No one can ever forget the existence of General Antonio Luna. He is known to be brilliant, brave soldier and tactician of the second phase of the Revolution and the proverbial hothead.
Over the years, story told about General Antonio Luna’s life as a hero but with the researches made by Ambeth Ocampo, historian and chair of the National Historical Institute, General Luna can also be remembered as an excellent scientist.
Ocampo noted that Luna was a dandy based on his personal possessions and the contents of his traveling bags. But Ocampo also takes note of the fact that Luna took copious notes when he was a student and when he was what we would call today a postdoctoral researcher.
The historian was able to see the the personal papers and laboratory notebooks of General Luna in New York which belonged to Grace Luna, the wife of esteemed architect Andres Luna who was the son of the artist Juan Luna and nephew of the General.
He was amazed by the details of scientific observation and drawing in the notebooks. An essay was also published which focuses on Luna’s career as an excellent scientist. The information was taken from the definitive biography of Antonio Luna, which as written by Dr. Vivencio Jose, a history professor from the University of the Philippines.
Born on Oct. 29, 1866 in Binondo, Manila, Luna was trained professional scientist. At an early age, he showed expertise in science, especially chemistry. This was not lost to his Jesuit mentors at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila.
At the University of Santo Tomas, he studied chemistry and literature where he won first prize for the science essay “Dos Cuerpos Fundamentales de la Quimica.” It was during his student days at Santo Tomas where he studied marksmanship, military sciences and tactics under a Spanish Calvary officer. He also studied music. In 1886 he left for Madrid to complete a licentiate and later doctorate in Pharmacy in 1890. His doctoral thesis “El Hematozoario del Paludismo” was published in 1893 and was well received by medical scientists and physicians.
Aside from these, General Antonio Luna took a variety of specializations, which became part of the history of the Philippines.
He used his knowledge in studying and researching on military science, tactics, field fortifications, battalion tactics, national defense and organization in preparation for fighting in the Revolution.
Though he has great knowledge, he became a victim of factionalism and was assassinated in Cabanatuan by Filipino soldiers on June 5, 1899.
He died at an early age of 32 but will be remembered with his words for the liberation of Motherland.