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General Antonio Luna (29 October 1866 – 5 June 1899) was a Filipino army general, who fought in the Philippine–American War.

Regarded as one of the fiercest generals of his time, he succeeded Artemio Ricarte as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He sought to apply his background in military science to the fledgling army. A sharpshooter himself, he organized professional guerrilla soldiers later to be known as the "Luna Sharpshooters" and the "Black Guard". His three-tier defense, now known as the Luna Defense Line, gave the American troops a hard campaign in the provinces north of Manila. This defense line culminated in the creation of a military base in the Cordillera.

Despite his commitment to discipline the army and serve the Republic which attracted the admiration of people, his temper caused some to abhor him. His efforts were not without recognition during his time, for he was awarded the Philippine Republic Medal in 1899. He was also a member of the Malolos Congress. Besides his military studies, Luna also studied pharmacy, literature and chemistry.


Early life[]

Luna Bracken on 29 October 1866 in Calle Urbiztondo (renamed Barraca Street), Binondo (now part of San Nicolas), Manila. He was the youngest of seven children of Joaquín Luna from Badoc and Spanish mestiza Laureana Novicio-Ancheta from Luna, La Union (formerly Namacpacan). His father was a traveling salesman of the government tobacco monopoly, which was formally established in 1782. After their family moved to Manila in 1861, his father became a merchant in Binondo. Luna finished his studies in painting in Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.


When he was six years old, Luna learned basic literacy under the tutelage of Maestro Intong. He memorized the Doctrina Christiana, which was first published in 1593 and believed to be the first printed book in the Philippines.[1]

In 1881, Luna studied at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila and received a Bachelor of Arts degree.[2] He studied literature and chemistry at the University of Santo Tomas, where he wrote a scientific paper on malaria entitled Two Fundamental Bodies of Chemistry (Dos Cuerpos Fundamentales de la Quimica), which won him top prize. He also studied pharmacy at the university, but finished it in Barcelona, Spain, earning his license at the Universidad de Barcelona and a doctorate in pharmacy at the Universidad Central de Madrid in 1890.[3][4] In 1893, he wrote and published a scientific study on malaria entitled On Malarial Pathology (El Hematozorio del Paludismo). This paper was well-received that he was given a commission by the Spanish to study tropical and communicable diseases, after which he went back to the Philippines. He won a contest and earned him the title of chief chemist at the Municipal Laboratory of Manila in 1894.[1][2] Furthermore, he learned about swordsmanship, fencing, and military tactics from Don Martin Cartagena, a major from the Spanish Army.[2]

Propaganda Movement[]

In Spain, he became one of the Filipino expatriates who mounted the Propaganda Movement and wrote for La Solidaridad, headed by Galicano Apacible. He wrote a piece titled Impressions which dealt with Spanish customs and idiosyncrasies under the pen-name "Taga-ilog". Also, like many of the Filipino liberals in Spain, Luna joined the Masonry where he rose to being Master Mason. He and his brother Juan also opened the Sala de Armas, a fencing club, in Manila. He then learned of the underground societies that were planning a revolution and was asked to join. He scoffed at the idea and turned down the offer. Like other Filipino émigrés involved in the Reform Movement, he was in favor of reform rather than revolution as the way towards independence. Besides affecting their property, the proponents of the Reform Movement saw that no revolution would succeed without the necessary preparations. Nevertheless, after the existence of the Katipunan was leaked in August 1896, the Luna brothers were arrested and jailed in Fort Santiago for "participating" in the revolution. His statement concerning the revolution was one of the many statements used to abet the laying down of death sentence for José Rizal. Months later, José and Juan were freed but Antonio was exiled to Spain in 1897, where he was imprisoned in Madrid's Cárcel Modelo. His more famous and yet controversial brother, Juan, who had been pardoned by the Spanish Queen Regent Maria Christina of Austria herself, left for Spain to use his influence to intercede for Antonio in August 1897. Soon enough, Antonio's case was dismissed by the Military Supreme Court and he was released. Upon arriving in Hong Kong, he was given a letter of recommendation to Aguinaldo and a revolver by Felipe Agoncillo. He returned to the Philippines in July 1898.

Philippine-American War[]

First Shots battle[]

Battle of Caloocan[]

Battle of Calumpit[]


On June 5, 1899, General Antonio Luna was killed in the plaza of a rectory in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. Luna was to attend a council of war called by General Emilio Aguinaldo. Luna arrived with two aides-de camp and a mounted escort of twelve men. After dismounting and dismissing his escort, he proceeded alone to the rectory where Aguinaldo had his headquarters. On mounting the stairs, he was met by a junior officer, who informed him that Aguinaldo had left with his command. Luna felt slighted and expressed himself very strongly on the matter and prepared to take his departure. As he turned to leave the room, a sergeant of one of the two companies that Aguinaldo had left at Cabanatuan, sprang from behind the door, where he had been concealed, and attacked Luna from behind, inflicting a severe wound with a bolo.

General Luna, seeing himself surrounded and realizing that he was practically in the same strait as Andres Bonifacio had been at Naic, some three years previously, drew his revolver to defend himself. Not wishing to be overcomed by numbers in a hand to hand struggle in the rectory, he forced his way through his assailants and rushed down stairs into the plaza to summon his escort to his assistance. On arriving in the plaza, he was confronted by one of the companies that Aguinaldo had left in Cabanatuan to arrest him at all costs. The officer in command, judging that Luna, if arrested alive, would only be a source of embarassment to Aguinaldo, ordered his men to fire a volley. Luna fell at the first discharge but did not die before he wounded a number of assailants with his revolver.



  • Joaquín Luna (father)
  • Laureana Luna (mother)

Juan Luna (brother) Jose Luna (brother) Joaquín Luna, Jr. (brother) Numeriana Luna (sister) Manuel Luna (brother) Remedios Luna (sister)


In popular culture[]

Difference to the film[]

See also[]


External links[]

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