José Torres Bugallón y Gonzales was a Philippine military officer who played a pivotal role in two of the country’s most critical wars – the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War. Born in Salasa, Pangasinan on August 28, 1873, Bugallón had a rich academic background, having studied at San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, and later at the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1889. He later went to the Academia Militar de Toledo to study military science, after which he was commissioned in the Spanish Army with the rank of second lieutenant and sent to the Philippines.
When the Philippine Revolution broke out, Bugallón exhibited bravery and heroism at the Battle of Talisay in Batangas, which earned him several military honors, including the Cross of María Cristina and the Cruz Roja del Merito Militar. With the Treaty of Paris signed in 1898, Bugallón received his clearance papers and eventually joined the Philippine Revolutionary Army during the Philippine-American War. As aide-de-camp to Antonio Luna, the head of the Philippine Army, Bugallón was instrumental in reorganizing the army, becoming an invaluable officer to Luna.
Unfortunately, Bugallón’s life was cut short on February 4, 1899, during the Philippine-American War. At the Battle of La Loma, Bugallón sustained a bullet wound in his thigh and was later found severely wounded in a ditch by Luna. Despite being rushed to the medical station in Caloocan, Bugallón passed away. For his bravery, Luna instantly promoted him to lieutenant colonel.
To perpetuate Bugallón’s memory, Congressman Mauro Navarro of Pangasinan sponsored a law that changed the municipality of Salasa to Bugallon. Today, Bugallón’s remains are buried in the Sampaloc Church in Manila, and a marker and monument have been erected in his birthplace, Bugallon, Pangasinan, to honor his contributions to Philippine history.