G. SAMIKLAY – ROBINHOOD OF BUGUIAS

Samiklay was popularly known as a robber 'BUSO' not only in Buguias but also in the other neighboring towns of Benguet. That was one reason why there were migrations of families, especially in the later part of the 18th and early decades of 19th centuries to the other Cordillera towns and in the lowlands due to the rampant robbery activities of Samiklay and his followers. Coupled with that, was the advent of the epidemic called measles (boltong) just after the World War I, in the early 1900.

However, Samiklay is said to be misunderstood by his constituents. Many considered him a buso, which is different from the very principle he stood for. His philosophy in life was similar to that of Robinhood of England's knighthood days.

Samiklay was born a bastard from a Spanish soldier (guardia civil) with that of kankana-ey lass of Asin, Hungduan and Palatang, Baculongan, Buguias, Benguet. Contrary to the belief of many, that Samiklay was from the north, a "buso", from Bontoc, he was genuinely from Palatang, Buguias, through and through. He is of course a half- blooded European, hence his muscular body - make up and high ridge pointed nose. He was tall and handsome, really a Spanish mestizo. Being a mestizo, he was gregarious and very adventurous, daring, and hot tempered. Seeing the sufferings of his people, he began his robbery activities. He robs the animals of the rich people, butchers it and distributes the meat to his people. Not contented of robbing the wealthy people of their animals, he indulged in getting valuable property, like jars, gongs, copper pots, gold and coins. The coins available during those days were that of the Mexican and Spanish coins brought by the Spaniards during Galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco, Mexico. The poor people who used to go with Samiklay and his robbery activities shared these valuables. When he goes outside of Buguias, many of the people along his way joined him in his band, and when they returned home, they shared whatever loots they got. Samiklay continued his activities beyond the province. He was known to have gone to the lowlands with his band and carries with them whatever the robbed.

But there is always an end to any activity. Samiklay's robbery activities, Robinhood style, must have to end. God, perhaps, does not like to tolerate it, because while the intent of Samiklay was good, the abuses of his followers were destroying the original purpose of his robbery activities. So, one, day, Samiklay had planned to rob the treasury office of Atok. Before reaching the Municipal hall, in an adjacent outlying, mountain nearby, Samiklay instructed his "manbunong" (prayerman) to sacrifice a chicken, to find out as it may be shown in the vile of the chicken, if the raid will be successful. It was always customary for Samiklay to sacrifice a chicken, the ritual is called "boton", before a raid is undertaken, and so when the chicken was sacrificed, the vile of the chicken was not quite good and the manbunong suggested for another chicken to be sacrificed. Samiklay did not like the idea and instead ordered the chicken to be cooked. When it was cooked, the manbunong discovered that a part of the chicken, the head, was missing and so he predicted danger. Samiklay, being, a hot-tempered fellow did not mind the warning and insisted on his plan, of raiding the treasury office. During that time, the old Palasi was the president of Atok and Carbonell was the Municipal district treasurer. As Samiklay insisted on his plan, many of his followers returned home and only the loyalists followed him.

As he began to raid Palasi's house, he burned some houses nearby, perhaps to serve as light so he can see the house of the President, who, according to his informants was holding the money of the town. While he was climbing the stairs, Mr. Carbonell, the treasurer shot him and at a click of the moment, he fell to the ground agonizing with pain. His companion got him immediately and in the mountain of Atok, he was buried. As his followers left the place, they kept on shouting, "omali kami kasin, ay mange ba-es en Samiklay" meaning, we will come again to avenge the life of Samiklay.

Today, Samiklay is being talked about, as the famous “buso” and his philosophy of life, like that of Robinhood of England was never understood. History will always regard him as an enemy, a “buso”, but researchers will salute him otherwise. So if you are a descendant of Samiklay do not be afraid to tell the truth and instead be proud of him.