principal lieutenants were disarmed and arrested while the party was in progress.[12][13]

At his trial, Sakay was accused of bandolerismo "under the Brigandage Act of Nov. 12, 1902, which interpreted all acts of armed resistance to American rule as banditry." The American colonial Supreme Court of the Philippines upheld the decision.[14][self-published source?] Sakay was convicted and sentenced to death, and hanged on 13 September 1907.

Before his death, he made the following statement:

Death comes to all of us sooner or later, so I will face the LORD Almighty calmly. But I want to tell you that we are not bandits and robbers, as the Americans have accused us, but members of the revolutionary force that defended our mother country, the Philippines! Farewell! Long live the Republic and may our independence be born in the future! Long live the Philippines![15][16]

He was buried at Manila North Cemetery later that day.[1]


  • A life-sized statue of Sakay was unveiled at the Plaza Morga in Tondo, by the Manila Historical Heritage Commission on 13 September 2008, the 101st anniversary of his death.[17] That same month, the Senate adopted two separate resolutions honouring Sakay's life and his fellow freedom fighters for their contribution to the cause of independence.[18][19]
  • Camp General Macario Sakay in Los Baños, Laguna was named after the general in January 2016, when Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri issued General Order No. 30, changing the camp's name from Camp Eldridge, a name the camp had been given during the American occupation a century prior.[20]

In popular cultureEdit

  • Sakay was noted for keeping long hair. His name is used in the Philippines to refer to persons needing a haircut.[21]
  • Portrayed by Julio Díaz in the 1993 film, Sakay.[22]
  • Portrayed by Dindo Arroyo in the 1997 TV series, Bayani and 2012 film, El Presidente.
  • Portrayed by Jerald Napoles in the 2013 TV series, Katipunan.
  • Portrayed by Remus Japitana Villanueva in the 2017 Tanghalang Pilipino musical, Aurelio Sedisyoso: A Rock Sarswela.[23][better source needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Some sources claim that Macario Sakay was born on March 1, 1870. His death certificate said he was 29 at the time of his death, making 1878 his possible year of birth.


  1. ^ a b c Macario Sakay's Death Certificate
  2. ^ Orlino A. Ochosa (1995). Bandoleros: Outlawed Guerrillas of the Philippine–American War, 1903-1907. New Day Publishers. pp. 55, 95–96. ISBN 978-971-10-0555-9.
  3. ^ a b Abad, Antonio K. (1955). General Macario L. Sakay, the Only President of the "Tagalog Republic": Was He a Bandit Or a Patriot?. J. B. Feliciano. p. 4. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kabigting Abad, Antonio (1955). General Macario L. Sakay: Was He a Bandit or a Patriot?. J. B. Feliciano and Sons Printers-Publishers.
  5. ^ C. Duka (2008). Struggle for Freedom' 2008 Ed. Rex Bookstore, Inc. pp. 200. ISBN 978-971-23-5045-0.
  6. ^ "The Period of Suppressed Nationalism: Act No. 292 or the Sedition Law". March 4, 2010.
  7. ^ United States Philippine Commission. Law against treason, sedition, etc. (Act No. 292) Archived 2010-08-10 at the Wayback Machine. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1902.
  8. ^ Marquez, Elizabeth G. My Country and My People 6. Rex Bookstore, Inc. p. 211. ISBN 9789712322556. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  9. ^ Roces, Alfredo R. (1978). Filipino Heritage: The American colonial period (1900-1941). Lahing Pilipino Pub. ; [Manila]. p. 2322. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  10. ^ Roces, Alfredo R. (1978). Filipino Heritage: The American colonial period (1900-1941). Lahing Pilipino Pub. ; [Manila]. p. 2323. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  11. ^ McCoy, Alfred W. (1985). Philippine Cartoons: Political Caricature of the American Era, 1900-1941. Vera-Reyes. p. 90. ISBN 9789711510022.
  12. ^ Renato Constantino (1981). The Philippines: A Past Revisited. Renato Constantino. p. 266. ISBN 978-971-8958-00-1.
  13. ^ Dante G. Guevarra (1995). History of the Philippine Labor Movement. Rex Bookstore, Inc. pp. 13. ISBN 978-971-23-1755-2.
  14. ^ Dumimdin, Arnaldo. "The Last Holdouts: General Vicente Lukban falls, Feb. 18, 1902". Philippine–American War.
  15. ^ Constantino, Renato (1981). The Philippines: A Past Revisited. Renato Constantino. p. 267. ISBN 978-971-8958-00-1.
  16. ^ Pomeroy, William J. (1992). The Philippines: Colonialism, Collaboration, and Resistance. International Publishers Co. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-7178-0692-8.
  17. ^ Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, The mark of Sakay: The vilified hero of our war with America, The Philippine Star, September 8, 2008
  18. ^ Resolution No. 121 Archived 2011-06-11 at the Wayback Machine, Philippine Senate
  19. ^ Resolution No. 623 Archived 2011-06-11 at the Wayback Machine, Philippine Senate
  20. ^ Farolan, Ramon J. Farolan. "AFP action rectifies historical injustice". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  21. ^ "Why Did Sakay Wear His Hair Long?". National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  22. ^ "Sakay (1993)". Retrieved 2007-08-13.
  23. ^ "Tanghalang Pilipino: Character Portraits - Montalan, Sakay/Bonifacio, Carreon". Archived from the original on 2022-02-26. Retrieved 2017-09-04.

External linksEdit