Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I found this statue in the Arzobispado of Vigan. It's one of the most realistic depictions of Jesus' suffering on the cross that I have seen, carved right here in the Philippines centuries ago. A blessed Holy Week to all! Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Pagoda Tree

I would never attempt to translate a poem--any poem, not even mine. Look here, I first wrote a poem in Pilipino about the calachuchi, then wrote about it again in English. Some of the things the two poems say about the calachuchi may be the same, but the general thought is different. This is because the flow, the rhythm, the sound, of each language is so different. And poetry is first and foremost rhythm, sound, flow! My admiration goes for those who can translate poems well.

Pagoda Tree
By Mila D. Aguilar

The pagoda tree,
as they call it in English,
is our calachuchi,
the same name we give
to mistresses.

But how strange the name sounds.
Pagoda tree, I mean.
Towards the summer solstice,
It sheds its leaves

A body made up of so many arms
Dancing their way to the skies
Their fingers growing
The purest freshest flowers

This even in its old age.
I have seen it at 50 or so
Joints already gnarled
By so much twisting
Still offering its flowers
With the daintiest of fingers.

Without sacrificing the grass.
Other plants could be grown
Below it
Because its leaves don't take
All the sun
And its roots not too much
Of land and water either.

Cut a branch and let it stand
On an inch of soil, then see
New roots grow
Out of the salved wound
Once dried up,
As long as a month after.
Its moisture keeps.

Yet for all that
It's not a pagoda tree to me.
It's still my lovely calachuchi.

March 16, 2005
10:35 pm


Why a poem in Pilipino on a blog for students of English? "Wait a while," as we Filipinos would say; you'll see the point soon enough.

Ni Mila D. Aguilar

Bakit ang kalaguyo,
Tinatawag na calachuchi?

Sa kainitan ng taon,
Nawawalan ng dahon

Labas kaluluwa
Laking tuwa!

Habang tumatanda
Paikot lalo ang sanga

Sa mga kasukasuang
Maga na kung tingnan.

Pero masdan ang mga daliri
ng tinatawag na kiri

Gaano mang paikot ng katawan
Tuon pa ri'y kalangitan

Handog sa dulo ng mga ito
Mga bulaklak na purong-puro.

At mantakin mo,
Anuman ang itanim sa ilalim

Nitong puno,
Maging ito ma'y damo,

Hindi siya matakaw sa araw

Hindi siya mapanipsip
Ng lupang kinatatayuan.

Kung bakit ba tinawag na calachuchi
E iba naman ang kasalanan.

Marso 16, 2005

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Vigan is a beautiful place. You can't find these ruins anymore if you went there today; I took the photo years ago, when I was there with some friends. Posted by Hello

Teresa Casas' paper on the Batangas revolt

Below find one of the best-written papers I got last semester.


The Batangas Revolt: Whose Revolutionary Feat?

by Ma. Teresa Salao Casas

The disparity between the elite and the masses has always been like the unquenchable flames of a raging fire; it simply burns more intense with time. Such conflict has left flickering flames in our country’s history, reflecting a timeless struggle between the haves and have-nots. Historical accounts would reveal that such a social rivalry is not limited to a fight for equality or freedom from prejudice, but extends to a competition in revolutionary history.

In Batangas, for instance, questions have been raised as to who wielded the mighty balisong in battle against the colonizers. Were the masses truly responsible for the revolution? Or was there another formidable force in Batangas that held its own might in the face of the Spaniards?


Renowned historians prefer the former. For many years, the concept of a mass-based revolution has appealed to many. People prefer the idea of a nation formed by the sweat and blood of the common people. The elite were presented as enemies who belittled the strength of the common people; they were portrayed as a mighty aggressor from whom the latter must gain freedom. Upper-class society was also depicted as traitors to their fellow citizens because of their condescending notion that the masses were incapable of a nationalistic movement and that only the educated could initiate reform for the country, thus explaining why they collaborated with the Americans (Agoncillo “Katipunan”).

Since historians lean towards the plight of the masses, Philippine history tags the Revolution against Spain as a “revolt of the masses” (Agoncillo “Revolt” 1) (Ileto 3-10). People have the common belief that impoverished provincials primarily led the Philippine Revolution. Historical texts claim that the Revolution was led by the uprising of lower-class society and that succeeding revolts were also powered by the masses.

Since the common man usually received the brunt of Spanish abuse particularly that of the friars, such a perception of the Revolution is understandable and much more convenient to believe. In Lian and Nasugbu of Batangas, peasants held uprisings against the friars who usurped their land and exacted taxes for occupying such land. The peasants refused to pay the amount demanded by the friars and attacked and plundered the houses of the Jesuit fathers in 1745 (Agoncillo “Revolt” 3). According to Dr. Jaime B. Veneracion, the 1745 Tagalog revolts that included that of Batangas were the most widespread revolts in the country. Such discontent was caused by the conversion of land from pastures to plantations where forced labor was thrust on the masses (Veneracion 103-105).

Teodoro Agoncillo, one of the advocates of the revolt of the masses idea, further states that the poor initiated the Revolution and constructed the idea of forming a sovereign nation, whereas the elite merely sought reform in the Propaganda movement. The masses were heavily taxed, had little livelihood opportunities, and were the objects of ridicule among friars. Because of this, they were ripe for the Revolution that was the goal of the secret Katipunan society. The elite joined the masses in the Revolution only when the former realized that the latter was succeeding in the battle against Spanish oppression where the former had not. Though their published writings awakened a patriotic fervor in many of the Filipinos, the ilustrados or the intellectual elite were unable to obtain the reform they sought (“Katipunan”).

In addition to this, it is normal to assume that the Revolutionary force in Batangas consisted mainly of lower class individuals, since the province’s elite made up only 4,500 to 6,000 individuals, or about one to two percent of the population. This is a considerably small number in relation to the hundreds of thousands of Batangueños who joined the battle. Even Glenn May acknowledges that there were only a few rich Batangueños in the province (19).
However, even if the elite were small in number, their participation in the Revolution was not minimal. Even Agoncillo admits that the wealthy engaged in the Revolution to become the “top bureaucrats of the revolutionary government and later of the Republic (“Katipunan”).

Another argument noteworthy to consider is the question regarding the reasons lower-class society participated in the Revolution. Widely accepted historical texts cite the masses as key actors in the Revolution because according to Reynaldo Ileto, they were aware that they were fighting for a “change in the nature of society” (Ileto according to May 51). They rebelled against foreign power and wished for freedom. However, he later expresses doubt over the masses’ perception of independence, and asks whether the peasants merely “blindly and irrationally reacted to oppressive conditions” (Ileto 5). May likewise indicates that the reason for the masses’ participation in the Revolutionary forces is highly questionable, and he claims that they took part in battles only because obligation to their wealthy patrons compelled them to do so (May 52). May uses Gen. Miguel Malvar of Batangas as an example and cites how his 75 men in the army were convinced to fight in the victorious reclaiming of Sto. Tomas and Lipa, and also Talisay, Batangas. May insinuates that it would have been impossible to form an army so quickly if Malvar had no tenants or retainers whom he could have mobilized immediately (May 50-52) (Ilustre 11).

Disagreement among historians regarding the greater prominence of either the elite or the masses connotes that, behind the belief of a mass-based struggle may lie a truth unrecognized by many. Disparity of conclusions on something as truthful as history must mean that something is amiss. Perhaps, in our country’s history, certain historical facts have remained cloaked by many years of scholarly denial.


Recent historical accounts, for instance, argue that the Revolution was not a revolt of the masses, but was a rebellion led by the affluent and influential as evidenced by the Revolution as it happened in Batangas. The Batangueño political and economic elite were the prime movers of the province’s Revolution; they were leaders in the army; they provided food, sustenance and “general support to the resistance forces” (May xii). To illustrate this, Teodoro Kalaw writes in his memoirs how the wealthy helped during the siege of the convent to which the Spaniards had withdrawn in 1897. The rich contributed their cattle, rice, and horses for the Filipino officials and forces at the time. The mansions of the wealthy were also used as bases in attacks of the Spanish garrison. One of those allocated for the occupation of Filipino forces was that of Señor Manuel Luz, who had one of the best stone structures in the town. (14-15).

Most of the educated individuals who were significant icons in the province’s political history belonged to rich and prominent families. Among those who obtained degrees in the University of Sto. Tomas were Lipeños Jose Luz, Sixto Roxas, Cipriano Calao, and Gregorio Catigbac, as well as Vicente Olmos and Pablo Borbon from Batangas City. A few other Batangueños like Galicano Apacible from Balayan, Gregorio Aguilera Solis, Lauro Dimayuga, and Baldomero Roxas from Lipa even went to Spain to pursue their studies. Once exposed to liberal ideas in Spain, some of these Batangueño elite like Solis and Dimayuga became propagandists (May 28-29).

Leaders of the Batangas Revolution also belonged to upper-class society. Among the most notable was Gen. Miguel Malvar who came from a political family in Sto. Tomas. Others were Arcadio Laurel who belonged to the Laurel clan of Talisay, Pedro Ruffy who was a one-time gobernadorcillo of Nasugbu, Santiago Rillo de Leon who was a gobernadorcillo of Tuy, and Ananias Diocno of the Diocnos in Taal (May 50).

One interesting point to consider is how the economic prosperity of Batangas affected the Revolution. Natives of the province believe that Batangas was one of the financial backers of the battles against the colonizers.

In relation to this, it is important to note that the province of Batangas was agriculturally and financially prosperous during the Spanish occupation. In fact, even before the Spanish arrived, Batangas was already economically wealthy. Taal, in particular, was a natural port to the outside world and to the lakeshore communities, thus making it the province’s center of commerce. It was the richest town in Batangas “until traders transferred businesses to Lipa and Tanauan because of the growing inland trade” (Yson 54).

In subsequent years, however, Lipa played a much more important role in the prosperity of the land of the barakong Batangueño. On the average, a doctor from Lipa would make more than P70,000 in fees alone. Calle Real, Lipa’s main road filled with many business establishments, was the town’s commercial center; it was, in fact, likened to present-day Manila (Kalaw 1). During the 1880s, Lipa had an annual income of P 4,000, 000 from the coffee industry alone. According to the Lipeño scientist Dr. Manuel Roxas, for about six months in 1886-1888, Lipa was the sole world supplier of coffee beans. This was because coffee plantations around the world were infected by a virus that killed virtually all the coffee plants globally (Katigbak “When Coffee Bloomed in Lipa”).

Money was flowing quickly and quite effortlessly into Lipa because of the coffee industry. Many businesses set up branches in Lipa to take advantage of the wealth the industry brought. People were so rich at the time that women would wear diamond buckles on their satin shoes and clothes with gold and silver accessories (Katigbak “Few There Were” 7, 85-86). Most women’s apparel was imported from France, Spain, and other European countries. Even the poor were not exempt from such ostentation. According to Retana, there was a poor woman in Lipa who wore diamonds worth six to eight thousand pesos during feast days (Katigbak “When Coffee Bloomed in Lipa”).

Now, how could have all this wealth aided the Revolution?

Fr. Tom Villafranca, one of Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales’ researchers of Batangas history, says that it could have been possible for the wealthy to contribute to the Katipunan in the province, but no existing written accounts could prove this (Villafranca). Kalaw notes in his memoirs, however, that during the strained years of the Revolution, the Lipa aristocrats were “in constant fear because several persons actually involved in the Katipunan, and many others under suspicion, were known to be their friends” (Aide-de-Camp 11). Even Agoncillo mentions that Andres Bonifacio sent his trusted men to wealthy individuals in order to persuade them to help the cause of the Katipunan, or join their society (“Katipunan”). Agoncillo did not mention, however, whether these wealthy individuals included those of Batangas.

Traditional sources claim, though, that the Katipunan was a purely mass-based society and that no elite or intellectual from Lipa joined it. Juanito Marquez, in particular, cites a few prominent lower-class individuals who were among the first members of the Katipunan in Lipa (Marquez 31) (Agoncillo 1). If Retana’s previous recount is to be believed, then even the poor were capable of contributing to the Katipunan whether in terms of manpower or financial aid. May nevertheless contends that the identified members of the Katipunan were not solely from the lower class; in fact, a few of the members Marquez cited were among the political elite if not notable families of the province. Prominent among those mentioned were Major Gregorio Leviste and Lieutenant Felix Leviste of the landed Leviste clan; these men were said to hold key positions in the Katipunan (Marquez 32) (Battle 39).

Glenn May even goes as far as to question the existence of the Katipunan lower-class society in Batangas; he claims that it cannot be proven that the Katipunan reached the province, but later concedes that neither can it be proven that it had not (Battle 39).

Such discrepancies in well-founded historical records and studies are enough to doubt the legitimacy of the belief of a solely mass-based Revolution. Upper-class society created an imprint in revolutionary history that was far from inconsequential and far from merely financial. Because the elite were educated and thus well equipped with liberal thoughts, they had powerful connections and means to manipulate the particulars of the battles for freedom. It was because of such education that the elite “were convinced of their capacity to rule, and were more likely to resist alien overlordship than the uneducated downtrodden masses” (May 30). Upper-class society knew that with the Spaniards out of political and economic power, the wealthy and educated would take the latter’s place in the country’s seat of power. It was for political, financial, and influential gain that the wealthy gambled their lives as well as their money, land, and possessions. Where the elite are believed by some to be the moving power behind the Batangas struggle, it is speculated that the masses were merely used as cannon fodder.

Nevertheless, from all these, the question of the nature of the Revolution remains undecided. Who really wielded the balisong to fend off foreign cruelty?


Evidence favors an elite-led Revolution; tradition holds firm to a revolt of the masses. But perhaps beneath the muddled facts and natives’ hearsay regarding the Revolution in Batangas, one thing has remained clear: the Batangueño role that marked the reclaiming of the province and the freedom of our country was not monopolized by a single force. Though scrutiny of historical truths and openness to what these reveal would confirm that the elite were the leading force behind the Revolution, Batangas could not have been regained were it not for the masses’ participation, however arguable the reasons for this. Likewise, the masses could not have reclaimed Batangas were it not for powerful leaders, most of whom were from the elite. The Batangueños of different social strata, but of similar patriotic spirit, together raised the balisong to severe the suffocating ties binding them to blind acquiescence to Spanish rule. The Revolution need not be the revolt of the masses nor of the elite alone; the Revolution was a Revolution because the elite and the masses played their respective roles in order to jointly yet differently put an end to Spanish oppression.

While the elite may have the canon, without the fodder, it will be a useless piece of equipment. Reductively, as the bow is to the arrow, so is the elite unto the masses; useless each without the other.

This is the balance of the reality of the Batangas Revolution.


Agoncillo, Teodoro A. “Katipunan: Army in the Shadows.” Filipino Heritage: The Making of a Nation. Ed. Alfredo Roces. Philippines: Lahing Pilipino Publishing Inc., 1978.

------------------------- The Revolt of the Masses. Quezon City: University of the Philippines, 1956.
[This book was responsible for the belief of a “revolt of the masses” and is one of the paper’s major sources for the foundations of such a belief.]

Ileto, Reynaldo C. Pasyon and Revolution: Popular Movements in the Philippines 1890-1910. Quezon Ciy: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1979.

Ilustre, Aurea G. Maikling Kasaysayan ng Lungsod at Probinsiya ng Batangas. Quezon City: Vibal Publishing Inc.,1991.

Kalaw,Teodoro M. Aide-de-Camp to Freedom. Trans. Maria Kalaw Katigbak. Manila: Teodoro M. Kalaw Society, Inc., 1965.

Katigbak, Maria Kalaw. Few there were (like my father). Manila: Teodoro
M. Kalaw Society Inc., 1974.

--------------------- “When Coffee Bloomed in Lipa.” Filipino Heritage: The Making of a Nation. Ed. Alfredo Roces. Philippines: Lahing Pilipino Publishing Inc., 1978.

Marquez, Juanito. “Lipa and the Philippine Revolution, 1896-1899.” MA Thesis. Ateneo de Manila University, 1969.

May, Glenn A. Battle for Batangas: a Philippine Province at War. Quezon City: New Day Publishers with permission from Yale University, 1993.

Veneracion, Jaime B. Agos ng Dugong Kayumanggi. Quezon City: Abiva Publishing House, Inc., 2000.

Villafranca, Fr. Bartolome. Personal Interview. Aug 2004.

Yson, Danny. The Birth, Growth and Demise of Kumintang: A Great Tagalog Nation in the 13th Century. Dannyson and Associates, 1997.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Mother and Child

Digitally transformed, an idolatrous statue can become art. Guess what statue this piece of digital art came from. Posted by Hello

Micah Patricia Rivera's paper on women

Sorry, boys, but the best papers were about women, and most of the good papers were by women too! So what can we do.

This one is very well organized, so sit up and take notice.


Filipino Women During the Spanish Colonial Era

by Micah Patricia Rivera

The roles of Filipino women have undergone numerous alterations because of the diverse ethos that penetrated the inherent Filipino customs through hundreds of years. During the three centuries of Spanish rule in the Philippines, the Filipino woman of influence and power was transformed concurrently with the conversion of the country’s social system into a male-dominated society. The shy, self-effacing and vulnerable image of a woman emerged as they were immortalized in literature by the writers of that era.

The incessant oppression of the Spaniards ignited various uprisings and awakened the patriotism of many Filipinas. Before long, women were seen playing crucial duties both in battle and behind the trenches, fighting for the liberty of their motherland.

A. Changes during Spanish Colonization

1. The Christianization of the Filipinos

The dawn of Spanish colonization paved the way for the introduction of Christianity in the Philippines. Spain brought with her not only the power of the sword but also the influence of the cross. It is widely recognized that one of the main objectives of Spain’s conquest was to introduce the Gospel to pagan nations. The missionaries believed that by doing so, they would merit eternal salvation (Alzona 21).

Religion took a vital part in Spain’s interaction with the native people for the Spaniards regarded baptism into the New Faith as a sign of adherence to their power. Many Filipinos were successfully converted to Christianity. The pageantry of the church had a wide appeal, supported by the integration of Filipino social customs into religious observances. The new religion appeared to be similar to their pagan beliefs such as God, who was comparable to their Bathala and the Christian saints, who resembled the spirits that they prayed to. What attracted the native Filipinos even more were the huge cathedrals, grand altars and festive celebrations that the friars presented to them (Alip 113).

Women were the ones greatly influenced by the changes brought about by the New Faith. Alzona records that the niece of Cebu’s supreme leader, Chief Tupas, was the very first Christian here in the Philippines. Not long after, women who came from other distinguished clans were also drawn to the new religion and baptized into Christianity (22).

There was resistance to this introduction, however, and this came from women as well. The babaylans and catalonans deemed Christianity as a hindrance in the performance of their vocation. They refused to embrace the new religion and held on to their customs and traditions. These babaylans and catalonans were forced to flee to the mountains where they could continue practicing their native religion.

2. Political Status of Women

In order to strengthen their colonization, Spain introduced a new form of government and with this, the important roles held by women in the political field were particularly affected. Men completely took over, acquiring positions such as cabesa de barangay and gobernadorcillo, the highest position a Filipino could occupy. They overshadowed the women who, until that time, enjoyed their own authority in pre-colonial society. Apart from those who were born into influential Filipino families (principales) or those who were married to men with high ranks, the Filipina did not possess any political power.

The Spanish law limited women’s rights. Married women were not permitted to deal with their personal possessions and to involve themselves in trade and commerce without their husband’s approval. They were denied the right to occupy any public position aside from the position of a teacher (Alzona 39).

On the other hand, Filipino women participated in the economic progress of their communities. They managed farms and retail shops in provincial towns; only a few engaged in large-scale businesses. Women in the rural areas were also involved in the field of agriculture. They were usually wives, daughters or relatives of farm workers who helped in the numerous tasks around the farmlands (Alzona 37).

B. Women in Colonial Society

1. The Changes in the Position of Women

Men and women had an egalitarian relationship in the early Philippines, enjoying equal privileges in all aspects of living. The two genders were given the opportunity of having an education and of practicing his/her profession. Man regarded woman as his partner who had her say in both domestic and public issues.

In the colonial setting, young girls were sent to colegios or beaterios where they studied not to be learned citizens but to be pious, upright, and humble ladies who would later take their role as mothers and wives (Alzona 28). Women who finished schooling were allowed to teach once they received a license from the government. However, most Filipinas were not able to go to school; thus, their functions in the community were limited to those of managing the household, and rearing their children. A great part of their time was dedicated to visiting churches and praying lengthy novenas.

In his book, Alip states that the Catholic faith marked a development in the lives of Filipinos. As Hhe pointed out, that, “It raised the position of women and exalted motherhood. These changes explained why Filipino women enjoy more rights and privileges than the women of most Oriental countries” (115). There are still prevailing beliefs that the Spanish colonization raised the social standing of women, confirming the preceding statement. However, Lorna S. Torralba-Titgemeyer comments otherwise in her paper, La Mujera Indigena (The Native Woman). She says that the arrival of the Spaniards abolished the honored position of the Filipino woman and replaced it with the new Filipina shaped into the perfect lady as perceived by society.

2. Women According to the Writings of Men

Our national hero, Jose Rizal, criticized women for permitting themselves to be deceived by the friars. He states in his Letter to the Women of Malolos that Filipino women had the misguided conception that showing respect to friars, to the extent of kissing their hands, was the way in which they could manifest their strong faith (Alzona 35).

Apolinario Mabini wrote in The Philippine Revolution, “One of the greatest virtues recognized in a brave and honorable man was the respect for women because the behavior which protects the chastity and the life of one who is weak shows greatness of heart and nobility of soul” (Camagay 12). In addition, Emilio Jacinto reminds Filipinos, “Do not look at woman as a mere plaything but rather as a partner…treat the women’s weakness with utmost respect” (Jacinto’s “Teachings of the Katipunan” as quoted by Camagay 11) These statements from Mabini and Jacinto confirm the notion that women are indeed weak and should therefore be shown consideration.

Andres Bonifacio, on the other hand, recognizes the Filipino women’s competence when he writes in his essay that even before the Spanish colonization women were already literate (Camagay 11). Camagay states, however, that Bonifacio’s statement still suggests the opinion that women became unwise during the time of the Spaniards.

Although our heroes were evidently concerned about the degradeding status of women, their writings still reveal the undeniable view of the Filipino woman as someone inferior.

C. Women in the Philippine Revolution

1. How Women Started to Take Part in the Fight for Freedom

For years, many Filipino women struggled to break through the roles that had been delineated for them. They shunned the Maria Clara image that Rizal portrayed in his novel, Noli Me Tangere. For as much as Maria Clara was the epitome of perfection in the Spanish era, she also served as a sign of women’s submission to the rule of men. Although a lot of Filipinas never rose above these expectations (Balangue-Apilado 49), there were still those who made a mark in history for their efforts of going against the norm and proving the real competence of the female gender.

The start of the consciousness of an “alternative order” was the result of the institution of Logia de Adopcion, the first masonic lodge for women. This organization paved the way for the women to recognize the ailing system of the Spanish reign, particularly the Christian church. Some of these women were Trinidad and Josefa Rizal, the sisters of our national hero, who were once faithful to the church but later refused to attend mass because of the exploitation of the friars (Camagay 14).

The acknowledgment of the Filipino woman’s worth in the pre-Hispanic times was also restored in the foundation of Bonifacio’s Republika ng Katagalugan. The Katipunan, which was formerly exclusive for men, was opened to women not only to avert the enemies’ focus but also to expand the membership of the association (Martinez-Sicat 174). These women, who were commonly close relatives of katipuneros, involved themselves in the uprising and voluntarily presented their assistance. The duties assigned to them were not limited to simply feeding the katipuneros and sewing flags. They performed the risky tasks of transporting guns and ammunitions from one town to another, stashing them in their skirts and tricking the guardia sibil that they were carrying food.

As Policarpio puts it, “Certain it is that women were not silent spectators of the great drama that was to overthrow the Spanish rule.” Apart from being nurses and messengers, the Filipino women also fought alongside their fathers, brothers and/or husbands. They donned men’s clothes and faced combat armed with a rifle and a bolo (21). The women of Ilocos, as told in Apilado’s essay, participated in real warfare in the Battle of Batac in 1900, wherein the forefront of the guerilla troops was a row of women. One account claimed that women were actually shot, as if in a firing squad, and their bodies were left on the ground as the combat ensued.

2. Women of the Revolution

Even before the Revolution began, women already showed active participation in numerous uprisings. Perhaps the most distinguished among them is Gabriela Silang, wife of Diego, who was one of the major forerunners of Bonifacio’s revolution. This heroine of Ilocos led armies into battle and carried on her husband’s causes despite threats to her own life. Later, when she was arrested, she faced the ultimate sentence during the Spanish rule; she was hanged.

Another woman who gained prominence for her contributions in the Revolution was Melchora Aquino or Tandang Sora. She was an old lady who owned a small store where tired and hungry soldiers often found relief. Her house was used for the clandestine meetings of the Katipunan. Because of these, the katipuneros called her the “Mother of the Revolution” (Policarpio 21).
Trinidad Tecson, on the other hand, was considered the “Mother of Biak-na-Bato” for her services in periods of war. She participated in several battles, dressed as a man, and never showed “proverbial female weakness” (Policarpio 24). Aside from taking part in battle, Trining likewise nursed the injured soldiers and collected the dead bodies of men in Biak-na-Bato and burned them.

The abovementioned personalities were some of the few women who are presently given great recognition for their commitment to the Filipinos’ fight for freedom. Equally important, however, are women like Cresenciana Sanchez San Agustin de Santos, the first Filipino volunteer nurse who served in a hospital in Cavite and Agueda Kahabagan Ruiseñor, a woman soldier who acquired the position of a general (Alzona 55).

Other revolutionary women rarely seen in historical records are Patrocinio Gamboa, a Filipina from Western Visayas who carried out intelligence tasks for the rebels in the war against the Spaniards; Teresa Magbanua, a revolutionary leader who won several battles in Iloilo despite having only a small number of men and weapons; and Nazaria Lagos who treated wounded soldiers by applying her skills in folk medicine (Locsin-Nava 62-63).

Most Filipinos of those times thought battle was not something a woman should engage in. Nevertheless, these brave women continued to take part in the uprising and found ways to offer their services for their motherland.

D. Arrival of Americans in the Philippines

1. The Role of Women in the American Era

The coming of another colonizer posed a new threat for the Filipinos in their endeavor to attain sovereignty over their own nation. When the Filipino-American War broke out, women found themselves in the midst of another struggle. The war stimulated the patriotism of the Filipinas, whose assistance became even more indispensable. A great number of them signed up in the army to defend their country in war. Others stayed behind the trenches to sew uniforms and nurse the sick and wounded soldiers.

The humanitarian missions of these women were organized by the establishment of Asociacion de Damas de la Cruz Roja, which was spearheaded by General Emilio Aguinaldo’s wife, Mrs. Hilaria Aguinaldo (Policarpio 30). This Red Cross association solicited contributions to support the war and bring gifts to the soldiers. The members labored tirelessly, going from one town to another, to collect food, clothes, matches and cigarettes for the men in the battlefront. The beneficiaries of these benevolent works were not only Filipino soldiers but also American and Spanish captives (Alzona 57).

The Revolution of 1896 and the Filipino-American War illustrated the innumerable selfless acts that the women performed for their beloved nation. These acts attested to their strength, which at the same time opposed the assumed frailty of the women under colonial rule.

When the war finally ended, Filipino women, led by Miss Constancia Poblete, founded Liga de Paz in 1901 to help create a harmonious relationship between Filipinos and Americans. As soon as peace was restored, they focused their concentration on social work and education (Policarpio 36). Under American rule, Filipinas gradually took their place in political affairs as educators, as administrators and later as politicians themselves.


Filipino women did not have an established position in the government during the Spanish colonial rule. Not unlike the prominent communal functions they had in the pre-colonial era, most Filipinas were deprived of their right to practice their preferred occupation and were regarded inferior to men. They, nonetheless, managed to demonstrate leadership and service during the course of the Revolution. Their participation in the uprisings, as well as in the restitution of peace, carried on even after the arrival of other colonizers.

The commitment of Filipino women to the nation’s endeavor to achieve independence refutes the impression of women as fragile and powerless individuals. Furthermore, it proves that the Filipino woman has been essential in Philippine history and in leading our country to what it is now.

Works Cited

Alip. Eufronio. A Brief History of the Philippines. Manila: Alip and Sons, 1972.

Alzona, Encarnacion. The Filipino Woman: Her Social, Economic and Political Status. Manila: Benipayo Press, 1933.

Balangue-Apilado, Digna. “The Women of Ilocos During the Revolutionary Era.” Review of Women’s Studies. Thelma B. Kintanar, ed. Quezon City: University Center for Women’s Studies, University of the Philippines, 1996. 41-52.

Camagay, Ma. Luisa T. “Women in the Text and Reality.” Review of Women’s Studies. Thelma B. Kintanar, ed. Quezon City: University Center for Women’s Studies, University of the Philippines, 1996. 11-18.

Dery, Luis Camara. Remember the Ladies and Other Historical Essays on the 1896 Philippine Revolution. Las Pinas, Metro Manila: M & L Licudine Enterprises, 2000.

Hilario-Soriano, Rafaelita. Women in the Philippine Revolution. Quezon City: Printon Press. 1995.

Locsin-Nava, Ma. Cecilia. “Teresa Magbanua: Woman Warrior.” Review of Women’s Studies. Thelma B. Kintanar, ed. Quezon City: University Center for Women’s Studies, University of the Philippines, 1996. 61-65.

Martinez-Sicat. “The Filipino Woman And/In The Filipino Rebel.” Review of Women’s Studies. Thelma B. Kintanar, ed. Quezon City: University Center for Women’s Studies, University of the Philippines, 1996. 173-182.

Policarpio, Paz. “The Filipino Women During the Revolution.” Review of Women’s Studies. Thelma B. Kintanar, ed. Quezon City: University Center for Women’s Studies, University of the Philippines, 1996. 19-40.

Torralba-Titgemeyer, Lorna S. La Mujer Indigena: The Native Woman. Austrian-Philippine Homepage. 1 March 1997.

< apsis/aufi/wstat/mujer.htm>

Sidewalk Cafe

Sidewalk cafes are becoming popular in the Philippines despite the the terrible smell of diesel and gas on the streets. Have you ever wondered why? Don't ask me; I don't know the answer either. Posted by Hello

Eddie Paul Saquilayan's Cavite paper

I am sharing the following paper for the simple reason that it is controversial, and the author took pains to try to prove his point. Read it to see why I say it's controversial.

You will notice that the bibliographical entries are not complete. But that becomes a problem when you're working with local sources that are not properly indexed.


Cavite in the Philippine Revolution

by Eddie Paul Saquilayan

I will die, without seeing the Day dawning on my country.... You who will see it, greet it. And forget not those who fell during the night.

-Jose Rizal

General Introduction

“Ang taong hindi tumingin sa pinanggalingan, hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.” This is one of the “kasabihan” of the Filipinos that is a general truth to all. One cannot move to his future if he will not look back to his past. His past is his identity. His past defines what he is today. This means that he must not only look into it, but he must also understand it.

The Philippines has a rich and colorful history. A history full of great people and noble men. As we look into it, we can see that the Filipinos have long struggled for freedom and democracy. In this freedom that we take for granted today, we are blind to the sacrifices our forefathers gave up for us to enjoy something that was a dream for them. Our freedom is the product of their blood and sacrifices.

In the long stretch of the colorful Philippine history, no event was so significant than the event called “The Philippine Revolution”. This Revolution took place in just one decade; in that short span of time, the Filipino fought two wars against two great nations, Spain and America. This Revolution was a defining era for the Filipinos. During the Revolution, Filipinos united to fight for a common cause, for freedom and independence. Though faced with incredible and one-sided odds, they pursued their cause; their love for the Motherland had fueled their hearts.
The Revolution is comprised of two wars: the Filipino-Spanish War and the Filipino-American War.

The Filipino-Spanish War was fought in 1896-1898. This war ended the 300-year rule of the Spaniards over the Philippines. It was during this war when great Filipinos emerged. They stepped forward and took the burden of leading the whole nation to a common cause- men like Jose Rizal, our national hero; Andres Bonifacio, founder of the “Katipunan” which started the Revolution; Emilio Aguinaldo, the First President of the First Philippine Republic; and many other Filipinos that kept the flame of nationalism alive.

The Filipino-American War was fought in 1899-1903. This war was the result of then U.S Pres. McKinley’s decision to take the Philippines as a colony of the United States. Though he knew that a war was inevitable if he would send American troops to take the Philippines, he could not just leave a country that was too young to be independent. The result was another war for the Filipinos to fight and later, lose.

This collection of papers researches about the Philippine Revolution. The research papers focus on three of the vital areas where the Revolution was fought: Batangas, Makati and Cavite. The objective of the papers is to research on how the three areas participated in the Philippine Revolution.


One of the centers of operations during the Revolution was Cavite. Cavite can be called as “The Cradle of Independence of the Philippines” because this is the birthplace of freedom in the Philippines. Cavite has much of a story during the Revolution. Its part during the Revolution was significant. Many great battles were fought in her soil. Her sons stepped up to lead the Filipinos to freedom. She produced many Caviteños that became the generals of the Revolution -- men like Gen. Artemio Ricarte, Gen. Mariano Trias, Gen. Candido Tria Tirona, Gen. Daniel Tria Tirona, Gen. Baldomero Aguinaldo, Gen. Crispulo Aguinaldo, Gen. Tomas Mascardo, Gen. Mariano Riego De Dios, Gen. Pantaleon Garcia, Gen. Glicerio Topacio, Gen. Juan Castaneda, Gen. Flaviano Yengko, Gen. Mariano Castaneda and Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, the first President of the First Philippine Republic. Major battles of the war were also fought here like the “Battle of Zapote Bridge”, “Battle of Binakayan”, and the “Battle of Alapan”. Cavite’s role in the history of the Philippines is very important. From the start of the Revolution until the end of it, the province of Cavite was always there. And for this, it must be retold. Many of us in the present times have forgotten the sacrifices of our ancestors. We must remember that because of the bravery of our forefathers we have gained this freedom. Our present has been built from the past. A past retold is an identity rebuilt. Our past is our identity.

The “Philippine Revolution” began with the formation of the Katipunan. Andres Bonifacio organized this movement and soon, its membership grew. In Cavite, the Katipunan had two branches: the Magdalo (Cavite Viejo) and the Magdiwang (San Francisco de Malabon). According to the research of Imus Library, the Magdiwang group was also called Mapagtiis. (History of Gen. Trias) The Magdalo group was organized by Emilio Aguinaldo (Zaide, 53) while General Mariano Trias and General Artemio Ricarte headed the Magdiwang group (Imus Municipal Library, History of Gen. Trias). After the outbreak of the Revolution on August 26, 1896, the Caviteños started the revolt against the Spaniards. The first uprising in Cavite came on August 31, 1896 in the town of San Francisco de Malabon. The Magdiwang group spearheaded the revolt. On September 3, 1896, Emilio Aguinaldo and his group took the town of Imus in what came to be called the “Battle of Imus”. He defeated the Spanish forces under the command of General Ernesto Aguirre. (Zaide, 239)

But the outbreak of the Revolution had its setbacks. The Spaniards tried to stop the revolt. Many Filipinos suffered because of false accusations. Both the innocents and the patriots bore the consequences of the Revolution. Thousands were arrested and tortured. Many patriots were killed by firing squad. Thirteen of the martyrs were from Cavite. Known as the “Trece Martires”, they were executed by firing squad on September 12, 1896 at Fort San Felipe in the Cavite arsenal. They were Luis Aguado, Eugenio Cabezas, Feliciano Cabuco, Agapito Conchu, Maximo Inocencio, Maximo Gregorio, Antonio San Agustin, Jose Lallana, Severino Lapidario, Victoriano Luciano, Alfonso de Ocampo, Francisco Osorio and Hugo Perez (Imus Municipal Library, History of Trece Martires City). Despite of the terror tactics of the Spaniards, however, the Filipinos continued to fight with renewed vigor. The terror produced no fear but it caused the flame of nationalism in the hearts of the Filipinos to burst out.

The Spaniards tried to suppress the revolt in Cavite. From October to December of 1896, the naval warships of Spain bombarded its coastal towns. There were eight reported bombardments, according to Ronquillo. These happened on the 22nd of October, 7th-10th of November, 14th & 26th of November, and on the 13th, 20th, & 24th of December. (Calairo, 66-72) These bombings caused casualties on the civilians living in the coastal towns. The bombardment on the 7th-10th resulted in the effective landing of the Spaniards at the Dalahican shore in what became known as the “Battle of Binakayan and Dalahican”.

The “Battle of Binakayan and Dalahican” happened on the 9th-11th of November 1896. Under the cover of navy gunfire, Governor-General Ramon Blanco, along with his troops, established a beachhead on the Dalahican shore. After the landing, Governor-General Blanco divided his troop into two units. The first unit, commanded by Gen. Riego de los Rios, would assault Dalahican. The second unit, commanded by Col. Jose Marina, would assault Binakayan. Both barrios were fortified by Filipino revolutionaries. Dalahican was fortified by the Magdiwang forces under the command of General Mariano Alvarez. Binakayan was fortified by the Magdalo forces under the leadership of Aguinaldo. Both barrios were also built with trenches designed by General Edilberto Evangelista. The battle was to be won by the Filipinos. But, the battle was not only between Filipinos and Spaniards. It was also between Filipinos and fellow Filipinos. The first to attack the Filipino trenches were Filipinos loyal to Spain. They were used as human shields to deceive the Filipino revolutionaries. For this, the first minutes of the battles were in favor of the Spaniards. The battle raged on for three days, until, on the 11th of November, Governor-General Ramon Blanco was forced to issue an order of General Retreat after three days of no accomplishments. They were evacuated to the naval warships waiting at bay while some retreated to Sangley Point. This was a great victory for the revolutionaries. This victory boosted the morale of the revolutionaries. Cavite was virtually liberated from the Spaniards (except for Sangley Point where Spain had a naval base). Some of the prominent revolutionaries who died on this battle were Gregoria Montoya and General Candido Tria Tirona. (Zaide, 72-74)(Calairo, 238-239)

Bonifacio was asked by the Magdiwang faction to come to Cavite. He arrived on December 1, 1896. According to Zaide, “With the arrival of Bonifacio in Cavite, the good relations between the Magdalo and Magdiwang Councils ended, and the resulting disunity weakened the libertarian cause.” (241)

Things began to change when Bonifacio arrived at Cavite.

Before the coming of Bonifacio, the two factions in Cavite were on good terms. The two, though rivals, were allies during the revolt in Cavite. They helped one another to win the battles. But, it all changed when Bonifacio arrived. The two set borderlines with each other. It was as if the Revolution was divided. Magdalos and Magdiwangs were now complete rivals of each other. The two factions had their own capital and jurisdictions. This caused the eventual turn of tide against the Filipinos. Was the great organizer of the Katipunan the cause of the breakdown of the cause of the Revolution? Was the great organizer the great divider?
Or is it the other way around?

Were the Caviteños responsible for the turning tide of the war? Was there a conspiracy behind the fall of Bonifacio?

On December 31, 1896, an assembly was held in Imus. The host of the assembly was the Magdalo faction. In this assembly, the arrogance of Bonifacio was apparent. He took the chair of the presiding officer (which appropriately belonged to Baldomero Aguinaldo) and designated the seats for the Magdiwang officers. The Magdalo officers sat on the vacant seats in the hall. The agenda of the assembly was organization of a revolutionary government and the union of the two factions of Katipunan in Cavite: Magdalo and Magdiwang. Nothing was accomplished during the assembly. Pride dominated the whole assembly. The Magdiwangs opposed the formation of a new government because they believed that there was a government that existed and that was the Katipunan, which was headed by Andres Bonifacio. With the arrival of Josephine Bracken, wife of Jose Rizal, the assembly was dismissed and rescheduled another day. (Zaide, 243)

Governor-General Camilo Polavieja succeeded Blanco because of his failure to abolish the revolt. One by one, he started the counter-attack on Cavite. First to be taken was Zapote on the 15 of February 1897. General Lachambre, along with the Spanish reinforcements, assaulted Silang, which was defended by the gallant Filipinos under the leadership of General Edilberto Evangelista. General Evangelista was killed on the 17th of February and after two days Silang was captured. Dasmariñas fell into Spanish hands on the 25th of February. On March 1, General Zabala and the Spaniards attacked Salitran. The strong assault of the Spaniards forced the revolutionaries to retreat. General Flaviano Yengko was wounded in this battle and later died. (Zaide, 243-244) According to Zaide, “Yengko was the youngest general of the Revolution, being younger than General Gregorio del Pilar, the “Hero of Tirad Pass”, by one year, two months and seven days” (244)

The tables had turned against the Filipinos. The consequence of their divided organization had taken its toll on the battlefields. The rivalries of the two factions resulted in the weakening of the revolutionary force. They became independent of each other. The Magdalos had only themselves to defend their towns. The Magdiwangs, whose towns were not yet attacked by the Spaniards, offered no help to the Magdalos. Divided they were.

As the battle raged in the towns of the Magdalos, the Magdiwang organized an assembly in Tejeros. This was an unlikely time to organize a meeting in the middle of a battle. Though some officers of the Magdalos were in the field directing the battles, the Magdiwangs still continued the assembly. It was during this assembly that the first Republic in Asia was founded, where Aguinaldo was elected as the First President of the First Philippine Republic. (Imus Municipal Library, History of Gen. Trias) But the assembly had its setback. In the first few minutes were the Alvarez-Montenegro quarreled about the formation of the government. During the last minutes of the assembly the infamous Tirona-Bonifacio conflict occurred; Daniel Tirona questioned Bonifacio’s capability as the Director of the Interior. Angered by the protest, Bonifacio pulled out his revolver. Artemio Ricarte interfered to prevent bloodshed. Bonifacio disregarded the election and dismissed the session. He left the room along with his guards. This was the start of the fall of the once Supremo of Katipunan.

After the Tejeros Convention, Bonifacio devised a conspiracy to oust the Magdalo faction. The first conspiracy happened on March 23, 1897. Bonifacio, along with 44 other conspirators, drew up the document called “Acta de Tejeros” which questioned the legitimacy of the Tejeros Convention and accusations in opposition to the Magdalo faction of a conspiracy against Bonifacio. The second meeting happened on the 17th 0f April at Naic. Known as the Naic Military Pact, this document states the formation of an armed force under the leadership of General Pio Del Pilar. Unfortunately, Major Lazaro Makapagal, a Magdalo Officer held captive by the conspirators, escaped and went to Aguinaldo. He told Aguinaldo about the conspiracy. Aguinaldo hurried to the house where Bonifacio and the conspirators were staying. Seeing that the house was surrounded by the troops of Aguinaldo, Bonifacio and other conspirators evaded the guards and escaped while other conspirators were left in the room. Among those who were left were General Pio Del Pilar and Mariano Noriel. After apologizing, Aguinaldo forgave the two and also the other conspirators. (Zaide, 246-247)

The once great organizer of the Katipunan was now a fugitive. His dream of becoming the supreme leader of the Revolution had ended. Maybe this is one of the reasons why the Filipinos lost Cavite in the 1897 assault of the Spaniards. The once united Revolution began to fumble.

On the 19th of April 1897, the Naic Revolutionary Assembly was organized. This was to finish the election of officials of the newly formed Revolutionary government. The Cabinet was as follows:

President: Emilio Aguinaldo
Vice-President: Mariano Trias
Saquilayan; History of Cavite, 8Captain-General: Artemio Ricarte
Secretary of Interior: Pascual Alvarez
Secretary of State: Jacinto Lumbreras
Secretary of Finance: Baldomero Aguinaldo
Secretary of Commerce and Industry: Mariano Alvarez
Secretary of Justice: Severino de las Alas
Secretary of War: Emiliano Riego de Dios

Other agenda were the creation of a new flag, reformation of the armed force and the standard uniform called rayadillo with its ranks and insignia. (Zaide, 247-248)

Could there have been another conspiracy behind this? Why was Bonifacio elected to an insignificant position on the Revolutionary government? And, still he was questioned on his capability to execute his duty. Was there really a conspiracy to throw Bonifacio out of leadership? Was there a struggle in leadership between Bonifacio and Aguinaldo? According to the research posted on the site, “Bonifacio, the father of the Revolution, became a victim to the ambition and self-serving interests the ilustrados as personified by Aguinaldo.” Ilustrados were middle class persons. Bonifacio was a lower class type of citizen. Days after he arrived in Cavite, much propaganda against him was spread in Cavite. The Ilustrados did not want Bonifacio to take the leadership of the Revolution. Another site,, also states, “Bonifacio, founder of the Katipunan and initiator of the revolutionary struggle in the country, lost the leadership to Emilio Aguinaldo, who was voted president. Bonifacio was merely elected to the minor post of director of the interior. None of the other leaders of the Katipunan, not even Emilio Jacinto, were considered for positions at Tejeros.” Many if not all of the newly elected officers of the Revolutionary government were from Cavite. None coming from Manila (or can we say “lower classes”) were elected as officers. The “conspiracy” on leadership had taken place. The next “conspiracy” would be on the death of Bonifacio.

Now a fugitive, Bonifacio hid in the barrio of Limbon in Indang until men under the command of Colonels Agapito Bonzon, Felipe Topacio and Jose Ignacio Paua finally captured him. A short fight took place until the wounded Bonifacio was captured. A court-martial was carried out; even with the lack of proof, the Bonifacio brothers, Andres and Procopio were found guilty of treason. They were sentenced to death. Aguinaldo withdrew the verdict and lessened it to exile Bonifacio to a far place. But, Generals Pio del Pilar and Mariano Noriel (former allies of Bonifacio) persuaded Aguinaldo to reconsider his decision. Finally, the execution order was released. Andres and Procopio Bonifacio were executed by firing squad on May 10, 1897 (Zaide, 248-249). The place where the Bonifacios was executed is a confusion. According to Zaide and the research of Imus Library, they were executed in Mt. Hulog. According to the article posted on and, they were executed in Mt. Tala.

According to an article posted on the site, they were executed on Mt. Nagpatong. All these sites are near Maragondon. The answer came after an interview with Mr. Cargulio, a Scoutmaster from Cavite Science National High School in Maragondon. According to him, the Bonifacio brothers were killed in Mt. Hulog. Supposedly, they were to be killed in Mt. Buntis. On their way to Mt. Buntis, they stopped in Mt. Hulog because Andres Bonifacio insisted to open the letter. When Maj. Lazaro Makapagal opened the letter, it was a letter to execute the two brothers. There, on the plains of Mt. Hulog, the two brothers were executed.

On the same day, the Spaniards attacked Maragondon. It fell after two days of fighting. Aguinaldo and the revolutionists were forced to transfer the government to Biac-na-Bato in Bulacan.

Nothing was written about Cavite after the transfer of government to Biac-na-Bato. But, with the arrival of the Americans and the retreat of the Spaniards to Manila, Cavite was again in the pages of history.

On May 1, 1898, the battle of Manila bay took place. The battle was between the Spanish fleet and the American squadron. The Spaniards suffered heavy losses on this battle while the Americans were unscathed, losing no man and incurring no damage to any American ships. They, along with the Filipino counterparts, were victorious during the siege of Manila. (Zaide, 255-256)

Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines from his exile in Hong Kong on the 19th of May 1897, onboard the ship “McCullough”. He organized the armed forces again and continued the campaign against the Spaniards. On the 28th of May, the Battle of Alapan happened in the town of Imus. The Filipinos were again victorious against the colonizers. This was also where the Philippine flag was first raised in action. After three days, the second battle for Binakayan took place. This was the final engagement between the Filipinos and Spaniards on Cavite’s soil. (Calairo, 79-80)

This action led to the declaration of independence of the Philippines.

According to Zaide:

“During his exile in Hong Kong, General Aguinaldo designed the Filipino flag as it looks today. Mrs. Marcela Agoncillo sewed it with the help of her daughter Lorenza and Mrs. Josefina Herbosa de Natividad (niece of Rizal). It was made of silk with a white triangle at the left containing a sunburst of eight rays at the center, a five-pointed star at each angle of the triangle, an upper stripe of dark blue, and a lower stripe of red. The white triangle stands for equality; the upper blue stripe for peace, truth and justice and the lower red stripe for patriotism and valor. The sunburst of eight rays inside the triangle represented the first eight provinces that took up arms against Spain. The three stars symbolized Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.” (259)

The Philippine National Anthem was originally called as the “Marcha Nacional Filipina”. The piece was composed by Julian Felipe. The lyrics of the anthem were taken from the poem composed by Jose Palma entitled “Filipinas”. The lyrics were as follows:

“Philippine Hymn”

Jose Palma

Land of the morning; Child of the sun returning,
With fervor burning, thee do our souls adore.
Land dear and holy, Cradle of noble heroes,
Ne’er shall invaders trample thy sacred shore.
Ever within thy sky and through thy clouds
And o’er the hills and sea.
Do we behold the radiance, feel the throb
Of glorious liberty.
Thy banner, dear to all our hearts, its sun and stars alight,
O never shall its shining field be dimmed by tyrant’s might!
Beautiful land of love, o land of light,
Saquilayan; History of Cavite, 12In thine embrace ‘tis rapture to lie.
But it is glory ever, when thou art wronged,
For us thy sons to suffer and die.

Translated by Camilo Osias and M.A Lane
(Reyes, Santamaria, Beyer and De Veyra, 178)

On the 12th of June 1898, the Philippine Independence was proclaimed in the house of Aguinaldo. It was around 4 o’clock in the afternoon when the Independence was declared. The Proclamation of Independence was read by Ambrocio Rianzares Bautista. After the proclamation, the Philippine flag was raised. The band “San Francisco de Malabon” played the National Anthem. And so, on this Sunday afternoon, the 12th of May, the freedom and independence of the Filipinos was declared. (Calairo, 83-86)


After a month of research on the history of Cavite during the Revolution, I learned that there was so much of a sacrifice our forefathers had given up for us to enjoy this freedom. Also, I uncovered some new information.

According to what I researched, General Flaviano Yengko was the youngest general of the Revolution, not General Gregorio Del Pilar (Zaide, 244).

The Bonifacio brothers were killed in Mt. Hulog (Zaide and Imus Municipal Library)(Cargulio), and not in Mt. Tala ( and, nor in Mt. Nagpatong (

But one of the most striking is the alleged “double conspiracy” of the Revolution. One is the “conspiracy” of the ilustrados to depose Bonifacio out of leadership. The other is the “conspiracy” of Bonifacio to bring down the Revolutionary Government. Both of which can be the cause of the defeat of the revolutionaries in the Spanish campaign of 1897. This was a dark moment in the history of the Philippines.

Now, history has been retold. But, what about it? The objective of this research is not only to retell the history of Cavite, but also to make the present Filipinos to be aware of what they are taking for granted. The freedom that we enjoy today was attained because of the sacrifices of our ancestors. But, we take this freedom for granted. We also tend to forget what we are. We exploit it. The Philippines today is slowly collapsing on itself. The problems of the Philippines are not made by other nations but by Filipinos themselves. The nation is at war with itself. Filipinos corrupting the government; Filipinos killing other Filipinos; Filipinos who just sit around and do nothing, yet they complain about their status in life. The problem of the Filipinos is their bad attitude- their selfishness, greed for money, laziness, and complaints are some of it. They just sit around and wait for the government to give them jobs. Most of all, instead of fixing the problem, the Filipinos are making it worse.

The only way that the problems of the Philippines can be fixed is for all to the Filipinos to unite and help the nation. The good men and women in our government, who are doing their best for the Motherland and not for themselves, cannot fix this problem all by themselves. They need the Filipinos to cooperate and do their part for the Motherland. I think God has permitted the problems to come for us to learn from our mistakes. Unity and sacrifice for the country is much needed this time, as it was a hundred years ago. The Filipinos gained the independence because they had united to fight for it. We, today, must also unite to bring this problem to an end. Sacrifices have to be given for us to solve the worsening problem of our country. We must do our role for our country. Every Filipino is vital to the success of the nation. He must do his part for the country. Like John Kennedy said, “Do not ask what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country.” We must do our part for our country. We are the only ones who can help the Philippines. Let us rebuild this nation.

We must remember what our ancestors wanted for us. They wanted us to live in peace and harmony. Free from foreign colonizers. They gave their lives, for us to live freely. Let us not waste their sacrifices. Let us unite for the sake of the Motherland.

Works Cited

_________________. “The Province Of Cavite.”

Calairo, Emmanuel Franco, “Cavite el Viejo.” Cavite, Cavite Historical Society, 1998.

Imus, Cavite, Imus Municipal Library, _______, Philippines, Capitol Publishing House, 1953, and Quezon City, All-nations Publishing Co., 1999

Reyes, Pedrito, Prof. Grau-Santamaria, Mercedes, “Pictorial History Of The Philippines.”

Zaide, Sonia M. The Philippines: A Unique Nation. Quezon City, All Nations Publishing Company, 1994.

Zaide, Sonia M., “Kasaysayan At Pamahalaan Ng Pilipinas.”

Cargulio, Leo. Interview. 22 October 2004.


The previous post was long and I still have a few more papers to post, so allow me to break the text monotony with a picture. Guess where it was taken? U.P. students should know.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Aissa Rivera's "Filipina in Perspective"

I will start to post here or on my websites the best research papers written by my students in English 10 last semester. This first one is among the best of the best.

Now and Then —The Filipina in Perspective

by Ma. Aissa Francesca Rivera

“I’m just your wife.” This was Sharon Cuneta’s bitter retort to her domineering and demanding husband in the 1997 Filipino blockbuster hit “Madrasta”. Is the Filipina just a wife? How different is the contemporary woman nowadays? Although the sands of time have trickled down to centuries, some things have not changed. Women constitute a large portion of a country’s human resource, and yet our society remains a patriarchal one (Ibe, 133). There are more women than men in our society. Statistics have shown that fifty-two percent of the Philippine population is composed of women. Yet with these astounding numbers, misconceptions about the Filipina are indelibly printed in our minds and hearts, all because of the Spanish Colonization. The infamous Maria Clara image exemplified the romantic and ideal Filipina who loved purely, and only once (Alzona, 15). According to Cynthia Nolasco, “The law considered the Filipino wife as occupying a position of inferiority, of minority and incurable debility of absolute incapacity.”

On the other end of the spectrum, there is the contemporary woman—a woman who supposedly knows what she wants in love and in life. The contemporary woman has somehow transcended the stereotype, but retains remnants of the past. It is clearly shown in the way Philippine society treats women. The Filipina during the Spanish colonial period and the contemporary Filipina greatly differ in several aspects; they differ in beliefs and practices. Likewise, there are also multifarious differences in their characteristics, mannerisms and activities.

The Filipina during the Spanish colonial period had many facets and characteristics. Accumulated beliefs, practices, traditions and customs in the Iberian Peninsula during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries determined the Filipino woman’s position and role (Mananzan, 49). Spanish customs, religion and laws constrained and debilitated a woman’s freedom (Feliciano, 10). Likewise, colonial rule changed a woman’s status. Rules were passed that constrained a woman during the Spanish colonial period (Feliciano, 11). It designated her to an inferior position. The Filipina was regarded as her husband’s servant because of these laws (Borden, 1-3). Filipina wives were dependent on and were subordinate to their husbands. The Filipina was fashioned in the image and likeness of the perfect woman in Iberian Society (Mananzan, 50).

The Filipina during the Spanish colonial period had a different way of dressing compared to her Western sisters. A half-chemise, bodice or a light jacket camisa and an ankle length skirt called a saya were what she usually wore. No footwear was worn inside the home. Outdoors, she needed to wear a tapis and wooden clogs without heels called bakya. For her accessories, on the other hand, she tied her hair in a bun with a small comb adorned with flowers. Long hair was considered to be a woman’s pride and joy. Ornaments like earrings were worn as well. As the Filipina was very meticulous and finicky, nails were likewise given special attention.

The Filipina during the Spanish colonial period was generally described as sweet, demure, honorable, coy, kind, affable, pure in heart, obedient, respectful to their parents and elders, sympathetic, mild mannered, humble and unaffected. Meanwhile, religion was the focus in a young girl’s education, since they were thought to “have a natural inclination to piety” (Mananzan, 50). The Filipina was trained to submit to religious authority (Molina, 21-22). She was taught by the local friar to be self-conscious, to keep in mind the values of fidelity and not to be friendly with men. Independence of mind, courage and education were frowned upon by the religious authorities; that is why women were only educated to regard strict obedience as an essential feminine virtue (Alzona, 2). In that sense, the Spanish friars and encomenderos were triumphant in producing a shy and puritanical woman (Molina, 21-22).

Girls were educated in colegios and beaterios (Feliciano, 12). Those who were sent to colegios and beaterios had to undergo the education which promoted the values of docility and obedience. The courses offered to girls were different from those for boys (Feliciano, 12). General subjects were reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead of Spanish, geography, history and practical agriculture, which were taken up by the boys, girls were required to take up deportment and needlecraft (Feliciano, 12).

The Filipina was not only considered to be biologically inferior, she was also supposedly racially inferior (Molina, 21-22). Although any form of sexual activity was considered taboo during the Spanish colonial period, she was regarded as a sex object who was confined to the domestic chores of the household (Molina, 21-22). In addition, men during the Spanish colonial period valued the chastity of young women. The Filipina woman during the Spanish colonial period believed that losing her virtue meant losing her value of being a woman. If she lost her value, she became an outcast who was condemned to live a life of obscurity by society (Alzona, 11-12).

The Filipina was portrayed in novels as more exotic, submissive and feminine than her Western counterparts (Borden, 1-3). She had a disposition that could be described as being exaggeratedly humble, innately good and ignorant (Alzona, 3-4). She was shy, reticent, passive, yet surprisingly business minded (Borden, 1-3). However, the Filipina seemed to lack the freedom to think for herself (Alzona, 3-4). Unquestioned obedience was required of her. She had no voice in family affairs and no social life outside the home. Along with that, she is excluded from political activities. Her activities and aspirations never left the domicile.

Women during the Spanish colonial period had different roles, and these roles differed for each tier of society. Some women during the Spanish colonial period were laborers. Although other women were mistresses, most Filipinas were legal wives. Prostitutes also roamed the cobbled streets during the Spanish colonial period.

Roles and responsibilities of the Filipina during the Spanish colonial period varied. A peasant woman during the Spanish colonial period worked. She did the weaving, fishing and gold panning. She also raised farm animals. Her life revolved at home. She cooked meals, and she washed the clothes. She took care of children. In addition, she kept the house and the yard clean. She prepared buyo for visitors. It was considered to be polite if the woman smoked and chewed buyo while entertaining her visitors.

The Slete Partidas was a rule passed during the Spanish colonial period that excused the ignorance of the law for peasants, soldiers and women. It also stated that puberty was legal marrying age and now share of the patria potastas was given to the mother.

Meanwhile, daughters were kept in seclusion. They were not to play with boys nor accept presents from them. Although most of the time was devoted to prayer, time too was spent in handiwork, cooking and managing the household. The only instance when they left the house was to attend the Holy Mass. This served the purpose of seeing other people, being seen, socializing and looking for a suitable mate. (Mananzan, 50).

At the same time, a law called the Leyes de Toro stated that the Filipina woman was congenitally dependent on her parents until she got married (Feliciano, 11). Once married, the authority over the woman transferred to her husband (Mananzan, 50). She should dress in accordance with her husband’s whims. She should not be aroused to jealousy, and she endured them in silence and in prayer (Mananzan, 50). In addition, during the Spanish colonial period, Filipina mothers were devoted to their children, sensitive to their needs, giving their all for the good of these children.

Moreover, the Spanish Marriage Law of 1870 and the Spanish Civil Code of 1885 confined and defined the role of the Filipina wife. It stated that the wife must obey the husband and follow him when he moved residence to another country (Feliciano, 14-15). She was unable to make contracts or acquire property without permission and consent of the husband. The wife was unable to publish anything scientific or literary without her husband’s consent. Similarly, if a woman engaged in trade, it is presumed that she had been authorized by her husband to engage in such activities (Feliciano, 11-12). Widows during the Spanish colonial period were treated differently and many complex rules applied to their state (Feliciano, 16). Encarnacion Alzona clearly states a woman’s roles by saying that

As a wife, her duty should be to help her husband, inspire him to be courageous, share his troubles, comfort him in his affliction, and avoid giving him worries…As a mother, she should teach her children to price their honor above all else and guard it zealously; to love their fellowmen and their native land; and to do their duty, emphasizing to them that to die with honor is more to be desired than to live in dishonor (Alzona, 5).

The Contemporary Filipina

On the other end of the spectrum, the contemporary Filipina is a woman of the times. She has many characteristics and facets about her. Although she has different values from the Filipina during the Spanish colonial period, she finds some values significant. The contemporary Filipina values a happy and united home. She values employment as well.

Since the contemporary Filipina thrives in the twentieth century, gone are the days of arranged marriages. She chooses whom she wants to marry. The contemporary woman does not wait to be chosen by the man of her dreams. She selects the crowd she wants to be associated with. In addition, she joins religious, civic and political organizations to widen her social circle in hopes of finding her a suitable partner in life (Molina, 34). She has the final say on her future mate.

The Philippine Constitution of 1973 practically removed the discriminatory treatment of women through its different provisions. The 1973 Philippine constitution superseded the 1935 constitution. Article III Sec 2 of the Philippine constitution states that unlike the Filipina during the Spanish colonial period, she can now choose her citizenship, regardless of her husband’s citizenship.

The contemporary Filipina’s presence can be felt in the political arena, the business world, in social work, multifarious professions and trade. She is free from the four walls of the home. Gone are the routine and rote of household chores.

In addition, the contemporary woman dresses in any manner that she wishes. She decides to wear whatever she thinks is fashionable. She can wear pants, skirts of any length, shorts or any style she desires. Tops are chosen in accordance with a contemporary woman’s tastes, whether it be conservative or daring. Footwear ranges from boots, sandals, stilettos and sneakers. Accessories would include jewelry; some contemporary women have body art and piercings which can also be found in the navel, the tongue and other places. Since hair could be kept long or short, it can be styled in any way (Ibe, 35-45).

The modern Filipina who [sic] does not typify anymore the shy, demure, deeply religious Maria Clara who had no mind of her own; nor the reserved feminine, queenly Dona Aurora Quezon, wife of the late President Manuel L. Quezon, but a new creature, independent-minded and development oriented, intensely committed to public welfare and a product of a highly democratic and scientific climate of the times. (Ramos according to Albarracin)

The different roles and responsibilities of the contemporary Filipina varies. The contemporary woman has a choice on whether to have a career or to stay at home. In decreasing rank, multifarious professions are preferred and entered by the contemporary Filipina. She chooses to be a nurse, midwife , laboratory technician, educator, doctor, cashier or accounting clerk, nutritionist or dietician, accountant or auditor, medical technologist or therapist, pharmacist, engineer, clerk or office operator, social worker, diplomat, business proprietors, business executive, saleswoman or buyer, service worker, dentist, scientist, writer or journalist (Montiel and Hollnsteiner, 20). Aside from having a career or a job, the woman budgets family income as well (Montiel and Hollnsteiner, 14).

Women leaders are proving the heightening competence of women in the Philippines (Montiel and Hollnsteiner, 1). Cory Aquino’s presidency is often cited as corroboration on how women have risen in Philippine society (David, 88). Nowadays, more and more women are found in appointive positions. Women can be found in the Cabinet. They are also found in the Career Executive Service and Community Service. Women likewise serve in the diplomatic service, and are also found in the judiciary. Women are also into community service.

Unlike the Filipina during the Spanish colonial period, the contemporary Filipina can act without her husband’s consent to be able to do certain things. According to the Civil Code, she can now choose what name to use, whether it be her husband’s or her own. Moreover, Article 114, Muslim Code, Section 36 states that the wife can enter any profession she would like, provided that her husband agrees and supports her. She can ask for annulment or separation. Articles 165 and 112 now permits the contemporary Filipina to make a will and inherit possessions without her husband’s consent (Women’s Decade in the Philippines).

The contemporary Filipina joins organizations. One organization is comprised composed of high society women who have husbands in the male counterpart organization. They delve into civic oriented activities such as donating to the less fortunate, visiting hospitals, establishing schools, etc. Another type of organization is church groups. All women of social classes are encouraged to join this organization where they perform corporal works of mercy. Another kind of organization that women join is one that expresses their voice in society. These are the nationwide civic groups and labor unions (Montiel and Hollnsteiner, 18).

The Spanish Filipina and the Contemporary Filipina in Perspective

Surprisingly, the Filipina during the Spanish colonial period and the contemporary Filipina have similarities. They both have a strong attachment to their family as the foundation and fundamental unit of society (Borden, 5). Similarly, women belong to the category of things to be owned. Fathers and husbands treat their daughters and wives as possessions, not as persons (David, 87-88). Like the traditional Filipina, some contemporary women are content by in handling behind-the-scenes management tasks. They help and support their husbands unconditionally in the positions of authority assumed by the latter (Montiel and Hollnsteiner, 28-29).

But the Filipina of the Spanish colonial period and the contemporary Filipina also have multifarious differences. Among these are conflicting values and morals. The values of the young contemporary Filipina are damaged by the media as reported by both local and foreign news reports (The Women’s Decade in the Philippines). In effect, the contemporary Filipina is more sexually liberated (Molina, 44). A 1978 study determined that twenty two percent of Filipinas lose their virginity at seventeen. Moreover, approximately seventy percent of men under thirty years old in Metro Manila no longer desire to marry virgins (Molina, 50). In addition, some contemporary Filipinas now believe in the concept of trial marriages or “live – in”. In this scenario, there is no guarantee or permanence of love and affection. It completely ignores the Church dictum that the sole purpose of marriage is parenthood (Molina, 45).

Meanwhile, the 1936 constitution granted the contemporary Filipina the right to vote. A plebiscite held on April 30, 1937 granted them women’s right to suffrage (Tancangco, 60). Women nowadays can freely choose political representation and affiliation and become representatives themselves. This was unheard of during the Spanish colonial period. Since the contemporary Filipina now assumes greater responsibilities in nation building, she has stepped out of the confines of the home (Enrile, 180).

The Filipina now is an eclectic mix of the Filipina during the Spanish colonial period and the contemporary woman. She can take care of her children, raise them to become responsible and respectable citizens, and at the same time, have a flourishing and successful career. They might have similarities and differences, yet the same blood courses through their veins. What the Filipina during the Spanish colonial period went through is and always will be an indelible part of the contemporary Filipina.

The Filipina now is a woman of the times, equipped with the amazing intellect, love and strength that she possesses that made her survive the past three centuries. All throughout the hardships and the rocky roads, she traversed them with grace, strength and beauty. Lately, there have been gains for the Filipina; the government has helped her through her plight over the last few centuries through multifarious laws (Feliciano, 33). Now she holds her head up high. Blossoming in equality in the workplace and more importantly, stature with men, the Filipina now can conquer and face anything.

She is not just a wife after all.



Alzona, Encarnacion. Rizal’s Legacy to the Filipino Woman. Pasay City: 1938 Taft Avenue, 1954.

Borden, Karen Wells. The Filipina: Some Observations about the Communication Roles of the Philippine Women in the Traditional Society and in the Liberation Movement. The Philippine- American Communication Conference, San Jose State University, 1976.

David, Randolf S. Nation, Self and Citizenship: An Invitation to Philippine Sociology. Quezon City: College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, 2002.

Feliciano, Myrna S. “The Filipina: A Historical Legal Perspective.” Women’s Role in Philippine History: Papers and Proceedings of the Conference on Women’s Role in Philippine History. Quezon City: University of Women’s Studies, 1989.

Ibe, Milagros D. “Values of Filipino Women.” Women’s Role in Philippine History: Papers and Proceedings of the Conference on Women’s Role in Philippine History. Quezon City: University of Women’s Studies, 1989.

Mananzan, Sr. Mary John. “The Filipino Woman Before and After the Spanish Conquest of the Philippines.” Women’s Role in Philippine History: Papers and Proceedings of the Conference on Women’s Role in Philippine History. Quezon City: University of Women’s Studies, 1989.

Molina, Mariano J. The Modern Filipina: Her Name is Woman. Quezon City: Buencamino Press, 1983.

Montiel, Cristina and Mary Racelis Hollensteiner. The Filipino Woman: Her Role and Status in Philippine Society. Institute of Philippine Culture, Ateneo de Manila University, 1976.

Tancgangco, Luzviminda G. “Women and Politics in Contemporary Philippines.” Women’s Role in Philippine History: Papers and Proceedings of the Conference on Women’s Role in Philippine History. Quezon City: University of Women’s Studies, 1989.

The Woman’s Decade in the Philippines: Analysis of Significant Changes in Women’s Role and Status. Manila: National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women,1985.