Agueda Kahabagan y Iniquinto the only woman in the roster of generals of the Army of the Philippine Republic.

Agueda Kahabagan



Agueda Kahabagan y Iniquinto is referred to in the few sources that mention her as “Henerala Agueda”. Not so much is known about her but from snatches of information available, she was presumably a native of Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Henerala’s bravery in battle was legendary.

She was reportedly often seen in the battlefield dressed in white, armed with a rifle and brandishing a bolo. Apparently she was commissioned by General Miguel Malvar to lead a detachment of forces sometime in May 1897. Kahabagan was mentioned in connection with the attack led by General Artemio Ricarte on the Spanish garrison in San Pablo in October 1897. It was most probably General Pío del Pilar who recommended that she be granted the honorary title of Henerala. In March 1899, she was listed as the only woman in the roster of generals of the Army of the Philippine Republic.[1] She was appointed on January 4, 1899.



More information about ”Henerala Agueda” here:


Agueda Kahabagan was our first woman general. But do you know her?

by Paolo Vergara
It’s a great time for history buffs. Topics once deemed too nerdy now spill into the mainstream and into pop culture consciousness, through carefully-crafted and -researched movies like Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo (2014), Heneral Luna (2015) and Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral (2018).

Alongside Philippine folklore, history has been resurfacing here and there through articles, manga, or Twitter threads from professional researchers and passionate laypeople alike. Political awareness and once-forgotten issues from more than a hundred years (“Who killed Luna?”) add a dimension of urgency, too.

But there are stories still threatened by obscurity: a shelved book gathering dust is one thing. The lack of records another. Such is the case of many women who actively took part in the Philippines’ formative years. If their stories surface at all, it’s usually limited to the supporting roles they played for men.

Enter Agueda Kahabagan y Iniquinto, the only officially listed general during the Philippine Revolution of 1896-1898 and the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902.


“Good daughters and dutiful wives”

Records refer to a speech by a Mrs. C.F. Calderón before American socialite Alice Roosevelt in a 1905 Manila reception that contained interesting descriptions of Filipina women.

Calderón said Pre-Hispanic Filipinas were freer and had power equal to males in pre-colonial society but Spanish women “corrupted” in Mexico imported their “defects” to the Philippines. (Note that for most of the Spanish colonial period, our islands were governed from the “viceroyalty of New Spain.”)

The upbringing of the colonized Filipino woman rendered them “ignorant, frivolous, proud” and “gave little heed to her intellectual culture…confined to the external practices of Catholicism.”

Educational opportunities were scant as Calderón laments: “Such was the destiny of the woman of that social order—either mother or nun.” She also became aware, however, that business conducted through industrial capitalism changes how people relate with each other.

Calderón said it was under a social climate of thinly veiled ass-kissing where Henerala Agueda took a leap of faith and plunged into two wars that shaped the birth of the nation. So yes, she was a good daughter of the cause, and a dutiful mother of the nation.

Who is she?

Little is known about the Henerala. A Google-up reveals well-meaning articles and a Wikipedia page, all with much conjecture, but little confirmation (The search entry photo is of Gregoria de Jesus, wife of Andres Bonifacio).

“Not so much is known about her but from snatches of information available,” the Wikipedia page reads.Scout approached a number of professional historians who gave either leads while acknowledging their relative unfamiliarity with Agueda Kahabagan, or who did not respond at all.

A treasure trove of data may be waiting in the National Library and Lopez Museum, but as of press time, both are under renovation.

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