Who is General Cailles?

The General Cailles Memorial District Hospital in Tavera Street, Pakil is one of the first hospitals established in Laguna. It was built in 1957 under the watch of Dr. Jose Kamatoy who was at that time the head of the Laguna Provincial Hospital in Sta. Cruz. But who is General Cailles?

Although he hasn’t received the recognition and name recall like Gen. Del Pilar, Gen. Malvar, Gen. Luna and other top generals during the revolt against Spain and Philippine-American War, General Juan Cailles was able to accomplish a lot of things both as a revolutionary and as a statesman after the war.

Born in Nasugbu, Batangas to a French musician, Hipolito Cailles and a Hindu mother, Maria Caupama, Juan Cailles was the sixth child of seven siblings. After graduating from the Escuela Normal in Manila, a school run by Jesuits he became a schoolteacher in Cavite. For 5 years, he taught in the public schools of Amaya, Tanza and Rosario in the province of Cavite before joining the Bonifacio’s Magdiwang Council. He later joined Aguinaldo’s Magdalo forces.

He was a commanding officer of Batallon Trias under the regiment of Gen. Mariano Noriel. In one encounter with the Spaniards, Generals Candido Tirona, Edilberto Evangelista and Crispulo Aguinaldo, all of whom were superior to Cailles, died during the battle.  He then rose from the ranks, becoming Lieutenant Colonel in 1898, then Colonel in 1899. He was then promoted by Aguinaldo to brigadier general and appointed as military governor for Laguna and Tayabas (now Quezon province) in 1898-1899.

In the Philippine-American War, he was the commanding General of the Battle of Mabitac  (Sept 17, 1900) which resulted in a victory for the Filipinos. In this engagement, Cailles’ troops were able to outmaneuver a bigger American contingent.

Although, there was not much written about General Cailles, he was a problem to the Americans. In an NYTimes article published on May 1901, the following were written:

“Cailles’ surrender is not expected. If he should come into the American lines it would be to die. His crimes are so many and so serious that it would be impossible to pardon him, and he knows it. It is expected that Cailles will fight to the last, and Gen. MacArthur is expected to bend all his energies to hunting him down.”

On June 20, 1901, he surrendered to the Americans and worked with the Americans in rebuilding the country.  Cailles then served as the governor of Laguna from 1901 to 1910, and again from 1916 to 1925. He was then appointed  by General Leonard Wood as representative of Mountain Province to the Philippine Legislature in 1925 and reappointed in 1928. He was then again elected as governor in 1931 and re-elected in 1934.

In 1935, with the help of the Philippine Constabulary, he was able to suppress the Sakdalista uprising in Santa Rosa and Cabuyao in the Laguna. He was also instrumental in the campaign to capture the notorious bandit, Teodoro Asedillo, the “Terror of the Sierra Madre.”

Juan Cailles died on June 28, 1951 due to a heart disease.



Faustin Pantua (September 21, 1900), Report of attack on town of Mabitac, 21 September 1900 [translated from the original Spanish text by E. D. Bass]

http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch?query=juan+cailles&more=date_all&less=multimedia (articles in PDF format)

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