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Naval Station Pascual Ledesma

(Fort San Felipe)

Kuta ng San Felipe Neri
Part of Naval Base Cavite
Cavite City
Type Naval Station
Coordinates Latitude: 14.482553
Longitude: 120.911601
Location code NSPL
Built 1609 (1609)
Built by Spanish forces
Construction
materials
Concrete and Granite
Current
owner
Philippine Navy
Controlled by PhilippinesRepublic of the Philippines
Garrison

Naval Sea Systems Command
Naval Logistics Center

Cavite Naval Hospital
Current
commander
COMMO ROMEO SANTIAGO O NEBRES AFP

Fort San Felipe (also known as Naval Station Pascual Ledesma or Filipino language: Kuta ng San Felipe Neri) is a military structure constructed by Spanish forces in 1609 to protect a part of the then growing Cavite Puerto. The old structure was made of granite blocks, 30-foot high walls, and a wide stairway leading to the top of the fort. Naval memorabilia including antique cannons and cannon balls decorate the lawns. Today, Fort San Felipe is a nine-hectare land under the administration of Naval Base Cavite of the Philippine Navy, that provides support services such as refueling, re-watering, shore power connections, berthing, ferry services, tugboat assistance, sludge disposal services and military housing.[1][2][3]

History[edit | edit source]

As early as 1591, Gov. Gomez Perez Dasmariñas recognized the strategic importance of Cavite as the “gate way to the city” and moved toward its fortification. It was in fact at this isthmus, two decades earlier, that Miguel de Legazpi hid his ships prior to the attack in Manila.[4]

Construction[edit | edit source]

Constructed between 1609 and 1616, Fort San Felipe is the first military fortress built in the province of Cavite during the time of then Governor Juan de Silua. On August 1663, Governor Sabiniano Manrique de Lara ordered the construction of a platform that will handle 10 cannons. After some years, four more platforms followed and were named after Catholic saints, and four churches (San Francisco, Santo Domingo, San Nicolas, and one administered by the Society of Jesus) were demolished to enhance security measures.[5]

On August 14, 1782, a strong typhoon almost totally destroyed the whole fortification forcing the provincial military governor to order its reconstruction on March 22, 1819.[6]

The Cavite Conspiracy[edit | edit source]

Shortly before the Katipunan was uncovered, Emilio Aguinaldo was planning to attack the Spanish arsenal at Fort San Felipe and he enlisted other Katipuneros to recruit enough men so they could overrun the Spanish garrison. Their meetings were held at the house of Cabuco.

Aguinaldo and the other Katipuneros agreed that they would arm the inmates of the provincial jail who were made to work at the garrison. The task of recruiting the inmates was given to Lapidario, who was also the warden of the provincial jail. Aguado was to supply Lapidario with money to buy arms.

According to their plan, the uprising would be signalled by fireworks from the warehouse of Inocencio. Other leaders of the uprising were Luciano, Conchu, Pérez, Pablo José, Marcos José, and Juan Castañeda. The revolt was to start on September 1.

On August 26, Aguinaldo received a letter from Andrés Bonifacio who reported that a Katipunan assembly in Balintawak on August 24 decided to start the revolution on August 30, to be signalled by a blackout at the Luneta, then known as Bagumbayan. On the appointed day, Bonifacio and his men attacked the Spanish powder magazine in San Juan. Later that same day, the Spanish authorities declared martial law in Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.

Aguinaldo learned of the declaration of martial law in a meeting with Spanish Governor Fernando Pargas on the morning of August 31, 1896. He then went to Cabezas' haberdashery and ask him to inform to Lapidario that they had alternative but to rise in arms. Cabezas was the one who enlisted Lapidario for the planned uprising.

But Cabezas was not in favor of starting the revolt on August 31, 1896 so they discussed the uprising further. They decided to postpone the attack to September 3. However, the Spanish learned of the plan from a dressmaker named Victoriana Sayat and they immediately arrested Lapidario, de Ocampo and Aguado. The three were held incommunicado in the boat Ulloa and interrogated. They are presumed to have been tortured.

De Ocampo revealed the names of his companions and the thirteen suspects were rounded up on September 3 along with dozens of other Cavite leaders, including the musician Julián Felipe, who would compose the Philippine national anthem the following year. Felipe was incarcerated for nine months at Fort San Felipe. Also subsequently released were Pablo and Marcos José, and Juan Castañeda of Imus, who are also believed to have been involved in the uprising.

While awaiting trial, guilt-stricken de Ocampo tried to commit suicide by slashing his stomach with a piece of broken glass. However, he was included in the indictment for treason before a military court which found them guilty on September 11 after a four-hour trial.

At 12:45 p.m. the following day, the thirteen patriots were brought out of their cells and taken to the Plaza de Armas, outside Fort San Felipe, and executed by musketry. Their bodies were later buried in a common grave at the Catholic cemetery at the village of Caridad.

Later, the bodies of seven of the martyrs—Máximo Inocencio, Victorino Luciano, Francisco Osorio, Luis Aguado, Hugo Pérez, José Lallana, and Antonio San Agustín—were exhumed and reburied elsewhere. But the rest—Agapito Conchu, Máximo Gregorio, Alfonso de Ocampo, Eugenio Cabezas, Feliciano Cabuco, and Severino Lapidario remained unclaimed in their common grave.

In 1906, a monument to the Thirteen Martyrs was erected at the place where they were executed. Their families reinterred the remains of their loved ones at the foot of the monument. The capital of Cavite was renamed Trece Mártires in their honor and its 13 villages were named for each of the martyrs.

Cavite Mutiny of 1872[edit | edit source]

The Cavite Mutiny of 1872 was an uprising of military personnel of Fort San Felipe, the Spanish arsenal in Cavite, Philippines on January 20, 1872. Around 200 soldiers and laborers rose up in the belief that it would elevate to a national uprising. The mutiny was unsuccessful, and government soldiers executed many of the participants and began to crack down on a burgeoning nationalist movement. Many scholars believe that the Cavite Mutiny of 1872 was the beginning of Filipino nationalism that would eventually lead to the Philippine Revolution of 1896.[7]

The fort was subjected under an uprising led by Sergeant Francisco La Madrid, ending with the tragic garrote of Filipino priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora.[8][9]

World War II[edit | edit source]

In 1941, the 16th Naval District was established in Fort San Felipe during the American Colonial Period. It is the same place that Japanese forces used as a headquarters after they conquered Cavite during the Second World War.[10]

Change of name[edit | edit source]

In line with Philippine Navy General Order number 229 dated 7 July 2009, the renaming of Navy installations gives honor to its predecessors in the military/naval service who fought for the protection of the nation's sovereignty, territorial integrity, democracy, and the maritime interests of the country. With this, Fort San Felipe was assigned the name Naval Station Pascual Ledesma.[11]

Major units[edit | edit source]

  • Naval Sea Systems Command - (NSSC formerly Naval Support Command, NASCOM), provides repair and maintenance of ships, aircraft and their weapons, communications and electronic equipment in order to sustain the naval defense capability of the Philippine Navy.
  • Naval Logistics Center - (NLC formerly Naval Supply Center), procures and maintains; manages supplies and materials; operates equipment and facilities and render related services in support of the logistics requirement of Philippine Navy units.
  • Cavite Naval Hospital - (CNH formerly Naval Station Hospital), provides hospital and outpatient medical service to Philippine Navy personnel and their dependents.[12]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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