Many say that behind every great man, is a woman. This is often true because it is believed that a man and his lover would be able to balance each other out in order for both parties to achieve their own success. As another Independence day approaches, we remember the heroes who gave us the freedom we have today. But it might be time to also remember some of the women who kept our heroes’ feet on the ground.
1. Leonor Rivera
Jose Rizal, our most well-known hero is often called a ladies’ man because according to history, he had a long list of flings and lovers. But one girl who truly stood out from the list is Leonor Rivera. Rizal and Rivera met when she was only 14 years and he was 16. They grew fond of each other but by the time Rizal aged 18, he had to leave. He left her a poem bidding her farewell. When Rizal came back to the Philippines almost everyone forbade him to meet with Leonora in order to ensure her safety because she became the inspiration for the character of Maria Clara in Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo which sparked the drive of the Filipinos to fully revolt against the Spaniards. Rizal pleaded to his father to meet one last time with Leonor before he leaves the country again, but the meeting did not happen because at the time, an engineer was courting Leonor whom her mother favored more.
2. Gregoria de Jesus/Aling Oriang
Andres Bonifacio is known for being the founder and Supremo of the katipunan. People often described Bonifacio as reserved, smart, and well-mannered. But underneath that reserved and guarded character, he was subtly a huge romantic. After his first wife, Monica, died; it was too early for Andres to give up on love. So he set a new course to court the lovely Oriang. He always drops by Oriang’s hme to let her and her parents know his intentions and plans with the lady. But his parents did not take it well and disapproved of Bonifacio due to his membership in Masonriya. But after a few months, Oriang had fallen for the hero as well. Despite the lack of blessing from Oriang’s parents, the couple married in secret in the year 1894.
3. Ysidra Cojuangco
Ysidra and Antonio Luna were alleged to have met in Paniqui on one of the general’s trips in maintaining control on the railways. is the daughter of a Chinese carpenter and artisan from China named, Co Yu Huan, who was later baptized as Jose “Ingkong” Cojuangco through Roman Catholic rites. She is the eldest of the three – her siblings, Melecio and Chanito. Ysidra and Luna are often regarded as a secret love affair thus never confirming that they were in fact official. But many say that before Antonio Luna was assassinated, he left his wealth from the war to Ysidra which kicked off the wealth of the Cojuangcos.
4. María Josefa Gabriela Cariño Silang
Gabriela Silang was a Filipino revolutionary leader best known as the first female leader of a Filipino movement for independence from Spain.She took over the reins of her husband Diego Silang's revolutionary movement after his assassination in 1763, leading the Ilocano rebel movement for four months before she was captured and executed by the colonial government of the Spanish East Indies.
In present times, a political party-list that advocates women empowerment is named after Gabriela Silang.
5. Dolores Nable Jose
Dolores came to be known as Goyo’s great last love–her name embroidered in a handkerchief recovered by the Americans from Del Pilar’s lifeless body in Tirad Pass. Before her, there were numerous young women who captivated the boy general’s heart. After all, historians often describe him as a “Romeo with a Juliet in every town.”
It has been said that despite Gregorio del Pilar being a big ladies man, Dolores was the woman who inspired him to put an end to war because he wanted to marry her. Too bad it was all too late for that to happen.
Despite having it all – honor, wealth, and brains, it is still important to have someone to keep you grounded. These women allowed our heroes to take risks. They gave their men new perspectives. But most importantly, they stood by their side as long as they could and would be the home that these men could run off to.