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The following research is the culmination of my semester's independent study with Professor Guo Wu in the tracing of the development of Philippine Nationalism prior to the advent of the Philippine Revolution in the 19th century. I would like to truly dedicate this research paper to my father who so influenced my love of history, and secondly would dedicate it to the life and works of Dr. Jose P Rizal, who's writings in La Solidaridad and whose literary masterpieces such as El Filibusterismo and Noli Me Tangere have infused in me the nature of what true and pure Philippine nationalism was prior to the advent of the demoralization of the Philippine-American War, prior to the subsequent 'Neo-nationalism' of the mid 20th century. The moral and evolutionary fiber of the Filipino is indeed pure, whose mastery in mastering Hispanization was beyond the expectations of the Spanish delegation and even unto the Royal Cortes in Madrid. The unsurmountable and indomitable spirit of human equality, confraternity, liberty and national consciousness is truly a majestic phenomenon. From a feudal barbaric state---to the present---the pinnacle of Hispano-Romano-Greco culture infused into the psyche of an Asiatic state. Philippine nationalism eternalizes the Philippine confraternity with pure Western thought. As the Spanish Empire was part of the Roman Empire--and declared unto the world itself the heir-apparent of Roman-Greco cultural light, so too is the Philippines eternally linked to that confraternity. As a former colony, as one who completely manifested itself vis-a-vis the Pax Hispanica Epoch as a reproduction of Spain--the Philippines too shares the glory of Roman-Greco cultural light.


Este papel se escribe en respuesta al crecimiento que entiende y que anhela saber más sobre la historia Filipino-Española se comparte que ambas. Mayo ambas naciones entienden que se influenciaron, en ambos términos de la economía así como sociabilidad. Es en mi propia opinión personal que España es el instigator del desarrollo evolutivo de las Filipinas en un estado de ' Europeanissimo'. Era España que unió las Filipinas y sin España, allí no sería ninguna ' Filipina. , como filipinos, somos un producto de su imperialismo. Un producto. Desarrollamos y tomamos la identidad del viejo amo. Tal es nuestra historia. Tal es nuestra trayectoria gloriosa.

The Evolutionary Development of Philippine Nationalism:
The Role of Pax Hispanica in Filipino National Identity, and the Spanish Response 

Written by: A. Lorenzo Salvo Salise Lucino Jr.

The basis of this independent study is to examine the development of Philippine nationalism throughout the Hispanization epoch culminating into its rawest form; the Philippine Revolution in the late 19th century, which severed all ties from the Spanish Empire. Considering the gravity and the magnamity of this time epoch, particularly in the means of the revolution and the political developments, this paper will explore deeply into the current political status of Filipinos in the Philippines prior to the rise of nationalist discourse, the factors that did contribute to that discourse and the manifestation of the Philippine Revolution in 1896. I will examine the development of Philippine Nationalism, the Spanish reaction to that political discourse, and the Filipino response vis-à-vis the Philippine Revolution. This paper will also touch into the historical aspect of the Spanish Empire and thus function as a proper case study of the development of Asian nationalism in a European, in this case Spanish, colony. This can also be used to understand the discourse occurring in the rest of colonial South East Asia that were under the control of European powers such as the British, the Dutch and the French. This paper will prove that the Filipino people were not passive recipients in the imperial system.

The Spanish presence in the Philippines has been made manifest for over 300 years, beginning in the 16th century with the arrival of the Spanish conquistador till the independence of the country from Spain in the late 19th century in 1898 . The Spanish Empire was a vast political entity that controlled almost one fifth of the world’s land mass during the height of its political and military strength. The empire was divided into three political forms, the Viceroyalties of New Spain, and Peru, La Plata and Nueva Granada, which functioned as Imperial mega provinces throughout its over seas empire . The Viceroyalties of La Plata, Nueva Granada and Peru were primarily political entities of the Spanish empire that were situated and governed present day continental South America. It was the Viceroyalty of New Spain, present day Mexico and the entire region of south western United States that made political emphasis in the hispanization and the colonization of the Philippines vis-à-vis the Spanish Crown .

The Spanish Empire actually placed the Philippines, or as it was called by Spanish officials as “Las Islas Filipinas,” into the political jurisdiction of the Viceroyalty of New Spain for quite a significant time until the Peninsular War, which resulted in Spain’s loss of its colonial empires in the New World in the early 19th century, primarily the Viceroyalties of New Spain, La Plata, Nueva Granada and Peru. After the independence of Mexico from the Spanish Empire and Madrid’s subsequent losses of its three other Viceroyalties during the Wars of Independence, The Philippine Islands, Spain’s last few foreign possessions, were recalibrated and placed under direct Spanish control as a commonwealth province; the last Spanish bastion in the Orient .

The Spanish program in the Philippines envisaged a radical transformation of native Philippine society. The Spaniards were inspired by their previous experience in Mexico and launched a sweeping social reform in the islands, a reform which was religious, political and economic in scope. Ultimately, these changes were implemented by the Spanish in order to cement the union between the Spanish motherland with its Philippine overseas possession, however, such eventual changes and implications would result in the development of a ‘Filipina Patriatismo’  leading to subsequent pockets of revolts in the archipelago, but eventually into a powder keg revolution in the late 19th century. In consequence, we must examine these particular processes, particularly the religious reforms in the islands, the political reforms, and economic reforms that provided the basis for the formation of the Filipino noble elite that contribute to the development of the intelligentsia, who would go on to eventually spearhead nationalist discourse in the formation of Philippine Nationalism .

This paper will prove that the Filipino people were not passive recipients in the imperial system. When the Filipino people assumed the colonizer’s ideas and finally acquired their culture and their religion, the Filipino people claimed that they had learned the essentials of the supposedly superior civilization and perceived themselves as equals to the Spaniards. The Filipino citizenry embraced the Spanish brand of Catholicism instead of other kinds of Catholicism or Protestantism due to the adaptability of the Spanish brand to the interest of the Filipino people. The nationalist of the late 19th declared that the citizenry used Spanish teachings as a definition of their own national and ethnic identity, then utilized that as a means to finally understanding its journey to modernity didn’t need the tutelage of either Spain or any other foreign power . By the late 19th century, after centuries of Spanish amalgamation and influence, the Filipino people were mature enough to desire its own national independence. This background of Hispanization, Catholicization, and Westernization allowed the Filipino intelligentsia and the pro-independence nationalists to see themselves as superior to the rest of the surrounding Asian peoples, who weren’t westernized in the magnamity that the Philippines were throughout the four centuries of the epoch of Pax Hispanica . Furthermore, the Filipinos at the time envisioned a pre-Hispanic paradise, as made clear by great propagandists such as Jose P. Rizal and Andres Bonifacio.

Religion has been an integral part in the development of Philippine nationalism because it was Roman Catholicism that united the Filipino people under one faith. Prior to the advent of Roman Catholicism, the Philippine archipelago was didn’t share a unifying religious faith, on the contrary there were multiple forms of religions practiced in the islands, ranging from Islam, which were introduced vis-à-vis Arab traders, to Buddhism vis-à-vis Hindu traders and the indigenous form of animistic and ancestral worship . Nonetheless, it is clear that the region was divided and it was Catholic Christianity that allowed the consolidation of Filipino identity.

In the meeting of Philippine and Spanish cultures in the clergy of the Spanish Church were leading protagonists. In order to fully understand the development of this religion in the islands, we need to understand the complex relations of the clergy with the episcopacy and the civil authorities . This clear and precise comprehension of the theocratic elements of Spanish imperialism is imperative in understanding the impact of Spanish culture in the unification of the entire archipelago and the development of Filipino national consciousness. One can credit the Spanish missionaries in the conversion of the local peoples in Luzon, which is the main island in the north, in the Visayas, which is the group of islands that compose central Philippines, and Mindanao, which is the main southern island . The most important missionary groups that provided the basis for mass conversion of the islands were the inexhaustible works of the Augustinians, the Jesuits and the Dominicans.

One particular precedent about the Roman Catholic episcopacy in the Philippines was the limited number of Spanish clergymen throughout the Philippine Islands, and due to the Philippine’s vast distance from Spain’s empire in the new world as well as from the mainland, the innate limited Spanish priests in the archipelago remained small. As a result of this, the Archbishopric of Manila, under the auspices of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, allowed the ordainment of Filipino priests to join the clergy and the missionaries in spearheading the Catholicization of the islands in the south and in the Visayas. Additionally, considering the fact that the Spanish priests and missionaries were limited or didn’t speak the native languages, they relied heavily on Filipino priests and Filipino monks for direct communication with the indigenous people. This form of relationship, a form of empowerment of the Filipino, led to understanding of many Filipino parishioners that in a way the Filipino were equal to the Spaniards because even Filipinos could become priests. Normally, the Spanish Crown would have disproved the allowing of native Indios to become priests as it was in the case in the Viceroyalties of New Spain, Peru, La Plata and Nueva Grenada, but in the case of the Philippines was a separate and distinct one. Unbeknownst to the Spanish that by allowing Filipinos to become priests was a way of empowering the people, to the Filipino people, it was an indirect statement from the Spanish that the Filipinos were indeed equal to the perceived ‘superior’ Spaniard . This definitely was a key and pivotal pillar in aiding the development of Filipino nationalist discourse in later years.

A secondary factor that the Catholic clergy aided in developing was the urbanization of the region. The decentralization of Philippine society clashed with one tradition deeply rooted in Spanish culture. Considering the fact that the Spanish considered themselves the heirs of Greco-Roman urbanisms, the Spaniards instinctively identified civilization with the city. For the Spaniards, man was not only a rational animal gifted with the capacity to receive grace, he was also a social animal living in communion with his fellow man. It was only through this daily social contract with other men that he might hope to achieve the measure of his potentiality. The Spaniards originally documented that the indigenous Filipinos lived without polity, sin policia and was a measure of the barbarity of the indigenous people. That is why the Roman Catholic Church and the Spanish Crown engaged in not only preaching the word of God to the native peoples throughout the archipelago, but also set up ambitious programs for resettling the Filipinos into compact village, or so called Barangays , and thus made up the simplest form of a political unit. 

Originally, the native Filipinos were sedentary farmers are lived in villages that never numbered to greater numbers that would consolidate itself as a city, so the Spaniards, under the influence by Catholic missionaries and the clergy, coerced the Filipinos to live in settlements that would make religious conversion easier as well as provide the basis of civility. In no way was this task of forced coercion an easy tasks for the missionaries as one can read from an account by Archbishop Garcia Serrano in 1622:
Although it is impossible to deny tha the natives would be better instructed and would live in more orderly ways if the small villages (barrios) were to be reduced to the capital (cabecera or poblacion), making one or two settlements of each benefice, they consider it such an affliction to leave their little houses where they were born and have been reared, their fields, and their other comforts of life, that it could only be attained with difficulty, and little fruit would result therefrom. Thus has the experience of assembling the people into communities in Nueva Espana proved, an d so has what little of it has been attempted here. However, in the visit that I shall make in this archbishopric, I shall try to reduce them to as few settlements as possible .

Apart from the Spanish cultural need to urbanize the Philippines, there was also a logical explanation in forcing the Filipinos to live in urbanized communities and away from the rural tendencies of the indigenous people. One aspect was that in the Visayan region, which is the central region of the Philippines, there were tendencies of the Moro people in the south to raid the rural communities in the Visayas. As a result of this custom, several new villages were destroyed by Moro depredations and the Spaniards witnessed this first hand. The Spaniards implemented edicts that would titillate the people in the Visayas region to congregate in urban communities, this way it would protect the people from the debilitating raids of the Moros as the Spanish continued their southern campaign to conquer the entire archipelago and the Moros as well .

The manner in which the Filipinos were placed and resettled into urbanized communities vis-à-vis forced coercion as well as through religious and festive means. Forced coercion was implemented in extreme cases particularly to teach the mountain people the lifestyle of sedentary farming of the urbanized lowland Filipinos in the regions of Manila, Castro, Cavite, Cebu, Cagayan De Oro, all of which developed under Spanish auspices as large urban centers throughout the archipelago. The Spanish clergy as well as the colonial government actually understood the importance of these urban sprawls, particularly in the cultivation of rice products, hemp, agricultural goods, spices, natural resources that would bring rich coffers to the Spanish treasury in Manila as well as teach the Filipino people the ways of ‘civility’, and to Hispanify them. To strengthen and invigorate this Hispanicization process, the newly created urban centers that the Catholic episcopacy built churches and cathedrals. In fact, almost every single town, which were composed of dozens of Barangays, had one church and the larger the town, the larger the church and the rich decorations within its walls. Cathedrals were also built in the super centers throughout the islands, particularly in Manila, Cebu, Cagayan De Oro, Tagbilaran, Davao, Borgos etc. To the success and credit of the Spaniards, these new tactics and policies worked efficiently to organize the Filipino people. Filipinos became religiously devout to their newly acquired Catholic faith and many left the rural communities of the past for the organized Barangays and towns that had churches. They flocked to the rich and colorful church-oriented communities, which set up holidays known as fiestas that celebrated the patron saint of a particular community .

To the Spanish, they considered this complementary union of the people and the successful civilization and incorporation of the Filipino people into the Spanish Empire. However, for historians, one can see that these urbanized communities that were set in place by the Catholic prelates under the approval of the Spanish Crown, provided for the means of the growth of nationalist discourse because for once the Filipino people now were able to communicate with one another unlike ever before due to the urbanized community and enabling the natives to exchange ideas more frequently. Most importantly, it was Roman Catholicism, through the hands of Spain and the Catholic Church that cemented the Filipino people together, and aided their national identity. For once they were a divided people with multiple religions ranging from Buddhism, Islam, and Ancestral worship to animistic religions to having a unified and ecclesiastic faith, Roman Catholicism . It is in Philippine Catholicism that we can observe the development of some kind of social and national identity and the beginnings of pseudo nationalism. Given the disadvantages under which the Spanish clergy had to operate, their efforts would have proved abortive if the Filipinos had not voluntarily responded to some features of Christianity. As it happened, the Filipinos endowed certain aspects of the new religion with a ceremonial and emotional content, a special Filipino flavor which made Catholicism in the archipelago ins some respects a unique expression of that universal religion . One also needs to account for the fact that there were more Filipino priests and clergymen that there were Spanish priests in the Islands, so in all actuality, most of the Filipino people were receiving communion, baptized and given last rites by Filipino clergymen.

As a result, the consequence for the character of Philippine Christianity were momentous; as it was, there were virtually two religions, one was the Catholicism of the Spanish clergy an the Spanish colonists, the other was the folk Catholicism of the Filipinos, a cleavage which sharply delineated along racial and linguistic lines. And as a result of these two differences, which was culminated by the fact that most of the Filipino priests retained the superstitions and cultural traits of the natives and were selective in indoctrinating Spanish culture into the Filipino masses . In consequence, the Filipino clergy made Catholicism fit into Filipino society by applying its own local aura to it, and thus was a way that united the Filipino and created a sense of ‘Filipino Catholicism’, which directly influenced national fervor. For once, the Filipino people had their own ‘religion’ that united all peoples from Luzon in the north, the Visayas in the south and Mindanao in the south .

   A second pillar that aided in the Hispanization of the Philippines and eventually the growth of Philippine nationalism was economics. Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century, the population of the Philippines was documented between 500,000 and 600,000 . By the 18th century, the population hit the 2,000,000 mark and by the mid 19th century, the population of the Philippine colony was at around 8,000,000 people. All of this can be attributed to the surplus agricultural revolution that was organized and scripted by the Spanish colonial government. The growth of encomiendas, which are large farming estates, became rather apparent in the Philippines and with that led to the rise of Filipino nobles or called Principales who worked and collaborated with the Spanish regime. With investment in agricultural output, mineral and raw materials output, the Spaniards profited as well as the growing and rising Filipino elite class, who were educated and composed the basis for the rise of the Filipino intelligentsia. These Principales saw themselves the equals of the Spaniards, as they were fluent in not only economic management of farms, business and trade, spoke and understood Spanish as well as the religious teachings that united most Filipinos. In the Philippines, the class structure in native society remained cohesive due to the functionability of the Principales in working with the colonial government. The native magistracy acted as intermediaries between the material demands of the Spanish regime and the productive capacities of the Filipino masses. Secondly, the Principales were the local, political administrators. The Spanish Empire thereby created the Filipino oligarchy, the ruling elite which emulated the actions of the Spaniards in political, economic, social and religious roles . The active processes of Hispanization of the Philippines led to the ‘civilization’ of the region, however indirectly led to the titillating of a Filipino national movement. As it was these Principales that would eventually compose and fund the bulk of the Filipino intelligentsia, and the Revolutionary movement .

   The last pillar of Hispanization that affected the creation of the Filipino state and the eventual rise of Filipino nationalism was the political spectrum that was in place by the Spaniards and its evolutionary mold into a clearly distinct Filipino identity.

   The Spaniards greatly influenced the development of Filipino nationalism vis-à-vis the manifestation of Political Hispanization. What was rather interesting in the case study of the Philippines is that the Spanish legislation regarded the indigenous population of the empire as legal minors whose rights and obligations merited paternalistic protection from the Crown and its agents. For administrative purposes the natives were treated as its own commonwealth, or known as La Republica de los Indios, with its own code of laws and its own sets of magistrates . Spanish colonists established the creation of political units would provide the basis for the growth of urbanized communities as well as provided a sense of organization. The Royal Crown implemented decrees that called for the creation of Barangays, which were villages that composed as the cell unit that would compose municipalities and later on pueblos, or large towns. Considering the strategic and geographic distance of the Philippines from the Spanish motherland and from its major territories in the New World, Spain was unable to commit significant Spanish bureaucrats in the Philippine Islands as it did in its colonies its Viceroyalties of New Spain, Nueva Grenada, La Plata and Peru . Since the Spanish were handicapped in this predicament, they produced and created political positions for the Filipino people to rule over themselves, a form of local autonomy.

After the conquest of the Philippines in the late 16th century, the Spanish colonial government selected and gave political powers to Filipino royalty, as Principales, which became the rich land owners. Additionally, each Barangays had a village leader or called as Cabeza and had political powers to control and enforce Spanish laws and edicts in their local zone of control. And on a municipal point of view, Filipinos of the Principales social class were appointed as Gobernadorcillos, which were lesser governors of the smaller provinces throughout the Philippines. The Gobernadorcillos would then appoint and select Filipinos to positions of magistrates, registrars, and civil guards that would enforce the laws and religious orders of the Spanish Royal Crown vis-à-vis the edicts of the Spanish Governor General of the Philippines . In all actuality, it was actually the Filipinos who ruled themselves as the Political Hispanization that occurred made it possible that the Filipino masses were ruling and administering themselves, even the ranks of the Guardia Civil, a form of colonial constabulary, were primarily Filipinos. The officers of the Guardia Civil were Filipinos, however, the ranks of General and Colonel were reserved for the Spaniards. In terms of jurisprudence, the Spanish regime provided the Filipinos with an elaborate machinery to enable them to seek redress of their grievances through the courts. A standard practice of the colonial administration throughout the Indies was to recognize the applicability of the customary law of the natives in those cases where it did not violate basic precepts of Spanish-Christian morality. The agents of the Spanish Crown in delivering legal punishment were the local Gobernadorcillos and the local magistrates, who tried civil and religious cases, while major cases were filed and litigated by the Audencia, the major judicial body that composed of Filipino elites as well as Spaniards, similar to a Supreme Court . Such implementations were made manifest by the rule of King Charles II, Governor Corcuera and Governor Cruzalt who both implemented reforms in the creation of the Guardia Civil, retaining and increasing the power of the Principales and the role of the Gobernadorcillos .

In all reality it was the Filipino and its elite ranks that ruled the Philippines, providing the main units for the bureaucracy in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial epoch. Politically, the Filipinos emulated the Spaniards, and understood the philosophical, theoretical, and jurisprudential customs of the colonizer. This innate understanding and the Filipino’s own understanding of his efficacy in ruling the islands, providing the basis of empire gave birth to national consciousness. The birth of Filipino nationalism would rise from this due to the level of autonomy the Spaniards gave to the Filipinos, though were given laws to abide that clearly defined them as Hispanicized. Nonetheless, it was this sense of autonomy that fueled the basis of consciousness. Questions such as: Why should be ruled by a foreign power, when we are ruling our own selves? What is about Spain that makes them superior to ourselves?  were raised in the ranks of the Filipino politicuum. Such questions were raised in the forms of nationalist discourse and pro-independence discourse; though there were different forms. One form was an intellectual form of propangadists, another form was that of a military and revolutionary methodology . The enthusiasm with which the Filipinos adapted themselves to Spanish political forms attests to their capacity for creative social adjustments, particularly the implementation of Spanish marriage laws, tax laws, military conscription, civil cases etc . The kinds of political implementations that were put forth by the Spaniards to solidify the bureaucracy and administrative wheel can be examined in primary documents:
The treasury officials in Manila evidently exercised effective control over the administration of these communal funds. The cajas served to finance the village fiestas, to pay the nominal salaries of local officeholders and to provide sources of graft for Spanish and native officialdom .

The manner in which the islands were governed can be seen through the first hand accounts:
The archipelago was divided into twelve provinces called alcaldias mayors. Some of the more extensive provinces were subdivided into corregimientos. There were eight of these subdivisions. The modern provinces of the Philippines grew out of these seventeenth-century alcaldias and corregimientos, juast as the cabeceras and visitas are the genesis of the contemporary poblacion and barrio. The alcaldes and their eputies, the subdelegates, were the intermediaries between the central authorities in Manila and the Gobernadorcillos in the villages. Occupying a middle position in the administrative chain of command, their primary responsibility was to enforce local policy directives issued in Madrid and in Manila and at times to formulate policy .

It is evident that in the political spectrum, the Filipino was trained by the Spaniards to operate the system on behest of the Spanish Crown and displayed rigidity and effectiveness. It was this Hispanization during Pax Hispanica that led to the Filipino’s literacy in Western political systems that would eventually breed nationalist discourse.

The Filipino response to political Hispanization was in many ways positive and penetrating as their acceptance of certain features of Christianity and clearly reflects their willingness to take part of the system and control the system. The same way as how Filipinos ‘Philippinized’ the Catholic teachings to suite the local superstitions and beliefs, so too did the Filipino people ‘Philippinized’ the Hispanic political process to suite the local views and customs. The manifestation of national identity. Clearly, it is evident that the Spanish implementation of Roman Catholic doctrine, Hispanic economic standards as well as Hispanic political processes led to the development of the Philippines as a functioning and co-dependent state and the Filipino people being active local administrators in that particular state, which in turn was one state that composed the vast Spanish Empire. The gradual development of national consciousness was inevitable as the Spaniards began to give more power to the Filipinos and as the Filipinos increased their grasp in Spanish doctrine and full understanding and mastery of that system. Considering that the Spaniards provided the basis for personal growth and education, the manifestation of national consciousness and identity was inevitable.

So when we consider the basis of the paper, the central question ushers the words of national discourse and nationalism. Philippine nationalism is clearly a phenomenon that was a result of centuries of Western Imperialism. But what is nationalism? Nationalism in itself is defined by the Webster’s dictionary as:
loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially : a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups. Based on the premise that the individual's loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interest .

The term nationalism has been amply defined and analyzed by political scientists. First and foremost we must understand that nationalisms differs in form and gravity from one nation to another. The case study of the Philippine Nationalism, which this paper will proceed to go into, will document and point out the various forms of nationalism and discourse.

   By the time the 18th and the 19th century came to pass, the Philippines was already a functioning and operative autonomous state that was run by Filipinos on a local and universal level and though the Filipino society evolved, they were still being treated by the Spaniards as ‘little children’ and abuses were committed on the Filipino by the Spaniards, which led to numerous uprisings throughout the entire country before the full blown Revolution that would take heave in 1896. But nonetheless, these little uprisings are precursors and foreshadowed the looming pro-independence nationalist sentiment that would take clout in the Philippines in the mid to late 19th century. The tradition of revolt was carried into the nineteenth century and uprisings were caused by economic, religious and more importantly political discontent. One particular example of this was the ‘wine’ revolt that occurred in the Illocos region, northern quadrant of the Philippines, in 1807 as a response to Spanish forbiddance of Filipino breweries and home grown alcohol . Another example of this was seen in 1841 when the Filipino revolutionary Apolinario de la Cruz led a rebellion in Tayabas. He not only formed a secret confraternity of pure blooded Filipino men and women. This confraternity was established to address the political grievances of the Spaniards towards the Filipino Indio, and accumulated a massed following of about 20,000, but was eventually crushed by combined Spanish and Filipino troops of the Guardia Civil . 

Despite a lack of early unity of purpose and sustained continuity, a pattern of common grievances emerges from the early Filipino responses to Spanish encroachments on their freedom. One specific aspect that was felt by the Filipino masses was the appropriation of historic Filipino land by Spanish landlords and religious orders. Political grievances were evident in Filipino resentment of the special tax imposed from 1565 to 1884 on all Filipinos except those incorporated in the lower Spanish administrative cadres. These kinds of financial burden was aggravated by its humiliating connotations as a ‘vassalage’ tax towards the Filipino people, who were growing more and more increasingly nationalistic and aware of ‘humanitarian rights’, particularly during the 19th century. One thing was clear, Spain was beginning to loose its grip of control as the development of nationalism in the form of rebellions throughout the country. Spain’s repressive stance against rebellions were to no avail because their suppressive measures, which usually was the execution of rebels and displaying their heads on spikes, failed to stamp out rebellions . On the contrary, Filipino uprisings were a common phenomenon in the early to late 19th century. Let us analyze what influenced the uprisings, which is a form of nationalism.

As we discussed earlier in the paper, the growth of Filipino participation in politics and economics was apparent. The Filipino Gobernadorcillos and Principales and elites were accumulating power and began to send their children and families abroad for education. As a result of this, there was a growth of Filipino nationalism. These students were able to travel throughout Europe and the United States and saw the progression of societies, and noticed how it differed compared to the backwards society that the Philippines were ruled under the ultra-conservative Spanish colonial regime . Additionally to this, by the nineteenth century, various forces transformed Filipino nationalistic sensibilities into broadly based, coherent thought. By the late 19th century, Manila was open to the outside world vis-à-vis foreign trade. The distance between Spain and the Philippines was greatly decreased with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and further increased trade with one another as well as with other empires. The evolution of the Filipino intelligentsia was aided with the greater flow of liberal Spanish literature to the Philippines. The growth of the intelligentsia was unchecked with the passing of the Educational Decree in 1863, which paved for Filipino’s access to education abroad in higher learning and fostered the emergence of the intellectual nationalists. The birth of modern Philippine nationalism was at hand .

   Philippine nationalism was invigorated with the rise of the Filipino middle class, which because of greater educational advantages and contact with foreign newcomers and their ideas, as well as enhanced material power. The Filipino middle class, which composed most of the intelligentsia class, had a sense of communal oneness based upon their Malay ethnic heritage, the members of the new middle class acquired a common language and a para-regional bond that formed the bedrock of the emergent Philippine nationalism. To augment the growth of nationalism was the fact that the Filipinos had acquired representation at the Spanish Cortes. During these periods, the Filipino delegates learned the advantage of direct presence in Spain and the effectiveness of being able to press Filipino demands for reforms. The acquisition of these representation rights in 1837 emboldened the Filipino nationalists to seek further liberalization of the Philippines from the Spanish Colonial government, which still ruled the Philippines as if it were still a middle aged colony. As a response to allowing the Philippines have a taste of freedom and liberal thought, more Filipino nationalists were protesting in Spain and in Manila to change the ultraconservatist policy of the colonial government. However, Spain responded in a rather racial manner. An analysis of a Spanish diplomatic envoy, Sinnibaldo de Mas, and the contemporary view of the Spaniard’s view towards the Filipinos showed how racial the Spaniards were and their inability to compromise with the growing Filipino nationalist movement:
Between Filipinos and Espana there is no other bond of union than the Christian religion. This bond is very powerful and may induce the islands to love and to defend the Spanish domination as a duty. To imagine that the natives will become fond of our government because they judge it good or the best possible I believe a vain project. Their ignorance regarding the condition of other peoples does not permit of their entering into such comparisons. However excellent such Filipino men are, they think it is advantageous for them to withdraw form the yoke and seize the scepter in their own hands and pass by this method from their humble condition of vassals and subjugated to that of masters and mandarins. Keep them simple. Take away the educational system .

Men such as de Mas held onto such desperate views that if the more liberal the Philippines got, the more likely it was to have a revolution. There was a prevailing view that if the Filipinos were denied their recent rights of education and economics, they would remain servile to Spain. Unfortunately for the Spanish, this was impossible. The nationalist discourse in the Philippines led to the growth of a major middle class and a burgeoning intelligentsia class that were being influenced by other western powers and in the democratic processes.

   It is rather interesting in that there were multiple foreign sources that documented the resiliency and growing character of Philippine nationalism, despite Spanish reprisals. One particular individual was the German scientist Feodor Jagor who witnessed the raw form of Philippine nationalism as the major striking feature of Philippine political development and displayed the inevitability of a revolution if the Spanish colonial government continued in its path of conservatism despite the clamor of the Filipino masses for liberalization and increased political rights and addresses of jurisprudential grievances:
The old situation is no longer possible of maintenance. The colony can no longer be shut off from the outside. Every facility in communications opens a breach in the ancient system and necessarily leads to reforms of a liberal character. The more that foreign capital and foreign ideas penetrate there, the more they increase prosperity, intelligence and self esteem, making the existing evils the more intolerable .

   The spread of Philippine nationalism and discourse was dispersed throughout the archipelago by the use of the literary machine, which influenced nationalist discourse and pro-independence zealotry in the Filipino elite class, the middle class to the working masses. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, Spanish education had enabled many Filipinos to convey their grievances to Spain. Moreover, the Catholic tradition of scholasticism and intellectual rationalism reinforced Philippine literary nationalism, elevating it to the level of an ethical discourse. Such literary pieces that demanded Filipino identity to be respected were Ninay, La Antigua Civilizacion, which stressed the nostalgia of native romanticism and a separate ‘Filipino’ state free from the yoke of Spanish control. Newspapers were also effective, most famous was La Opinion, which engaged in controversies that not only angered the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines, but was supported by Filipino readers. There were writers such as Jose P. Rizal who wrote two great literary works that inspired the Philippine nationalist movement and eventually the pro-independence movement. These two works are El Filibusterismo  and Noli Me Tangere , which were novels that repudiated the works of the Catholic friars and the brutal policies against the Filipino people. So effective were Rizal’s works that he garnered supporters and readers in Germany, Great Britain, France, the United States and even liberal thinkers in Spain proper. Rizal’s works allowed the formation and evolutionary phase of Philippine nationalism to take a propagandistic form. The works of Rizal led to the formation of a Filipino pro-independence movement party known locally in the Philippines as the Katipunan, or Kataastaasang Kagalanggalang katipnan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Superem and Venerable Society of the Sons of the People) which stressed for complete severance from Spain .

   In no means were the Filipinos docile and pacific, on the contrary, there were numerous instances and cases of Filipino rebellions against the racist and absolute policies of the Spanish colonial government. The Filipino were forced to take up arms against the colonizers which resulted in bitter relations with the Spaniards and the Filipinos, particularly in the religious sector as well as in the political spectrum. One example that exemplifies the growing drift between Filipinos and Spaniards as a result of violent nationalism can be observed in Sr. Navarero, a Spanish friar who documented the revolving hostilities between Spanish Colonial forces and the Filipino nationalist group, the Katipunan:
The contingent of sons with the three pointed design of the square and apron who left the halls of the college and became the petty leaders and chief revolutionaries who betrayed the mother country and were also the greatest enemies of these who had taught them the little good that they knew, would not have been so numerous .

Even before the augmentation and sporadic spread of the Katipunan, there rampant rebellions that occurred throughout the Philippines as a result of unfair and racist Spanish policies, one example of this was the Dagohoy Rebellion in present day Bohol Province. The rebellion was so popular in the province of Bohol that it took the Spanish over 80 years to finally subdue the rebellion, which amassed a supporter base of over 20,000 rebels . The rebellion was put down by military means and only put a temporary fix to the growing distaste the Filipino people had on the Spanish Colonial Government.

   One of the main complaints made by the Filipino nationalists and pro-independence supporters was the fact that Spain continued to place restrictions on the political and social lives of Filipinos. The local people demanded freedom and liberalization from the clearly racist Spanish Colonial Government. Spain was non compliant and as a response, paved the way for the inevitability of the Philippine Revolution as the last result of the Filipino people to secure those rights. The following was proclaimed by General Emilio Aguinaldo, who would become the first President of the Philippine Republic, and shows the contemporary Filipino passions against Spanish Imperialism:
The Philippines is now a witness to a spectacle unparalleled in her history, a movement for the conquest of her liberty and of her independence, the noblest and highest of all her rights; hers, too, the inspiration of a heroism that shall place her on a plane of equality with civilized nations. We know that the progress of a nation has for its firm foundation her independence and liberty; thus must the citizens treasure this as the noblest and most sublime sentiment…Filipino citizens! We are not a savage people; let us follow the example of civilized Europea and American nations; now is the occasion for shedding our blood for the last time, that we may achieve our beloved freedom .
To bear witness against the Spanish regime, Aguinaldo and his contemporaries had this reason to rebel against the racist Spanish Colonial Regime:
The Spaniards, conquerors of this beloved land, accuse us of ingratitude and claim that after they had civilized us, we would express our gratitude to them by impairing their authority; this is a false and misguided argument. For the civilization they brought to these islands by Spain during the lapse of three centuries is superficial and, fundamentally, vicious, for she has tried to keep the masses in dense ignorance, to extinguish the fire that burns in the hearts of a group of Filipinos who, for no reason other than that they are educated, are the victims of persecution by the government.  Filipinos! The time has come for us to shed blood in order to win our right to freedom. Let us march under the flag of the Revolution whose watchwords are “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”

Spanish reaction was brutal and swift; and as a result jailed or executed liberal thinkers, including Jose. P. Rizal. The death of Rizal, who was considered the patron of the Katipunan organization , led to the evolution of Philippine nationalism from being propagandistic to militaristic and revolutionary. In ruthlessly hounding out every anti-Spanish element form freemasons to propagandists, Spain herself was beginning to demonstrate to the Filipino nationalists the futility of debates and the futility of ever cooperating again. As a result of Spain’s closed-minded policies of trying to force the Philippines and its enlightened populace to revert back to servility and the Filipino people’s staunch resistance to such depravation of its innate rights as humans as mandated by the theories of European Enlightenment of confraternity, citizenry, and liberty, open revolution erupted throughout the Philippine archipelago in 1896. The Philippine Revolution, which is considered by Philippine historians as the watershed and culminating example of raw Philippine nationalism, led to the development of the Philippine Revolutionary Army, which was commanded by General Emilio Aguinaldo and his general staff. The Revolutionary Army would engage in military battles with the Spaniards until Spain’s surrender to joint American and Philippine forces in 1898. It was in 1898 that the Philippine Revolution finally closed when Emilio Aguinaldo and his general staff declared independence form Spain and the birth of the First Philippine Republic .

The development of Philippine nationalism, as witnessed throughout this paper, is clearly an evolutionary processes that would not have been possible had it not been for the Hispanization that occurred. The proper establishment of Roman Catholicism, which created a national identity as a universal faith for the archipelago, linked the islanders together despite their regionalistic tendencies. The procurement of economic bases, the creation of port trade, hacienda systems, the vast agricultural system that the Spanish put in place under the auspices of Filipino people was effective in creating a rather vivid economic machine in the Philippines. Which in turn provided the basis for the growth of a privileged oligarchic class, which in turn would provide for the basis of the intelligentsia the direct influential power of modern Philippine nationalism. Politically speaking, Hispanization allowed the Filipino to work the Spanish bureaucratic and administrative system. The establishment of a Filipino governorship and civil positions led to the augmentation of the political will and understanding with the already present Filipino oligarchy. Fully augmented, led to the development of a middle class that displayed an evolutionary yearning for independence from Spanish vassalage. The development of Philippine nationalism is clearly an evolutionary phenomenon as a result of Pax Hispanica. The tale of Philippine nationalism is a glorious and splendid case study of how an archipelagic divided state was colonized and transfused with intrinsically western philosophies, cultural dictions and political stratum and evolved into a pseudo-Euro-Asiatic state.

This paper is the intellectual property of the writer. Please do not forge or take this as your own work. Thank  You.


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