Sunday, June 12, 2011

August 21 as the True Date of Philippine Independence

An excerpt from my book, " Bagong Istorya: Great Stories in Philippine History". Again, this assembly in Caloocan preceded Aguinaldo's republic by about two and a half years. Prior to the outbreak of the revolt, there was a governing body orchestrating the revolution. This government was approved by most of the Katipuneros and was in fact, recognized as the legitimate government at that time. 

What happened afterwards was the war of independence, when the Katipunan government liberated its territories from the grip of Spanish colonial rule.

The Assembly in Caloocan and the Founding of the First Philippine Government

On August 21, the Supreme Council, who was in hiding in the province of Rizal (Montalban and sierra madre), decided to call for a General meeting. Alvarez, in his memoirs said, the meeting was held in the house of Vidal Acab, a Katipunero in Caloocan. (Several accounts place this meeting on August 23, 1896 at the house of Captain Silverio Baltazar, president of the Sangguniang Bayan Dalisayan in Caloocan).

Most of the members of the Supreme Council were present: Bonifacio, Jacinto, Aguedo Del Rosario, Ramon Bernardo, Romualdo Vicencio, Teodoro Plata, Pantaleon Torres, Jose Dizon and a certain Katipunero by the name of Ariston de Jesus. Captain Silverio Baltazar, a former Corporal of the Spanish army was also present. Baltazar’s cuadrillos served as guards and lookout.[i]

There, in that secret meeting, the Katipuneros talked about the recent arrests and the imminent uprising. The meeting however, lasted only for an hour. Fearing that the authorities would discover the meeting, Baltazar proposed for a change of venue.

The group decided to go to the house of Apolonio Samson, president of the Balangay Karitas. A farmer, Samson’s house was in the middle of a rice field in Barrio Kangkong, which was an hour’s walk. Upon reaching Samson’s house, the Katipuneros rested for the night.

At around 5 in the morning of August 22, Bonifacio instructed some Katipuneros to act as guards. The Katipuneros set up a detachment at the boundary of Balintawak and another one in the North. The Supremo then asked Jacinto to draft a letter informing all S.B. leaders to go to Barrio Kangkong. Bonifacio wanted to know what the thoughts of the other Katipunero chairmen.[ii] He also told Jacinto to ask them to bring their treasurers because the Council was running short of funds.

Three hundred Katipuneros responded to the Supremo’s call, all armed with their trusty bolos, knives, spears, a dozen rifles with one trusty hunting gun owned by a Lieutenant Manuel. Most of those who attended thought that the Supremo was to call for the uprising that day.

The Supremo was restless. He confided to Jacinto his fear that probably one of their couriers had already been intercepted by the authorities. With the steady flow of Katipuneros converging in the site, it would just be a matter of hours before the authorities discover what they were planning to do. Bonifacio decided to again move. He decided to go to Bahay Toro.

In the morning of August 23, the Katipuneros proceeded to the house of Melchora Aquino at Bahay Toro. More than five hundred Katipuneros converged in the house of the cabeza de barangay. On that day, Bonifacio received at least 100 bolos from Apolonio Samson. The bolos were manufactured in Meycauayan Bulacan under the strict supervision of Arcadio de Jesus. [iii] More Katipuneros arrived from different districts and parts of Manila and other provinces. By this time, recounted Alvarez, the Katipuneros had reached a thousand.

Around 10 o’clock of August 24, Bonifacio called a general meeting of all Katipuneros present. Seated in the long table inside Aquino’s barn alongside the Supremo were Supreme Council members , Dr. Pio Valenzuela, Jacinto, Teodoro Plata, Briccio Pantas, Enrique Pacheco, Ramon Bernardo, Pantaleon Torres, Francisco Carreon, Vicente Fernandez and others.

The council agreed that the time has come to liberate the country, starting with Manila, on midnight of August 29. Bonifacio’s brother in law, Teodoro Plata, initially disagreed but after the entire council had voted in favor of revolt, he acquiesced. Four members of the council were designated as brigadier generals: Aguedo del Rosario, Gregorio Coronel, Ramon Bernardo and Vicente Fernandez.[iv]

All of these designated generals never had any military or combat experience. Yet, the Supremo gave them the leeway to form their armies and plot the capture of Manila from Spanish control. A preliminary plan was crafted though.

According to Alvarez, the capture of Manila was to be launched under the cloak of the night. Del Rosario, Fernandez and Bernardo were to charge against Spanish troops in Intramuros. Del Rosario was to enter the walled city via Tondo, while Fernandez was to pass thru San Marcelino. Bernardo, meanwhile, has to use the Rotunda.

The meeting lasted for two hours. After the adjournment of the meeting, the Katipuneros shouted “Long Live the Sons of the People!” [v] This collective burst of emotions was later interpreted by historians as the “first cry of the revolution.”

What was significant in this meeting was the formal establishment of a revolutionary government headed by no less than Bonifacio.

The Battle at Pasong Tamo

About 2 o’clock, the next day, August 25, a Katipunero sentry spotted a contingent of Spanish civil guards and carabineros of the national police approaching their location. A Spanish lieutenant by the name of Manuel Ros was leading the group of about 30 men when they chanced upon the Katipuneros.

The order to defend their position was issued. The Katipunero who had a rifle opened fire. A brief skirmish ensued. The Spanish had to retreat, overwhelmed by the huge number of Katipuneros, who were only armed with bolos, a few rifles and their trusted anting-antings. [vi] Upon their retreat, a nineteen year old man who was hiding during the firefight was hit. Accounts say, it was a Katipunero by the name of Simplicio Acabo, cabeza de barangay of Dulong Calzada, who got killed.

Bonifacio, reports say, had to fire back to allow his men to escape with their wounded comrade. This first successful engagement buoyed the spirits of the Katipuneros. Inspite of their inferiority in arms, they succeeded in repulsing an enemy attack.

On the morning of August 26, Bonifacio ordered that food be prepared early, both for breakfast and possibly provisions for a journey. Bonifacio told the men that shortly after breakfast, they would head to Sampalukan. Bonifacio’s decided to abandon Balara and Pasong Tamo and head to a safer place. He then appointed Gregorio Tapalla, a former bandit and prison escapee to lead the army.

A Katipunero known by the name of Matandang Leon, Tapalla is a member of the Katipunan branch in San Francisco de Malabon. He was a very loyal Katipunero, yet a drunkard. Upon the recollection of Alvarez, Tapalla was drunk when he led the Katipuneros forward. He was so drunk, he splattered mud over Dr. Pio Valenzuela’s face, nearly blinding him. [vii]

At around 7 in the morning, the Katipuneros chanced upon a group of Spanish guardia civil. The guards were just about 200 meters away from the Katipuneros who were at that time, armed only with bolos and a few rifles. The guards asked to see the Supremo. The Guardia Civil was trying to trick the Katipuneros by claiming that they, themselves, were Katipuneros.

Bonifacio and Valenzuela walked towards the Guardia Civil and asked them what they want. Immediately, the Guardia Civil pounced on the two, trying to collar and arrest them. A melee ensued. Surrounded and flanked on all sides by the enemy, the Katipuneros broke ranks. Most scampered in all directions, all were trying to escape. Some who failed were shot.

While in the process of escaping, the Supremo left a valise containing the flag and some funds of the Katipunan. Tapalla, who was behind the Supremo, recovered the valise. The contents of the valise were divided among the retreating Katipuneros. Suddenly, according to Alvarez, a cannon fusillade exploded behind them, hitting Leon in the back. Tapalla died instantaneously. The flag was dropped again but was recovered by Katipuneros from Bago Bantay.

At around noon, the group of the Supremo rested in a place between Krus-na-Ligas and Balara. Bonifacio ordered Genaro delos Reyes to inform other Katipuneros in Mandaluyong of what happened. The Supremo then asked Genaro to send them food and clothes. It was raining very hard and the group was exhausted and terribly wet.

Genaro arrived before dawn at his house. He, together with Nicolas de Guzman broke the sad news to Laureano Gonzales, president of the Makabuhay chapter in Mandaluyong. Provisions were prepared. Donations of clothes, money and food were collected. Gonzales tasked Jose Reyes and Genaro to send these to the Supremo. They left at 9 o’clock in the morning of August 27.

Upon reaching the long stretch of road in San Juan, Reyes fell terribly ill. Genaro went ahead. When he reached Krus-na-Ligas, he was told that the Supremo had already left.

Despite the torrential rain, Genaro pushed forward and came to a place called “Ulat”. There, he met a farmer. He asked where the Supremo was. When he made a Katipunan sign, the farmer led him to a small dilapidated hut in the middle of a thick grove of banana trees. There, he saw the Supremo and the rest of the Supreme Council members. [viii]

It was there that the Supremo revealed what he planned to do. He told the Council that they must retreat to Mount Tupasi, where the Supremo planned to make the mountain hideout, the base of the revolution. Genaro, however, reminded the Supremo that Katipunan forces, especially in Mandaluyong were ready and waiting for him to lead them to victory.  [ix]

The Hagdang Bato Cry of Independence

The Supremo had no choice but to proceed to Mandaluyong. The Supremo and the  rest of the Katipunan leadership arrived on August 27. They stayed in the house of Tininting Maldo in Hagdang Bato. Maldo’s hut was on the top of a small hill, which is now the place where the Manila archbishop’s palace is. There, the Supremo and the rest of the Katipunan leadership retired for the night, heavily guarded by armed Katipuneros.

According to Dr. Zeus Salazar, Bonifacio made the hill called Mt. Balabak in Hagdang Bato as his “mountain of liberty”. There, he led the Katipuneros in planning an attack in Manila. Bonifacio and his Supreme Council members decided that all Katipunan balangays were to attack the Spanish capital on August 29, where all would rise up in revolt. [x]

“This manifesto is for all of you. It is absolutely necessary for us to stop at the earliest possible time the nameless oppositions being perpetrated on the sons of the country who are now suffering the brutal punishment and tortures in jails, and because of this please let all the brethren know that on Saturday, the 29th of the current month, the revolution shall commence according to our agreement. For this purpose, it is necessary for all towns to rise simultaneously and attack Manila at the same time. Anybody who obstructs this sacred ideal of the people will be considered a traitor and an enemy, except if he is ill; or is not physically fit, in which case he shall be tried according to the regulations we have put in force. Mount of Liberty, 28th August 1896 - ANDRÉS BONIFACIO”[xi]

A day before the nation-wide revolt, the Katipuneros from Mandaluyong headed by Laureano Gonzales prepared for the coordinated attack. Valentin Cruz, head of the Pasig Katipunan branch expects 15 Remington rifles from civil guards who were Katipuneros. The Sumikat chapter had only bolos, daggers, spears, one rifle and one Remington. The Liwanag chapter headed by Liborio de Guzman had only managed to get bladed weapons and two Remington guns, while those who belong to the Manalo chapter of Adriano Gonzales possessed only bladed weapons.

The Katipuneros secured additional weapons by smuggling some out from the Mandaluyong friar estate house. Three guns and ammunition, one firelock, two Remingtons, one rifle and bullets were gathered.

After the inventory of their weapons, Bonifacio distributed the firearms to his men who already swelled into a thousand by this time. The Supremo also gave written instructions to Jacinto to be sent to different Katipunan councils in Manila, Cavite and Nueva Ecija.[xii]

The August 29 Attack

On the morning of August 29, the Katipunan leadership rose early and called for an assembly of all Katipuneros. Valentin Cruz met the group. It was a Saturday morning when the group reconsolidated their other forces throughout Manila and nearby provinces.

Based on the account of Valentin Cruz, Bonifacio reportedly reminded the Katipuneros of their supreme duty to God, Country and society. He then asked everyone to fight. The assembly responded with an uproar.

The Supremo then asked everyone to pull out their cedulas. The Supremo pulled his cedula and before the cheering crowd, Bonifacio shouted “Mabuhay ang Kalayaan!” while he and the rest of the Katipunero tore their cedulas to pieces. It was a very emotional moment. After this, the Katipuneros went to their respective towns, prepared for the uprising which will happen at midnight.

At exactly 9 o’clock in the evening, the church bell pealed thrice, the awaited signal for the revolt.

The Pasig Uprising

At nightfall, Pasig Katipuneros from the barrios of Pineda, Bagong Ilog and Ugong crossed the San Mateo river to Maybunga. Led by General Cruz, they joined other Katipunan forces from Santolan, Rosario, Maybunga, Palatiw, Sagad, Poblacion, Pinagbuhalatan, Bambang, Kalawaan, Buting and several others from other towns.

Cruz then gave the final battle instructions to the Katipuneros who were then armed only with scythes, bolos, spears, and a few rifles. Despite being poorly armed, everyone was determined to fight the Spaniards to the death. More than 2,000 Katipuneros responded to the call for an uprising.

It was not a surreptitious gathering. Fact was, the troops were on the streets, cheered on by the townsfolk who were reportedly in a fiesta mood. Most of them gathered at Plaza de Paz (now Plaza Rizal).

When the Spaniards heard that the Katipuneros had already gathered and determined to kill them, many Spaniards hid in several houses and some Guardia Civil led by their commander, Manuel Sityar, went inside the Immaculate Concepcion church to hide. They made the church as a garrison. Sityar asked his men to take a last stand at the church tower.

The battle started when one of the Spanish snipers, securely positioned in the church tower, hit a Katipunero from Bagong Ilog. The man died instantaneously.

Incensed, the Katipuneros charged. They attacked the Tribunal and the Guardia Civil headquarters. They easily occupied these two places, abandoned by frightened Guardia civil and Spanish civil authorities. Manuel Sityar, the commander of the Guardia Civil surrendered a few minutes unto the firefight.

It was the first battle victory of the Katipuneros. And it was sweet. The Katipuneros confiscated seventeen de piston rifles and three Remingtons. What’s even sweeter---the Spanish soldiers, despite their superior firepower, failed to defeat the Katipuneros.

The Cries of the Revolutionarios

Emboldened by the twin victories in Pasig and Mandaluyong, the Supremo then led a force of 800 Katipuneros and attacked the gunpowder storehouse in San Juan del Monte. The planned attack in Manila was abandoned since Valentin Cruz’s forces already attacked the Spanish forces in Pasig.

Bonifacio might have thought that Cruz action in Pasig had compromised the planned massive Manila attack. This explains why he shifted tactic—from attacking the whole of Manila, into just an attack of the San Juan del Monte arsenal.

The attack was well-planned. It was strategic. Bonifacio knew how important the storehouse was as a Spanish military post. Arms confiscated there could provide the Katipuneros more firepower.

Bonifacio was given the information that the storehouse was just being defended by around 100 men. What he did not know was the defenders were fully armed and trained artillerists and infantrymen.

Nonetheless, the Supremo ordered the attack. From Mandaluyong, the Supremo led the army together with Jacinto and from Santa Mesa, another Katipunan contingent led by Sancho Valenzuela, a rope maker. Both groups reached the polverin at about 4 o’clock in the morning of August 30.

Meanwhile, a contingent of Katipuneros stationed in Santa Mesa headed by General Bernardo was attacked by the Spaniards. The Katipuneros fought bravely and chased the Spaniards down the Santa Mesa river, where they were ambushed by Katipuneros led by Ricardo Losada. The intense battle ended at 8 o’clock in the morning, with the Spaniards retreating, but both sides suffering heavy casualties.

Bonifacio decided to join Bernardo. As they pass the village called Ermitano, they were fired upon from inside the reservoir compound at the place called Vista Alegre. The retreating Spaniards who engaged the troops of Bernardo encountered Bonifacio’s group.[xiii]

Armed only with bolos, bamboo spears and a few guns, the Katipuneros charged and caught the Spanish soldiers by surprise. In the initial attack, the Katipuneros killed the Spanish commander and an artillery man. The remaining Spaniards were forced to retreat to the nearby El Deposito, a water reservoir.

Buoyed by the sight of the fleeing Spanish soldiers, the Katipuneros charged. Unknown to them, the Spaniards sent a frantic call for reinforcements. General Bernard Echaluse of the Spanish 73rd Regiment soon arrived and immediately engaged the Katipuneros in a brutal fire-fight.

Stunned by the fast overturn of events, the Katipuneros regrouped in Santa Mesa. There, the Katipuneros engaged the Spaniards in hand-to-hand combat. Though the Katipuneros had superior numbers, many of them got killed due to the superiority of arms and training by the Spanish forces.

In no time, the Katipunero lines were soon flanked by the mobile Spanish cavalry. When they found themselves surrounded by the enemy at all points, the Katipuneros quickly broke ranks and retreated. Some of the Katipuneros tried to cross the San Juan river but were killed by volleys of gunfire from Spanish gunboats.

Others went upstream where they engaged the Spanish cavalry in a brutal hand-to-hand combat. Around a hundred Katipuneros tried to cross the river using bancas, but upon reaching the opposite bank, were ambushed by Guardia civil.

After the dust had settled, 153 Katipuneros and two Spanish soldiers lay dead. Around 200 Katipuneros were captured, 57of whom were shot the following day at the Luneta and four more on September 4, 1896. Bonifacio and the rest of his men retreated to Balara. [xiv] Some dead Katipuneros were discovered inside the Cordeleria de Penafrancia, the rope factory owned by Sancho Valenzuela in Bacood, Santa Mesa.

Sancho Valenzuela, a known Bonifacio associate was captured with three other Katipuneros. They were executed by firing squad in Bagumbayan.

Despite their initial defeat, the bravery of those who fought at San Juan del Monte emboldened more Filipinos to fight for independence. The Battle of San Juan del Monte initiated a series of simultaneous uprisings in Santa Mesa, Pandacan, Pateros, Taguig, San Pedro de Macati, Calookan, Balic-Balic, San Francisco de Malabon, Kawit and Noveleta in Cavite.

Organized groups of armed Katipuneros stormed Spanish positions in Mandaluyong, Sampaloc, Santa Ana, Pandacan, Pateros, Marikina, Calookan, Macati and Taguig. [xv]

In Balintawak where the seat of the newly established Revolutionary government was, intense fighting ensued between the Katipuneros and the Spanish forces. Most battles however, gravitated in San Juan del Monte and Sampaloc, while at the South of Manila; a thousand strong rebel forces attacked a small force of Guardia Civil. In Pandacan, hundreds of Katipuneros attacked the parish church. [xvi]

Forces of Bonifacio then retreated to Marikina where they again attacked Spanish forces in San Mateo and Montalban. Bonifacio made Balara as his temporary war camp. From there, he led Katipuneros in attacking the Spanish forces. In one battle, Bonifacio nearly lost his life when he shielded Emilio Jacinto from a Spanish bullet which grazed his collar. Despite these reversals, Bonifacio was still considered a formidable threat and an excellent military leader. [xvii]

Meanwhile, towns in Cavite particularly San Francisco de Malabon, Noveleta and Kawit rose in revolt. A 2,000 strong force led by Mariano Llanera also attacked the Spanish garrison and for three days, occupied the town of San Isidro before being repulsed.

On the eve of August 29th, the Magdiwang council led by Mariano Alvarez, the municipal Capitan of Noveleta was preparing for the assault on Spanish lines. They sought the help of two well-known Cavite outlaws, the brothers Hipolito and Hermogenes Sakilayan to enlist more men and collect more weapons. [xviii]

When the Magdiwangs failed to see the signal from Bonifacio, some of the Katipuneros expressed their desire to attack the Spanish garrison. Alvarez, however, prevailed them.

On August 30, the fires of revolt engulfed eight provinces. This prompted Governor General Blanco to declare a state of war against Katipuneros in Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Tarlac, Laguna, Batangas and Nueva Ecija. The revolt could have been more successful had the Spanish not discovered the expected massive defection of around 500 Filipino native soldiers in Marawi in Mindanao.

Blanco’s proclamation also encouraged clemency to those who will surrender themselves to the authorities within 48 hours after the publication of the proclamation. Among those who surrendered was Dr. Pio Valenzuela, one of the founding fathers of the Katipunan.[xix]

Over at Cavite, an endless delegation of Katipuneros came and urged Mariano Alvarez to start the revolt. Alvarez cautioned them to wait for Bonifacio’s signal. [xx]

When Bonifacio failed to give them the signal, Alvarez decided to start the uprising in Cavite. At around 2 o’clock of August 31, Alvarez presided a meeting of Katipunan leaders together with Artemio Ricarte. Afterwards, the Katipuneros stormed the municipal building and the Spanish garrison in Noveleta.

The Katipuneros fought bravely and defeated the Spanish troops. The assault yielded twenty eight guns. After the battle, Alvarez sent his emissary Bernabe Diaz to Aguinaldo and urged him to take immediate action.

Curiously, however, Aguinaldo remained silent. [xxi] His silence was deafening, a sign which Apolinario Mabini would later wrote, showed how the Magdalos regard Bonifacio. As early as 1896, the Magdalos paid little heed nor respected the authority of Bonifacio over them. [xxii]
As the fires of revolt rages in Manila, and other provinces such as Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Laguna, Cavite and Batangas, Governor General Blanco declared martial law. More than 170 people were arrested and thrown into the prisons of Fort Santiago. Fifty nine of the prisoners were found dead the following morning while the rest were paraded to Luneta and shot. [xxiii]

On September 4th, Sancho Valenzuela and Modesto Sarmiento, Katipuneros who were arrested in the San Juan del Monte attack, were executed in Luneta. Valenzuela had to be shot twice.[xxiv]

On September 9, Katipuneros attacked the town of San Roque, close to the town of Cavite. They burned parts of the town. [xxv] Three days later, thirteen Cavitenos, among them three rich hacienderos, a teacher, a schoolmaster, a doctor and a merchant were brutally executed. [xxvi]

In Bulacan, revolutionary forces suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of the Spaniards. Artillery forces were sent to pound Katipunan positions in the town of Bulakan. Katipunan General Anacleto Enriquez and his valiant men were flanked by the Spaniards and were forced to hide in the Church of San Rafael.

Revolt also broke out in Cavite, with several Katipunan sympathizers arrested and shot at the Fort San Felipe.

As the Katipunan-inspired revolt spread out in different places throughout the archipelago, the Spanish colonial government prepared and called for reinforcements. General Blanco orders his available troops, numbering around 3,000, to concentrate in the defense of the capital. He also called for volunteers to number 6,000 armed men.[xxvii]

As soon as the first week of October arrived, a battalion of Spanish marines arrived on board the mail streamer Cataluña. These marine soldiers known as the Ejercito Expedicionario arrived in Manila which consisted of 22 officers and 895 men under the command of Colonel Juan Herrera. They headed for Intramuros. They strengthened the fort. They augmented the Guardia Civil Veterana which only had three regiments with a total manpower of 155 Spanish officers and 3,530 natives. The Guardia Civil guarded the Spanish barracks and were deployed as soldiers and policemen.

Another force, this time from the SS Monserrat arrived with more Spanish troops. [xxviii] Meanwhile, another streamer, the SS Manila left the city with 300 Filipinos who were ordered banished to the Chafarinas Island, Ceutra and other African penal settlements. [xxix] On October 14, 1896, 151 suspected rebels were deported in the Spanish colony of Fernando Po in Africa while others were thrown in the islands of Micronesia and Palau.

Many Filipinos were either arrested or shot on sight by Spanish troops. As the Spanish increased their repression, the more Filipinos resisted.

On October 5, General Marasigan attacked and laid a 3-day siege of Balayan, Batangas. Marasigan, a distinguished member of the Magdiwang Council, however, failed to defend the city from returning Spanish troops. He had to give up after Magdalo council members refused to help him. [xxx]

This lay bare the animosity between the two groups which arose a month ago, on the 17th of September when the Magdiwangs and the Magdalos nearly came to blows after the Magdalos disrespected the Magdiwangs. [xxxi]

Six days after the Marasigan siege, Spanish troops forced their way to Nasugbu Batangas where they fired mercilessly on the hapless town folk. No one was spared, even livestock. Magdiwang council members who were hiding in the town led by Colonel Luciano San Miguel were ambushed by Spanish troops. Most of the Katipuneros were massacred in a brutal hand-to-hand combat. Only San Miguel and a handful escaped. [xxxii]

These defeats, however, did not deter the advancing Katipunan troops. Victories were reported in various parts of the archipelago, from the farthest towns in the Ilocos to the hinterlands of Mindanao.

The People had awakened and on the verge of successfully getting their first taste of revolutionary victory.

In Bicol, several prominent Filipinos were arrested, bound and subsequently shot at Bagumbayan. Among those arrested were Francisco Roxas, Telesforo Chuidian and Jacinto Limjap. No incriminating evidence was found against Roxas, but despite this, he was nonetheless, executed.

Roxas was executed with Numeriano Adriano, José Dizon, Domingo Franco, Moises Salvador, Luis Enciso Villareal, Braulio Rivera, Antonio Salazar, Ramon P. Padilla, Faustino Villaruel and Eustaquio Mañalak. Also executed with the group were Lt. Benedicto Nijaga and Corporal Geronimo Medina, both of the Spanish army.

On November 19, General Mariano Llanera and his troops smashed a locomotive train and five coaches of the Manila-Dagupan English railway. This attack paralyzed the entire provincial railway system. [xxxiii]

Sensing that they are losing the initiative of the war, General Camilo de Polavieja was ordered to replace the ineffective Governor General Ramon Blanco. At this stage of the war, Polavieja had a highly effective general by the name of Lachambre with 500 troops. Polavieja commandeered a total of 12,000 Europeans and 6,000 native auxiliaries. [xxxiv]

The Spanish immediately planned the attack of Cavite, which was then largely controlled by the Katipuneros. Battles were fought at Naic, Maragondon, Perez Dasmarinas, Nasugbu, Taal, Bacoor, Noveleta and other places. Imus, the rebel stronghold, was attacked and torched to the ground. Silang, a heavily fortified rebel fort, was defended to the man by the Katipuneros. After hours of fighting, most in hand-to-hand combat, the Katipuneros were repulsed. The retreating Katipuneros went as far as Santa Cruz, Laguna. [xxxv]

Despite these, Katipuneros fighting in other places, especially those in Rizal and Morong were successful in defeating the Spaniards. The Spanish authorities, sensing defeat and vulnerable to rebel attacks, intensified their harsh oppression of the Filipinos, especially in Manila and environs. The plan was to strike fear among the hearts of the Filipinos. It did not work.

The fatal mistake came when the Spaniards arrested Dr. Jose Rizal. Rizal was imprisoned in Fort Santiago, along with several other Katipunan leaders. On December 30, he was paraded before a huge throng of Filipinos. As he was being led to the spot where he would be executed, Filipinos prayed. Some cried, while others silently watched as Rizal’s hands were being tied in his back. Several shots were fired and Rizal slumped, bloodied, and dead. As he fell, shouts of revolution echoed throughout the archipelago. His death did not stop the rampage and cries of liberation among the Filipinos.

[i] Alvarez, p. 17.
[ii] Alvarez, p. 18.
[iii] Alvarez, p. 19.
[iv] Alvarez, p. 20.
[v] Ibid.
[vi] Alvarez, p. 20.
[vii] Alvarez, p. 21.
[viii] Alvarez, p. 23.
[ix] Alvarez, p.258.
[x] Salazar, Zeus (1994), Agosto 29-30, 1896: ang pagsalakay ni Bonifacio sa Maynila, Quezon City: Miranda Bookstore.
[xi] Salazar, Zeus (1994), Agosto 29-30, 1896 : Ang pagsalakay ni Bonifacio sa Maynila, Quezon City: Miranda Bookstore, p. 107.
[xii] Alvarez, 260-261; St. Clair, 51
[xiii] Alvarez, 50-51; Sawyer, 84; St. Clair, 51)
[xiv] Alvarez, 29
[xv] Agoncillo, Teodoro C. (1990) p. 173.
[xvi] Ibid.
[xvii] Guererro, Milagros; Encarnacion, Emmanuel; Villegas, Ramon (1996), "Andres Bonifacio and the 1896 Revolution", Sulyap Kultura (National Commission for Culture and the Arts) 1 (2): 3–12,
[xviii] Alvarez, 34
[xix] St. Clair, 271
[xx] Alvarez, 34
[xxi] Alvarez, 38-39;Sawyer, 85
[xxii] Mabini, Apolinario (1969), "CHAPTER VIII: First Stage of the Revolution", in Guerrero, Leon Ma., The Philippine Revolution, National Historical Commission.
[xxiii] Younghusband, 15;Fernandez, 26
[xxiv] Foreman, 369; Sawyer, 85
[xxv] Sawyer, 85
[xxvi] Younghusband, 15-16; Sawyer, 85
[xxvii] Fernandez, 25
[xxviii] Sawyer, 85-86
[xxix] Foreman-1899, 522
[xxx] Alvarez, 54
[xxxi] Alvarez, 49-50
[xxxii] Alvarez, 54
[xxxiii] Foreman-1899, 524
[xxxiv] Foreman-1899, 527
[xxxv] Foreman-1899, 527-528