Story and photos by: Ednalyn Belonio-Diamante
BADIANGAN, Iloilo – A 15-year-old Girl Scout from this town earned her community’s admiration for leading the rediscovery and restoration of their local hero’s shrine.
Hidden in a forested area of Tamocol village here is the long lost monument of Capt. Agustin Tirador, an Ilonggo guerrilla hero who led the resistance against American occupiers in the 1900s.
The sad state of Capt. Tirador’s memorial is not surprising as Tamocol is hard to reach. Only motorcycles and trucks can navigate the steep and muddy road to the village.
But this did not discourage Claire Ann Cortuna to lead efforts to rediscover and restore the memorial that was literally buried under the bushes and relegated in our memories.
Cortuna is a Chief Girl Scout Medal Scheme candidate and she chose to restore a cultural heritage as part of her project.
She led a group of fellow Girl Scouts in clearing the lot where the monument was located. Their effort attracted the attention of the municipal government which sent a team to help with the clearing operations.
On Nov 9, 2019, municipal officials of Badiangan and barangays officials of Tamocol gathered and pledged to help develop and restore the monument.
Trees and bushes covered the entire monument that depicts how Tirador’s son Matias helped carried his wounded father out of the battle field.
Tirador’s monument, which was constructed in 1968, depicts how the local hero’s son Matias carried his wounded father out of the battlefield.
Badiangan Mayor Serafin Villa Jr. said they will do their best to help make the place beautiful and accessible to visitors.
Villa also rallied for support from land owners in the area where the monument stands as he believes it would help boast their tourism if the place is developed.
He added that the move of Cortuna was a wakeup call for them to value and honor the sacrifices of Capt. Tirador who fought for their freedom
“It is something we can be truly proud of,” he added.
Villa admitted that not all people of Badiangan knew the life and heroism of Capt. Tirador.
For her part, Cortuna said “I decided to work on this project to give honor and importance to Capt. Agustin Tirador and son Matias. And finally the realization of my dream has started and I hope that with the support of the local government units and the Barangays Officials, this project will spring board any improvements in this community and the municipality of Badiangan.”
Also present in the simple program last Saturday was the great grand-daughter of Tirador, Ma. Consuelo, she emotionally thanked those behind the restoration project.
Even Ma. Consuelo admitted it was the first time she saw her forbear’s monument.
She also called on everyone to be reminded of “the fighting spirit of her great grandfather who led the people against oppression and subjugation of the enemies during the war.”