Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Bonifacio's letters to Emilio Jacinto


Among the documents posted on the Katipunan website ( are three letters from Bonifacio to Jacinto, dated March 8, April 16 and April 24, 1897. The original Tagalog text of a fourth, undated, letter is not presently available, and that particular letter will be discussed in a separate posting in due course.

This piece recounts the history of the letters, and sets out the grounds for dismissing any doubts about the authenticity of the three that bear dates.

Translations and retranslations

The four letters were acquired in 1904 by the historian and collector Epifanio de los Santos, and in 1917 he included a Spanish translation of the texts in a biographical sketch of Bonifacio he wrote for the magazine Philippine Review (Revista Filipina).[1] His article, including the letters, was then translated into English by Gregorio Nieva for publication in a subsequent issue of the same magazine.[2]

Epifanio de los Santos died in 1928, and his collection was inherited by his eldest son, Jose P. Santos, who was also a historian. Two decades later, Santos included Tagalog versions of the letters in the manuscript he submitted in the Government-sponsored Bonifacio biography contest of 1948.[3] Very similar Tagalog versions were published in 1956 by Teodoro Agoncillo in his classic work The Revolt of the Masses, and in 1963 he published the same versions (together with slightly amended versions of Nieva’s English translations) in a compilation entitled The Writings and Trial of Andres Bonifacio.[4]

In the 1980s one of the daughters of Jose P. Santos sold the letters to a dealer, who subsequently sold them to their present owner, the well-known collector Emmanuel Encarnacion.

In 1989 Ambeth Ocampo was able to examine photocopies of the letters, and was surprised to find discrepancies between the originals and the Tagalog versions published by Agoncillo.[5] The meaning was much the same, but the language differed all the way through. The reason for the discrepancies, Ocampo realized, was that the versions published by Agoncillo were not transcriptions of the original texts. They were retranslations into Tagalog from the Spanish of Epifanio de los Santos or the English of Gregorio Nieva.

Imputations of knavery and fakery

The disparities between the different Tagalog texts are discussed at length by Glenn May in his iconoclastic book Inventing a Hero, and they lead him to conclude that the letters are “patently untrustworthy” and “probably bogus”. That damning verdict, in turn, is a crucial part of his overall thesis that Bonifacio is an “invented hero”. [6]

May establishes that the versions published in The Revolt of the Masses and The Writings and Trial of Andres Bonifacio had initially been created not (as Ocampo had assumed) by Agoncillo, but by Jose P. Santos. Agoncillo had subsequently made some minor stylistic amendments, but had basically reproduced the Santos versions.

This raised an obvious question. Why on earth should Jose P. Santos, who had inherited the original Bonifacio letters from his father, wish to produce new Tagalog versions that in each case differed from the originals from the first sentence to the last?

The answer to this question, May suggests, is that Santos detected “major defects” in the letters published by his father and realized that they might be fakes. Santos, he observes, was himself an accomplished writer in Tagalog who would have been able “to spot stylistic hints in the Bonifacio letters that they were not the bona fide literary creations” of the hero. Not willing to admit his suspicions, Santos decided “to disguise, as best he could, all traces of the documents’ deficiencies” by transcribing them in a deliberately inaccurate, significantly distorted form. In order to “cover up the fact” that they “appeared to be forgeries”, he set about producing versions that would appear more authentic. The versions produced by Santos, May alleges, were not (as Ocampo had maintained) straightforward retranslations, but calculated, dishonest rewritings.

May admits that this accusation of gross historiographical malpractice is “somewhat speculative”, but it is nevertheless the cornerstone of his whole case that the Bonifacio letters are “probably bogus”. He does have other worries: the “dubious provenance” of the letters; the credibility of stories told about their survival; and the markedly different penmanship he saw on the undated letter. He accepts, however, that none of these subsidiary concerns proves the letters to be forgeries. The difference in handwriting, for example, could simply be due to the fact that Bonifacio dictated the undated letter to a secretary, whereas he penned the others himself. Nor does May find any problems in the content of the letters. They contain nothing that is manifestly false or anachronistic, and Bonifacio’s signatures do not look to be forged.

May’s case therefore stands or falls solely on whether Jose P. Santos, then the owner of the letters, so doubted their authenticity that he rewrote them.

Determining the truth

What then, is the precise nature of the “major defects” that May believes Santos detected in the original letters and sought to rectify? In reworking the texts, May contends, Santos repeatedly made two types of change. First, he “consistently made an effort to personalize the letters more” by inserting possessive pronouns, thereby altering phrases like “sa mga kapatid dito” to “sa mga kapatid natin dito”, and “ang mga kalaban dito” to “ang ating mga kalaban”. These are the only examples May gives, and they do not serve his case well. On the contrary, they strengthen the case for concluding that the Santos versions are retranslations, because both appear in Nieva’s English translation of 1918 – “our brethren here” and “our enemies here” - and the latter also appears in the Spanish translation of Epifanio de los Santos – “nuestros enemigos de aqui”.

The second, larger batch of alterations May deems to be significant is the transformation of verb forms so that the “goal-focus” constructions that predominate in the original texts are largely replaced by “actor-focus” constructions. This pattern of changes, as May remarks, can be found “time and time again” in Santos’s versions. Santos switched the verb forms, May surmises, because he realized that the “Bonifacio letters used far more goal-focused verbs than a man of Bonifacio’s era would be expected to use”.

It is not clear what weight May attaches to this thread of his argument. Although most late 19th century writers of Tagalog favoured “actor-focus” constructions, he acknowledges, there were “exceptions”, among them the illustrious propagandista Marcelo H. del Pilar. It might be pertinent that the four writers whom May cites as employing predominantly “actor-focus” constructions – Jose Rizal, Carlos Ronquillo, Santiago Alvarez and Emilio Aguinaldo – all had their early schooling in the southern Tagalog provinces, whereas Bonifacio and del Pilar came respectively from Manila and Bulacan. In any event, Santos would have known that styles varied. He would not have been surprised that Bonifacio favoured “goal-focus” constructions in his letters, and contrary to May’s conjectures it would not even have occurred to him that painstakingly switching the verb forms would somehow enhance the letters’ authenticity.

May illustrates his point with three examples, again taken from the undated letter. The clause “tinangap ko ang isang sulat” (“a letter was received by me”), he notes, is re-rendered by Santos as “tumanggap ako ng sulat ” (“I received a letter”). The goal-focus form “tatangapin”, similarly, is replaced by the actor-focus “tatanggap”; and the clause “Tinangap kong lahat ang mga sulat na inyong ipinadala sa akin…” is refashioned as “Sumakamay kong lahat ang ipinadala mong sulat…” Once again, it is the Spanish and English translations published in 1917-8 that exonerate Santos and deliver the decisive rebuttal to May. In all three cases, both the Spanish and English versions construct the relevant clauses in an active, actor-focused form, the English renditions of Gregorio Nieva respectively being “I…received a letter”; “you will receive”; and “I have received all your letters”. When working on their translations, Epifanio de los Santos and Gregorio Nieva presumably felt that strictly accurate renditions in the passive form - “a letter was received by me” etc. – would appear awkward in the Spanish and English, and hence they decided to render the passages more freely, employing active constructions.

Each and every one of the five specific examples chosen by May to support his argument – two possessive pronouns and three altered verb forms – can thus be traced back to the Spanish or English translations. Jose P. Santos was not the originator of these changes, merely their inheritor.

Supposing just for a moment, though, that May was right, that Santos, a skilled and knowledgeable Tagalista, did rework the original texts to make them look more authentic. Supposing he had inserted a few possessive pronouns. Supposing he had altered the verb forms. Why should he also want to change a host of the verb roots – for instance from “tangap” to “kamay” in one of the specific examples cited above? Why should he want to change the spelling of “tangap” in its diverse forms to “tanggap”, when he would have known that a single “g” was still the norm in the late 19th century? (Agoncillo, incidentally, recognized this anachronism, and when revising the Santos versions took the decision to delete all the second “g”s.) And why, above all, should Santos make innumerable changes that are entirely unrelated either to the addition of possessive pronouns or the alteration of the verb forms? How might he think he was making the text more “authentic” by changing the phrase “tarrong polvora” (jars of gunpowder) to “latang pulbura”? Or altering the word “kaligaligan” (disorder) to “kaguluhan”, or the word “panghihimagsik” (revolution) in one instance to “Revolucion” and in another to “himagsikan”? Or altering the close embrace of the valediction from “ang aking mahigpit na yakap” to “ang aking magiliw na yakap”?

Anyone who really “rewrote” texts in the manner May alleges would surely confine his attention to the passages he thought were problematic; he would not rework practically every last phrase and clause. The great majority of the changes in Santos’s versions have no pattern, and nor do they fundamentally change the meaning of the text. The words used, in most instances, are more or less synonyms for the words used in the originals. May calls the Santos versions “selective rewritings”, but closes his eyes to the hundreds of changes that are palpably not selective. He imputes a crime, identifies a culprit and posits a motive, but in the end his case collapses because the Santos versions simply do not fit his theory of how the crime was perpetrated.

Retranslations, not rewritings

The real reason for the disparity between the original Tagalog texts of the Bonifacio letters and the versions created by Jose P. Santos, therefore, is simply that the Santos versions are indeed complete retranslations, either from the Spanish of Epifanio de los Santos or the English of Gregorio Nieva.[7] Ambeth Ocampo got it right in 1989 after all, though he erred in attributing the retranslations to Agoncillo.

The basic question posed by Glenn May, of course, remains legitimate. Why should Jose P. Santos want to produce new Tagalog versions of the letters when he owned the originals? Issues of historical accuracy and probity aside, reproducing the authentic texts would have been a much easier option. The only plausible explanation is that for some reason Santos did not have the original letters to hand in 1948 when he wrote his Bonifacio biography (which was entirely in Tagalog), and that he therefore decided to make (or asked someone else to make) Tagalog translations from his father’s Spanish or Nieva’s English.


Although the fact that the Santos versions are retranslations does not in itself prove that the original letters are genuine, the case put forward by May in Inventing a Hero is the only serious challenge to their authenticity that has ever been mounted. If his allegations and misgivings can now be laid to rest, then so can the whole debate.

In 1996, probably when May’s book had already gone to press, Isagani R. Medina published (woefully inaccurate) extracts from the original text of Bonifacio’s letter to Jacinto dated April 24, 1897 in his expansively annotated edition of the memoirs of Carlos Ronquillo, together with a photograph of parts of the letter.[8] This was the first time, so far as is known, that any portion of the original letters had been placed in the public domain. The following year, far more crucially, Adrian E. Cristobal included complete, legible facsimiles of the three dated letters in the first, coffee-table edition of his book The Tragedy of the Revolution, gratefully acknowledging their present owner, Emmanuel Encarnacion.[9] Since that time, neither May nor any other historian has raised any fresh questions about the authenticity of those three particular letters. It seems likely that the fourth, undated letter is also authentic, despite the apparent difference in penmanship, but it would be rash to make any firm judgment until it too has been placed in the public domain.

Further compelling evidence that the three dated letters are genuine is provided by a number of Katipunan documents now accessible in the Spanish military archives, most notably the letter Bonifacio wrote to Julio Nakpil that bears exactly the same address and date – Limbon, April 24, 1897 – as one of his letters to Jacinto. The discussion of that letter to Nakpil on this website compares the two documents and notes similarities in the stationery, seal, handwriting, signature and content that are cumulatively so striking that they put the authenticity of the dated letters to Jacinto beyond any reasonable doubt.


In his edition of Ronquillo’memoirs, Isagani Medina published transcriptions and illustrations of two other documents whose authenticity Glenn May questions in Inventing a Hero: the declaration known as the Acta de Tejeros, dated March 23, 1897; and a statement written by Artemio Ricarte, dated March 24, 1897. Like the four letters from Bonifacio to Jacinto, these two documents, and another known as the Naik Military Agreement, were for many years in the possession of the Santos family. Exactly as in the case of the letters, Epifanio de los Santos incorporated Spanish translations in the brief biography of Bonifacio he published in 1917; English translations by Gregorio Nieva were published in 1918 and Jose P. Santos included retranslations into Tagalog in the manuscript he submitted in the 1948 Bonifacio biography competition.[10] Again as in the case of the letters, nobody has expressed any fresh doubts about the authenticity of the documents in the ten or more years since the original Tagalog texts were placed in the public domain.

Glenn May does not discuss these documents in any detail in Inventing a Hero, but, as with the letters, he does cast serious aspersions upon their authenticity. Not, in this instance, because Jose P. Santos had produced Tagalog versions that differed from the original texts (which May perhaps did not realize); not because the documents looked like fabrications in any photographs May might have seen; and not because he thought their content looked suspect. In this instance, he stigmatizes the documents solely on the basis of their ownership and publication by the Santos family.

Epifanio de los Santos, he writes, “added little of consequence to our knowledge of Bonifacio and, far more significantly, placed into circulation a number of documents of dubious historical value.” In reality, the brief article on Bonifacio that Epifanio de los Santos published in 1917 remained a key source throughout the twentieth century, and most if not all of the ten associated documents that he and Nieva translated and placed in the public domain will always remain key sources – four letters from Bonifacio to Jacinto; the “decalogue” Bonifacio wrote for Katipunan members; the essay “Ang Dapat Mabatid ang mga Tagalog”; the poem “Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Bayan”; the Acta de Tejeros; the Ricarte letter; and the Naik Military Agreement. Not a single one of these ten documents has been proven to be bogus, and most if not all have immense historical value.

Jose P. Santos, says May, “probably” tried to make dubious documents look more authentic. He did not; he simply published retranslations from the Spanish or English. His work, says May, “does not deserve the respect” that historians have given it over the years. It does; a case could be made, in fact, that Jose P. Santos got closer to the Katipunan and the Katipuneros than any other historian before or since, Agoncillo not excepted.

And both father and son, alleges May specifically, “helped to foster the notion that the Bonifacio-Jacinto correspondence was authentic”. Yes, they did, because at least three of the four letters are authentic. And by fostering the notion that the letters are genuine, May continues, they contributed to the image of “Bonifacio the patriotic, Bonifacio the honorable, Bonifacio the misunderstood.” Why this image should cause May disquiet is a good question. In responding to the furore that greeted Inventing a Hero, he assured his critics that he had neither questioned Bonifacio’s “indisputable heroism” nor even asserted that “Bonifacio is any bit less heroic than he has appeared to be in the accounts of earlier historians.” But in truth he had. At the conclusion of his chapter on Bonifacio’s letters to Jacinto, he reiterates his verdict that they are “probably bogus” and adds that with two possible exceptions

“not a single document or text heretofore thought to be composed by Bonifacio can be shown conclusively, or even convincingly, to have been actually written by him. Without the Bonifacio letters, the picture of the national hero that emerges is very different and much less heroic…. in the end, I believe that all of us are better off without the Bonifacio-Jacinto correspondence.”

May is wrong. We still have the letters, and in Bonifacio, undiminished, we still have a true patriotic hero.


[1] Epifanio de los Santos, “Andrés Bonifacio”, Philippine Review (Revista Filipina), II:11 (November 1917), pp.67-70.
[2] Epifanio de los Santos, “Andrés Bonifacio”, translated into English by Gregorio Nieva, Philippine Review (Revista Filipina), III:1-2 (January-February 1918), pp.42-5.
[3] Tenepe [Jose P. Santos, Teresita Santos and Nena Santos], “Si Andres Bonifacio at ang Katipunan”, unpublished manuscript, 1948, pp.126-33.
[4] Teodoro A. Agoncillo, The Revolt of the Masses: the story of Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1956), pp.408-19; The Writings and Trial of Andrés Bonifacio, translated by Teodoro A. Agoncillo with the collaboration of S.V. Epistola (Manila: Antonio J. Villegas; Manila Bonifacio Centennial Commission; University of the Philippines, 1963), pp.13-22.
[5] Ambeth R. Ocampo, “Andres Bonifacio: myth and reality” in his Bonifacio’s Bolo (Pasig City: Anvil, 1995), p.8.
[6] Glenn A. May, Inventing a Hero: the posthumous re-creation of Andres Bonifacio (Madison: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1996), pp.53-81.
[7] So complete was the process of retranslation, in fact, that it even swept away a few authentic fragments of Bonifacio’s original Tagalog that had survived in the Spanish and English translations. Although the Katipunan leader wrote the letters almost entirely in normal Tagalog, he inscribed a scattering of words in cipher. Epifanio de los Santos deciphered these words and inserted them in parentheses, in normal Tagalog, at the appropriate points in his Spanish renditions. Gregorio Nieva followed the same practice when rendering the texts in English. When he retranslated the texts back into Tagalog, strange to say, Jose P. Santos chose not to incorporate these authentic fragments in his versions but to retranslate the corresponding words from the Spanish or English.
[8] Carlos Ronquillo, Ilang talata tungkol sa paghihimagsik nang 1896-1897, edited by Isagani R. Medina, (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1996), p.43.
[9] Adrian E. Cristobal, The Tragedy of the Revolution (Makati City: Studio 5 Publishing Inc., 1997) pp.146-7.
[10] For all three documents, Medina provides transcriptions of three different Tagalog versions: (i) the original texts, which at the time of his writing were in the collection of Jorge de los Santos; (ii) the retranslations included by Jose P. Santos in his “Si Andres Bonifacio at ang Himagsikan”; and (iii) different retranslations, from the collection of the late Antonio K. Abad. Ronquillo, Ilang talata, pp.84-112.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Andres Bonifacio at Balintawak, August 26, 1896

Andres Bonifacio
Draft notice of appointment, August 26, 1896

Source: Photograph of original document, in Carlos Ronquillo, Ilang talata tungkol sa paghihimagsik nang 1896-1897, [1898] edited by Isagani R. Medina, (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1996), p.32.


Transcribed below is a document, apparently in Bonifacio’s own handwriting, written with a view to appointing Mariano Alvarez as the overall chief, both civil and military, of all the revolutionary forces in the province of Cavite.

According to Medina’s caption, the document is from the “Borador ng Pulong ng Kataastaasang Sangunian”, or rough copy book of the Katipunan Supreme Council. Since a proper borador was understandably not to hand in Balintawak at this tumultuous moment, the Supreme Council’s communications were inscribed in some kind of farm ledger, used under normal circumstances to record yields or sales. The text is therefore written across printed columns that are headed “Maiz”, “Mani”, “Camote” and so on, and as the question marks – [?] - indicate, it is difficult in places to decipher. So far as is known, Medina is the only historian ever to have reproduced a page from this book, and it would hugely interesting to know where the book is now held and what else it contains.

Obviously, the document is a draft, and it is unsigned. We cannot be sure that a final version was ever produced and dispatched to Alvarez. Even so, the few hasty lines of the document are historically important because they confirm:-

· That the decision to initiate the revolution was taken formally by a meeting of the Kataastaasang Kapisanan (Supreme Assembly) of the Katipunan held on August 24, 1896. This supports the conclusion reached by Milagros C. Guerrero in her 1996 article "Balintawak: the cry for a nationwide revolution" that the anniversary of the revolution should properly be celebrated on August 24th rather than on the 23rd or the 26th.

· That the Sangunian Bayan (Sb.) Magdalo, of which Emilio Aguinaldo was a leading member, was initially not in accord with the decision to revolt (di pag ayon sa pinagkaisahang pag galaw) and had registered its opposition in writing. This corroborates the recollections of Generals Artemio Ricarte and Santiago Alvarez; the reason for Magdalo’s opposition, says Ricarte, was simply the “absolute lack of arms” with which to fight.


Ayon sa pinagkaisahan na ginanap [?] pulong ng Kataastaasang Kapisanan [?] ikadalawang puo’t apat nitong umiiral na buan tungkol sa paghihimagsik (revolucion) at sa pagkakailangang [?] maghalal ng magsisipamahala ng bayan at mag aakay ng hukbo, itong Kataastaasang Sangunian sa paganap ng kanyang tungkol Sa pagkat ang kapatid na si G [?] sa kanyang pagka Pangulo ng Sb. Magdiwang ay nagpakilala ng lubos at tapat na pangangasiwa sa Katipunan, at sa pagka tangap nitong to, sa kasulatang pahatid ng Sb. Magdalo na di pag ayon sa pinagkaisahang pag galaw, itong Kataastaasang Sangunian ay minararapat na inihalal na Pangulong kikilalanin sa buong hukuman ng Tangway ang nasabing Kap. Na si G. Mariano Alvarez (Mainam).

Sa bagay na ito aking iginawad [?] itong Patunayan na tinalaan ko ng tunay na pangalan at pamagat sa Katipunan, at tuloy sinaksihan.

Kalookan, Maynila ika 26 ng Agosto ng taong 1896

Thursday, 14 December 2006

Questions for recruits


¿Ano ang kalagayan nitong Katagalugan
nang unang panahun?





¿Ano ang kalagayan sa ngayon?





¿Ano ang magiging kalagayan sa darating
na panahun?





[Source: Archivo General Militar de Madrid:
Caja 5677, leg.1.13].

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

The "Kartilya"



A. N. B.




Sa pagkakailangan, na ang lahat na nagiibig pumasuk sa katipunang ito, ay magkaroon ng lubos na pananalig at kaisipan sa mga layong tinutungo at mga kaaralang pinaiiral, minarapat na ipakilala sa kanila ang mga bagay na ito, at ng bukas makalawa’y huag silang magsisi at tuparing maluag sa kalooban ang kanilang mga tutungkulin.

Ang kabagayang pinaguusig ng katipunang ito ay lubos na dakila at mahalaga; papagisahin ang loob at kaisipan ng lahat ng tagalog (*) sa pamamagitan ng isang mahigpit na panunumpa, upang sa pagkakaisang ito’y magkalakas na iwasak ang masinsing tabing na nakabubulag sa kaisipan at matuklasan ang tunay na landas ng Katuiran at Kaliwanagan.

(*) Sa salitang tagalog katutura’y ang lahat nang tumubo sa Sangkapuluang ito; sa makatuid, bisaya man, iloko man, kapangpangan man, etc., ay tagalog din.

Dito’y isa sa mga kaunaunahang utos, ang tunay na pag-ibig sa bayang tinubuan at lubos na pagdadamayan ng isa’t isa.

Maralita, mayaman, mangmang, marunong, lahat dito’y magkakapantay at tunay na magkakapatid.

Kapagkarakang mapusok dito ang sino man, tataligdan pilit ang buhalhal na kaugalian, at paiilalim sa kapangyarihan ng mga banal na utos ng katipunan.

Ang gawang lahat, na laban sa kamahalan at kalinisan, dito’y kinasusuklaman; kaya’t sa bagay na ito ipinaiilalim sa masigasig na pakikibalita ang kabuhayan ng sino mang nagiibig makisanib sa katipunang ito.

Kung ang hangad ng papasuk dito’y ang tumalastas lamang o mga kalihiman nito, o ang ikagiginhawa ng sariling katawan, o ang kilalanin ang mga naririto’t ng maipagbili sa isang dakot na salapi, huag magpatuloy, sapagkat dito’y bantain lamang ay talastas na ng makapal na nakikiramdam sa kaniya, at karakarakang nilalapatan ng mabisang gamut, na laan sa mga sukaban.

Dito’y gawa ang hinahanap at gawa ang tinitignan; kaya’t hindi dapat pumasuk ang di makagagawa, kahit magaling magsalita.

Ipinauunawa din, ang mga katungkulang ginaganap ng lahat ng napaaanak sa katipunang ito ay lubhang mabibigat lalung lalu na, kung gugunitain na di magyayaring maiiwasan at walang kusang pagkukulang na di aabutin ng kakilakilabot na kaparusahan.

Kung ang hangad ng papasuk dito, ang siya’y abuluyan o ang ginhawa’t malayaw na katahimikan ng katawan, huag magpatuloy, sapagkat mabigat na mga katungkulan ang matatagpuan, gaya ng pagtatangkilik sa mga naaapi at madaluhong na paguusig sa lahat ng kasamaan; sa bagay na ito ay aabuting ang maligalig na pamumuhay.

Di kaila sa kangino paman ang mga nagbalang kapahamakan sa mga tagalog na nakaiisip nitong mga banal na kabagayan (at hindi man), at mga pahirap na ibinibigay na nagharing kalupitan, kalikuan at kasamaan.

Talastas din naman ng lahat ang pagkakailangan ng salapi, na sa ngayo’y isa sa mga unang lakas na maaasahang magbibigay buhay sa lahat; sa bagay na ito, kinakailangan ang lubos na pagtupad sa mga pagbabayaran; piso sa pagpasok at sa buan buan ay sikapat. Ang salaping ito’y ipinagbibigay alam ng nagiingat sa tuing kapanahunan, bukod pa sa mapagsisiyasat ng sinoman kailan ma’t ibigin. Di makikilos ang salaping ito, kundi pagkayarin ng karamihan.

Ang lahat ng ipinagsaysay at dapat gunitain at mahinahong pagbulaybulayin, sapagkat di magaganap at di matitiis ng walang tunay na pagibig sa tinubuang lupa, at tunay na adhikang ipagtangkilik ang Kagalingan.

At ng lalong mapagtimbang ng sariling isip at kabaitan, basahin ang sumusunod na



Ang kabuhayang hindi ginugugol sa isang malaki at banal na kadahilanan ay kahoy na walang lilim, kundi damong makamandag.

Ang gawang magaling na nagbubuhat sa pagpipita sa sarili, at hindi sa talagang nasang gumawa ng kagalingan, ay di kabaitan.

Ang tunay na kabanalan ay ang pagkakawang gawa, ang pagibig sa kapua at ang isukat ang bawat kilos, gawa’t pangungusap sa talagang Katuiran.

Maitim man at maputi ang kulay ng balat, lahat ng tao’y magkakapantay; mangyayaring ang isa’y higtan sa dunong, sa yaman, sa ganda…; ngunit di mahihigtan sa pagkatao.

Ang may mataas na kalooban inuuna ang puri sa pagpipita sa sarili; ang may hamak na kalooban inuuna ang pagpipita sa sarili sa puri.

Sa taong may hiya, salita’y panunumpa.

Huag mong sasayangin ang panahun; ang yamang nawala’y magyayaring magbalik; nguni’t panahong nagdaan na’y di na muli pang magdadaan.

Ipagtanggol mo ang inaapi, at kabakahin ang umaapi.

Ang taong matalino’y ang may pagiingat sa bawat sasabihin, at matutong ipaglihim ang dapat ipaglihim.

Sa daang matinik ng kabuhayan, lalaki ay siyang patnugot ng asawa’t mga anak; kung ang umaakay ay tungo sa sama, ang patutunguhan ng iaakay ay kasamaan din.

Ang babai ay huag mong tignang isang bagay na libangan lamang, kundi isang katuang at karamay sa mga kahirapan nitong kabuhayan; gamitan mo ng buong pagpipitagan ang kaniyang kahinaan, at alalahanin ang inang pinagbuhata’t nagiwi sa iyong kasangulan.

Ang di mo ibig na gawin sa asawa mo, anak at kapatid, ay huag mong gagawin sa asawa, anak, at kapatid ng iba.

Ang kamahalan ng tao’y wala sa pagkahari, wala sa tangus ng ilong at puti ng mukha, wala sa pagkaparing KAHILILI NG DIOS, wala sa mataas na kalagayan sa balat ng lupa; wagas at tunay na mahal na tao, kahit laking gubat at walang nababatid kundi ang sariling wika, yaong may magandang asal, may isang pangungusap, may dangal at puri; yaong di napaaapi’t di nakikiapi; yaong marunong magdamdam at marunong lumingap sa bayang tinubuan.

Paglaganap ng mga aral na ito at maningning na sumikat ang araw ng mahal na Kalayaan dito sa kaabaabang Sangkalupuan, at sabugan ng matamis niyang liwanag ang nangagkaisang magkalahi’t magkakapatid ng ligaya ng walang katapusan, ang mga ginugol na buhay, pagud, at mga tiniis na kahirapa’y labis nang natumbasan.

Kung lahat ng ito’y mataruk na ng nagiibig pumasuk at inaakala niyang matutupad ang mga tutungkulin, maitatala ang kaniyang ninanasa sa kasunod nito.

SA HKAN. NG _____________________________________________

AKO’Y SI_____________________________________________

TAONG TUBO SA BAYANG NG______________________________

HUKUMAN NG _________________________ANG KATANDAAN KO

AY___________TAON, ANG HANAP BUHAY_____________________

ANG KALAGAYAN____________________________AT NANANAHAN

SA ________________________DAAN NG____________________

Sa aking pagkabatid ng boong kagalingan ng mga nililayon at ng mga aral, na inilalathala ng KATIPUNAN ng mga A.N.B. ninais ng loob ko ang makisanib dito. Sa bagay na ito’y aking ipinamamanhik ng boong pitagan, na marapating tangapin at mapakibilang na isa sa mga anak ng katipunan: at tuloy nangangakong tutupad at paiilalim sa mga aral at Kautusang sinusunod dito.

______________________ika ____________ng buan ng _________________

____________________ng taong 189__.

Nakabayad na ng ukol sa pagpasok.


[Sources. The first two paragraphs and the asterisked footnote have been transcribed from the photograph of the front page of a printed “Kartilya” in Adrian E. Cristobal, The Tragedy of the Revolution (Makati City: Studio 5 Publishing Inc., 1997) p.46; the remainder of the text has been copied from the version in José P. Santos, Buhay at mga sinulat ni Emilio Jacinto (Manila: José Paez Santos, 1935), pp.59-63. Different translations into English of the main text (i.e. the text apart from the application form at the end) may be found in Epifanio de los Santos, “Emilio Jacinto”, Philippine Review, III:6 (June 1918), pp.421-2 (translation by Gregorio Nieva) and in Teodoro A. Agoncillo, The Revolt of the Masses: the story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1956), pp.83-6.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Application form

Sa By._________________________________

Ako’y si______________________________________________

taong tubo sa bayang ng ____________________________huku-

man ng _________________________________ang katandaan ko

ay___ taon, ang hanap-buhay______________________________

_______________________ang kalagayan_____________________

at nanahanan sa _________________________________________

daan ng___________________________________________________

Sa aking pagkabatid ng boong kagalingan ng mga nilalayon at mga aral, na inilalathala ng KATIPUNAN ng mga A.N.B., ninais ng loob ko ang makisanib dito. Sa bagay na ito’y aking ipinamamanhik ng boong pitagan, na marapating tangapin at mapakibilang na isa sa mga anak ng Katipunan: at tuloy nangangakong tutupad at paiilalim sa mga aral at mga Kautusang sinusunod ditto.

______________________________ika_______ng buan ng______

___________ng taong 189

Nakabayad na ng
ukol sa pagpasuk
Ang Taga ingat ng yaman

[Source: Archivo General Militar de Madrid: Caja 5393, leg.5.3].

Monday, 11 December 2006

Andres Bonifacio, Letter dated December 12, 1896 to the Mataas na Sangunian ng mga hukbo sa dakong Hilagaan


Transcribed below (in the original Tagalog, followed by an English translation with annotations) is a previously unpublished letter that Bonifacio wrote from Cavite on December 12, 1896 to the Katipunan military command in the “Northern District”, the region to the north and east of the capital.

In the days before he wrote this letter, Bonifacio had been greeted in the towns of Cavite by crowds shouting “Mabuhay!”, by brass bands, fireworks, the firing of rifles in the air, and the pealing of church bells. In Noveleta, he and Emilio Jacinto had been driven on a tour of inspection in a luxurious carriage pulled by a swift, well-fed white horse. But the acclaim with which he had been honoured, he sadly observes here, had awakened in a few hearts the “worm of envy”, and already he had become the target of falsehoods and malicious intrigues.

Aside from its significance as an addition to the still slender corpus of Bonifacio’s known writings, the letter is interesting as a pointer to his concerns at this critical time, and it establishes also that he arrived in Cavite earlier than many sources indicate.


The Tagalog text of this letter bears accents, but these have been omitted here due to the difficulties of rendering them in electronic format. Words that are difficult to decipher are followed by a question mark in square brackets – [?] – and round brackets – (Consejero) – are as found in the original. Paragraph numbers do not appear in the original, and have been inserted simply to facilitate comparison between the Tagalog original and the English translation.

The recipient of the letter was probably Julio Nakpil, and he or his secretary has written at its top the date a reply was despatched - “Sinagot ito ng ika 30 ng Dis. ng 1896”.

The text is as follows:-

K. K. K.

N. M. A. N. B.

K. S.

Sa Mataas na Sangunian ng mga hukbo sa dakong Hilagaan

Minamahal na mga kapatid:

Tinangap dito ang inyong sulat taglay ang kaarawang ika apat ng umiiral na buan, kalakip ang mga sulat na salin buhat sa mga pinuno ng hukbo ng Ugong. Tungkol sa mga baril na nawaglit ay pagpilitan ninyong ipahanap at at [sic] kung hindi matagpuan diyan ay inyong ipahatid dito ang mga pangalan nang nangagsipagdala at aking ipauusig sa mga pinuno ng buong Katipunan.

Ang inyong pagdamay sa mga kapatid nating nasasa Antipolo at ang kanilang pagtatagumpay sa lumusob na kaaway ay malabis naming ikinatutua at ang pagdadamayan ay siyang tunay na diya’y naghahari.

Ang ginawang pagkahahalal sa kapatid na si G. Hermogenes Bautista sa katungkulang Punong hukbo ng mga kawal ng Pantayanin at gayon din naman sa mga na halal na Kasanguni (Consejero) ay amin minamarapat at inaayunan ang karapatan nila.

Ang pagsalakay sa bayan ng Pasig na ginagayak ay aming tunay na minagaling at ito’y siyang kapagdaka ay [?] siyang aming hinahangad na mangyari. Sa matanto ito ng Pangulong hukuman at ng General S. Alvarez ay malabis na ikinatua at sila’y nagkusang abuluyan ang hukbo diyan ng mga sandaang sandatahan ng pana at sibat, bukod pa ang mga dalawang puong barilan na taglay na ang kapsulang kakailanganin. May dalawa o tatlong falconete pang makakasama bukod sa naunang ipinagkaloob sa atin.

Ang lahat ng ito’y hindi na ipadalang kasabay ng kapatid na si G. Lucino de la Cruz sa kanyang pag uwi, sa pagkat nang nahahanda na ay siyang pagdatin ng kapatid na Jokson na galing sa Maynila at ito’y ang siyang nagbalita na sasalakain itong Tangway sa mga araw na ito ng tatlong libong Kastila na bagung dating, datapua’t ngayong araw na ito ay may bago namang balita na di umano’y sa ika 18 sa nitong umiiral na buan sa salakay dito, bagay na ipinagpasia ng General Santiago na palakarin na at salakayin sa madaling panahon.

Nang itong sulat na ito’y aking wawakasan ay siyang pagtangap ko ng panibagong sulat ninyo na taglay ang ika 9 na araw ng buang ito at sa kanya’y aking nabatid matapat na inyong kautusan tung[kol] sa pag uusig sa mga taksil na kababayan.

Ang mga salin ng sulat ng k. Dagoberto gr...3o ay pawa kong na pagtalastas ang kanyang mamalasakit na paglingap sa Banal na kadahilanan ng ating K. Katipunan at gayon din naman sa mga kaloob niyang salitre at kapsulang walang laman ay pinasasalamatan ko sa ngalan ng Bayan.

Tungkol ipinagkaloob na polvora ng kap na si G. Domingo Magampon ay amin din pinasasalamatan ang kanilang masikap na pag damay sa pag tatangol sa ating tinubuang bayan.

Ang sino pamang hindi ninyo kilalang kapatid at pinuno sa Katipunan ay hindi nararapat na inyong pagkalooban ng saklolong salapi ng Katipunan, kaya’t nararapat ang inyong hindi biglang pagkakaloob.

Aking inaayunan ang inyong matapat na pasya tungkol sa pagpapaayos ng hukbo sa mga bayan ng hukuman ng Bulakan, ito’y totoong kinakailangang pilitin ninyong lumaganap sa buong na sa saklawan ng daan ng Ferrocarril, at ng ang tropa ng kaaway ay magkakalat kalat at huang makapagtipon ng malaki.

Ang inyong ipinagkaloob sa kay G. Emilio Jacinto Pingkian ay aking minamarapat at ng siya’y may roong karakarakang pagkukunan sa ano pamang pagkakailangan ng Katipunan.

Ang mga kababayang ating sinulatan ay inyong tandaan ang mga pangalan at ating sisingilin pagdating ng araw ang kanilang pagsasarili at hindi pagdamay.

Hindi na gawang sagutin agad ang inyong sulat baga mat siya kong hangad sa pagka’t ako’y inanyayahang ng mga pinuno dito na dumalaw sa mga bayan nilang nasasakupan at dooy ipinagkakapuri ng ating Katipunang ibalita ko sa inyo na ako’y naging dahil ng malaking pag sasaya ng bawat bayang aming pasukin. Ito’y buhat pa nang aming pagdating ay siya nang isinalubong ng ating mga kapatid dito, at siyang naging mula na gumising sa hamak na kalooban ng ilang kababayan ang uuod ng kaingitan na bumubulog ng kaasalan ang ako’y ipamaraling bata ng mga fraile at ibat iba pang ugaling gamiting sandata ng mga taksil na gaya nang sinasabing lumabas sa diario ng kaaway na pag sira sa akin.

Tinangap naman dito ang polvora at salitre na dala ni gral. Lucino at gayon din naman ang huling nababalot ng banig, ito’y malabis na pinasasalamatan ng ating mga kapatid dito.

Ang mga taong kasabay nito na abuloy diyang ating mga kapatid dito na pawang may sandata at ang ibay barilan ay pilitin ninyong pag tulung tulungang pagpakitaan ng loob at tuloy ipakilala sa ating mga tao ang paggamit ng pitagan sa mga pinunong kasamahan at gayon din naman ipatanyag ang kanilang dating ingat na katapangan sa pakikipaglaban.

Buhat diyan ay maipag uutos ninyo sa mga kap. na nasa Pasig at Guadalupe na huak nilang papayagan ang sino pamang mangagaling diyan na walang katunayang inyong pinahintulutan ang paglalagbay dito sa Tangway at ng sa paraang ito’y mapigil ang sino pamang lumalayas ng hindi ninyo pahintulod buhat pa sa Pasig.

Tungkol sa kay Palamara y Ca ay aking pagpipilitang pag iisipin ang paraang magaling na silay marapatan ng kapatas na kagamutan ng kanilang sakit na dinaramdam. Kung sa pamagitan ng mga tao natin at mga ipadadala ko diyan kasabay ng sulat na ito ay magagawa ninyo samsaman ng armas at inyong mahahatulan ay inyong karakarakang gawin at ng hindi makasira at makadungis sa kalinisan ng banal na Layon ng ating Katipunan.

Ang ating kapatid na si G. Emilio Jacinto ay minatapat kong ihalal na General en Jefe sa mga bayan nasasakupan ninyo at siyang sa ngayon pag kikilalanin ng mga Generales na puno nila at siyang gagawa ng paraan sa pakikipaglaban.

Tangapin ninyong lahat diyan ang mahigpit ma yakap ng inyong kapatid.

Ang Plo. ng Haringbayan
And... Bonifacio



Sa tatlong Consejeros na nalalagay inyong sulat ay hindi ko maalawian [?] kung ang lahat ng ito’y lumabas gayon may nagpadala ako ng tatlong nombramiento at kayo ang bahalang mag bigay sa dapat pag bigyan.

[Source: Archivo General Militar de Madrid: Caja 5677, leg.1.120].

English translation[i]

K. K. K.

N. M. A. N. B.[ii]

K. S.

To the High Council of the Armies of the North[iv]

Dear brothers :

Your letter dated the fourth of the present month has been received here together with the transcribed letters from the leaders of the army of Ugong.[v] Regarding the guns that have gone missing; make an effort to locate them, and if they are not found there, send here the names of those who were carrying them, and I will have it investigated by the leaders of the whole Katipunan.

Your solidarity with our brothers in Antipolo and their victory over enemy attacks pleased us greatly, for solidarity is what truly prevails.

We have approved the due election of brother Mr Hermogenes Bautista to the position of Military Commander of the soldiers of Pantayanin and likewise the election of Councillors, and we have ratified their authority. [vi]

The attack on the town of Pasig is being planned really well by us, and we hope to carry it out as soon as possible. In the meantime, the district President and General S. Alvarez are extremely pleased and they have voluntarily contributed to the army there a hundred troops armed with bows, arrows and spears, in addition to about twenty riflemen who already have the necessary cartridges.[vii] Two or three falconetes are also included aside from the ones given to us before.[viii]

All of this [military force] is not going to be sent with brother Mr. Lucino de la Cruz when he returns home, because as it was being prepared brother Jokson arrived from Manila and he gave us the news that Tangway would be attacked at this time by three thousand Spaniards who have newly arrived, although now today we have fresh information which says that this attack will come on the 18th of the present month, so Grl. Santiago has decided to set off and attack very soon.[ix]

When I was about to finish this letter, I received your new letter dated the 9th of this month, and from that I learnt directly about your order to prosecute the compatriots who are traitors.[x]

The transcribed letters of Bro. Dagoberto gr...3o have all informed me of his compassionate concern for the Sacred Cause of our K. Katipunan and also about his donation of saltpetre and empty cartridges, for which I am thanking him on behalf of the People. [xi]

In relation to the gunpowder donated by Bro. Mr. Domingo Magampon, we are also expressing thanks for their zealous support in the defence of our native land.

You must not grant financial assistance from the Katipunan to anybody you do not know to be brothers and chiefs in the Katipunan, and you must not make donations on the spur of the moment.

I agree with your sound decision regarding the organisation of forces in the towns of the province of Bulacan; it is truly essential that you press to widen out along the whole route of the Railroad so that the troops of the enemy get dispersed and are not able to form large concentrations.

I have approved the honour you have granted to Mr. Emilio Jacinto Pingkian so that he can immediately get whatever is needed by the Katipunan.

You should remember the names of the compatriots we wrote to, and when the day comes we shall take revenge for their selfishness and unhelpfulness.

Although I wanted to answer your letter immediately I wasn’t able to, because I was invited by the leaders here to visit the towns under their jurisdiction where, I can tell you, they honour the Katipunan, because there was great exultation in every town that we entered. This started as soon as we arrived and were welcomed by our brothers here, and it began to awaken in the base sentiments of a few compatriots the worm of envy, which became virile in their conduct, and they spread it about that I am a pawn of the friars, and all sorts of other insinuations the traitors are using as weapons to destroy me, like those it is said are coming out in the newspaper of the enemy.[xii]

We have received here the gunpowder and saltpetre that was brought by Grl. Lucino, and likewise the previous [consignment] wrapped in matting, for which our brothers here are deeply grateful.

The people coming with this [letter] are sent by our brothers here to assist there; each has a weapon and some have rifles; you should extend them every courtesy and at the same time you should show our people how to respect leading comrades, and also spread the word about the bravery they have displayed in battle.

From there you should order the brothers in Pasig and Guadalupe not to allow anybody from there to come here to Tangway without your due authority, and by this means stop anybody from abandoning Pasig without your permission.[xiii]

Regarding Palamara and Co., I will try to think of a clever way for them to get the proper medicine for their unhealthy sentiments. With assistance from our people and those I am sending there together with this letter you could confiscate their weapons and pass your sentence with immediate effect so that the purity of the sacred Aims of our Katipunan will not be broken and tarnished.[xiv]

I have approved the election of our brother Mr. Emilio Jacinto as General in Chief of the towns under your jurisdiction and he will now be recognised by the generals as their chief and he will make plans for the fight.

Everybody there receive the close embrace of your brother.

The President of the Sovereign People
And. Bonifacio


As regards the three councillors mentioned in your letter; since I cannot know what the outcome of all this will be, I have sent three appointments, and you should just give them to those who need them.



[i] Parts of this letter are hard to translate, and I would like to express my gratitude as always to my wife, Clarita Policarpio Richardson, for her help and estimable patience.
[ii] Abbreviation of Kataastaasan Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Most Elevated and Esteemed Society of the Sons of the People).
[iii] Abbreviation of Kataastaasang Sangunian (Supreme Council).
[iv] It is possible that this nomenclature deliberately echoes that of the American Civil War. Bonifacio wanted the Katipunan forces in the north to be under a single General-in-Chief – Emilio Jacinto - but to have distinct identities based on their geographical location. The two largest military encampments at this time were in the hills either side of the Marikina valley, one at Balara near the present-day campus of UP-Diliman and the other at a place variously called Mount Masuyod, Pasong Kawayan or Pantayanin in the vicinity of Antipolo. There was thus an “army of Balara” and an “army of Pantayanin”, and Bonifacio also mentions here an “army of Ugong” – a barrio in the municipality of Pasig.
[v] Bonifacio dated this letter December 12, 1896, and its content, together with his reference here to a letter being despatched to him on December 4, strongly suggest that he had by then already been in Cavite for at least a week. It is therefore evident that Santiago Alvarez was mistaken to state in his memoirs that Bonifacio arrived in Cavite on December 17, a chronology that Teodoro A. Agoncillo, Isagani R. Medina and other historians have more or less accepted. At least three other sources, however, put Bonifacio’s arrival at least two weeks earlier. Emilio Aguinaldo’s secretary, Carlos Ronquillo, places it as early as November 17; Aguinaldo himself recalls the date as being December 1; and another veteran, Col. Genaro de los Reyes, recollects that the Supremo departed from the encampment at Balara on his way Cavite in mid-November, which would make either the November 17 or December 1 dates feasible depending on whether the party went directly or stopped along the way at Pantayanin or other encampments. Santiago V. Alvarez, The Katipunan and the Revolution: the memoirs of a general, translated by Paula Carolina S. Malay (Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1992), pp.67; 170; Teodoro A. Agoncillo, The Revolt of the Masses: the story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1956), p.203; Carlos Ronquillo, Ilang talata tungkol sa paghihimagsik nang 1896-1897, edited by Isagani R. Medina, Quezon City, 1996, pp.550; 738; 762; Emilio Aguinaldo, Mga Gunita ng Himagsikan (Manila: Cristina Aguinaldo Suntay, 1964), p.140; Genaro de los Reyes, quoted in Alvarez, The Katipunan and the Revolution, p.170.
[vi] Hermogenes Bautista, known as General Menes, was born in Marikina in 1866 and as a young man had worked in that area as a farmer and cochero. He had then served for over a decade in the colonial military and police forces, first as an infantry conscript in Lanao and later with the Veterana in Manila and the Guardia Civil in Bulacan. E. Arsenio Manuel, Dictionary of Philippine Biography, vol. I (Quezon City: Filipiniana Publications, 1955), pp.95-6.
[vii] The “Pangulong hukuman” mentioned here by Bonifacio was Mariano Alvarez, president of the Magdiwang council of the Katipunan. This council was initially founded in Noveleta, but by this time had transferred its headquarters to the larger town of San Francisco de Malabon. It was here that Bonifacio made his base following his arrival in Cavite, and almost certainly it was here that he wrote this letter. Santiago V. Alvarez, the son of Mariano, was captain general of the Magdiwang army.
[viii] A falconete was a small cannon, capable of firing shot weighing up to about a kilogram.
[ix] Lucino de la Cruz, known as General Lucino or Ipo-Ipo, had been elected in October 1896 as second in command (to Luis Malinis) of the troops based at Balara. He travelled from Balara to Cavite at about the same time as Bonifacio, and may have headed the Supremo’s escort party. Ronquillo describes him as Bonifacio’s adjutant. Feliciano Jokson (sometimes Jocson, or Jhocson) was one the most energetic Katipunan emissaries and suppliers at this time, travelling back and forth between Manila and the KKK’s encampments, on occasion disguised as a woman. A pharmacist by profession, he carried “brass sheet for the making of cartridges…and at other times saltpetre for the manufacture of gunpowder which, in order to mislead the Spanish authorities, he placed in demijohns as if it were wine.” He also taught the rebel forces how to fashion primitive types of blunderbuss and cannon – trabucos, lantakas and falconetes. The Spanish assault on Tangway – Cavite – that he reported might be imminent did not materialize until February 1897. Grl. Santiago here again refers to Santiago Alvarez. O.D. Corpuz, Saga and Triumph: the Filipino revolution against Spain (Manila: Philippine Centennial Commission, 1999), p.96; Ronquillo, Ilang talata, p.415; Miguel Samio Ignacio, Feliciano Jokson: datos biográficos (Manila: Renacimiento Filipino, 1912); Julio Nakpil, “Feliciano Jocson and his activities during the Revolution of 1896-1897”, in Julio Nakpil and the Philippine Revolution, with the autobiography of Gregoria de Jesus (Manila: Heirs of Julio Nakpil, 1964), p.61.
[x] Bonifacio may well be referring here to two prominent citizens of San Mateo who are mentioned in the memoir of Col. Genaro de los Reyes. Known as Kapitan Matias and Kapitan Ismael, these men were said to be “sworn enemies” of the Katipunan who denounced KKK members and sympathisers to the Spanish authorities and caused many to be tortured and summarily executed. De los Reyes, quoted in Alvarez, The Katipunan and the Revolution, p.173.
[xi] Dagoberto was the Masonic name of both Epifanio Cuisa and Lucas Ricafort, and the reference here could be to either. Cuisa had been in Taliba Lodge together with Bonifacio before the revolution, and Ricafort, a member of Dalisay Lodge, is known to have served as a captain during the Philippine-American war. Reynold S. Fajardo, The Brethren: Masons in the struggle for Philippine independence (Manila: Enrique L. Locsin and the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, 1998), pp 142; 184; Manuel Artigas y Cuerva, Galeria de filipinos ilustres (Manila: Imp. Casa Editora “Renacimiento”, 1917-8), p.827.
[xii] Bonifacio was a “bata” (literally, “child”) of the friars, according to these hostile fictions, because he had been bribed by them to found the Katipunan and lead the poorly armed Filipinos to certain and disastrous defeat. Artemio Ricarte, Himagsikan nang manga Pilipino laban sa Kastila (Yokohama: “Karihan Café”, 1927), p.70.
[xiii] In the latter months of 1896, Cavite witnessed an influx of large numbers of Filipinos from the neighbouring provinces, some escaping from Spanish offensives against Katipunan forces and others wanting to share the exhilarating sense of freedom and hope that prevailed in the liberated territory. Many of those arriving came without means of support, and several sources relate that the Caviteños in general did not welcome them. They called them “alsa balutan”, which may be translated as “runaways” or “refugees”, but literally means “baggage carriers”. Bonifacio’s letter indicates that he too wanted to curtail the flow, partly perhaps because he recognised the tensions and divisions it was creating in Cavite, but also because a continued exodus from Pasig, Guadalupe and other towns around Manila would undermine the Katipunan’s efforts to establish some form of government in the area and would leave Katipunan fighters isolated and exposed.
[xiv] Palamara was the Katipunan alias of Juan de la Cruz, who had been elected in October 1896 as a General and second-in-command of troops based at Mount Tungko in San José del Monte. The nature of his unhealthy sentiments is not known. This Juan de la Cruz should not be confused with the Tagalog playwright Juan Cruz, whose Katipunan alias was Matapang.

Jim Richardson
August 2006

Sunday, 10 December 2006


K. K. K.

N. M. A. N. B



Aking ipinahahayag na sa kadahilanan ng pagkapasuk ko sa K. K. K. NG MGA A. N. B. ay naghandog ako ng isang mahalagang panunumpa sa ngalan ng Bayang tinubuan, at sa harap ng isang kagalanggalang na kapulungan nitong katipunan, na gugugulin ang lahat ng maigugugol at lahat ng minamahal ko sa buhay, sa pagtatanggol ng kanyang banal na Kadahilanan, hanggang sa abuting magdiwang, sukdulang ikalagot ng hininga. Sa bagay na ito, isinusumpa ko ring lubos na tutupad at susunod sa kanyang Patnugutan at mga Kautusan.

Sa katunayan nito, aking itinala ang aking pangalan ng tunay na dugong tumatakas sa aking mga ugat sa Pahayag na ito.

Ika.................araw ng buwan

ng taong 189

Tinaglay ko ang pamagat na

[Source: Photograph of original document in Adrian E. Cristobal, The Tragedy of the Revolution (Makati City: Studio 5 Publishing Inc., 1997) p.48.]