The events of August 1896 were of great significance in the history of the Filipino people the start of a people’s struggle for national independence. From 1521 to 1896, Filipinos launched sporiadic and uncoordinated revolts against Spanish rule. The reasons varied from personal grievances, religious as well as reactions against exploitive Spanish colonial policies (ie, heavy taxation, forced labour, etc.). August 1896, started as a mass based urban (Manila) led middle class “revolt of the masses”, the rebellion spread to the eight provinces and later transformed into a national revolution against an oppressive Spanish colonial regime. Due to the confusion of the times, problems regarding what happened (events) on that fateful month cropped out, hence a need to a chronological reconstruction. Relying on the contemporary eyewitness accounts like the testimonies of Dr. Pio Valenzuela (Bonifacio’s confidant and Katipunan physician) and other participants, the author was able to reconstruct the events as follows:
August 6/7-1896- Fr. Mariano Gil of Tondo sent a warning to Sr. Roca, the General de Marina, regarding plots of a masonic-filibuster/subversive organization. (1)
August 19 – Teodoro Patino, exposed the secrets of the Katipunan first to his sister and a nun in the Mandaluyong orphanage and later to Fr. Mariano Gil of Tondo. The priest informed the authorities incriminating documents found in the Diario de Manila premises and arrests follows.( Minutes.p.120)
According to Fr. Celestino de las Huertas, they believed that there are 25,000 members and from 19th to27th of August, 5,000 joined the uprising.( Minutes,p.121)
August 22- 4:00 AM – Andres Bonifacio, the Supreme President and Emilio Jacinto, Secretary of the Supreme Council and Guillermo Masangkay fled Manila to escape arrest. The three walked along the railway tracks to Caloocan and stayed at the house of his father in law, Nicolas de Jesus. They were joined by another group from Tondo: Macario Sakay, Isaac del Carmen, Eusebio Kasapio, Francisco and Nicomedes Carreon.
Caloocan town mayor Silverio Baltazar warned Bonifacio of the arrival of Spanish soldiers and Bonifacio group accompanied by local native policemen took them to the place of Barrio Lieutenant Apolonio Samson in Pook Kangkong, Caloocan. Their host Samson was Kankong’s “most prominent inhabitant …owner of a spacious house “, held hectares of cultivated lands and owned considerable livestock.
Jacinto upon the order of Bonifacio summoned the jefes generales appointed last May 1896 to come to Balintawak. The jefes jenerales were: Mariano Llanera and Manuel Tionio of Nueva Ecija; Aurelio Tolentino of Morong; Valentin Diaz of Zambales, Vicente Fernandez of Laguna (did not show up), Miguel Malvar of Batangas and Emilio Jacinto and Guillermo Masangkay (who were already at Balintawak).
The cabinet of the REPUBLIKA NG KATAGALUGAN (Katagalugan- the Katipunan name replacing the colonial name Filipinas) that was formed on July 1896 was confirmed during the meeting : Andres Bonifacio (President,Republika ng Katagalugan);Emilio Jacinto (Minister of State), Teodoro Plata (Minister of War), Briccio Pantas (Minister of Justice, Enrique Pacheco (Minister of Finance) and Aguedo del Rosario (Minister of Interior).
(Minutes,148,Masangkay Papers at U.P.Library)
Dr. Pio Valenzuela, joined Bonifacio and Jacinto in Caloocan.
August 23,24,25- Emilio Jacinto and Aguedo del Rosario spent their times preparing orders and instructions for the outbreak of the revolution.(Minutes,p.149)
Place: Balintawak, Caloocan.(ibid,,p.160)
August 23, Bonifacio appointed Teodoro Plata, general in chief ,Emilio Jacinto and Aguedo del Rosario, generals of the divisions and Valenzuela, chief surgeon.(Minutes,p.150) Place: Balintawak,Caloocan.
Katipunan general assembly at the house of Melchora Aquino (Tandang Sora). ( ibid.237 ) Place: Balintawak, Caloocan. Number of attendees: about 300 men armed with bolos, daggers and spears plus 12 daggers and spears and a shotgun.
10:00 AM- The crowd now numbered about 500 men. (Gen. M. Alvarez. Memoirs.)
Melchora Aquino opened her granary and fed the “Katipuneros”.
A meeting was held attended by about 1,000 men and adopted the following decision: (1) The revolution would commence at midnight of 29 August; (2) the following were appointed brigadier generals: Aguedo del Rosario, Ramon Bernardo, Vicente Fernandez and Gregorio Coronel, (3) tactics to attack and capture Manila.
August 24 – 11:00 pm. – A bandit named Laong, joined the Katipunan army.(Minutes.p.149)
August 25 – Pio Valenzuela and his guides fled to the mountains of San Mateo, Morong (later Rizal Province) and next day (August 26), made their way to the town of Marikina.(ibid.), to induce them to join the armed revolt.(ibid,151)
August 26 – “The fight between the Guardia Civil and the rebels in Baulat and Balintawak (Caloocan) took place”…according to Valenzuela, (ibid.,157). Bonifacio retreated to Balara, Krus na Ligas and later to Marikina.
Agust 27 – Col.Francisco Pinto filed a report regarding the skirmish between rebel and the Guardia Civil that happened the previous day. (ibid.,125)
August 28 – Dr. Valenzuela reached Escolta and rode in a steamer to Binang, Laguna,met a Filipino cleric received a copy of a general amnesty and later surrendered to the Spanish governor general. (ibid,pp.150-151) on Sept.1(Ibid.p.146)
August 28-29 – Bonifacio at Hagdang Bato, Mandaluyong. Preparation for attack on Manila and simultaneous attack on towns and provinces.
August 29 – Bonifacio’s attack on Manila failed.
(see full details on the events of Aug.28-30 in Part 2 of this article)
August 30 – Gov. Gen. Ramon Blanco declared martial law in the provinces of Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Laguna and Batangas. (Minutes,p139)
End Part 1 of 2 Parts
Danilo V. Donor graduated A.B. History at Far Eastern University in Manila and MA Ed at the New Era University in Quezon City, Philippines. Mr. Donor was a former Assistant Professor in NEU where he taught History, Political Science and other Social Science subjects. He is presently living in Calgary, Alberta.