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Januario Galut: The Alleged Tingguian-Igorot Traitor of Tirad Pass

Who is Januario Galut? A Tingguian-Igorot figure, regarded as a traitor during the Battle of Tirad Pass among Filipinos.

Dive into Januario Galut's story, exploring debates on his alleged betrayal in the Battle of Tirad Pass. Uncover complexities, challenge narratives, and gain a nuanced understanding of this Tingguian-Igorot figure.

Januario Galut, a Tingguian-Igorot figure in Philippine history, gained notoriety for his alleged betrayal during the Battle of Tirad Pass in the Philippine-American War. This historical event has become a subject of debate, with conflicting narratives challenging established perspectives.

This article delves into the complexities surrounding Januario Galut, aiming to unravel the enigma shrouding his actions. We navigate through varying historical accounts, shedding light on the intricacies that define his role in this pivotal moment.

The controversy extends beyond written history to cinematic interpretations. Movies and historical sources present differing views, prompting us to question the true nature of Galut's involvement in the Battle of Tirad Pass.

Our exploration challenges prevailing depictions, urging a nuanced understanding of Januario Galut's historical significance as a Tingguian-Igorot. By peeling back layers of this controversy, we seek clarity on a figure whose legacy has been obscured by conflicting narratives.

Embark on this journey through time with us as we uncover the truth behind Januario Galut's actions and the ongoing debate surrounding his legacy. In doing so, we contribute to a richer understanding of the intricate dynamics shaping Philippine history.

Galut's Alleged Betrayal

Januario Galut, a Tingguian Igorot figure, took a pivotal role in the Battle of Tirad Pass in 1899, leading the 33rd Infantry Regiment of the United States Volunteers. His actions facilitated the strategic encirclement and defeat of 60 Filipinos, including General Gregorio del Pilar, under the command of Major Peyton March.

The Igorot's Dilemma in the Philippine-American War

As the conflict between Americans and Filipinos unfolded, the Igorot, mountain dwellers from the Cordilleras, sent a contingent to join the fight at Caloocan. Armed with spears, axes, and shields, they faced a daunting choice - engage Americans with superior firepower or seek an alternative path.

Faced with the impracticality of battling Americans with rifles and artillery, the Igorot group, including Galut, disassociated from the Philippine Army. They chose to align with the Americans, becoming invaluable guides for the U.S. troops in the challenging terrain of northern Luzon.

Tingguian Igorots with an American medic, they were captured after the Battle of Caloocan.

Galut's Controversial Legacy

Galut's decision to collaborate with the Americans branded him a traitor among Filipinos. This raises intriguing questions about loyalty, especially considering the discrimination the Igorot people endured from lowlanders. The complexity of Galut's allegiance lies at the intersection of war, survival, and the intricate dynamics of loyalty during a tumultuous period in Philippine history.

The only existing documentation linking Galut to these actions emerges from the testimony of the U.S. Texas Regiment, participants in the Battle of Tirad Pass.

Igorot troops captured after the Battle of Caloocan

Galut's Identity: Historian's Perspective

Historian Michael "Xiao" Chua delves into the intricate layers of Januario Galut's identity, challenging conventional notions and presenting a nuanced perspective on this controversial figure.

Unraveling the Tingguian Igorot Claim

Chua's exploration questions the widely accepted characterization of Galut as a Tingguian Igorot. The Tingguians, indigenous people from the Cordilleras, have a distinct cultural identity, and the assertion that Galut belonged to this group introduces complexities to his narrative.

Tingguian Igorot or Lowland Merchant?

One of the primary challenges to this claim comes from the revelation that Galut may not have been an Igorot at all. Accounts suggest he was a lowland merchant from Candon, Ilocos Sur, engaged in regular trade with the Bag-o ethnolinguistic group.

Ambiguities Surrounding Galut's Origin

Chua's research sheds light on the ambiguity surrounding Galut's origin. While historical records initially labeled him as an Igorot, testimonies from local sources and Chua's inquiries paint a different picture, hinting at a possible connection to lowland communities.

The Complexity of Historical Identity

Chua's perspective highlights the complexity of assigning identities in historical narratives. Galut's story becomes a tapestry woven with threads of uncertainty, challenging us to reevaluate preconceived notions and consider alternative interpretations.

Chua's Account: Galut's Alleged Betrayal

Chua's account, based on conversations with local history researcher Isagani Giron, reveals fascinating details about Januario Galut's life. Giron's encounters with elders from the Bag-o ethnolinguistic group in Gregorio del Pilar town challenge the historical narrative that Galut was a Tingguian Igorot.

Intriguingly, Giron learned that Galut, rather than being an Igorot, was a lowland merchant from Candon, Ilocos Sur. This revelation contradicts the prevailing belief about Galut's indigenous identity. Giron's verification through interviews with Dr. Galut, a relative of Januario Galut, further corroborates this perspective.

Giron's journey also debunked the claim that the Americans buried General Gregorio del Pilar. Instead, it was two Bag-o men, Bonifacio Tucdaden and Manuel Abeng, who performed this act. The insights from Giron's research prompt a crucial question: What motivated Galut's actions during the Battle of Tirad Pass?

Galut's Motivations: A Dilemma

Giron encourages reflection on the motivations behind Galut's actions. Was it a betrayal or a survival strategy compelled by circumstances? While acknowledging that Galut might have been paid by the Americans, Giron raises poignant questions about the complexities individuals face during times of war. The dilemmas presented-choosing between dying for a cause and surviving for another day-underscore the challenges citizens confront in tumultuous times.

Chua's account and Giron's revelations add layers of complexity to the narrative, challenging preconceptions and urging a deeper understanding of Januario Galut's historical identity and motivations.

Quirino, Ilocos Sur: Local Perspectives

Van Jasper Balonzo Biado's insights from Quirino, Ilocos Sur, offer a local lens into Januario Galut's background, adding layers of complexity to the narrative surrounding this controversial figure.

Balonzo Biado's Account

Balonzo Biado's exploration into Galut's history reveals a tapestry woven with conflicting beliefs. As a resident of Quirino, Ilocos Sur, he provides a unique perspective on Galut's origin and his alleged involvement in the Battle of Pasong Tirad.

Conflicting Beliefs in Quirino

The local beliefs about Galut's origin present a divergence from historical accounts. While some sources label him as a Tingguian Igorot, the insights from Quirino challenge this characterization. According to an interview with Jose Prudencio Galut, a resident of the area, Januario Galut might not have been their ancestor, raising questions about his true lineage.

Juan Almarez's Role

One intriguing aspect introduced by local perspectives is the role of Juan Almarez alias "Manabeng" from Sigay, Ilocos Sur, in the Battle of Pasong Tirad. Some locals assert that Almarez, not Galut, guided the Americans and even took part in burying the body of General Gregorio Del Pilar. The conflicting narratives surrounding the guidance provided to the Americans present a historical puzzle.

Lakay Arsenio Galangco's Perspective

Lakay Arsenio Galangco, a resident of Saoil, adds another layer to the narrative. In an interview, he expresses unfamiliarity with Januario Galut's involvement in the battle, challenging the widely accepted notion. Galangco denies any knowledge of Galut being an Igorot, instead describing him as a lowlander living in Candon and engaging in basket weaving.

Local Elders' Insights

Insights from local elders further emphasize that Januario Galut was not an Igorot but rather an interpreter for Juan Almarez. The lack of clarity regarding Galut's origin and his role in the Pasong Tirad battle becomes a point of contention, stirring strife and debate between Ilokano and Igorot communities.

Clarifying Galut's Role

The local perspectives from Quirino, Ilocos Sur, contribute to the ongoing debate surrounding Januario Galut. The hidden story of Pasong Tirad emerges as a source of strife, urging a collective effort to clarify and disseminate this piece of Philippines' history for the broader understanding of the Filipino people.

General Gregorio del Pilar and his troops in Pampanga, around 1898 (Philippine-American War).

Different Versions of Pasong Tirad Battle

Explore the diverse narratives surrounding the Battle of Pasong Tirad, shedding light on the conflicting accounts that have fueled historical debates.

The Role of Juan Almarez alias "Manabeng"

One intriguing aspect of the varying versions of the Pasong Tirad Battle is the role attributed to Juan Almarez, also known as "Manabeng." According to local sources, Manabeng from Sigay, Ilocos Sur, played a crucial role in guiding the Americans. Some assert that he not only guided them but also participated in burying the body of General Gregorio Del Pilar, challenging the conventional narrative.

Conflicting Accounts on American Guidance

The narratives surrounding the guidance provided to the Americans diverge significantly. While historical records often point to Januario Galut as the guide who led the Americans, local perspectives introduce Manabeng as a potential alternative. Clarifying who played a more pivotal role in guiding the Americans becomes a point of contention.

Burial of General Gregorio Del Pilar

Another point of contention in the various versions is the burial of General Gregorio Del Pilar. Local sources, including the accounts of Bonifacio Tucdaden and Manuel Abeng, challenge the widely accepted notion that Januario Galut was involved in burying Del Pilar. The conflicting accounts raise questions about the accuracy of historical records and the need for a reevaluation of these events.

Lakay Arsenio Galangco's Contradictory Perspective

Adding to the complexity, Lakay Arsenio Galangco from Saoil contradicts the widely accepted narrative. In an interview, he expresses ignorance about Januario Galut's involvement in the Battle of Pasong Tirad, challenging the historical consensus. Galangco's perspective raises doubts about the accuracy of Galut's role in the battle and emphasizes the need for a comprehensive reexamination.

Unraveling Historical Complexities

The conflicting versions of the Pasong Tirad Battle highlight the historical complexities and the challenge of unraveling the truth. Different perspectives on who guided the Americans and the burial of General Gregorio Del Pilar contribute to the ongoing debate, urging a more nuanced understanding of this pivotal moment in Philippine history.

Debunking Myths: Galut's Recognition

Exploring the debate surrounding Januario Galut's recognition, the testimonies of Leonardo Alaos and Arthur Alos, both residents from Del Pilar, contribute to the contested historical narrative.

Leonardo Alaos' Testimony

Leonardo Alaos, then 63 years old, and an elderly resident from Concepcion, Ilocos Sur, living in Middle Quirino Hill, Baguio City, affirmed during an interview on November 30, 2010, that he is from -Del Pilar is Januario Galut. This assertion adds a layer of local validation to Galut's connection to the region.

Arthur Alos' High School Insights

Arthur Alos, then 38 years old, recalls his high school days, emphasizing that Januario Galut, originally from Mabatano, Gregorio Del Pilar (Conception), Ilocos Sur, was recognized in the community. Alos' perspective aligns with the local acknowledgment of Galut's ties to the region.

The Complex Tapestry of Recognition

The belief in Januario Galut's recognition becomes a complex tapestry, woven with testimonies from residents and individuals familiar with the historical figure. As Alos reflects on their high school days, the acknowledgment of Galut's identity adds another dimension to the ongoing debate, challenging conflicting beliefs and emphasizing the need for a comprehensive understanding of historical figures.

Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral and Continued Controversy

The film "Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral" introduces Januario Galut in a controversial light, sparking discussions about the accuracy of his portrayal and the complexities of his role in the Battle of Tirad Pass.

Discrimination Faced by Local Communities

The film portrays a poignant scene featuring two vendors facing discrimination from fellow Filipino soldiers. One, an Igorot clad in traditional bahag, and the other, appearing to be a non-Igorot, wearing pants, a round necklace, bracelets, and carrying a bow, face similar abuse. This character is assumed to represent Januario Galut.

Divergent Paths: Igorot Ally and Galut's Alleged Betrayal

Igorot Ally's Contribution

The Igorot Guide, portrayed by Roderick Maguigad, despite facing discrimination, becomes a crucial ally to Aguinaldo's team. He aids them in navigating the challenging mountain terrain, showcasing resilience and loyalty to the Filipino forces. Additionally, the film highlights the warm welcome extended by communities in Cervantes, including Igorot participants playing gongs and depicted as headhunters.

Galut's Alleged Betrayal

Contrastingly, Januario Galut, portrayed by Nel Estuya, definitively takes a different path. He guides the Americans to General Gregorio del Pilar's location, challenging the traditional narrative of betrayal. The film leaves viewers questioning the motivations behind Galut's actions, introducing a layer of complexity to his role in the historical events.

Lessons in Nuanced Storytelling

The controversy surrounding Galut's portrayal underscores the importance of nuanced storytelling in historical films. It calls on audiences to critically engage with characters and events, recognizing the complexity of history and the individuals involved.

Diversity of Responses in Communities

The film showcases the discrimination faced by local communities, highlighting the diverse responses and alliances within different communities during this pivotal period in Philippine history.

Historical Significance and Ongoing Debate

Januario Galut's story fuels a broader debate not only within Ilokano and Igorot communities but among Filipinos at large. This narrative serves as a catalyst for discussions on the need for clear historical understanding and unity in unraveling the complexities of the nation's past.

Galut's Impact on Filipino Identity

The controversy surrounding Galut transcends regional boundaries, resonating with Filipinos across diverse communities. His story prompts reflections on identity, loyalty, and the challenges faced by individuals in times of war.

Galut as a Symbol of National Dialogue

Galut becomes a symbol for a national dialogue, sparking conversations about the intricacies of Filipino history. The ongoing debate encourages Filipinos to confront historical ambiguities, fostering a deeper connection to the shared narrative of the nation.

The discussions around Galut navigate through contested narratives, acknowledging the multifaceted nature of historical events. It prompts a collective effort to sift through perspectives, fostering a more comprehensive understanding of the complexities surrounding the Battle of Tirad Pass.

Clarity for a Unified History

The quest for clarity in Galut's story aligns with a broader aspiration for a unified history. Filipinos recognize the importance of revisiting past events, ensuring that historical narratives reflect the diverse experiences that have shaped the nation.

Galut's Role in National Reckoning

Galut's role in the ongoing debate serves as a critical component in the national reckoning with the past. As Filipinos engage in these discussions, they contribute to a more inclusive and nuanced interpretation of historical events, ultimately strengthening the bonds that unite the Filipino people.

When you're dehydrated and they offer you a sugarcane


Summing up Januario Galut's story, it's evident that history isn't a straightforward narrative but a mix of various perspectives. Insights from historians, local voices, and even cinematic portrayals uncover a complex tale.

Exploring Galut's role in the Battle of Tirad Pass emphasizes the importance of understanding history with depth. It goes beyond Ilokano or Igorot views; it's a shared journey for all Filipinos.

This exploration encourages us to embrace uncertainty, fostering a more profound grasp of our collective past. Januario Galut's legacy reminds us that history, much like life, is intricate, layered, and subject to interpretation.


1. What is the Tingguian-Igorot controversy surrounding Januario Galut?

Januario Galut's identity has sparked debates, with claims challenging his characterization as a Tingguian-Igorot. The controversy delves into the complexities of historical narratives and the need for a nuanced understanding.

2. How does the film "Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral" portray Januario Galut?

The film depicts Galut in a controversial light, prompting discussions on the accuracy of his portrayal and the complexities of his role in the Battle of Tirad Pass. The narrative raises questions about historical accuracy and the challenges of representing complex figures.

3. What are the conflicting accounts about Januario Galut's role in the Battle of Pasong Tirad?

Local perspectives from Quirino, Ilocos Sur, introduce conflicting beliefs about Galut's origin and involvement in the battle. The narratives present a historical puzzle, challenging established views and urging a collective effort to clarify Philippines' history.

4. How do historical perspectives on Januario Galut differ?

Historian Michael "Xiao" Chua challenges the widely accepted characterization of Galut as a Tingguian-Igorot, introducing the possibility that he may not have been an Igorot at all. The research emphasizes the complexity of historical identity and the uncertainties surrounding Galut's origin.

5. What is the impact of Januario Galut's story on the Ilokano and Igorot communities?

Galut's story has ignited a debate between Ilokano and Igorot communities, highlighting the need for clarity and understanding in the broader history of the Philippines. The impact extends beyond regional boundaries, resonating with Filipinos across diverse communities.

6. How does the Battle of Tirad Pass reflect the complexities of alliances during the Philippine-American War?

The battle unveils intricate alliances, with the Igorot facing a dilemma in choosing between engaging Americans with inferior firepower or seeking alternative paths. Januario Galut's collaboration with the U.S. troops adds layers of complexity to the dynamics of loyalty and survival during a tumultuous period.

7. What is the significance of Januario Galut's recognition in local testimonies?

Local testimonies, such as those from Leonardo Alaos and Arthur Alos, add layers to the debate by recognizing Januario Galut as a figure from the region. The acknowledgment of Galut's identity becomes a complex tapestry woven with conflicting beliefs, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive understanding.

8. How does the Battle of Tirad Pass challenge traditional narratives about loyalty and betrayal?

Galut's decision to collaborate with the Americans challenges traditional notions of loyalty and betrayal. The complexities of his allegiance reflect the challenges individuals faced during a tumultuous period in Philippine history, prompting reflection on the motivations behind his actions.

9. What is the role of cinematic portrayals in shaping perceptions of historical figures like Januario Galut?

The film "Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral" introduces Galut in a controversial light, sparking discussions about the accuracy of his portrayal. This raises questions about the role of cinematic interpretations in shaping perceptions of historical figures and the challenges of representing complex narratives.

10. How can we achieve a more nuanced understanding of Januario Galut's history?

Achieving a nuanced understanding requires navigating through conflicting narratives, exploring historical complexities, and challenging prevailing depictions. By peeling back layers of the controversy, we contribute to a richer understanding of Januario Galut's historical significance in the broader context of Philippine history.

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