Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Andres Bonifacio: The Birth of Heroes and the Rise of the Filipino

IN commemoration to the Supremo, Andres Bonifacio, an excerpt from my book, " Bagong Istorya: Great Stories in Philippine History" (available upon request)

The Birth of Heroes and the Rise of the Filipino
The middle 18th century in the Philippines was a period of perpetual destabilization. The islands were slowly being reconfigured—both physically and in socio-economic terms. On the surface, geophysical forces were making physical transformations, complimenting the deeper and more serious reconstruction happening within the colonial society.

A new socio-economic class composed of Chinese mestizos and Indio professionals has emerged, and started to dominate both the economic and political landscape. Creoles, pure-blooded Spaniards assigned to administer these groups of islands in the Far East, were slowly being eased out. Socio-economic relations are starting to assume a different form. Traders are slowly weakening the hold of the Spanish military and religious aristocracy over the colony. Those who traditionally dominated the affairs of the state are now being challenged by a new aristocracy, whose claims to possessions and ownership are based on land and capital, not solely on blood neither on royal patronage. Intense trade has precipitated the creation of newer forms of production and this has substantially changed the relations between the dominant and the conquered classes.

As the colonial society grapples with the entry of capitalism, and the traditional ways are gradually being transplanted by newer things, the old order tries to impose itself upon the emerging classes. Resistance was fierce, with the old order using superior arms and the cross. Unbeknownst, the newer form of production comes with it, new thinking and new ways of doing things.

The synthesis of the old feudalist order with that of nascent capitalism comes with it the more dominant thinking of trade regardless of race or religious beliefs. Racial and religious lines are becoming blurred, as fresh, often, liberal ideas are permeating the vulnerable social membrane. The conquered peoples are deliberately regaining their freedom without need of arms. Social mobility, for the first time, now depends not on blood but on industry.

With this comes a newer challenge to power. As the conquered classes awake from its stupor, now consciously aware of the economic opportunities capitalism has given them, clashes are inevitable. As resistance becomes futile yet necessary, a showdown between the old and emergent forces is becoming more likely. This is a period where the old order is gradually being defeated, unknowingly, that is.  


A thick black smoke rises in Manila, capital of the Spanish regime in Asia. The smoke can be seen almost a mile away. For someone unfamiliar with how things are, these columns of smoke may mean war or another pirate attack against the city.  The putrid smell of the fumes belies a far deeper reason for this conflagration.

The year was November 30, 1645, feast day of Saint Andrews, patron saint of the Manilenos. A year ago, Manilenos were feasting on roast pig and lighting their incenses, made by Indian hands. For religious Manilenos, the feast day is the most important in the liturgical calendar because it ushers the feasts of Saints.

Today, Manilenos are neither rejoicing nor worshipping but, weeping. Manila, the pride of the Far East, the Venice of Asia, has just been hit by a powerful earthquake.

The entire city was a disaster zone, as if hit by an atomic bomb or ravaged by hordes of warriors. Everywhere you look, devastation, even, desolation.

Piles of crushed adobe blocks were are all that were left of those fabled European-styled palatial stone house of Manila’s elites. The quake, a 7.5 magnitude in the Richter scale, reduced everything to rubble.

Those left standing looked like twisted Rubick’s cubes, with huge cracks in their walls. The proud structures of Spanish colonial power—Malacanang palace and Manila Cathedral—were both pulverized. Curiously, only those made of nipa straws and bamboos withstood the tremendous power of Nature. Six hundred to 3,000 people were killed and many left homeless.[1] For those who survived, it was the blackest day to hit Manila in centuries. [2]

Was this a sign from above, a portent of things to come? Years before, hordes of conquered natives assisted by marauding Chinese and Indian migrants, stormed the capital and left it for dead. They killed every Spaniard in sight, only to be repulsed by Tagalog mercenaries.[3]

Or is Ladia the Bornean, and a descendant of Lakandula, and who led a revolt two years before, just suddenly rose from the grave and tried to again raise the people to revolt? [4] Or, this was punishment from God against Manilenos for not supporting their compatriots in Zambales and Pampanga who are now rising against the Spanish?

For whatever it was, the quake reminded us of how deadly Nature’s wrath was. For many Filipinos and Chinese living in Manila at that time, this was not just a quake.

The Fates are rising from the depths, telling Filipinos to rise up against their oppressors. This was Bernardo Carpio speaking from the caves of Montalban, trying to shackle his chains and trying desperately to break free.

Two hundred and fifty years later, no one ever thought that this tragic scene will ever repeat itself, much the same way as in 1645. The year was June 3, 1863.

Manilenos had just finished saying the Angelus and most were enjoying their simple meals together when, at half past seven, the church bells rang. It was customary to ring the bells thrice.

This evening, it was different. The bells rang in continuous fashion, the sounds grew louder and longer, accompanied by loud crashing and thrashing sounds. It was horrifying, as everything started swaying and thrashing wildly, even violently.

After a minute, silence came. Then, moans, screams, shrill and wailings began. A 6.3 magnitude quake hit the capital and nearby provinces.[5] It was stronger than the 1645 quake because the epicenter was just in the East Zambales fault line near Manila bay. [6]

In a blink of a minute, everything changed—from a city filled with pleasurable sights—to a desolate, howling wilderness. All churches, except one, were completely obliterated from the face of the earth. Nothing was spared—the Palacio del Governador, the military barracks, hospitals, buildings and stone houses—all were left in ruins. Stone churches bore the brunt of the strong earthquake similar to the big one which occurred in 1645.[7] Nature’s wrath was so strong; many analysts say that this was probably an intensity 10 earthquake.[8]

Stone structures built along the banks of Manila Bay and the Pasig River was heavily damaged. Many residents of Tanay, Pilillia, Taguig, Cainta and San Mateo were left homeless. Scores of Bulakenos in San Isidro and Guinguinto died. A large avalanche claimed the lives of people in the mountains of Angat while those in Lubao Pampanga were mortally injured.

Houses and churches were wiped out in Cabugao and San Pedro in Laguna, as well as in Tunasan in Muntinlupa. Coastal towns in Cavite were likewise destroyed, most swept away by a huge tsunami.[9] Only Pangasinan and the Ilocos provinces were spared.

All in all, about 1,172 structures collapsed while most were heavily damaged. More than 400 people died and 2,000 injured. [10] 

In Manila alone, 300 people died. [11]  The districts of Binondo, Santa Cruz, Tondo, San Miguel, Quiapo, Lipa, Tambobo and Navotas were completely ruined. Thirty five people were buried when the church and portions of the general garrison collapsed in the district of Santa Cruz. Forty six public buildings and 570 houses crumbled. Based on accounts, cracks were seen on the ground. [12]

Over at Manila bay, ships littered along the coasts and fragments of destroyed trading vessels are seen floating all about. The force of the quake was so strong, it launched a huge 20 foot tsunami that literally swallowed and destroyed the ships docked in the bay. Waters receded from the bay and swamped Cavite before returning in an opposite direction.[13]  Aftershocks were strong enough to reach even the sleepy town of Hinulawan in Cebu.

Manila and nearby provinces were left desolate and in complete disarray. What the Filipino rebels and insurgents failed to do for decades, Nature destroyed in minutes.  The political and economic structures of the Spanish government were completely destroyed. [14]  Property damage is estimated at US$ 3 million.[15]

German traveler Jagor Fedor[16] in one of his writings vividly narrated the state of destruction wrought by this devastating earthquake.

Manila is situated on both sides of the river Pasig. The town itself, surrounded with walls and ramparts, with its low tiled roofs and a few towers, had, in 1859, the appearance of some ancient European fortress. Four years later the greater part of it was destroyed by an earthquake.

On June 3, 1863, at thirty-one minutes past seven in the evening, after a day of tremendous heat while all Manila was busy in its preparations for the festival of Corpus Christi, the ground suddenly rocked to and fro with great violence. The firmest buildings reeled visibly, walls crumbled, and beams snapped in two. The dreadful shock lasted half a minute; but this little interval was enough to change the whole town into a mass of ruins, and to bury hundreds of its inhabitants. A letter of the governor-general, which I have seen, states that the cathedral, the government-house, the barracks, and all the public buildings of Manila were entirely destroyed, and that the few private houses which remained standing threatened to fall in. Later accounts speak of four hundred killed and two thousand injured, and estimate the loss at eight millions of dollars. Forty-six public and five hundred and seventy private buildings were thrown down; twenty-eight public and five hundred twenty-eight private buildings were nearly destroyed, and all the houses left standing were more or less injured.

At the same time, an earthquake of forty seconds' duration occurred at Cavite, the naval port of the Philippines, and destroyed many buildings.

Three years afterwards, the Duc d'Alencon (Lucon et Mindanao; Paris, 1870, S. 38) found the traces of the catastrophe everywhere. Three sides of the principal square of the city, in which formerly stood the government, or governor's, palace, the cathedral, and the townhouse, were lying like dust heaps overgrown with weeds. All the large public edifices were "temporarily" constructed of wood; but nobody then seemed to plan anything permanent.

Manila was a disaster zone, littered with animal carcasses and rotting corpses. Swarms of flies and birds of prey feasted on the bodies. It took two months before authorities were able to clear the streets of debris, rotting bodies, mud, and shards of glass.

Compounding the problem, huge torrential rains inundated the city for days. Waist-deep floods submerged large portions of the city. Mud affected those in higher areas.  

Barely three months past, another 7.4 magnitude quake hit Manila on September 27. A full month later, another big one destroyed all that were left standing after the June and September earthquakes.

The Birth of the Supremo

It was the twenty seventh day of October, a full month before the feast day of Saint Andrews. The year was 1863.

Barely four months past after the devastating June quake, another quake hit Manila. Though it was relatively “milder”, the quake still destroyed newly constructed shacks built in the swampy Tutuban area, while newly paved roads cracked due to strong aftershocks.

Men, women and children all lay lifeless in the streets, most mortally wounded from fallen trees and adobe blocks. Survivors all rushed to get the bodies to the hospital. But not all were recovered.

Days past before medical teams recovered the rotting corpses. Most were thrown in hastily dug burial pits and covered with soil. Neither pitch nor salt was ever put in their bodies. No effort was made to clean the streets, all muddied up because of torrential rains. Mud was a foot high in most places.

Like in previous years, huge floods came shortly after the quakes. Bodies buried in shallow graves were reportedly washed up and the bay ate them. Some were left rotting in the streets. Those who survived nature’s wrath died one after another, victims of the dreaded cholera and Malaria.[17]

In the newly established community in Tutuban, Santiago Bonifacio, the local teniente mayor, was deathly worried. His beautiful Spanish mestiza wife Catalina de Castro was seven months pregnant. They survived the quake, but barely had the resources to survive another one. Catalina was worried for her relatives in Zambales[18], as reports came in that her hometown was also damaged.

The Bonifacios lived in a small nipa hut built in a swampy, shrubby area fronting the place where the central train station was soon to be constructed.[19] Azcarraga Street where the Bonifacios are is sited near the place where local wine makers get the sap juices of the nipa shrub for tuba.

When authorities cleared the place, and announced plans of building a train station, many Filipinos, especially budding entrepreneurs like Santiago, decided to build their houses there. They all thought Tutuban was the next boom town.[20] Tutuban is very near the docks, and the first place where traders load their cargoes sent to Divisoria, Quiapo and San Nicolas.

Today, however, Tutuban is more like hell than heaven.

Tondo is heavily damaged. Binundok, the center of Chinese trade, is left desolate. Many Manilenos died, including Santiago’s big named clients. Some who survived left the capital. Many abandoned the city, most except the Bonifacios. They have nowhere else to go.

The strong quake eroded the soil and made huge cracks on the roads. What made it worst, torrential rains flooded the streets and made the roads un-passable. Many people got stuck in one foot high mud.

1863, was by far, the worst year for Manilenos. For one hundred and twenty two days, it rained in the capital, a record compared with only 26 the year before. [21] Manila, particularly, its sub-district of Tondo, was the perfect disaster area.

Yet, this day was not all gloom. After hours of labor, a baby boy was born, the first of a brood of six of the Bonifacio family. Despite the gloom, misery and the terrible landscape emerges a bundle of joy who Santiago and Catalina named Andres in honor of their patron saint.

The Birth of the Ilustrado

Two years before, on June 19, 1861, another child was born, forty five kilometers away from Manila.

Thirty five year old Teodora Alonzo y Quintos had just given birth to a bouncing baby boy. No one thought that at her age, she could still give birth. The boy was her seventh child, and for her husband, Francisco Mercado Rizal, his second son. They both named him, Jose. Jose Protacio Mercado Rizal y Alonzo.

1861 was a lucky year for the Mercado Rizals. After relocating his family from Binan, Francisco Mercado got himself a lease agreement with the Dominicans for a huge hacienda and farm lot. The birth of another son was fortuitous for a Chinese mestizo like Francisco.

Francisco came from a wealthy Chinese-Filipino family from Binan, Laguna. His father, Juan Mercado was formerly the municipal mayor of Binan, a post he inherited from his own father, the first Francisco Engracio Mercado.

The Mercados were actually Sangleys or former Chinese immigrants. Francisco Engracio was the son of Ke Yinan, a Chinese trader from the village of Siongque, a suburb of Fujian province in nearby Guangzhou.[22] Ke or que was a 19th generation member of the Que/Ke/Cua clan, which traced their ancestry 3,000 years ago to patriarch Chua Siok-To in Henan province. Chua was a Duke, the fifth son of the founder of the Chou dynasty.

When Ke sailed to Manila from the ports of Amoy, he changed his name to Co Lam. As a young migrant from China, Ke had to live in Pantin, a small community built sometime in 1581 by then Governor General Gonzalo Ronquillo Penalosa outside the city walls. 

Pantin, which was later called “parian”, was a ghetto, a refugee center, if you will or a sort of “holding area” for non-Christian and un-converted Chinese migrants. Parian was a swampy place fronting the Spanish cannons at Intramuros. [23] Spanish authorities gave this place to the Chinese as a form of compromise.

Pantin was an ideal place for a budding entrepreneur like Lam-co. The community had more than a hundred shops which sell Chinese silk, small shops of tailors, cobblers, painters, bakers, confectioners, candle makers, silversmiths, apothecaries and other tradesmen.

Trade however, between the Parian and the walled city or Manila pueblo was limited. Since no Chinese trader can enter Intramuros, traders either smuggle their goods in or choose to convert to the state religion to be able to do trade.

As more Chinese traders converted to the state religion, a rising number of them formed a community called Chino Cristianos or more often, referred to as Sangleys. [24] Under the religious policy of the times, these converts can transact business and intermarry with the natives. Their numbers ballooned and posed both a population problem and a threat to the Spaniards.

On June 1697, at the age of 35 years old, Ke decided to convert to Catholicism. Ke was baptized in the small church of San Gabriel built by the Dominicans. Ke changed his name to “Domingo” and assumed the surname “Lam-co” in honor of his parents, Siang-Co and Zun-nio.[25]

Despite of his conversion, Domingo was not able to enter Intramuros—not yet. Like others before him, Domingo was asked to live in Binundok, a community established in 1594 by then Spanish Governor General Luis Perez Dasmarinas for Sangleys living outside Manila’s fortifications. A year after a treacherous revolt which led to the death of his father, Luiz Dasmarinas tried to forge a compromise with the Chinese. He gave the Chinese traders their own land, bigger than the Parian.

Dasmarinas saw ysla de Binundok (or in some accounts, Minundok), a hilly island between two estuaries or esteros—Estero dela Reina and Estero de Binundo—as a perfect place for the Chinese. Prior to Spanish rule, the place was already a trading hub by the Chinese before Martin de Goiti forcibly seized Manila in 1570 from the chieftain of Tondo. The place was then put under the possession of Don Antonio Velada who converted it into a hacienda and allowed the small community of Chinese traders to live there. Dasmarinas expanded the area and included the village of Baybay, now the sub-district of San Nicolas. 

Sangley traders controlled Binundok and converted it into a thriving commercial trading center. Sangleys prospered there. There were no taxes levied. State interference was limited. However, the place was small and congested. Newly converted traders, like Domingo, had limited commercial success there, if at all.

Domingo decided to migrate to the outer fringes of the regime. He chose Binan, a town in Laguna, which has a bustling community of Sangleys. Sangleys founded the area shortly after the brutal massacre in 1602. [26] When they fled Manila away from the knives of Sino phobic Spaniards, they saw Laguna as a promised land.

Laguna was a prosperous place. Dominicans, who were the biggest landowners in Laguna, allowed trade between natives and Chinese traders.

While in Binan, Domingo befriended two very influential Dominican friars by the name of Fr. Francisco Marquez and Friar Juan Caballero, a former Catholic missionary in China. [27] He built his house in St. Isidore, a Dominican estate and became a pioneer in Barrio Tubigan, one of the richest barrios in the estate.

In no time at all, Domingo became one of Binan’s wealthiest Chinese community leaders. People loved him because he was honest and hard-working. His popularity spread and he soon attracted other Chinese traders, including a wealthy Chinese rice trader from Chuanchow, by the name of Augustin Chinco. To formalize their friendship, Domingo married Augustin’s daughter, Inez dela Roza. They tied the knot in the Dominican church of San Gabriel, officiated by the same priest who baptized Domingo a few years before in Binundok.

The marriage was propitious. The couple was blessed with a healthy son: Francisco Engracio Mercado y Chinco. In 1697, since his surname was still Chinese sounding, Domingo decided to adopt the surname “Mercado”, a fitting one for a successful trader like him.

Francisco Engracio inherited his father’s industriousness and became one of Binan’s wealthiest ranchers with a large herd of carabaos. [28] On May 26, 1771, Francisco married Bernacha “Cirila” Monicha, a Chinese mestiza from San Pedro Laguna. Twelve years after, Francisco became alcalde mayor of Binan. Francisco Engracio inherited his father’s good name and became one of Binan’s longest serving town mayors. Their union produced Juan, who also became Binan’s municipal mayor thrice, in 1808, 1813 and 1823.

Juan married Cirila Alejandra, the beautiful daughter of an immigrant trader and his grandfather’s grandson, Siong-co. Their union produced thirteen children, with one of the youngest named Francisco, in honor of Juan’s father. Another of Francisco’s sons, Gregorio, became one of the original founders of the town of San Juan in Batangas. [29]

Francisco was only eight years old when his father, Capitan Juan, died. His mother and older sister Potenciana took care of him.

When their mother Cirila died, Potenciana and Francisco moved to nearby Calamba. In 1847, Potenciana died.

With the death of his sister, Francisco decided to tie the knot with 20-year old Teodora Alonso Quintos Realonda, second daughter of the former mayor of Binan, the famous Lorenzo Alberto Alonzo.

Lorenzo was a Spanish mestizo who represented the province of Laguna in the Spanish Cortes and according to accounts, was a Knight in the Order of Isabel la Catolica.[30] He married Brigida, daughter of Manuel de Quintos, a Sangley trader from Dagupan, Pangasinan and Regina Ursua. They settled in Meisic, Santa Cruz.

When Teodora visited Binan with her mother, it was then that he met Francisco.

There are conflicting accounts about the real genealogy of Teodora.[31] An account made by her cousin, Jacoba Faustina-Cruz, alleged that Teodora was an illegitimate child of Lorenzo, a half-sister of Lorenzo’s youngest child, Jose Alberto, Jacoba’s father.

When Jose’s father, Lorenzo was just 24 years old, he reportedly married a 12-year old Ilocana by the name of Paula Florentino[32] in 1814. It is unclear whether this union bore an offspring, but several accounts made by the Albertos accused Teodora of being the daughter of Lorenzo in an earlier marriage, or, as some say, by Brigida’s brother, Jose Alberto Quintos. [33]

Other accounts, those made by Ambeth Ocampo, tells of Teodora as being the daughter not of Lorenzo, but of Jose Alberto Quintos, brother of Brigida. Jose Alberto Quintos was a trader from Dagupan, Pangasinan.

I believe that the assertions made by the Albertos and even that of Ocampo are, at best, downright malicious and based not on facts.

Teodora was born in 1827, thirteen years after the alleged marriage of Lorenzo with Paula in 1814. The union bore no legitimate offspring. If Teodora was indeed the product of that union, then, Paula would have been 25 years old when she sired Teodora?

Other accounts say that Teodora was the second child of Lorenzo and Brigida, older by a few years than Jose Alberto. The first child of Lorenzo and Brigida was Narcisa, followed by Teodora (Jose’s mother), Gregorio, Manuel and Jose. Jose was clearly the youngest child born from the Lorenzo-Brigida union. How then can we say that Teodora was illegitimate?

When the Rizal sisters were interviewed sometime in the 1900s, they refer to “Jose Alberto” as an “uncle”. [34] They were not referring to a “Jose Alberto Quintos”, because if they were, they would have said that Jose was their “lolo”, not “uncle”.

Inspite of all these malicious allegations, for Francisco, Teodora was a prized catch. Not only was she of Spanish blood, Teodora also had Chinese, Japanese and royal Filipino blood in her veins. Her grandmother, Regina, was the daughter of Eugenio, a Japanese mestizo trader and a Filipina named Benigna, direct descendant of Rajah Lakandula, former King of Tondo.

When Governor General Narciso Calaveria decreed that all natives change their surnames to Spanish or Castillian names, the Alonzos changed theirs to Realonda. Francisco Mercado in turn, decided to adopt the surname “Rizal”. Francisco often interchanges his surnames to either Mercado or Rizal. In some instances, Francisco combined the two surnames together.

When his mother Cirila died, Francisco migrated to Calamba. Through his forebear’s connections and friendship with the Dominican Order, Francisco was granted a lease to the order’s hacienda and a farm lot. Francisco’s decision was timely. His family was spared from the 1863 quake which devastated Binan and Los Banos.

Binan was then the toast of Manila’s principalia. Los Banos, a frequented tourist attraction in 18th century Philippines, were devastated. People died of hunger and disease. Los Banos was hardest hit. Most stone houses and the church were severely damaged. It took seventeen years before the church was reconstructed. During that time, it served as a municipal hospital. Those injured were treated inside the church ruins.

After the debilitating disaster and a severe typhoon, drought came a year later. 1864 was the driest year on record, with rainfall just below 1400. [35] Farmers and traders both suffered. Farm yields came in trickles. Food became scarce. Famine and pestilence followed soon after. 

Jose was just two years old when the drought came. As a son of a trader, the Mercados did not even feel the effects of the famine.

It was, however, entirely different in Tutuban.

Food was scarce. Manilenos had barely survived the devastating quake, then the typhoons and now a drought that threatens the lives of those who survived the twin disasters.

Manilenos had to scrape the bottom of the barrel, so to speak, to survive. It was fortunate however, that Santiago Bonifacio held the post of teniente mayor, otherwise, he and his family would have probably counted themselves among those who perished by hunger. Santiago's allowance as a petty government official and his earnings as a tailor kept the family a-float.

The drought was actually milder than what was originally feared. When the rains stopped and the roads cleared of mud, trade began to recover. Foreign traders started selling goods and foodstuffs again.

Laguna slowly recovered from the pestilence and the drought. Demands from a hungry Manila helped other provinces like Laguna recover from the disasters. Production went on an upswing, buoyed by numerous orders from traders based in Manila. As a hacienda owner, the Mercados profited from this, and their land ownings grew. 

Swamped with orders, Francisco Mercado had to ask his wife, Teodora to help him in the hacienda. Teodora had no choice but to assist in the family business. She, however, did not forget teaching Jose the basics.

A former colegiala from the Colegio de Santa Rosa, Teodora was equally strict and loving to her son, Jose when it comes to teaching the arts, literature and the Spanish language.

Born from a wealthy Chinese-Filipino family in the barrio of Meisic in Santa Cruz Manila, Teodora wants her son to be like her, a passionate lover of the arts, literature and business. For two years, Teodora tirelessly taught Jose the finer things in life.  In no time at all, Jose has shown flair as a budding artist, painting, sketching and writing lovely poems.

Over at Tutuban, the sickly Catalina takes care of her firstborn, Andres.

Trade was again disrupted after a revolt broke out in nearby Cavite. The revolt choked the trade routes, as rebels prevented traders from entering and leaving the province.

Eduardo Camerino, a young officer, had just mutinied. He, together with a small army of natives from Imus, engaged Spanish colonial forces into an insurgent war. Camerino resisted Spanish rule and tried to secede the province from the capital.

For four grueling years, Manilenos suffered, as food supplies nearly ran out. Trade caravans were blocked by the Cavite mutineers.  Intermittent skirmishes between Camerino’s insurgent groups and Spanish forces affected trade. Traders feared crossing the boundary separating between Cavite and Manila, as casualties mount of civilians killed in numerous cross-fires.

In 1869, the Spanish Cortes sent a young liberal by the name of Carlos Maria dela Torre to serve as Governor General. The young administrator quickly went to work.

After being apprised of the situation in Cavite, de la Torre decided to go there and talk with the rebels. He went to the estate house of the Recolletos in Imus and sent an emissary to try and reason with Camerino.

Finally, the two met. Governor General Dela Torre granted the rebels amnesty. Camerino agreed and immediately after, dela Torre pardoned all the insurgents. The governor then appointed Camerino, head of the local police force which he named Guias dela Torre.

News reached Manila of the truce, and immediately, the capital went on a rapturous celebration. The Ilustrados hail Dela Torre as a peacemaker, while the natives prayed for his soul for days and nights.

On the evening of July 12, 1869, ilustrados, priests and students gathered in front of Malacanang palace and serenaded dela Torre to express their gratitude for his liberal policies. Prominent ilustrados of Manila, led by Civil Governor of Manila Jose Cabezas de Herrera, Jose Burgos, Maximo Paterno, Manuel Genato, Angel Garchitorena, Andres Nieto and student activists, Joaquin Pardo de Tavera and Jacobo Zobel offered their undying loyalty to dela Torre.

That peace, however, was short-lived. Violence broke out again in Cavite. Trade was again interrupted. Instead of smoking a peace pipe, Dela Torre was incensed.

Dela Torre placed Manila and nearby provinces under a State of Emergency. He ordered his troops to quell the revolt. Camerino and his men were arrested and court marshaled in Cavite. The insurgents were then executed. [36]

After the death of Camerino, peace was restored. Trade between Manila and Cavite increased. With it, people got their jobs back. And Manila again, prospered.

Santiago Bonifacio regained his popularity as an admirable tailor. Many rich people hired him. To augment the family income, Santiago also operated a small ferry which serviced the Pasig river route.

As opportunities grew for young and industrious men like Santiago, many of them saved enough money to send their children to school. Andres, their eldest son, was sent to the private school run by the town's most distinguished Cebuano lawyer, Guillermo Osmena.

Guillermo Osmena was a highly respected public figure in 18th century Meisic in Manila. A scion of a wealthy Chinese mestizo from Carcar Cebu, Guillermo migrated to Binondo with his beauteous wife, Manuela Carballo. The Cebuano lawyer established his office at no. 18 Calle Jolo (now Juan Luna street). Nearby, Osmena built a private school for young boys. He became a household name when he championed the retention of the parian as a parish and town.  [37]

Things were also getting better for the Mercados in Laguna. The family business was booming. More and more people were hired to work on the hacienda. With rising financial management, Teodora had to abandon her teaching of Jose to concentrate more on working in the hacienda.

Jose was left under the care of private tutors. His first teacher, a maestro named Celestino, left after a few months. He was quickly replaced by Lucas Padua, a local maestro. When Padua left, his father asked his old classmate by the name of Leon Monroy to be his son’s tutor. Monroy stayed in the Mercado house as Jose’s teacher until his death five months later. Jose was left in the care of his nanny, Aquilina Alquitran.

After Monroy’s death, Jose’s parents decided to send him to a private school run by Justiniano Aquino Cruz in Binan, Laguna. Cruz was the former teacher of Jose’s elder brother, Paciano. Jose lived in the stone house of his purported aunt, Tomasa Mercado-Rivera in Binan. Tomasa lived in the house of his father, Juan Mercado.

It was under the tutelage of Cruz where Rizal first learned about painting. He not only distinguished himself as a great student of the Spanish language, Jose also did extremely well as an artist.

By the age of eleven, Jose’s parents decided to send him to Manila. In February 1872, Paciano, his brother, went with him to the house of Manuel Hidalgo along Calle Espeleta in the district of Santa Cruz Manila.[38]

Jose first took the entrance examinations in San Juan de Letran. Afterwards, he came back to Calamba. Before the semester started in June, Jose passed the examinations at the Ateneo de Municipal de Manila, the most famous school for young boys in Asia at that time. The young lad stayed in the house of his maternal uncle, Antonio Rivera, the husband of Tomasa in Manila.

Jose graduated at the top of his class. He continued his studies at the Ateneo, this time for a degree in land surveying and assessor. Subsequently, he also enrolled himself for a degree in Philosophy and Letters at the Universidad de Santo Tomas.

The mutiny of 1872

In April 4, 1871, a Spanish military officer by the name of Rafael de Izquierdo y Gutierrez was sent by the Spanish monarchy to replace dela Torre. Unlike his predecessor, Izquierdo was a despot. He rescinded most of Dela Torre’s liberalist policies and issued harsher laws including forced labor. One of his most criticized orders was a decree imposing taxes to soldiers of the Engineering and Artillery Corps based in Fort San Felipe, the Spanish arsenal in Cavite. Izquierdo’s tax measures require soldiers to pay a monetary sum as well as perform forced labor known as “polo y servicios”. The order was sternly opposed, not just by the soldiers but also by Liberal segments of the colonial society. [39]

When the soldiers saw their pay slips deducted by taxes and one called “falla”, the fine that exempts one from forced labor, the soldiers mutinied. It was January 20, 1872.

A sergeant by the name of Ferdinand La Madrid led 200 soldiers and laborers in the mutiny. The soldiers burst into the officer’s quarters and killed them. 

The mutineers thought that other soldiers based in different provinces, especially in Manila, would join them in an uprising. Unfortunately, what the mutineers thought to be the signal was actually a burst of fireworks in celebration of the feast of St. Loreto[40], the patron saint of Sampaloc.

With no reinforcements, the mutineers lost against a stronger Spanish force. The ringleaders were executed.

Izquierdo then used the mutiny to prosecute the liberals in Manila. Prominent liberals were ordered arrested who included Fr. Jacinto Zamora, the parish priest of Pandacan, Fr. Mariano Duran of the parish of Sampaloc and Fathers Jose Burgos and Mariano Gomez. These priests were executed by garrote before huge crowds in Bagumbayan on the 17th of February, 1872. Other prominent Filipinos including Jose Maria Basa, Antonio Regidor, Fr. Mariano Sevilla and a host of others were exiled in the islands of Marianas. Forty one Filipinos were executed by Izquierdo.

The killing of the Filipino priests sent a chilling effect on Ilustrados who desired for change in the Philippines. They would have to wait for five or even a decade before any change would happen.

On March 21, 1877, Rizal graduated from the surveyor’s course and passed the examination on May 21, 1878. Because of his age, 17 years old, he was not granted license to practice the profession until December 30, 1881.

When Rizal learned that his mother was going blind, he decided to shift course and in 1878, enrolled in the study of medicine specializing in ophthalmology at the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. He did not complete the course due to discrimination made by the Spanish friars against the native students.

While Rizal was completing his studies and even thinking of going to Spain to finish medicine, it was not so for 18 year old student Andres Bonifacio. It was 1880, a year when Bonifacio was to face his most daunting challenge.

On the fifteenth day of July, an earthquake hit Tayabas town in Quezon and eastern portions of Laguna that surrounds Laguna de Bai. Manila was spared—but not for long.

Three days later, exactly 4:40 in the morning, Manilenos awoke from a loud shout of what seemed like a shrill trumpet. Like what happened in 1863, the year when Bonifacio was born, a powerful earthquake again rumbled throughout Central and Southern Luzon, killing scores and injuring thousands more in its wake.

The 7.6 magnitude quake destroyed communities along the banks of the Pasig river and the Manila bay, including Tutuban and Binundok. Scores of people were killed along the banks of the Agno and Pampanga rivers as a huge tsunami swelled and inundated the towns. Cracks appeared in the grounds and destroyed huge towns and municipalities in Bataan, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.

Forty minutes past, strong aftershocks rumbled throughout Tayabas in Quezon, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Pampanga and Tarlac. Manila was left desolate. Towns in the Southern and Western portions of Lake Bai in Laguna were also heavily damaged. [41] Only the San Agustin church was spared. Malacanang palace, the official residence of the Spanish Governor General, was also reduced to rubble. Tondo was hit the hardest for the third time.

Everywhere, signs of decay, disaster, desolation. People panicked as rumors of a huge flood swept the capital. Even Paciano Rizal, brother of Jose, wrote him, and asked him to return to Calamba. [42]

And just like in 1863, after a devastating quake, survivors again faced another catastrophe—an epidemic of cholera. Rizal’s nanny, Alquitran, was one of the victims of this epidemic.

The contagious and deadly disease spread like wildfire. Worse, a strong typhoon hit Manila,[43] and inundated huge parts of the capital. Cholera spread and became a deadly epidemic, killing thousands of people not just in Manila but in nearby provinces.[44]

While Manila was being battered by severe storms and earthquakes, the city of Seville in Spain was experiencing a heat wave. On August 4, 1881, hundreds of thousands of people died due to a heat wave which reached 122 degree Fahrenheit.

As cholera waste men’s souls, a lethal strain of foot-and-mouth disease wiped out the whole animal population in Manila and nearby provinces. People who ate the carcasses of sick animals also died. The virus strain then passed from animal to human. Many people succumbed to this debilitating disease.

Tondo, the dirtiest district in Manila, had the most number of people sick from cholera, diphtheria, small pox and tuberculosis. The unsanitary condition of the streets got worst. Those roads became breeding grounds of epidemic diseases.

Santiago had just lost his tailoring business. He had to work the filthy docks of Binundok for his family to survive. His wife, Catalina, helped sustain the family income as a supervisor in a cigarette factory in Meisic, Santa Cruz. [45]

Always undernourished and in poor health, Santiago caught the deadly disease tuberculosis while working the docks. Tuberculosis was a popular disease among porters and workers in the ports of Manila. It was said that the Japanese brought it here.

Even back then, tuberculosis is considered a curable disease. One can recover one's health by staying in a convalescent house. Sadly, the Bonifacios did not have enough to send Santiago to one.

The sick patriarch decided to just stay home while his wife worked in the factory. Santiago, however, found good use of his time by making paper canes and fans. These were then sold by Andres and his siblings in Tutuban.

Catalina was not in good physical condition. To save money, she ate  little. At the factory, Catalina was exposed to the deadly fumes. At home, she took care of her sick husband. It was not surprising, that eventually, she too, would get her husband's disease.

In just a few months, Catalina got her husband's tuberculosis. Both parents lay helpless and weak, weakened by a debilitating disease.

Catalina was the first to succumb to this disease. A year later, Santiago followed his wife to the grave. Santiago died, leaving Andres to take care of his six young siblings.

While Bonifacio grieved for his beloved father, a young Rizal was preparing to board a ship which would send him to Spain. Rizal boarded a steamship for Madrid where he is to study medicine.

When Rizal left for Spain, Andres was gathering what was left of the family possessions. Andres had little money left. Most of their monies were spent in burying his father.

Worst, the Bonifacios lost their house, after authorities just passed a decree abolishing houses constructed along the Manila-Dagupan tram line. Government authorities demolished the  small shack which the Bonifacios lived for many years. The poor family, along with many others, migrated to Santa Mesa, a small district away from Intramuros.

Despite these tribulations, Andres did not lose hope. He soon found work as a mandatorio (clerk or messenger) for an English trading firm J.M. Fleming and Company. [46] He was so good at his job that Andres was promoted to corridor or an agent of tar and other goods.

Two years later, in 1884, Andres transferred to Fressell and Company, a German trading firm where he worked as a bodeguero or warehouseman in their mosaic tile factory based in Sta Mesa Manila. He was just 21 years old.

While working for the Preyler family who owns the tile factory, Andres decided to self-study. In her memoir, Dona Elvira Preysler recalled seeing Andres always with a book in his hands, reading. [47]

As Bonifacio toils in a factory in Santa Mesa, Jose Rizal just got conferred a degree in Medicine in the Universidad de Madrid. A year later, Rizal finished his course in Philosophy and Letters with a grade of “excellente”.

Bonifacio, meanwhile, was suffering and trying to make ends meet for his family. Working as a warehouseman, his salary was not enough to satisfy the needs of his family. He resigned and revived the family business of selling canes and paper fans which his father started. [48]

Yet, Andres did not lose hope. He started reading books, whatever he gets hold of one.  It was 1885, the time when Spain appointed a 33rd degree mason to head the government as Governor general. Emilio Terrero y Perinat was a liberal. He revived the liberal measures which began during the term of dela Torre. Under Terrero’s administration, books considered “heretical, revolutionary and socialist” began to spread in the capital. This was also the time when masons started influencing the affairs of the Spanish regime.

Terrero appointed fellow masons Jose Centeno as acting Civil governor of Manila and Benigno Quiroga, director general for Civil administration.

On March 1887, a small book written by a young doctor named “Rizal” quickly circulated among the elites of Manila. A supposed book project of a small expatriate group of Filipinos based in Europe, the book entitled “Noli me Tangere” became popular among the ilustrados in Manila. Copies of the book went around. It was probably during this time that Andres got hold of one copy.

What interested Ilustrados back then was the straight forward way the author of the book depicted Manila and the colonial society.  Coming from an obviously wealthy guy, it was a painful reflection of life, of one lived in the backwaters of Manila’s society. Why this guy who lived a perfumed life could wrote a very sad parody, a dramatic comedy, if you will, of Las Islas Felipinas?

It soon became apparent that the author, Dr. Jose Rizal, was a Mason and a staunch critic of Spanish rule. Despite being a member of the privileged class, Rizal felt discriminated upon by the friars during his stay at the UST. Rizal was not a Spanish mestizo. He was actually a member of the Sangleys, often discriminated and chastised by the ever-so morally upright members of society’s upper crust. Rizal Mercado was not a Buddhist. He was a devout Catholic until the friars cast a very discriminating eye upon him.

On August 5, 1887, the young Rizal went back to Manila. He was immediately summoned by Terrero, a fellow mason to explain about the book. The two met twice in Malacanan. Upon learning that some quarters plan to harm Rizal, Terrero assigned a lieutenant of the Civil guards, Jose Taviel de Andrade as his bodyguard.

Rizal felt discriminated upon. Why was he being treated differently from the bastard sons of the friars and the Spaniards? Rizal bested all of them. He spoke Spanish more eloquently than them. He dresses like them and knows the curtsies like anyone else. Yet, he was treated as a second-hand citizen.

When he wrote the book, Rizal had just openly challenged, nay, declared war against Spain. Andres Bonifacio, upon reading it, must have realized that Rizal was probably the one prophesized by the old folks, of someone who would arise and save the people from the tyrannical rule of the Spaniards. 

The regime ranted and riled against the book and its author. Archbishop Pedro Payo, upon reading the book, was aghast. He condemned the novel as heretical, impious and scandalous to the taste and requested that a special committee of the faculty of the University of Santo Tomas be formed to ban the spread of the book.

On the twenty eighth day of December in 1887, Father Salvador Font, the curate of Tondo and chairman of the regime’s Permanent Commission of Censorship ordered Noli me Tangere removed from the university’s libraries and reading rooms and prohibited anyone who will circulate this pernicious book.  The governor general did not approve of the decision.

Reading the Noli, says Font, is like committing sin. The order was circulated throughout Manila. However, instead of being prevailed upon, more people got excited and everyone tried to get hold of a copy. The book became a sensation.

The church tried to squelch the rising curiosity and interests of the public by publishing a counter. An Augustinian friar by the name of “Jose Rodriguez” wrote a pamphlet denouncing the Noli and accusing Rizal of committing heresy. The pamphlet failed to dampen public interest about the book.

Noli and Rizal’s popularity quickly spread throughout the country, mainly among the ilustrado circles. The furor the book caused even reached Madrid. In January 1890, a Spanish writer by the name of Vicente Barrantes bitterly criticized the novel while one member of the Spanish Cortes assailed it as an “anti-Catholic, Protestant and socialistic.” Still, many of those who lived in colonial Philippines supported the publication and circulation of the book.

Andres and his young brothers, Cirilo and Procopio who were working in the Manila Railway Company, must have thought that a revolt was in the offing. They believed Rizal was being asked to lead it. Andres and his brother Procopio decided to join the Masons [49] and soon found themselves members of a radical yet secretive group out to denounce Spanish rule over Felipinas. Andres joined the Taliba Lodge No. 165 under the Gran Oriente Español. It was there when he met Deodato Arellano, brother in law of Marcelo H. del Pilar, the publisher of the La Solidaridad.

Through Arellano’s prodding, Andres became active in the underground Masonic lodges. He organized and recruited members for the lodge. There was a trade-off—while Andres works as a recruiter, Deodato allowed him to read the incendiary works of Jaena, del Pilar, Luna and Rizal.

While remaining active in the underground Masonic lodge, Andres met Monica, a lovely woman who probably lived as his neighbor in Sampaloc. Monica was a resident of Palomar, which was then, the red light district in Manila Sampaloc.  [50]

The two got married. The union however, was short-lived. Rumors had it that Monica died of leprosy, a prevalent and contagious disease.[51]  Some, however, doubts the veracity of this.

Monica probably died of a sexually-infected disease or foot-and-mouth disease complicated by rinderpest.[52] The last years of the 1880’s saw the spread of sexually infectious diseases like syphilis and leprosy. Government’s ineffective inoculation program caused many to succumb to these diseases.[53]

Soon after Monica’s death, Andres Bonifacio became more involved in the political affairs of his time.  The young patriot must have felt that the Spanish government had abandoned the Filipinos, especially when a cholera epidemic broke out in 1888 which killed thousands of Filipinos.

By this time, Rizal was with Jose Maria Basa, Jose Sainz de Veranda and some Portuguese liberals in Hong Kong. Rizal left Hong Kong for Macao on board the ship, Kui Kiang. In Macao, the group lived in the house of Juan Lecaroz, a Spanish mestizo married to a Portuguese. [54]

Rizal’s letter to Jose Maria Basa on July 9, 1891,[55] indicated that the doctor wanted another audience with the Filipino dissident again in Hong Kong. A month before, Basa sent Rizal passage money to Hong Kong. [56] Prior to this meeting, however, Rizal decided to publish more copies of his book, Noli me Tangere and started the publication of a second novel, which Rizal described as more explosive than the first one.

On August 26, 1891, copies of the book were already printed and Rizal told Basa in his letter that he expects to arrive in Hong Kong a month later. [57] It was never meant to be. It took Rizal three months more before he was able to meet Basa. By then, on one letter he sent to Basa, Rizal had completed his second novel, El Filibusterismo. [58]

On the evening of November 19, Rizal arrived at Hong Kong. He resided in the house of Basa. On one of their conversations, Basa told Rizal how the Masonry was having great success in reforms in Manila. Inspired by this, Rizal wrote the by-laws of the La Liga Filipina, an association whose rules were similar to Masonic practices. Rizal wanted to exploit the successes of the Masons in recruiting more people into the reformist movement.

After learning the exile of his four town mates to Jolo and the summons received by his mother and sister before the governor general, Rizal wrote his parents on December 1, asking permission to return to Manila. Instead of him travelling to Manila, his father Francisco, brother Paciano and brother-in-law Silvestre Ubaldo met him five days later in Hong Kong.

Six days later, Rizal wrote his sister Maria on his plan to establish a Filipino colony in Northern Borneo. On the 17th of December, Rizal shared his plan with Governor General Despujol in a letter he sent to Manila. His pleas and appeals were ignored.

Seeing that his letters were just being ignored, Rizal decided to go back to Manila.

On board the steamship Don Juan, the 31 year old doctor arrived in Manila. After a thorough inspection by the customs police, Rizal and his sister Lucia immediately went to Hotel de Oriente, a ritzy three-storey hotel between Oriente and Veronica streets in Binondo. Hotel Oriente faces Plaza Calderon de Barca, a small park fronting the Binondo church. [59]

Rizal chose to stay there because he has a meeting later on somewhere near the hotel. That meeting had already been pre-arranged. Timoteo Pelaez, a young mason and aligned with the reformist block of the Filipino masons, met Rizal and told him about the desire of Filipinos to meet him.

The Meeting Between Rizal and Bonifacio

After getting some hours’ worth of rest, Rizal woke up, took a quick bath and started walking from the hotel to a house at number 176 Calle Ylaya in Tondo Manila. His friend, Don Doroteo Ongjunco, a wealthy Chinese mestizo, is hosting a dinner for him.

Ongjunco headed the Masonic lodge of Lusong (Luzon), one of the lodges affiliated in the Central Grand Lodge Nilad of the Free Masons. The testimonial dinner gave Rizal the opportunity to meet other Masons who were active in the local resistance movement.

It was also the first time that Andres Bonifacio, a member of the Taliba lodge and Rizal met. A young law student by the name of Apolinario Mabini, a member of the Lodge Balagtas and purportedly known as the Grand orator of the Regional Grand Oriente Espanol was also present.

It was there, in the house of Ongjunco, that Rizal gave him a Tagalog translation of the French document, “The Declarations of the Rights of Men”.[60] Rizal also took the occasion in discussing the La Liga Filipina. Members of the lodge held a toast in honor of Rizal. Masons led by Panlino Zamora,[61] Juan Zulueta (Lusung), Arcadio del Rosario (Balagtas) made Rizal the Honorary Venerable Master of the Central Grand Lodge and addressed him as Brother Dimas-alang. [62]

The meeting was very significant because all lodges recognized Rizal as the unifying force behind the campaign for reforms in the Philippines.

On the morning of June 30, Rizal left Manila for a pleasure trip to Bulacan and Pampanga. At the Malolos train station; he was met by a young man named Pedro Serrano, and Timoteo Paez, the young Mason he met at the testimonial dinner over at Ongjunco’s house. The group went to Tarlac and also visited some people at San Fernando Pampanga. After a day and a half of travels, Rizal retired in a house in Bacolor, Pampanga. He went back to Manila shortly before five in the afternoon.

Rizal rose early the morning after and went to the Palacio del Gubernador to see Governor General Eulogio Despujol. The young doctor discussed plans of settling in Sandakan in Borneo which the governor opposed. Later, in a meeting with Maximo Viola in his hotel room at number 88, Rizal confided with his friend what happened.

Rizal stayed on for a few more days in Manila. Many prominent Filipinos invited the young doctor to spend dinner with them. Estanislao Legaspi hosted one of these dinners in his house at Encarnacion Street in Tondo. A Mason, Legaspi was Basa’s Manila contact. Juan Zulueta and Timoteo Paez from the Central Nilad introduced Legaspi to Rizal.

On July 3, Rizal again went to see the Governor General. He thanked the Governor for lifting the order of exile for his sisters. The Governor, however, rejected Rizal’s offer to establish a Filipino colony in Borneo. Rizal left the Governor General’s house feling rejected and destitute.

Sensing that his efforts were getting nowhere, Rizal decided to call Ongjunco. He asked his friend if he could sponsor another gathering at his house. Rizal wanted to discuss the formal establishment of the La Liga Filipina. Ongjunco agreed.

The Formation of the La Liga Filipina

At Ongjunco’s house, all members of the Masonic lodges were in attendance, including the 29 year-old Masonic organizer, Andres Bonifacio and the popular orator, Apolinario Mabini.

There, in the meeting, one of the Masons, a Pedro Serrano asked if its possible for the La Liga Filipina to be fused together with Masonic lodges. No one opposed.

La Liga, by that time, was divided into two (2) groups: the reformists, led by a Spaniard, Moises Salvador,[63] friend of Rizal and founder of the Balagtas lodge. The other one was the National War Katipunan Society, led by Deodato Arellano and Andres Bonifacio.

Arellano was believed to be Marcelo H. del Pilar’s Masonic acolyte. [64] Moises was the courier by the Propaganda Movement which sent Masonic documents from Europe to the different lodges in Manila. Arellano, along with a young 19 year old Emilio Jacinto, helped in publishing the La Solidaridad.

The reformist believes in assimilation, pushing for reforms and asking the Madrid government to transform the Philippines from a colony into a province of Spain. The National War Katipunan society, however, believes in revolution.

It was Moises’ father, Ambrosio, a Mason, who became the Liga’s first president, together with Augustin dela Rosa as Fiscal and Bonifacio Arevalo as treasurer. All of those elected, with the exception of Deodato Arellano as Secretary, were members of the reformist group. Rizal was not elected. It was a reformist mestizo by the name of Domingo Franco who became the Supreme Head of the Liga.

Though they do not agree with the election, Bonifacio and the rest of his group composed of Mamerto Natividad, Arellano, and Jose Dizon [65]respected it. Other Masons like Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, Marcelino de los Santos, Arcadio del Rosario, and Jose Ramos were also there and witnessed the event.

Three days later, the Governor General summoned Rizal to a meeting at the Palacio. The Governor General confronted him for several anti-friar bills supposedly found in the baggage of his sister Lucia. Rizal was immediately ordered arrested and jailed at Fort Santiago.

Rizal spent three days in jail. On the seventh of July, Despujol ordered the banishment of Rizal to Dapitan, a sleepy town in Zamboanga peninsula. The decree was published in all newspapers in Manila.

The Birth of the Katipunan

After reading the news over at the “Gaceta”, members of the lodges secretly met again in the house of Ongjunco. There, in the closed quarters under the heat of the mid-day sun, the two groups, the reformists composed of the Balagtas and Lusung lodges, and radical members of the Taliba met and discussed the future direction of the association.

Apolinario Mabini, one of the more conservative members of the society, suggested that the remaining members form what he called the “Cuerpo de Compromisarios.” Mabini thought of reviving the La Solidaridad in Europe. Moises Salvador and the other masons, agreed.

Bonifacio and his co-members of the Taliba lodge however, strongly opposed Mabini’s suggestion. Bonifacio thought that Rizal’s arrest and deportation was a sign that Spain did not agree with reformist suggestions. For Bonifacio, the time was ripe for a revolution. [66] Jose Dizon, who attended the meeting said that most of the members in Bonifacio’s group already made up their minds on building a more radical and more revolutionary group that would continue the fight against Spain.[67]

With their differences exposed, the two groups left the flat, one for reforms while the other, determined to use arms to attain independence. Bonifacio and his co-Masonic brothers were determined to institutionalize the National War Katipunan Society into a full-pledged revolutionary movement.

In the evening of that same day, Bonifacio, together with his brother in law, a young law student by the name of Ladislao Diwa, and Teodoro Plata, Diwa’s law classmate, met in the house of Deodato Arellano on Calle Azcarraga corner Salinas near Calle Elcano in Tondo. Other members of the Masonic lodge of Taliba were also present, including Valentin Diaz and Jose Dizon. Deodato Arellano, Bonifacio’s friend, arrived later.

There, illuminated with oil lamps, the first cries of the Revolution were heard. The Katipunan was born.

A week later, the nephew of Despujol, Don Ramon, informed Rizal that they were bound to leave for Dapitan at ten in the evening. They boarded the boat SS Cebu bound for Dapitan, at one ‘clock early morning the next day.




[1] Jagor, Fedor, de Comyn, T., Wilkes, C., and Virchow, R. (2004). The Former Philippines Through Foreign Eyes, Kessinger Publishing, 500 p.
[2] According to Tsunami, it was the movement in the San Manuel and Gabaldon faults that caused the earthquake. Tsutsumi, H., Daligdig, J.A., Goto, H., Tungol, N.M., Kondo, H., Nakata, T., Okuno, M., and Sugito, N. (2006). Timing of surface-rupturing earthquakes on the Philippine fault zone in central Luzon Island, Philippines. EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union 87, Supplement.
[3] The 1602 Chinese revolt which led to the capture and burning of Manila and Tondo. It nearly succeeded in toppling Spanish power when the rebels tried to enter Intramuros.
[4] Ladia led some natives to revolt against Spain only to be arrested and executed.
[5] Officially, according to Philvocs, it measured 7.9, not just 6.3. Recent studies however established it as 6.3. The reason why many cities were destroyed because of ground cracks and a tsunami.
[6] Bautista, Maria Leonila P. Historical Earthquake Damages to Intramuros, the walled city of Manila. Philvocs. 2009, p. 17. This is part of a powerpoint presentation.
[7] This earthquake killed 600 people and destroyed the Manila Cathedral. Philvocs said that the quake measured 8.4 in the Richter scale.
[8] Garcia, L.C., R.G. Valenzuela, and E.P. Arnold 1985 Southeast Asia Association of Seismology, U.S. Geological Survey, Vol. IV - Philippines, June.
[9] Soloviev, S.L., and Ch.N. Go 1974. A catalogue of tsunamis on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean. Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Nauka Publishing House, Moscow, 439 p. [Canadian Translation of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences No. 5077, 1984, translation available from Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, National Research Council, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A OS2, 447 p.]
[10] Maso, Rev. Miguel Saderra 1910 Catalogue of Violent and Destructive Earthquakes in the Philippines, with an Appendix, Earthquakes in the Marianas Islands; 1599-1909. Department of the Interior, Philippine Islands Weather Bureau, Manila Central Observatory, 1910.
[11] Lomnitz, C. 1974 Development in Geotectonics #5, Global Tectonics and Earthquake Risk, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1974.
[12] Ibid, Soloviev.
[13] Milne, J. 1911 Catalogue of Destructive Earthquakes, Report of the 81st Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Portsmouth, London, United Kingdom, pp. 649-740.  Sevilla, Valenzuela and Bellosiool 1965 Seismicity of the Philippines. Individual Studies by Participants to the International Institute of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering, Tokyo, Japan, December 1965, Volume 2, Part 1, p. 34-63.
[14] Ramirez Martin, Susana Maria. El terremoto de Manila de 1863: medidas, politicas y economicas. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 2006. Pp. 1-155.
[15] http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/idb/struts/results?EQ_0=928&t=101650&s=8&d=22,26,13,12&nd=display. Fedor’s account however pegged the destruction at US$ 8 million.
[16] Jagor's Travels in the Philippines in the “The Former Philippines thu Foreign Eyes” (The out-of-print 1875 English translation corrected from the original German text).
[17] Diseases spread very rapidly in Manila during colonial times because of unsanitary conditions and lack of an immunization program by the government.  Linda A. Newson, “Conquest, pestilence and demographic collapse in the early Spanish Philippines. “ in Journal of Historical Geography, Volume 32, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 3-20.
[18] Catalina is a Spanish-Chinese mestiza from the province of Zambales.
[19] Hermenegildo Cruz. Ang Kartilya ng Katipunan, November 1922, p. 6. From the Gutenberg Project.
[20] The place was then a very promising area for Filipinos who want to become traders. It was on June 28, 1875 when a royal decree from Spain was passed regarding the establishment of a railway system in Luzon, with its key central station in Tutuban Tondo Manila.


[21] J.M. Vaquero, “ Early Meteorological records of Manila: El Nino episode of 1864” in Atmosfera 18(3), 149-155 (2005).
[23] The location of the Parian moved from time to time and persisted until 1790. The first Parian was situated in the current location of the Arroceros Forest Park along the banks of the Pasig River. The second Parian was built in 1583 after the first Parian burned down. The oringal location is now called Liwasang Bonifacio. The area endured until the end of the 18th century. The Chinese community later moved to other parts of Manila including Binondo, Sta. Cruz, and Tondo. The second-to-last Parian was shaped liked an octagon and was also built near Pasig River.
[24] Sangley, the term used by the Spaniards for the Chinese, comes from the word siong-tay, literally "often comes" in Hokkien.
[25] Craig, Austin. Lineage Life and Labors of José Rizal Philippine Patriot:A Study of the Growth of Free Ideas in the Trans-Pacific American Territory.Manila:Philippine Education Company,1913,p.27.
[26] In October 25, 1593, a group of Chinese traders and merchants led by Pua Ho Go (P’an Ho Wu in Mandarin) led some 250 Chinese in a revolt against the Spaniards. Pua was part of the Spanish expedition to the fort of  Terrenate in the Molucca Islands led by Governor General Gomez Perez Dasmarinas.
Dasmarinas headed a military expeditionary force composed of 80 Spaniards and 250 Chinese gallery slaves to invade the Moluccas islands. The expedition was slated to depart from Cavite but had to maroon itself in the Spanish fort in Batangas. The plan was to meet up with the fleet of Dasmarinas’ son, Luis, which was then in the port of Pintados. Unknown to the Spaniards, the Chinese slaves had already planned a mutiny. At midnight, while all the Spaniards were sleeping, Pua and the slaves killed everyone except a Franciscan friar and his secretary.
[27] Craig, p. 20.
[28] Based on Dr. Eusebio Koh, The Chinese Ancestry of Rizal published online at http://www.filipinojournal.com/v2/index.php?pagetype=read&article_num=06072008030449&latest_issue=V22-N11
[29] Leon M. Mayo, “Philippine Towns & Cities :Reflections of the Past, Lessons for the Future The San Juan Batangas Legacy”. Makati City, Philippines: September, 2007, p. 15.
[30] Craig, p. 78. This knighthood, according to Craig, was a reward for contributing money to an expedition in Cochin-China. Lorenzo, according to Craig, built the Binan bridge. The knighthood however, came posthumously.
[31] Some accounts say that the real name of Teodora was Teodora Morales Alonzo Realonda y Quintos.
[32] Paula Florentino, according to several accounts, is related to Don Marcelino Florentino y Pichay, one of the wealthiest men in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. There is a possibility that Paula lived in the Florentino house in Mena Crisologo street, the same stone house built in 1797 by Don Marcelo Pichay, once the Cabeza actual of the Mestizo district in Ilocos Sur and his wife Dona Maria Estefania.
[33]Ambeth Ocampo, “ Secrets Locked in Alberto House about Rizal’s mother” published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and digitally at  http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20100613-275332/Secrets-locked-in-Alberto-house-about-Rizals-mother.
[34] Jose Alberto had a profound influence in Rizal’s education but also caused most of his family’s woes. His uncle was the one who accused his mother of theft of 5,000 pesos. Craig said that Alberto is one of the richest men in the Philippines. Alberto was made by him a Knight of the Order of Carlos III, which made him a Knight Commander, a  step higher in the Order of Isabel the Catholic. From Craig, p. 93.
[35] Vaquero, 151-152.
[36] Antonio M. Molina, The Philippines Thought the Centuries, 2 vols. Manila, 1960; Gregorio F. Zayde, Philippine Political and Cultural History. 2 vols. Manila, 1965; and  Sol H. Gwekoh, “Mariano Gones de los Angeles,” Burgos-Gomes-Zamora: Secular Martyrs of Filipinism. First Centennial Biography. Manila, 1973
[37] Manual Del Viajero de Filipinas, 1875.
[38] Craig, p. 86.
[39] Chandler, David P. In search of Southeast Asia: a modern history. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 0824811100.
[40] Isagani R. Medina, a noted historian from the University of the Philippines, has stated that “in fact, the fireworks display of the 21 of January 1872 fiesta (erroneously reported by early historians as having occurred in Sampaloc)” was for the feast of San Sebastian. The feast day of the Our Lady of Loreto falls on the tenth day of December. Isagani R. Medina (1994). Beyond Intramuros: The Beginnings of Extramuros de Manila to the 19th Century: A Historical Overview, p. 57.
[41] Mile, John. A Catalogue of destructive earthquakes AD 7 to AD 1899. London: Burlington House, 1911.
[42] Rizal, Paciano M. "Paciano Rizal, Calamba, 30 July 1880." In Letters between Rizal and family members, 1876-1896. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1993. p.8.
[43] Boncan, Celestina. Historical, Political and Economic Dimensions of Epidemics: Cholera and Smallpox in 19th Century Philippines. Manila: National Historical Institute.
[44] Pedro Ribera, Ricardo Garcia-Herrera and Luis Gimeno. Historical deadly typhoons in the Philippines. Historical Climatology in Weather. Volume 63 Issue 7, Pages 194 – 199.
[45] Constantino, Renato (1975), The Philippines: A Past Revisited, Quezon City: Tala Publishing Services, ISBN 971-8958-00-2, p. 166.
[46] I think that Andres owe his mother his good fortune at JM Fleming. I believe that Andres worked in the same company as his deceased mother. Remember that Catalina used to work as a supervisor and it was highly probable that Andres suddenly got a job was due to his references, among them, his mother.
[47]Nick Joaquin, "Why Fell the Supremo?" A Question of Heroes. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing Inc., 2005 [1977]. 86-108.
[49] According to Bro. Nicolas Ricafrente, GM of the Freemasons, masonry was established in the Philippines in 1856. The first lodge was called “Primera Luz Filipina” founded by a Spanish naval officer by the name of Jose Malcampo in the province of Cavite. It was organized under a Portuguese Grand Orient and exclusively for Spaniards.
[50] Daluyan: a Historical Dictionary of the Streets of Manila. According to accounts, Manila mayor Justo Lukban changed the name after deporting the prostitutes to Davao. Lukban changed the name from Gardenia to Geronimo, in honor of Gen. Licerio Geronimo, commander of the famous Filipino force called “tiradores” that killed Major General Henry Lawton on the Battle of San Mateo Rizal in 1899.
[51] Snodgrass, John E. “Leprosy in the Philippine Islands " Part  3 in Sanitary Achievements in the Philippines, 1898-1915; Smallpox Vaccination in the Philippine Island, 1898-1914; Leprosy in the Philippine Islands . Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1915. p. 19.
[52] De Bevoise, Ken. Agents of apocalypse: epidemic disease in colonial Philippines. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.

[53] Warwick Anderson, “Immunization and Hygiene in the Colonial Philippines” in Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 2007 62(1):1-20.

[54]Craig, p. 3.
[56] Rizal, Ghent, 14 June 1891, to Jose Ma. Basa.
[57] Rizal, Ghent, 26 August 1891 to Jose Ma. Basa
[58] 9 Rue du Hainaut Ghent, 18 September 1891

[59] Hotel de Oriente is reportedly the first hotel in the Philippines. Constructed in the 1850’s, it was built for the Spaniards working for the La Insular Cigarette and Cigar factory, a famous landmark back then. The Hotel was a very popular landmark, the pride of Binondo (or Minondoc) and part of the Provincia de Tondo in 1859. During the Japanese occupation, both the hotel and La Insular were burned to the ground. The Metrobank building now occupies the former site of the two buildings.

[60] J. Fadul, “Encyclopedia Rizaliana”, p. 5-6.
[61] Zamora is the worshipful master of the Lusung lodge, meaning he heads the lodge.
[62] Letter of Brother Panday Pira (Pedro Serrano Laktaw), February 9, 1892.
[63] Moises Salvador is also a member of the Nilad lodge, headed by Ongjunco and subsequently, by Rizal.
[64] A letter from Marcelo H. Del Pilar to Deodato Arellano, dated Madrid, January 7, 1889; implicating Rizal in the Propaganda campaign in Spain.
[65] Dizon was the worshipful master of the Worshipful Lodge Taliba where Bonifacio and Arellano belonged.
[66] Nick Joaquin wrote “It must be granted that Bonifacio could well have seen the time as propitious, with Cuba in revolt and the home government in Spain in the confused coils of a regency and on the brink of war; but Rizal, who had a cooler eye, cast it not across the sea at Spain but across the street at his own countrymen and judged them not yet ready to revolt.” From "Why Fell the Supremo?" A Question of Heroes. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing Inc., 2005 [1977]. 86-108.

[67] Epifanio De Los Santos averred that the "foundation of the Katipunan was precipitated by the deportation of Dr. Jose Rizal," citing the testimony of Jose Dizon who claimed that he joined Bonifacio, Deodato Arellano, Valentin Diaz, Teodoro Plata and Ladislao Diwa in composing the first batch of the KKK at a meeting in a flat on Calle Ilaya in Manila in the afternoon of July 7, 1892, which was the same day when the official "Gaceta" published the decree of deportation of Rizal issued by Despujol. Epifanio De Los Santos further avowed that "None loved so deeply the forerunners of the Revolution and Dr. Rizal" as Andres Bonifacio did. From the long article of Epifanio De Los Santos in "The Philippine Review" (Revista Filipina), Vol. 3, No. 1, along with other materials on the independence struggle like "Ang Katipunan at Paghihimagsik" by Santiago V. Alvarez.