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Found in the heart of Visayas, Bohol became the battle ground for Filipinos who increased in arms against the Spaniards in pursuit for absolute freedom. The most prominent of which was Francisco Dagohoy- the ringleader of the uprising that lasted for 85 years, the longest in history of the Philippines. This individual revenge versus the individuals developed into a serious and significant uprising that will endure for several years even after the death of Dagohoy. This motion aimed to make Bohol as soon as more a land of free males, can be considered as one of the earliest triumph of Filipinos over the Spaniards as the island fell under the hands of the natives.
Bohol, a disk-shaped island, the size quite comparable to Cebu, was the location where the vessel Concepcion was abandoned and burned after Magellan’s death in Mactan in 1521.
In 1565, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi participated in a blood compact with Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol to develop relationship with the native ruler.
Not long after the conquest of the archipelago, religious jurisdiction over the island was offered to the Society of Jesus. In 1744, the district of Inabangan in the northwest coast of the island was put under the auspice of Daddy Morales. He sent out a native constable named Dagohoy to jail a renegade indio, but Dagohoy himself was eliminated rather. Francisco, Dagohoy’s brother, brought the remains back to the town for burial in consecrated ground, according to the Catholic practice. Most likely irritated that the male had actually failed in his objective, Dad Morales declined consent for a Catholic burial and Dagohoy’s cadaver lay decomposing for three days.
Francisco exasperated at the unsympathetic and treatment by the parish priest, he cursed the Jesuit and sought for revenge by convincing the natives of the district to unite with him in toppling the Spaniards.
Some 3, 000 men and their families abandoned their homes in the lowland and trekked to the inaccessible mountainous interior where they built a fortification. In a remote region in the mountains between Inabangan and Talibon, Dagohoy established his headquarters and proclaimed the independence of Bohol. Dagohoy and his men sallied out in lightning raids on the lowland towns, assaulting the local Spanish garrisons, looting the churches, and slaughtering Spaniards, particularly the Jesuit priests. On January 24, 1746 one of Dagohoy’s bold warriors killed Father Giuseppe Lamberti, an Italian Jesuit and parish priest of Jagna. The Spanish authorities were worried by the remarkable successes of Dagohoy. In 1747 Bishop Juan de Arrechedera of Manila, then acting governor-general, dispatched a Spanish expedition to Bohol under the command of Don Pedro Lechuga, Dagohoy resisted this expedition and forced it to withdraw to Zamboanga.
Later Bishop Miguel Lino de Espeleta of Cebu, who became acting archbishop and governor-general, tried to pacify the rebels. But Dagohoy refused to listen to him. The rebellion assumed dangerous proportions. Numerous recruits, disgusted at the string of injustices and tyranny committed by the Spaniards, joined Dagohoy. Except for a dozen coastal towns and villages protected by armed Spaniards and native police, the rebels controlled the island. The bishop, a creole, tried to defuse the situation in Bohol by offering to send secular priests to administer the parishes. The insurgents, however, remained firm in their rebellion. They would not accept the presence of civilian official. Evidently, Dagohoy and his followers were not against the Catholic religion, but resolutely refused to come again under the political domination of Spain.
The Recollects replaced the Jesuits, and Father Pedro de Santa Barbarra, who was stationed in Baclayon, ascended the mountains to interview Dagohoy. He was welcomed and well treated, but Dagohoy courteously refused to give up Bohol’s independence. Supplementing the peace efforts of the Recollects, Governor-General Jose Raon offered amnesty and pardon to Dagohoy and his followers if they would lay down their arms. Dagohoy spurned his offer, saying that his people were enjoying the good life of a free people. From 1744 to August 31, 1829, a long period of 85 years, the Boholanos successfully maintained their independence and preserved it with fierce and courage and flaming patriotism. It seemed probable that Dagohoy died before the year 1829 in his mountain kingdom either of old age or sickness. His followers, imbued by his indomitable courage and fearless heroism carried on the fight for independence.
Twenty Spanish governor-generals, from Gaspar de la Torre (1739-1745) to Mariano Ricafort (1825-1830), failed to suppress the libertarian struggle. The year of Dagohoy’s death is not mentioned in any history books, but since the revolt continued, it meant three generations of Boholanos were enjoying their liberty. Through the efforts of Fray Pedro de Santa Barbara, a Recollect friar, troops were withdrawn in 1770 from most of the island’s stations, and a general amnesty was proclaimed. Few rebels presented themselves under proclamation. The raids of the loyalist continued. Punitive expeditions were mounted against them, but these failed until May 1827, when acting Governor-General Mariano Ricafort, appalled the poorly-armed islanders could defy Spanish might, sent to Bohol a powerful army of 1, 100 Spaniards from the Manila and Cebu garrisons, with a contingent of 6, 024 natives from Bohol and Cebu.
This task force was not completely successful, and the following summer, in April of 1828, he dispatched another military host armed with light artillery to pulverize the mountain forts of the rebels in Inabangan and Talibon. This time Ricafort’s troops were successful. Thus terminated the longest revolt in Philippine history and, next to the revolution of 1896, the most successful in eroding Spanish sovereignty over the archipelago. Missing Dagohoy’s excellent leadership, the Boholanos made their last stand in the mountain of Boasa.
During the 85 years of Bohol’s independence, the patriotic Boholanos lived as free and sovereign people. They did not render forced labor nor pay tribute. They suffered neither racial discrimination nor social humiliation from the hands of the Spaniards. Dagohoy was able to maintain a government. His rule was firm and just. He was obeyed and respected by his people. Governing like the datus of the pre-Spanish era, he was the chief executive, the supreme judge, and the military generalissimo. He was assisted by the old men in peace affairs and by the military captains in war matters.|
1872 and 1892: Cradles of Nationalism
Mona Lisa H. Quizon
History Researcher I
The years 1872 and 1892 are two significant periods in the history of the Philippines. These are the years that nationalism blossomed in the hearts of many Filipinos. The year 1872 marked the execution of the three martyred priests, Fathers Mariano Gomes, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora better known as GOMBURZA. The three were convicted and eventually executed by garrote due to their alleged participation in the Cavite Mutiny. Prior to their execution GOMBURZA made an impact in our history by leading the Secularization Movement. They clamored for the rights of the Filipinos to oversee the parishes in the Philippines.
According to them churches in the country should and must be administered by Filipinos. The Filipinos should be given the privilege to spread Christianity to the natives. The three martyred priests had made their whole-hearted efforts to fulfill their visions. Fr. Burgos, for the matter, organized the Committee on Reforms, which campaigned for more liberal laws. Fr. Gomes, on the other hand, founded the newspaper La Vertad which served as an instrument in describing the unbearable conditions of the Philippines through the liberal articles made by Filipino clergymen headed by Fr. Burgos. The GOMBURZA, undoubtedly, showed no sign of apprehension. Instead, they exhibited courage and strong aspiration to make the church pro-Indio.
The actions done by the GOMBURZA transcended the Secularization Movement and rose into a higher level, the Filipinization Movement. Father Burgos, in particular, stressed the concept of nationalism through their visions. It goes to show that before the so-called middle class introduced nationalism and equality the secular priest had already gave birth to these ideas.
The execution of GOMBURZA became a burning fire that awakened the sleeping conscience of many Filipinos. Jose Rizal himself was awakened by this tragic event. His second novel, El Filibusterismo, was dedicated to the three martyred priest.
Rizal said in a letter published in La Solidaridad, “without 1872, there would be no Plaridel, Jaena, or Sanciongco; nor would the brave and generous Filipino colonies in Europe have existed. Without 1872, Rizal would now have been a Jesuit and instead of writing Noli Me Tangere would have written the opposite. Observing the injustices and cruelties fired my young imagination and I pledge to dedicate myself to avenge someday those victims. With this idea, I have studied and this can be discerned in all my works and writings. God will give me the opportunity someday to keep my vow.”
On the other hand, the year 1892 was the time Andres Bonifacio, Ladislao Diwa, Teodoro Plata and Deodato Arellano founded the secret society called Katipunan. The Katipunan was brought to life after the La Liga Filipina, which was founded by Jose Rizal, was discontinued and Rizal himself was arrested and then deported to Dapitan. The Katipuneros no longer believed in peaceful means of change for the Philippine. The Katipunan aimed to overthrow the colonizers through armed struggle.
Bonifacio led the nationwide campaign to put an end to the three centuries of oppression and abused by the Spaniards. The Katipunan showed that revolution was the key for change. Filipinos were clamoring for freedom and one way to achieve these was by joining the revolution. Katipunan became the inspiration of other revolutionary groups to continue the struggle for freedom. Bonifacio together with other Katipunan members planted the seed of nationalism in the hearts of every Filipino.
However, between 1872 and 1892, there was a new chapter in the Philippine history – the reform movement. In order to prevent the danger of fighting the Spaniards in the Philippines, the sons of wealthy and well-to-do Filipino families migrated to Europe to campaign for reforms in the administration of the Philippines. Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena and others waged their war of propaganda against the Spanish colonial government but they failed to achieve their goal.
The year 1872 and 1892 gave birth to the nationalism of the Filipinos that triggered the 1896 revolution. The revolution demonstrated the courage and bravery of Filipinos which led to the proclamation of independence of our country on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite. Both 1872 and 1896 are important in the history of our country. What happened in 1872 and 1892 will be forever marked with honor. We owe to our forefathers the freedom we have today. It is now in our hands to continue to defend and protect our sovereignty.
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