The Philippines has hundreds of historic sites. These sites offer three-dimensional learning spaces that tell the story of the Filipino quest for freedom. Stories best told by following the trail blazed by those valiant men and women who fought for our independence.
The following is a review of the pilgrimage made by theTraveler on Foot to these historic sites. These monuments and shrines gave us a meaningful narrative of the significant events related to the revolutionary struggle, weaving the story behind our celebration of Philippine Independence.
Jose Rizal had become the soul of the Philippine Revolution. He was martyred by firing squad at the age of 35, for allegedly instigating and leading the independence revolution which ironically he was not in favor off and did not organize. Rizal was born on June 19, 1861 in the first bahay-na-bato to be built in the sleepy agricultural town of Calamba in Laguna.
The Idyllic Ancestral Home of the Mercados in Calamba
The colonial government responded to the Revolution by instituting a reign of terror. Some who died or who were tortured were die-hards for independence, others were semi-committed, and still others were innocents framed intentionally or simply bystanders. Some were implicated by just being related to or working with a known separatist.
Intramuros’ Fort Santiago, dedicated to St. James the Apostle, the patron saint of Spain, was witness to incarcerations, just and unjust. Few survived to tell the horror of its notorious death hole.
Just outside the centuries-old Walled City of Intramuros, on the fringe of the historic Manila de Bay is Luneta, a landmark that was once used as an execution ground for Filipino patriots who dared turn against the Spanish Colonial Empire.
Jose Rizal’s banishment in the secret of the night, three days after he had catalyzed formation of La Liga Filipina (The Filipino League) startled the Filipino reform community. Probably shocked by the news about Rizal and the confused about the League’s direction, five men gathered in the house of Deodato Arellano at No.72 Azcarraga Street (now known as Claro M Recto Avenue) near the corner of El Cano to create a secret society known as the Katipunan.
Historians still debate over the exact dates and locations of the famous Cry of Bonifacio. This historic event was the day when 1,000 Katipuneros gathered together and tore up their cedulas in a collective gesture of defiance that marked the start of the Philippine Revolution.
The Battle of Pinaglabanan is the symbol of the Katipunero’s baptism of fire on August 30, 1896.
Pinaglabanan was the first major battle fought, and the initial Katipunero mortification. Katipuneros were never involved into professional army. They moved on foot, had few rifles and guns, but were prepared to fight hand-to-hand, man-to-man.
The streets of Taal are lined with large and well-preserved bahay-na-bato, mostly owned by aristocratic illustrados and wealthy merchants who prospered during the economic boom in 1841 brought by the planting of Mexican coffee. However, the coffee industry declined in the 1890s due to a certain type of worm that infested the coffee farms.
Taal also boasts of ancestral houses of prominent Taalenos who took an active role in the struggle for Philippine Independence. Two important houses are the Marcela Marino Agoncillo Museum and Monument and the Leon Apacible Museum and Library.
As a kick off for the celebration of Philippine Independence, Traveler on Foot recounts his experience during a visit at the Aguinaldo Mansion in Cavite, the place where the monumental event that changed the course of our history as a nation took place 110 years ago.
Brought by the complications caused by the United States of America, President Aguinaldo transferred the seat of government from Bacoor to Malolos in Bulacan to safeguard the interest of the new Philippine Repulic.
As President of the Revolutionary Government, Aguinaldo issued for a proclamation calling for the meeting of the delegates of the first Philippine Congress in Malolos.