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.
“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 http://opmanong.ssc.hawaii.edu/filipino/struggle.html, “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, http://www.philippinenewscentral.com/cgi-bin/redirect.cgi?url=philrev.html, 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 http://www.philippinenewscentral.com/cgi-bin/redirect.cgi?url=philrev.html and http://opmanong.ssc.hawaii.edu/filipino/struggle.html, they were executed in Mt. Tala.
According to an article posted on the site http://members.tripod.com/masternoel/compdev/main4.htm, 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:
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 (http://www.philippinenewscentral.com/cgi-bin/redirect.cgi?url=philrev.html and http://opmanong.ssc.hawaii.edu/filipino/struggle.html), nor in Mt. Nagpatong (http://members.tripod.com/masternoel/compdev/main4.htm).
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.
_________________. “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.