Spanish Expeditions to the Philippines
The Magellan Expedition
Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese in the service of the Spanish crown, was looking for a westward route to the to the Spice Islands of Indonesia. On March 16, 1521, Magellan’s expedition landed on Homonhon island in the Philippines. He was the first European to reach the islands. Rajah Humabon of Cebu was friendly with Magellan and embraced Christianity, but their enemy, Lapu-Lapu was not. Humabon wanted Magellan to kill Lapu-Lapu while Magellan wanted to convert Lapu-Lapu into Christianity. On April 17, 1521, Magellan sailed to Mactan and ensuing battle killed Magellan by the natives lead by Lapu-Lapu. Out of the five ships and more than 300 men who left on the Magellan expedition in 1519, only one ship (the Victoria) and 18 men returned to Seville, Spain on September 6, 1522. Nevertheless, the said expedition was considered historic because it marked the first circumnavigation of the globe and proved that the world was round. Juan Sebastian de Elcano, the master of ship “Concepcion” took over the command of the expedition after the death of Magellan and captained the ship “Victoria” back to Spain. He and his men earned the distinction of being the first to circumnavigate the world in one full journey. After Magellan’s death in Cebu, it took 16 more months for Elcano to return to Spain. The Magellan expedition started off through the westward route and returning to Spain by going east; Magellan and Elcano’s entire voyage took almost three years to complete.
Spain sends other expedition
After the Spain had celebrated Elcano’s return, King Charles I decided that Spain should conquer the Philippines. Five subsequent expeditions were then sent to the Islands. These were led by Garcia Jofre Loaisa (1525), Sebastian Cabot (1526), Alvaro de Saavedra (1527), Rudy Lopez de Villalobos (1542) and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi (1564). Only the last two actually reached the Philippines; and only Legazpi succeeded in colonizing the Islands.
The Villalobos Expedition
Ruy Lopez de Villalobos set sail for the Philippines from Navidad, Mexico on November 1, 1542. He followed the route taken by Magellan and reached Mindanao on February 2, 1543. He established a colony in Sarangani but could not stay long because of insufficient food supply. His fleet left the island and landed on Tidore in the Moluccas, where they were captured by the Portuguese. Villalobos is remembered for naming our country “Islas Filipinas,” in honor of King Charles’ son, Prince Philip, who later became king of Spain.
The Legazpi Expedition
Since none of the expedition after Magellan from Loaisa to Villalobos had succeeded in taking over the Philippines, King Charles I stopped sending colonizers to the Islands. However, when Philip II succeeded his father to the throne in 1556, he instructed Luis de Velasco, the viceroy of Mexico, to prepare a new expedition – to be headed by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who would be accompanied by Andres de Urdaneta, a priest who had survived the Loaisa mission. On February 13, 1565, Legaspi’s expedition landed in Cebu island. After a short struggle with the natives, he proceeded to Leyte, then to Camiguin and to Bohol. There Legaspi made a blood compact with the chieftain, Datu Sikatuna as a sign of friendship. Legaspi was able to obtain spices and gold in Bohol due to his friendship with Sikatuna. On April 27, 1565, Legaspi returned to Cebu; destroyed the town of Raja Tupas and establish a settlement. On orders of the King Philip II, 2,100 men arrived from Mexico. They built the the port of Fuerza de San Pedrowhich became the Spanish trading outpost and stronghold for the region. Hearing of the riches of Manila, an expedition of 300 men headed by Martin de Goiti left Cebu for Manila. They found the islands of Panay and Mindoro. Goiti arrived in Manila on May 8, 1570. At first they were welcomed by the natives and formed an alliance with Rajah Suliman, their Muslim king but as the locals sensed the true objectives of the Spaniards, a battle between the troops of Suliman and the Spaniards erupted. Because the Spaniards are more heavily armed, the Spaniards were able to conquer Manila. Soon after Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived to join Goiti in Manila. Legaspi built alliances and made peace with Rajahs Suliman, Lakandula and Matanda. In 1571, Legaspi ordered the construction of the walled city of Intramuros and proclaimed it as the seat of government of the colony and the capital of the islands. In 1572, Legaspi died and was buried at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros. In 1574, Manila was bestowed the title “Insigne y Siempre Leal Ciudad de España” (Distinguished and ever loyal city of Spain) by King Philip II of Spain.
Why the Philippines was easily conquered?
Through largely outnumbered, the Spaniards who came to colonize the Philippines easily took control of our country. How did this happen?
The best possible explanation is that the natives lacked unity and a centralized form of government. Although the barangays already functioned as units of governance, each one existed independently of the other, and the powers that each Datu enjoyed were confined only to his own barangay. No higher institution united the barangays, and the Spaniards took advantage of this situation. They used the barangays that were friendly to them in order to subdue the barangays that were not. Continue to Spain as Colonial Masters.
The Spaniards as Colonial Masters
Spain reigned over the Philippines for 333 years, from 1565 to 1898. since Spain was far from the country, the Spanish king ruled the Islands through the viceroy of Mexico, which was then another Spanish colony. When Mexico regained its freedom in 1821, the Spanish king ruled the Philippines through a governor general. A special government body that oversaw matters, pertaining to the colonies assisted the king in this respect. This body became known by many names. Council of the Indies (1565-1837), Overseas Council (1837-1863), and Ministry of the Colonies (1863–1898). It is implemented the decrees and legal codes Spain promulgated although many of its provisions could not apply to condition in the colonies. It also exercised legislative and judicial powers.
The Political Structure
Spain established a centralized colonial government in the Philippines that was composed of a national government and the local governments that administered provinces, cities, towns and municipalities. With the cooperation of the local governments the national government maintained peace and order, collected taxes and built schools and other public works.
The Governor General
As the King’s representative and the highest-ranking official in the Philippines, the governor general saw to it that royal decrees and laws emanating from Spain
were implemented in the Philippines. He had the power to appoint and dismiss public officials, except those personally chosen by the King. He also supervised all government offices and the collection of taxes. The governor general exercised certain legislative powers, as well. He issued proclamations to facilitate the implementation of laws.
This was a special judicial court that investigates the performance of a governor general who was about to be replaced. The residencia, of which the incoming governor general was usually a member, submitted a report of its findings to the King.
The Council of the Indies in Spain sent a government official called the Vistador General to observe conditions in the colony. The Visitador General reported his findings directly to the King.
The Royal Audiencia
Apart from its judicial functions, the Royal Audiencia served as an advisory body to the Governor General and had the power to check and a report on his abuses. The Audiencia also audited the expenditures of the colonial government and sent a yearly report to Spain. The Archbishop and other government officials could also report the abuses of the colonial government to be Spanish king. Despite all these checks, however, an abusive governor general often managed to escape stiff fines, suspension, or dismissal by simply bribing the Visitador and other investigators.
The Provincial Government
The Spaniards created local government units to facilitate the country’s administration. There were two types of local government units – the alcadia and the corregimiento. The alcadia, led by the alcalde mayor, governed the provinces that had been fully subjugated: the corregimiento, headed by corregidor, governed the provinces that were not yet entirely under Spanish control. The alcalde mayors represented the Spanish king and the governor general in their respective provinces. They managed the day-to-day operations of the provincial government, implemented laws and supervised the collection of taxes. Through they were paid a small salary, they enjoyed privileges such as the indulto de comercio, or the right to participate in the galleon trade.
The Municipal Government
Each province was divided into several towns or pueblos headed by Gobernadordcillos, whose main concerns were efficient governance and tax collection. Four lieutenants aided the Governardorcillo: the Teniente Mayor (chief lieutenant), the Teniente de Policia (police lieutenant), the Teniente de Sementeras (lieutenant of the fields) and the Teniente de Ganados (lieutenant of the livestock).
The Encomienda System
Spain owed the colonization of the Philippines to Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who valiantly and loyally served the Spanish crown. To hasten the subjugation of the country, King Philip II instructed Legazpi to divide the Philippines into large territories called encomiendas, to be left to the management of designated encomenderos.
To show his gratitude to his conquistadors, the King made them the first encomenderos in the colony. As the King’s representatives in their respective encomiendas, the encomenderos had the right to collect taxes. However, the encomiendas were not there to own. The encomenderos were only territorial overseers who had the duty to:
1) protect the people in the encomienda;
(2) maintain peace and order;
(3) promote education and health programs; and
(4) help the missionaries propagate Christianity. Continue to The Galleon Trade.
The Galleon Trade
When the Spaniards came to the Philippines, our ancestors were already trading with China, Japan, Siam, India, Cambodia, Borneo and the Moluccas. The Spanish government continued trade relations with these countries, and the Manila became the center of commerce in the East. The Spaniards closed the ports of Manila to all countries except Mexico. Thus, the Manila–Acapulco Trade, better known as the “Galleon Trade” was born. The Galleon Trade was a government monopoly. Only two galleons were used: One sailed from Acapulco to Manila with some 500,000 pesos worth of goods, spending 120 days at sea; the other sailed from Manila to Acapulco with some 250,000 pesos worth of goods spending 90 days at sea. It also allowed modern, liberal ideas to enter the country, eventually inspiring the movement for independence from Spain. And because the Spaniards were so engrossed in making profits from the Galleon Trade, they hardly had any time to further exploit our natural resources.
Filipino farmers and traders finally had a taste of prosperity when Governor General Jose Basco y Vargas instituted reforms intended to free the economy from its dependence on Chinese and Mexican trade. Basco implemented a “general economic plan” aimed at making the Philippines self sufficient. He established the “Economic Society of Friends of the Country”, which gave incentives to farmers for planting cotton, spices, and sugarcane; encouraged miners to extract gold, silver, tin, and copper; and rewarded investors for scientific discoveries they made.
The tobacco industry was placed under government control during the administration of Governor General Basco. In 1781, a tobacco monopoly was implemented in the Cagayan Valley, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Isabela, Abra, Nueva Ecija, and Marinduque. Each of these provinces planted nothing but tobacco and sold their harvest only to the government at a pre-designated price, leaving little for the farmers. No other province was allowed to plant tobacco. The government exported the tobacco to other countries and also part of it to the cigarette factories in Manila.The tobacco monopoly successfully raised revenues for the colonial government and made Philippine tobacco famous all over Asia. Continue to Secularization of Priests During the Spanish Period.
The Secularization of Priests During Spanish Period
The Opening of the Suez Canal
The Suez Canal, which connected the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, was inaugurated in 1869. It was built by a French engineer named Ferdinand de
Lesseps. By passing through the Canal, vessels journeying between Barcelona and Manila no longer had to pass by the Cape of Good Hope, at the southern tip of Africa. Thus, they were able to shorten their traveling time from three months to 32 days. Thanks to the Suez Canal, trading in the Philippines became increasingly profitable. More and more foreign merchants and businessmen came to the colony, bringing with them a lot of progressive ideas. The Filipinos not only gained more knowledge and information about the world at large; they also gained the desire for freedom and improvement in their lives.
The Secularization Controversy
Two kinds of priests served the Catholic Church in the Philippines. These were the regulars and the seculars. Regular priests belonged to religious orders. Their main task was to spread Christianity. Examples were the Franciscans, Recollects, Dominicans, and Augustinians. Secular priests did not belong to any religious order. They were trained specifically to run the parishes and were under the supervision of the bishops. Conflict began when the bishops insisted on visiting the parishes that were being run by regular priests. It was their duty, they argued, to check on the administration of these parishes. But the regular priests refused these visits, saying that they were not under the bishop’s jurisdiction. They threatened to abandon their parishes if the bishops persisted. In 1774, Archbishop Basilio Santa Justa decided to uphold the diocese’s authority over the parishes and accepted the resignations of the regular priests. He assigned secular priests to take their place. Since there were not enough seculars to fill all the vacancies the Archbishop hastened the ordination of Filipino seculars. A royal decree was also issued on November 9, 1774, which provided for the secularization of all parishes or the transfer of parochial administration from the regular friars to the secular priests.
The regulars resented the move because they considered the Filipinos unfit for the priesthood. Among other reasons they cited the Filipinos’ brown skin, lack of education, and inadequate experience. The controversy became more intense when the Jesuits returned to the Philippines. They had been exiled from the country because of certain policies of the order that the Spanish authorities did not like. The issue soon took on a
racial slant. The Spaniards were clearly favouring their own regular priest over Filipino priests. Monsignor Pedro Pelaez, ecclesiastical governor of the Church, sided with the Filipinos. Unfortunately, he died in an earthquake that destroyed the Manila Cathedral in 1863. After his death, other priests took his place in fighting for the secularization movement. Among them were Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora.
TheDeath of Gomburza & The Propaganda Movement
In February 17, 1872, Fathers Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jocinto Zamora (Gomburza), all Filipino priest, was executed by the Spanish colonizers on charges of subversion. The charges against Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora was their alleged complicity in the uprising of workers at the Cavite Naval Yard. The death of Gomburza awakened strong feelings of anger and resentment among the Filipinos. They questioned Spanish authorities and demanded reforms. The martyrdom of the three priests apparently helped to inspire the organization of the Propaganda Movement, which aimed to seek reforms and inform Spain of the abuses of its colonial government.
The illustrados led the Filipinos’ quest for reforms. Because of their education and newly acquired wealth, they felt more confident about voicing out popular grievances. However, since the illustrados themselves were a result of the changes that the Spanish government had been slowly implementing, the group could not really push very hard for the reforms it wanted. The illustrados did not succeeded in easing the sufferings of the Filipinos; but from this group arose another faction called the intelligentsia. The intelligentsia also wanted reforms; but they were more systematic and used a peaceful means called the Propaganda Movement.
Goals of the Propaganda Movement
Members of the Propaganda Movement were called propagandists or reformists. They worked inside and outside the Philippines. Their objectives were to seek:
▪Recognition of the Philippines as a province of Spain
▪Equal status for both Filipinos and Spaniards
▪Philippine representation in the Spanish Cortes
▪Secularization of Philippine parishes.
▪Recognition of human rights
The Propaganda Movement never asked for Philippine independence because its members believed that once Spain realized the pitiful state of the country, the Spaniards would implement the changes the Filipinos were seeking.
The Filipinos in Europe were much more active in seeking reforms than those in Manila. They could be divided into three groups: The first included Filipinos who had been exiled to the Marianas Islands in 1872 after being implicated in the Cavite Mutiny. After two many years in the Marianas, they proceeded to Madrid and Barcelona because they could no longer return to the Philippines. The second group consisted of illustrados in the Philippines who had been sent to Europe for their education. The third group was composed of Filipinos who had fled their country to avoid punishment for a crime, or simply because they could not stand Spanish atrocities any longer. Still, not all Filipinos living in Spain were members of the Propaganda Movement. Jose Rizal, Graciano Lopez Jaena and Marcelo H. del Pilar were it most prominent members.
Lopez Jaena was a brilliant orator who wrote such pieces as “Fray Botod,” “Esperanza,” and “La Hija del Fraile,” which all criticized the abuses of Spanish friars in the Philippines. Del Pilar was an excellent writer and speaker who put up the newspaper Diariong Tagalog in 1882. His favorite topic was the friars. Some of his most popular writings included “Caiingat Cayo”, “Dasalan at Tocsohan,” and “Ang Sampung Kautusan ng mga Prayle”. “Caingat Cayo” was a pamphlet answering the criticisms received by Jose Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere. “Dasalan…” was parody of the prayer books used by the Church, while “Ang Sampung Kautusan…” was a satirical take on the Ten Commandments, which highly ridiculed the Spanish friars.
Jose Rizal was recognized as the great novelist of the Propaganda Movement. He was the first Filipino become famous for his written works. He wrote a poem entitled “Sa Aking mga Kababata” when he was only eight years old. His novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, clearly depicted the sufferings of the Filipinos and the rampant abuses committed by the friars in the colony. Because of his criticisms of the government and the friars, Rizal made a lot of enemies. He was executed at Bagumbayan (later renamed Luneta Park and now called Rizal Park) on December 30, 1896. The writings produced by the Propaganda Movement inspired Andres Bonifacio and other radicals to establish the Katipunan and set the Philippine Revolution in place. Continue to La Solidaridad & La Liga Filipina.
La Solidaridad & La Liga Filipina
La Liga Filipina
In 1892, Jose Rizal (full name: Jose Protacio Mercado Rizal y Alonzo) returned to the Philippines and proposed the establishment of a civic organization called “La Liga Filipina.” On July 3, 1892, the following were elected as its officers: Ambrosio Salvador, president: Agustin dela Rosa, fiscal; Bonifacio Arevalo, treasurer; and Deodato Arellano, secretary. Rizal functioned as its adviser.
La Liga Filipina aimed to:
▪Unite the whole country
▪Protect and assist all members
▪Fight violence and injustice
▪Study and implement reforms
La Liga Filipina had no intention of rising up in arms against the government; but the Spanish officials still felt threatened. On July 6, 1892 only three days after La Liga Filipina’s establishment, Jose Rizal was secretly arrested. The next day, Governor General Eulogio Despujol ordered Rizal’s deportation to Dapitan, a small, secluded town in Zamboanga.
La Liga Filipina’s membership was active in the beginning; but later, they began to drift apart. The rich members wanted to continue supporting the Propaganda Movement; but the others seemed to have lost all hope that reforms could still be granted. Andres Bonifacio was one of those who believed that the only way to achieve meaningful change was through a bloody revolution.
In order to help achieve its goals, the Propaganda Movement put up its own newspaper, called La Solidaridad. The Soli, as the reformists fondly called their official organ, came out once every two weeks. The first issue saw print was published on November 15, 1895. The Solidaridad’s first editor was Graciano Lopez Jaena. Marcelo H. del Pilar took over in October 1889. Del Pilar managed the Soli until it stopped publication due to lack of funds.
Why the Propaganda Movement Failed?
The propaganda movement did not succeed in its pursuit of reforms. The colonial government did not agree to any of its demands. Spain itself was undergoing a lot of internal problems all that time, which could explain why the mother country failed to heed the Filipino’s petitions. The friars, on the other hand, were at the height of their power and displayed even more arrogance in flaunting their influence. They had neither the time nor the desire to listen to the voice of the people.
Many of the reformists showed a deep love for their country, although they still failed to maintain a united front. Because most of them belonged to the upper middle class, they had to exercise caution in order to safeguard their wealth and other private interests. Personal differences and petty quarrels, apart from the lack of funds, were also a hindrance to the movements success.Lastly, no other strong and charismatic leader emerged from the group aside from Jose Rizal. Continue to The Katipunan.
Finally Starts a Revolution
The Katipunan is born Andres Bonifacio was also a member of La Liga Filipina, although he soon lost hope in gaining reforms though peaceful means. This feeling was especially heightened when Jose Rizal was exiled to Dapitan. Bonifacio became convinced that the only way the Philippines could gain independence was through a revolution.
Bonifacio then founded the “Katastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipuanan ng mga Anak ng Bayan” (KKK) on July 7, 1892 in a house on Azcarraga street (now Claro M. Recto), in Tondo Manila.
The Katipunan had colorful beginnings. As a symbol of the member’s loyalty, they performed the solemn rite of sanduguan (blood compact), wherein each one signed his name with his own blood..
The members agreed to recruit more people using the “triangle system” of enlistment. Each original member would recruit tow new members who were not related to each other. Each new member would do the same thing, and so on down the line. Members were also asked to contribute one Real (about 25 centavos) each month in order to raise funds for the association.
The KKK members agreed on the following objectives:
▪ The political goal was to completely separate the Philippines from Spain after declaring the country’s independence.
▪ The moral goal was to teach the Filipinos good manners, cleanliness, hygiene, fine morals, and how to guard themselves against religious fanaticism..
▪ The civic goal was to encourage Filipinos to help themselves and to defend the poor oppressed.
The “Kataastaasang Sanggunian” (supreme council) was the highest governing body of the Katipunan. It was headed by a supremo, or president. Each province had a “Sangguaniang Bayan” (Provincial Council) and each town had a “Sangguniang Balangay” (Popular Council).
The Leaders of the Katipunan:
▪ Deodato Arellano -Supremo
▪ Ladislao Diwa -Fiscal
▪ Teodora Plata -Secretary
▪ Valentine Diaz -treasurer
▪ Andres Bonifacio -controller
Jose Rizal and the Katipunan
Jose Rizal never became involved in the organization and activities of the Katipunan; but the Katipuneros still looked up to him as a leader. In fact, Rizal’s name was used as a password among the society’s highest-ranking members, who were called bayani.
Andres Bonifacio had already known Rizal during his La Liga Filipina days, although Rizal did not know Bonifacio personally Nevertheless, Bonifacio so respected Rizal’s intelligence and talent that in June 1896, he sent Dr. Pio Valenzuela to Dapitan to seek Rizal’s advice on the planned revolution.
Rizal told Valenzuela that the timing was not right for a revolution. The people were not yet ready and they did not have enough weapons. He suggested that the Katipunan obtain the support of wealthy and influential Filipinos first, in order to gain financial assistance. He also recommended Antonio Luna as commander of its armed forces, since Luna had much knowledge and expertise in military tactics.
Valenzuela returned to Manila on June 26 and relayed Rizal’s advice to Bonifacio, who admitted that it would indeed be fatal for the Filipinos to fight without enough weapons. However, there was no stopping the Revolution. Bonifacio ordered his men to prepare for battle. He directed them to store enough food and other supplies. Battle plans were made with the help of Emilio Jacinto. It was suggested that the revolutionary headquarters be located near the seas or mountains to provide for an easy retreat, if necessary.
The Katipunan is Discovered
Rumors about a secret revolutionary society had long been in circulation, although no solid evidence could be found to support them. The big break as far as the Spanish authorities was concerned, came on August 19, 1896 when a KKK member, Teodoro Patiño told his sister Honoria about the existence of the Katipunan. Patiño was a worker in the printing press of Diario de Manila. Honoria was then living with nuns in a Mandaluyong orphanage.
The information upset Honoria so much that she told the orphanage’s Mother Superior, Sor Teresa de Jesus, what her brother had revealed. Sor Teresa suggested they seek the advice of Father Mariano Gil, the parish priest of Tondo. After hearing Patiño’s revelations, Father Mariano Gil-accompanied by several Guardias Civiles immediately searched the premises of Diario de Manila and found evidence of the Katipunan’s existence. The governor general was quickly informed. The printing press was padlocked and hundreds of suspected KKK members were arrested.