Da Coconut Repablik

A Chronicle of the Da Pinoys and Da Coconut Repablik of Da Pilipins

Da Pinoy Chronicle: On The Silenced Chapters of The Philippine Revolution

Hey folks, I want to make this article a long time ago in order to inform the people that the official history of the Philippines is very biased regarding the events of the Philippine Revolution. It had started as an unprepared uprising to the Independencia of the First Philippine Republic.

Contrary to popular belief, the leaders of the Philippine Revolution were mostly from of the Ilustrados and the Principalia, which they spoke Spanish as their lingua franca alongside their regional languages. It had all started at the night of August 1896.

The Battle of San Juan Del Monte had started a wider rebellion in the islands, even though the revolutionaries were defeated at their first battle. The main inspiration for the revolt was Jose Rizal, whose two novels had set the spark to the minds of its readers.

After the expulsion of Spain, the United States waged a campaign to annihilate the First Philippine Republic which they succeeded after 7 years when they had received the surrender of Macario Sakay.

Some people will reason out that the revolution began as a result of poverty, but according to reports made by observers and foreigners here, Las Islas Filipinas was one of the richest colonies that has a potential to become a great power in the future.

The Basco reforms had opened the Philippines to world trade and Filipinos became rich overnight. Several provinces had their specialty products and the country was having its first income.

I admit that some of the officials of the Spanish colonial regime, especially the notorious frailes were corrupt. But unknown to many, it was because most of the officials that had taken  government positions were the Peninsulares.

Before the opening of the Suez Canal, the Governor General of the Philippines was the only one who was considered a foreigner and the local natives and creoles were the administrators of the country.

The ideals of the Enlightenment, the French and the American Revolutions had reached the Philippines at the dawn of the 19th century. Several creoles and natives were voicing their grievances against the government and advocated reforms.

Luis Rodriguez Varela had became the leading figure of the Propaganda Movement in the first half of the 19th century through the organisation “Los Hijos Del Pais” which mean Sons of the Country. He declared himself as El Conde Filipino.

The influence of Varela had reached the mind of an officer named Andres Novales,which in turn had lead an unsuccessful revolt in 1823 which had resulted to the exile of the prominent Filipino nationalists including Varela himself.

The Spanish authorities had crushed it quickly and in 1828, the Palmero Conspiracy was foiled. The Palmero Conspiracy was a plot to overthrow the colonial government and make the country independent. It was lead by Creoles and the Spanish colonists residing in the country.

The Peninsular War had temporarily weakened the grip of Spain in the Philippines, but it became more evident after the Central and the South American colonies, especially Mexico were fighting for independence against Spain.

The Philippines became technically independent after the independence of Mexico and it lead to the flocking of the Peninsulars in the government. They were known for their incompetence, as illustrated by Jose Rizal in Noli Me Tangere, where there is a tax collector who cannot even read nor write which cost the reputation of Don Rafael after he had scolded the collector.

The seeds of discontent were planted with the establishment of the Propaganda Movement led by Ilustrados, Spanish citizens, Creoles and other people who advocated reforms. The leadership of Carlos Maria De La Torre as the Governor General of the Philippines had let these movements flourish.

After the restoration of the Spanish monarchy in 1873, Rafael De Izquierdo took power and began a vicious policy of suppressing these movements.

The Cavite Mutiny was quickly crushed, the Gomburza, one of the leading advocators of reforms were executed. These events had forced the reformists into hiding and they emigrated to other countries. 10 years later, a man named Jose Rizal took the de facto leadership of the movement.

Several prominent figures such as Marcelo del Pilar, Antonio Luna, Graciano Lopez Jaena and several other people had advocated reforms such as the representation of the country to the Spanish Cortes, equality before the law, promotion of education, human rights, Hispanisation, free press and the freedom of speech.

Rizal’s two novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo had shown the conditions of the Filipino society. Not only he had shown the abuses of the Spanish colonial government, he also criticised the culture of the Filipinos which he perceived as backward as well.

His novels had caused outrage and even book burnings. Infighting amongst the members of the movement had caused him to return to the Philippines to establish the La Liga Filipina, a similar organisation that aimed for reforms. Unfortunately, Rizal was arrested and was exiled to Dapitan and the La Liga Filipina was split into two factions.

The Conservative faction known as the Cuerpo de Compromisarios continued to pledge support to the La Solidaridad and the other faction lead by Andres Bonifacio, the Katipunan which advocated secession.  The Katipunan was merely a revival of the Los Hijos Del Pais by Luis Rodriguez Varela.

Modern historians have all agreed that Marcelo Del Pilar had some influence in the establishment of the the Katipunan because of his position in the Freemasonry, and most of the core members of the Katipunan were Freemasons and all of the rites that were used to initiate members  were from  Freemasonry practices.

Contrary to popular belief, Bonifacio was not poor and most of the members of the Katipunan especially its leaders were the Ilustrados and the Principalia, the very same group who lead the former Propaganda Movement.

They had the money, power and influence to stage a revolution. Andres Bonifacio became The Supremo of the movement and he started the preparations for the uprising.

Meanwhile in Spain, Marcelo Del Pilar was preparing to return to lead the revolution. It is a common view that Del Pilar won over Rizal’s idea. Preparations included the support of the Empire of Japan which will provide the weapons and logistics to wage a war of independence.

They also wanted to solicit Rizal’s support. Rizal insisted that a revolution was too premature because the people were not yet ready and the necessary funds and support were still lacking.

He had also recommended Antonio Luna to lead the revolutionary army. Pio Valenzuela and Rizal almost quarreled for the whole day and Valenzuela left Dapitan the following day. Bonifacio had partly achieved adequate weapons by encouraging Spanish soldiers and members of the Guardia Civil to join the organisation. He had also received support from the Japanese Empire.

An ordinary Katipunero was armed with a Remington rolling block rifle and a bolo for close quarters combat. They said that the ring bayonet was very poor in combat and that was the reason why they were armed with bolos. Some regiments were armed with newer Mauser rifles but only Bonifacio’s personal guards were supplied with that rifle in sheer quantities.

Sandatahanes or bolomen were mostly armed with longer bolos and a revolver.  They were often deployed to attack the flanks of the enemy. They were deployed in par with pikemen. The cavalrymen were armed with European style swords. If you can see the picture, a battle of a Revolution was very modern. The Katipuneros became more well armed by the end of 1896

The common perception and the story about the discovery of the Katipunan was when Teodoro Patino revealed the existence of the organisation to his sister then his sister told it to a fraile. But according to former Katipuneros who were interviewed in the 1920’s, Bonifacio actually intended to reveal the secret of the Katipunan to erase any objections from its members.

After the event, the Philippine Revolution started. Thousands of rebels had attacked hundreds of villages, towns and cities across the country in just 3 months. The Katipuneros primarily gained momentum in Cavite lead by Emilio Aguinaldo and he became famous after the Battle of Binakayan and he had outranked Bonifacio, whose army were suffering defeats in the trenches of Manila.

In comparison, Bonifacio was more educated than Aguinaldo. Bonifacio can speak fluent Spanish, Tagalog and a little English while Aguinaldo barely spoke Spanish. English was also gaining acceptance in the islands before the Americans had arrived because of the dominance of the British Empire and numerous British companies in Manila.

Not only in Manila and Luzon, but also the Katipunan chapters in Visayas were more successful than the revolutionaries in Luzon. Cebuano nationalists meanwhile opposed the revolution.

In order to crush the Revolution, the Spanish authorities executed Rizal which ironically enraged more and more Filipinos to swell the ranks of the Katipunan. In Luzon, the Revolutionary Council was split between the Magdalo and Magdiwang.

In May 1897, elections were held to reorganise the leadership of the Katipunan. All went smoothly until Daniel Tirona opposed Bonifacio’s election over the Ministry of the Interior. Bonifacio was felt insulted by Tirona’s remarks and almost caused skirmishes between fellow Katipuneros.

Bonifacio left the Convention and established a separate organisation. This had caused Aguinaldo to arrest and execute Bonifacio in Cavite, which had contributed to the succeeding defeats of Aguinaldo.

Aguinaldo’s forces were reduced to one place: Biak na Bato. After that you knew what happened. The Treaty of Biac Na Bato, American entry to the war, declaration of independence and the Philippine Insurrection.

After the Treaty of Biak Na Bato, Aguinaldo prepared to renew the insurgency and this was fulfilled at the outbreak of the Spanish American War. Admiral Dewey had inflicted a crushing defeat to the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay. In June 12, 1898, after a month of fighting, Aguinaldo proclaimed the Independencia of the Philippines, officially La Republica Filipina.

The fighting did not stopped after June 1898 as Filipino troops continued to besiege the Spanish in Manila. Through a secret treaty, the Americans received the Spanish surrender on August.

Meanwhile in Negros, local leaders lead by a wealthy sugar haciendero named Juan Araneta revolted against the Spanish and drove them back from the capital Bacolod using soldiers armed with false rifles and false cannons, which were actually made of bamboo. In December 1898, Spain ceded the islands to the United States.

Actually there were 4 Republics during the Revolution: The Malolos Republic, the Republic of Negros, The proposed Federal Republic of Visayas and the Republic of Zamboanga.

In January 1899, Aguinaldo began to reorganise the Republic but it was cut short in February, when American soldiers began to fire at Filipino soldiers, thus beginning the Philippine American War.

There is no reason why the Philippine Republican Army will be defeated easily. They had appointed General Antonio Luna to lead them. Contrary to popular belief, the Philippine Revolutionary Army or the Ejercito Revolucionario Filipino was not a group of mobs with bolos.

As said by Josh Avinante: (BTW I am taking some paragraphs because it explains everything)

Little do we know that the Philippine Republican Army, as the Filipino army was officially designated, was an organized army in uniforms that resembled the modern armies of Europe. The pattern of their uniform was called the rayadillo and designed by national Filipino artist Juan Luna. The Filipino army had infantry, cavalry, cannons and an early form of machine gun known as the Maxim gun.

The Filipino army had a military academy known as the Academia Militar, headed by a certain Colonel Sityar, a former officer of the Spanish Army. Many Filipino generals studied in Europe while those who didn’t at least went to schools like the Ateneo Municipal, Colegio San Juan de Letran or Universidad de Santo Tomas – institutions reserved for the upper class. At the onset of war, the Filipino army used the conventional method of trench warfare and open charges.

If you’ve seen movies like The Patriot and movies about Napoleon, you would have an idea of how the Filipino army fought foolishly marching head high in open battle fields before they finally resorted to guerrilla warfare.

General Luna planned to gather the bulk of the army into the Cordillera Region, where he planned to build lines of trenches, traps, walls, artillery emplacements and food farms to supplement the basic nutritional needs of an individual soldier.

Luna planned to wage a war of attrition in order to force the American government to withdraw because of heavy casualties. Luna had ordered the men to dug trenches to from a three tiered defence line in order to inflict casualties and retreat.

Luna’s plan never materialised because Filipino patriots squabbled over leadership. The war was carried in the old conventional way, which had proven disastrous.

Examples of these battles were the two battles of Caloocan, Malolos, Marilao, Zapote, Calumpit and several skirmishes which Filipino forces suffered more casualties than American soldiers and they were only composed of volunteers.

There was a gap between the second battle of Caloocan and the American advance to Malolos, where Arthur MacArthur had stopped his offensive in order to wait for reinforcements.

In the 5th of June 1899, Luna was instructed by Aguinaldo via telegram and he went to his headquarters where he had encountered the soldiers of the Kawit Battalion. They assassinated the General because of their personal vengeance regarding their disbandment during the Battle of Caloocan.

Aguinaldo denied his involvement in the murder, but it was quite interesting that after the murder of Luna, his staff had disappeared, tortured and murdered under his orders. The man who did it? None other than Gregorio Del Pilar.

The Americans called Luna as the only general that the Philippines had and after his murder, Aguinaldo’s troops had suffered heavy losses, especially in their battles in Pangasinan. Aguinaldo’s men were reduced to 500 men and General Del Pilar attempted to mount a hopeless resistance, which had cost his life,

After 2 years of hiding, Aguinaldo was captured, thus ending the First Republic. Resistance was not finally removed until 1907, where Macario Sakay surrendered and hanged. The Moro Rebellion was finally crushed in 1913.

It will be not until 1946, after the Japanese occupation, that the Philippines had achieved its independence.

Our history books are very biased regarding the Philippine Revolution. Those men predicted that we will become successful, but where are we now? A laughing stock of Asia, a nation ruled by monkeys and idiots.

The celebration of our heroes is an illusion. The Philippine Revolution was caused by the members of the elite and the middle class who wanted to break free from Spain.

It was more of a civil war than a revolution. It was the first Revolution in Asia, while the First Asian Revolution was the Indian Revolution by Mohandas Gandhi.

We got a government we deserved indeed as said by Rizal. An incompetent president, a parasitic oligarchy, a protectionist economy, false nationalism, a despotic Church, a sensationalist media and a stupid democracy ruled by passion than reason. The masses are merely pawns and they are easily manipulated by the Yellow Media through crap.

It is an irony for Elias’ descendants that they always want to rename the country to Maharlika. Although we had gained our independence after these struggles, still the colonial regime that ruled over us was merely replaced by the same Ilustrados who lead us.

They became known as trapos. The old Ilustrados and the Maharlika politicians become too resistant to change, still lurking at the Industrial age while the world is undergoing globalisation and had entered the Information age. The wealth of nations had already shifted from factories to computers, from production to foreign capital.

The once lucrative gold, sugar, microchip and textile industry of the Philippines declined after the 1990’s, where several countries became more open to foreigners. While our neighbours became more progressive and open,  several crybabies are demanding to reestablish the trade barriers of protectionism. We need to emulate our neighbours.Do what the Romans do they said.

We are in fact in a favourable position not only because we have several skilled professionals but it is also situated in a very strategic position on the map. Because our professionals have no permanent jobs here, they have chosen to left the country in search for greener pastures. Instead of going abroad, why not bring the foreign investors here? It’s time to dismantle protectionism and make way for progress.

I cannot erase my thoughts if our heroes are alive today, what will they say to us?  What we have become? In a society where conformity and stupidity are the norms, as well as blindness, the majority considered the problems of our society as trivial and mundane.

Several chapters of our history are silenced by people who wanted to advance their outdated ideals such as nationalism and communism.

They continue to distort history that results to the anti foreign attitudes of the Filipinos. We cannot stop the march of time, and this is a new generation. We need to reform ourselves in order for us to become prosperous.

My question now who were really the First Filipinos? The First Filipinos were the Creoles, the Ilustrados and the Principalia. I laugh at those people who considered Sulaiman or Lakandula as Filipino or even Silang.

Silang wanted an independent Ilocano nation and several other leaders of  the revolt were mostly former Malay nobles who wanted to split the colony into the boundaries before the Spanish arrived. The evolution of our supposed nationalism did not existed until the late 18th and the 19th century. We are always asking ourselves in what time did we became Filipinos. It’s time to revisit the past in order to correct the flaws of the present and to create a brighter future.

I also recommend you to watch this film, although historical accuracy is the thing that I have  in doubt:


2 comments on “Da Pinoy Chronicle: On The Silenced Chapters of The Philippine Revolution

  1. visualpains
    November 21, 2012

    AFAIK, the Federal Republic of Visayas was meant to be the successor of the Republic of Negros as it was planned to be politically merged with the Cantonal Republic of Bohol and revolutionary towns of Panay and Cebu. Not sure about the validity of this, but all Visayan revolutionaries at that time lost or totally have no faith toward Aguinaldo and his government from the North despite many leaders had connections with Katipunan. This tension escalated upon Aguinaldo’s connivance with the Americans and the subsequent betrayal of the Gringos to oblivious Emilio. The rest followed a series of guerilla warfare. The Visayans’ political loyalty to any non-American entity was blurry, however. It was also unsure whether they aspired to achieve their stalled statehood.

  2. Choly Mae
    September 18, 2013

    Hey, can you post your references on this information? It would help me get myself and my family informed more about these events. Thanks.

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