BIOGRAPHY OF GENERAL JOSE TORRES BUGALLON
(The local hero after whom the Municipality of Bugallon was named.)
Jose Torres Bugallon was born in the town of Salasa, (now Bugallon) on January 12, 1869 with Spanish-Filipino parentage. His father was Jose Asas Bugallon from Baliwag, Bulacan and his mother was Maria Gonzales, a mestiza and native of Salasa.
Young Jose Torres Bugallon learned his 3r’s at Salasa, surprising his teachers with the brilliance of his intellect. He later transferred to San Isidro, Nueva Ecija where he studied under Professor Rufino Villarus for two years, impressing his teacher as a brilliant student. In 1896, he went to Manila and enrolled as a third year student in Arts at the San Juan de Letran College and three years later, he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Arts with the grade of Excellent. Thereafter, he enrolled at the seminary.
Jose Torres Bugallon took the government competitive examination to study as a pencionado at the Military Academy at Toledo, Spain and passed it with flying colors. In 1892, he then studied at the Military Academy and after three years, finished the course with the rank of Second Lieutenant at the Spanish Army. As a student, Jose Torres Bugallon was modest and unassuming. He was, however, a noble son of generous character and was tall, handsome and well-built.
Jose Torres Bugallon returned to the Philippines in 1896. As a commissioned Second Lieutenant of the Spanish Army, he was forthwith sent to the warfront during the Philippine Revolution of 1896. In the memorable battles of Talisay and others, he showed remarkable bravery and coldness of mind for which he was advanced two grades in his military rank. To cap it all, he was awarded two medals of Maria Cristina with full honors. General Primo de Vera of the Spanish Government appointed Jose Torres Bugallon as one of the captains of the battalion of Filipino volunteers. General Augustin of the Spanish Government appointed him as Commander of the New Philippine Militia in full revolutionary temper.
Hearkening to the call of his courtesy to fight a new enemy – the American forces, Jose Torres Bugallon resigned from all his commissions with the Spanish Army as Colonel under General Antonio Luna. Not long after, the Philippine Revolutionary Army and the American forces were locked in death struggle in the Battle of La Loma on February 5, 1899, with Colonel Jose Torres Bugallon leading the charge of the front line. The American Forces were surprised of the strategy and fighting qualities of the Filipino soldiers. However, something unfortunate happened. Colonel Jose Torres Bugallon was hit by a stray bullet disabling his two thighs.
When General Antonio Luna learned that Colonel Jose Torres Bugallon was mortally wounded, he ordered the retreating Filipino forces to go back and recover the wounded body of Jose Torres Bugallon. But it was too late. He was already dying when they found him. He was rushed to a military hospital, but in spite of all the efforts of Filipino doctors to save him, he died. An admirer remarked, “He died fighting as a hero with exploits resplendent with the glories on his face”. He was buried at Malolos, Bulacan.
To perpetuate the memory of Jose Torres Bugallon, in the year 1954, the people of Bugallon organized an association in the name of GEN. JOSE TORRES BUGALLON with Mr. Antonio S. Canullas as the association’s founder and first President. A monument of the hero was constructed in the present plaza. The bones of General Jose Torres Bugallon were exhumed on January 12, 1958 and were placed at the foot of the monument.