Filipino nationalism began with an upsurge of patriotic sentiments and nationalistic ideals in the 1800s Philippines that came as a consequence of more than two centuries of Spanish rule. This served as the backbone of the first nationalist revolution in Asia, the Philippine Revolution of 1896, and continues up to this day. These nationalistic sentiments have led to a wide-ranging campaign for political, social, and economical freedom in the Philippines.
In the years before the 11th century, the Philippines was divided into numerous principalities known as barangays, a name derived from Malayan boats called balangays. These small political units were ruled by datus, rajahs or sultans. In 1565, European colonization began in earnest when Spanish explorer Miguel López de Legazpi arrived from Mexico and formed the first European settlements in Cebu. Beginning with just five ships and five hundred men accompanied by Augustinian monks, and further strengthened in 1567 by two hundred soldiers, he was able to repel competing Portuguese colonizers and to create the foundations for the Spanish colonization of the Archipelago. In 1571, the Spanish occupied the kingdoms of Maynila and Tondo and established Manila as the capital of the Spanish East Indies. This Spanish colonization united the Philippine archipelago into a single political entity.
The Start of Filipino Nationalism (1760s-1820s)
The term "Filipino" in its earliest sense referred to Spaniards born in the Philippines or Insulares (Creoles) and from which Filipino nationalism began. Spanish-born Spaniards or mainland Spaniards residing in the Philippines were referred to as Peninsulares. The indigenous peoples of the Philippines were referred to as Indios. Those of mixed ancestry were referred to as Mestizos. The Creoles, despite being regarded by the Peninsulares as inferior to them, had enjoyed various government and church positions, and composed the majority of the government bureaucracy. The sense of national consciousness came from the Creoles, who now regard themselves as "Filipino". It was brought to its advent by three major factors: 1)economy, 2)education and 3)secularization of parishes.
The Manila-Acapulco trade route started in 1568 and Spanish treasure fleets (white) and its eastwards rivals, the Portuguese India Armadas routes of 1498-1640 (blue)
The decline of Galleon Trade between Manila and Acapulco was caused by the arrival of the ship Buen Consejo in 1765. The Buen Consejo took the shorter route[clarification needed] via Cape of Good Hope, a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast controlled by Portugal. The journey through the Cape of Good Hope takes three months from Spain to the Philippines, whereas the journey of the Galleon Trade takes five months. The event proved that Portugal was already past its prime in controlling the route via the Cape of Good Hope, which was already under Dutch control as early as 1652. Shorter journeys to and fro Spain brought faster trade and quicker spread of ideas from Europe. Also, the growing sense of economic insecurity in the later years of the 18th century led the Creoles to turn their attention to agricultural production. The Creoles gradually changed from a very government-dependent class into capital-driven entrepreneurs. Their turning of attention towards guilded soil caused the rise of the large private haciendas. Various government and church positions were transferred to the roles of the Peninsulares who were characterized mostly in the 19th century Philippine history as corrupt bureaucrats.
During the 1780s, two institutions were established in order to enhance the economic capacity of the Philippines. These were the Economic Societies of Friends of the Country and the Royal Company of the Philippines. The former, introduced by Governor-General Jose Basco in 1780, was composed of leading men in business, industry and profession, the society was tasked to explore and exploit the natural resources of the archipelago. It offered local and foreign scholarships, besides training grants in agriculture and established an academy of design. It was also credited to the carabao ban of 1782, the formation of the silversmiths and gold beaters guild and the construction of the first papermill in the Philippines in 1825. The latter, created by Carlos III on March 10, 1785, was granted exclusive monopoly of bringing to Manila; Chinese and Indian goods and shipping them directly to Spain via the Cape of Good Hope. It was stiffly objected by the Dutch and English who saw it as a direct attack on their trade of Asian goods. It was also vehemently opposed by the traders of the Galleon trade who saw it as competition.
During the administration of Governor-General Jose Raon, a royal order from Spain, which stated that every village or barrio must have a school and a teacher, was implemented. The implementation of the order expanded the reach of basic education during the Spanish era. Also, during the 18th century, modern agricultural tools made many people leave farming for pursuing academic and intellectual courses. After the arrival of Buen Consejo, the Philippines had more direct contact to Europe and the ideas circulating . Thus, the Philippines was influenced by the principles during the Age of Enlightenment and radical changes during the French Revolution.
Secularization of parishes
By royal decree on February 27, 1767, King Carlos III ordered the Jesuits to be expelled from Spain, and from all her colonies. The decree reached the Philippines in early 1768, wherein Governor-General Raon tried to do the Jesuits a favor by delaying the implementation of the royal order in exchange of bribes. This gave the Jesuit friars to hide all of their possessions and destroy documents that could be held against them, which were supposed to be confiscated. The first batch of Jesuits, numbered 64, left Manila only by May 17, 1768. This event caused Raon to face prosecution from the next Governor-General, as ordered by the King of Spain. Raon died before the judgment for him was laid.
The expulsion of Jesuit friars from the country resulted to a shortage of priests in the parishes. This prompted the current Manila archbishop, Basilio Sancho de Santa Justa, to launch his favorite project: secularization of Philippine parishes. Sancho reasoned out that friars were only sent to facilitate missions to areas that are not yet much Christianized. Native priests must be ordained to facilitate the parishes since the Philippines was already a Christian country. Sancho recruited every Indio he got to become priests. There was even a joke at the time that there were no one to man the galleons anymore, since Sancho had made them all priests. The secularization partly failed because many members of the newly formed native clergy soiled the parishes with their ignorance, sloth, and the like. One achievement of Sancho's secularization project was the establishment of a school for native boys who aspire to become priests.
The earliest signs of the effect to Filipino Nationalism by the developments mentioned could be seen in the writings of Luis Rodríguez Varela, a Creole educated in liberal France and highly exposed to the Age of Enlightenment. Knighted under the Order of Carlos III, Varela was perhaps the only Philippine Creole who was actually part of European nobility. The court gazette in Madrid announced that he was to become a Conde and from that point on proudly called himself El Conde Filipino. He championed the rights of Filipinos in the islands and slowly made the term applicable to anyone born in the Philippines.
At this stage, the Creoles slowly introduced their own reforms. Parishes began to have native priests at the time of Archbishop Sancho. The Philippines was given representation in the Spanish Cortes three times (last time was from 1836-1837). However, on June 1, 1823, a Creole revolt broke out in Manila led by the Mexican-blood Creole captain Andres Novales. The revolt, caused by an order from Spain that declared military officers commissioned in the Peninsula (Spain) should outrank all those appointed in the Colonies, saw Manila cheering with Novales's cry of "Viva la Independencia" (English: Long Live Independence). The revolt prompted the government to deport Varela together with other Creoles [allegedly known as Los Hijos del País (English: The Children of the Country)], after being associated with the Creole reformists. The Novales Revolt would soon be followed by another Creole plot of secession known as the Palmero Conspiracy, which was caused by the replacement of Creole public officials, especially provincial governors, with Peninsulars.
Economic developments also did a part in making up the shape of Filipino Nationalism. Before the opening of Manila to foreign trade, the Spanish authorities discouraged foreign merchants from residing in the colony and engaging in business. In 1823, Governor-General Mariano Ricafort promulgated an edict prohibiting foreign merchants from engaging in retail trade and visiting the provinces for purposes of trade. However, by the royal decree of September 6, 1834, the privileges of the Company were abolished and the port of Manila was opened to trade.
Shortly after opening Manila to world trade, the Spanish merchants began to lose their commercial supremacy in the Philippines. In 1834, restrictions against foreign traders were relaxed when Manila became an open port. By the end of 1859, there were 15 foreign firms in Manila: seven of which are British, three are American, two French, two Swiss and one German. In response to Sinibaldo de Mas' recommendations, more ports were opened by Spain to world trade. The ports of Sual, Pangasinan, Iloilo and Zamboanga were opened in 1855. Cebu was opened in 1860, Legazpi and Tacloban in 1873. Like Japan that rushed into modernization and national transformation during the Meiji Restoration, the Philippines and its people saw that the Spanish and its government is not as invincible as it was two centuries before. The Indios and the Creoles became more influenced by foreign ideas of liberalism as the Philippines became more open to foreigners. Foreigners who visited the Philippines had noticed the speed of the circulation of the ideas of Voltaire and Thomas Paine. Songs about liberty and equality were also being sung at the time. Some Spanish who foresaw a "fast verging" Indio takeover of the archipelago began to send money out of the Philippines.
First Propaganda Movement (1860-1872)
Varela would then retire from politics but his nationalism was carried on by another Creole, one Pedro Peláez, who campaigned for the rights of Filipino priests (Creoles, Mestizos and Indios) and pressed for secularization of Philippine parishes. He reasoned out the same point Sancho had, friars are for missions on areas that are still pagan. The Latin American revolutions and decline of friar influence in Spain resulted in the increase of the regular clergy (Peninsular friars) in the Philippines. Filipino priests (Creoles, Mestizos and Indios) were being replaced by Spanish friars (Peninsulares) and Peláez demanded explanation as to the legality of replacing a secular with regulars—which is in contradiction to the Exponi nobis. Peláez brought the case to the Vatican and almost succeeded if not for an earthquake that cut his career short. The earthquake struck on June 3, 1863, during the feast of Corpus Christi. The ideology would be carried by his more militant disciple, José Burgos.
The events of 1872 however invited the other colored section of the Ilustrados (English: Intellectually Enlightened Class), the growing middle-class natives, to at least do something to preserve the Creole ideals. Seeing the impossibility of a revolution against Izquierdo and the Governor-General's brutal reign convinced the Ilustrados to get out of the Philippines and continue propaganda in Europe. This massive propaganda upheaval from 1872 to 1892 is now known as the Second Propaganda Movement. Through their writings and orations, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Graciano López Jaena and José Rizal sounded the trumpets of Filipino nationalism and brought it to the level of the masses. The propagandists mainly aimed for representation of the Philippines in the Cortes Generales, secularization of the clergy, legalization of Spanish and Filipino equality, among others. Their main work was the newspaper called La Solidaridad (English: The Solidarity), which was first published at Barcelona on December 13, 1888. Rizal, the foremost figure of the propagandists, created the Noli Me Tangere (published 1887) and El filibusterismo (published 1891). It rode the increasing anti-Spanish (anti-Peninsulares) sentiments in the islands and pushed the people towards revolution, rather than discourage them that a revolution was not the solution for independence.
By July of 1892, Rizal returned to the Philippines and established a progressive organization he called the La Liga Filipina (English: The Philippine League). However, the organization collapsed after Rizal's arrest and deportation to Dapitan on July 7. At the same day, a Philippine revolutionary society was founded by Ilustrados led by Andrés Bonifacio, Deodato Arellano, Ladislao Diwa, Teodoro Plata and Valentín Díaz. The main aim of the organization, named Katipunan, was to win Philippine independence through a revolution and establish a republic thereafter. The rise of the Katipunan signaled the end of peaceful propaganda for reforms.
The Katipunan reached an overwhelming membership and attracted almost the lowly of the Filipino class. In June 1896, Bonifacio sent an emissary to Dapitan to reach Rizal's support, but the latter refused for an armed revolution. On August 19, 1896, Katipunan was discovered by a Spanish friar which started the Philippine Revolution.
The revolution flared up initially into the eight provinces of Central Luzon. General Emilio Aguinaldo, a member of the Katipunan, spread an armed resistance through Southern Tagalog region where he liberated Cavite towns little by little. In 1896 and 1897, leadership conflicts between Bonifacio and Aguinaldo culminated in the execution or assassination of the former by the latter's soldiers. The Imus Assembly and Tejeros Convention were convened but to no avail. Bonifacio died by May of 1897. Thereafter, Aguinaldo agreed to a truce with the Pact of Biak-na-Bato and Aguinaldo and his fellow revolutionaries were exiled to Hong Kong. However, not all of the revolutionary generals complied with the agreement. One, General Francisco Makabulos, established a Central Executive Committee to serve as the interim government until a more suitable one was created. The revolution formally resumed on May 19, 1898, with the return of Emilio Aguinaldo to the Philippines during the Spanish-American War.
Revolutionaries gather during the Malolos congress of the First Philippine Republic.
In 1898, as conflicts continued in the Philippines, the USS Maine, having been sent to Cuba because of U.S. concerns for the safety of its citizens during an ongoing Cuban revolution, exploded and sank in Havana harbor. This event precipitated the Spanish–American War. Being this as obstruction of his blockade, offered war—after which the Germans backed down.
The U.S. invited Aguinaldo to return to the Philippines in the hope he would rally Filipinos against the Spanish colonial government. Aguinaldo arrived on May 19, 1898, via transport provided by Dewey. By the time U.S. land forces had arrived, the Filipinos had taken control of the entire island of Luzon, except for the walled city of Intramuros. On June 12, 1898, Aguinaldo declared the independence of the Philippines in Kawit, Cavite, establishing the First Philippine Republic under Asia's first democratic constitution, the Malolos Constitution.
However, Spain and the United States sent commissioners to Paris to draw up the terms of the Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish–American War and gave the Americans an official signal to occupy the new Republic. Although there was substantial domestic opposition, the United States decided to annex the Philippines. In addition to Guam and Puerto Rico, Spain was forced in the negotiations to hand over the Philippines to the U.S. in exchange for US$20,000,000.00. U.S. President McKinley justified the annexation of the Philippines by saying that it was "... a gift from the gods" and that since "they were unfit for self-government, ... there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them", in spite of the Philippines having been already Christianized by the Spanish over the course of several centuries.
The Republic resisted the U.S. occupation, resulting in the Philippine–American War (1899–1913). The poorly-equipped Filipino troops were easily overpowered by American troops in open combat, but they were formidable opponents in guerrilla warfare. Malolos, the revolutionary capital, was captured on March 31, 1899. Aguinaldo and his government escaped however, establishing a new capital at San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. On June 5, 1899, Antonio Luna, Aguinaldo's most capable military commander, was killed by Aguinaldo's guards in an apparent assassination while visiting Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija to meet with Aguinaldo. Aguinaldo dissolved the regular army on November 13 and ordered the establishment of decentralized guerrilla commands in each of several military zones. Another key general, Gregorio del Pilar, was killed on December 2, 1899 in the Battle of Tirad Pass—a rear guard action to delay the Americans while Aguinaldo made good his escape through the mountains.
Aguinaldo was captured at Palanan, Isabela on March 23, 1901 and was brought to Manila. Convinced of the futility of further resistance, he swore allegiance to the United States and issued a proclamation calling on his compatriots to lay down their arms, officially bringing an end to the war. However, sporadic insurgent resistance to American rule continued in various parts of the Philippines, notably insurgencies such as the Irreconcilables and the Moro Rebellion, until 1913.
The Insular Government and the Commonwealth Era (1901-1941)
March 23, 1935: Constitutional Convention. Seated, left to right: George H. Dern, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Manuel L. Quezon
The Tydings-McDuffie Act provided for the drafting and guidelines of a Constitution, for a 10-year "transitional period" as the Commonwealth of the Philippines before the granting of Philippine independence. On May 5, 1934, the Philippines legislature passed an act setting the election ofconvention delegates. Governor General Frank Murphy designated July 10 as the election date, and the convention heldits inaugural session on July 30. The completed draft constitution was approved by the convention on February 8, 1935, approved by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt on March 23, and ratified by popular vote on May 14.
On 17 September 1935, presidential elections were held. Candidates included former president Emilio Aguinaldo, the Iglesia Filipina Independiente leader Gregorio Aglipay, and others. Manuel L. Quezon and Sergio Osmeña of the Nacionalista Party were proclaimed the winners, winning the seats of president and vice-president, respectively. The Commonwealth Government was inaugurated on the morning of November 15, 1935, in ceremonies held on the steps of the Legislative Building in Manila. The event was attended by a crowd of around 300,000 people.
Japanese Occupation (1941-1945)
José Paciano Laurel was the only president of the Second Philippine Republic.
Japan launched a surprise attack on the Clark Air Base in Pampanga on December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Aerial bombardment, which destroyed most of the American aircraft in the islands, was followed by landings of ground troops on Luzon. The defending Philippine and United States troops were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. Under the pressure of superior numbers, the defending forces withdrew to the Bataan Peninsula and to the island of Corregidor at the entrance to Manila Bay. On January 2, 1942, General MacArthur declared the capital city, Manila, an open city to prevent its destruction. The Philippine defense continued until the final surrender of United States-Philippine forces on the Bataan Peninsula in April 1942 and on Corregidor in May of the same year.
The Philippine Executive Commission was established in 1942 with Jorge B. Vargas as its first Chairman. The PEC was created as the temporary care-taker government of the Greater Manila area and eventually of the whole Philippines during the Japanese occupation of the country during World War II. On May 6, 1943, Japanese Premier Hideki Tojo during a visit to the Philippines pledged to establish the Republic of the Philippines. This pledge of Tojo prompted the "KALIBAPI," to call for a convention on June 19, 1943 and twenty of its members were elected to form the Preparatory Commission for Independence. The commission tasked to draft a constitution for the Philippine Republic and elected head was José P. Laurel. The Preparatory Commission presented its draft Constitution on September 4, 1943 and three days later, the "KALIBAPI" general assembly ratified the draft Constitution.
The Japanese-sponsored establishment of the Republic of the Philippines was proclaimed on October 14, 1943 with José P. Laurel being sworn-in as President. On the same day, a "Pact of Alliance" was signed between the new Philippine Republic and the Japanese government that was ratified two days later by the National Assembly. The Philippine Republic was immediately recognized by Japan, and in the succeeding days by Germany, Thailand, Manchukuo, Burma, Croatia and Italy while neutral Spain sent its "greetings."
In October of 1944, General Douglas MacArthur, the overall commander of American forces in the Pacific, had gathered enough additional troops and supplies to begin the retaking of the Philippines, landing with Sergio Osmena who had assumed the Presidency after Quezon's death. The battles entailed long fierce fighting; some of the Japanese continued to fight until the official surrender of the Empire of Japan on September 2, 1945. The Second Republic was dissolved earlier, on August 14. After their landing, Filipino and American forces also undertook measures to suppress the Huk movement, which was originally founded to fight the Japanese Occupation.
Martial Law (1972-1986)
On September 22, 1972, former Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile was reportedly ambushed by communists while his staff car was driving in San Juan, killing his driver but leaving him unscathed. The assassination attempt, along with the growing threat of the New People's Army and citizen unrest, gave Marcos enough reason to declare Proclamation No. 1081, which he signed on September 17 (postdated to September 21), the same day. Marcos, who henceforth ruled by decree, curtailed press freedom and other civil liberties, abolished Congress, shut down media establishments, and ordered the arrest of opposition leaders and militant activists.
The first years of Martial Law saw an increase in military hardware and personnel in the Philippines, giving a precursor to reduce military dependence on American personnel to police the country. In 1984, American lease on Philippines military bases were extended only by 5 years, as compared to 25 years' extension in 1959. Agricultural production, especially in rice production (which increased 42% in 8 years), was increased to decrease dependence on food importation. Philippine culture and arts were promoted with the establishment of institutions such as the National Arts Center. However, to help finance a number of economic development projects, the Marcos government borrowed large amounts of money from international lenders. Thus, proving that the country was not yet fully independent economically. The Philippines' external debt rose from $360 million (US) in 1962 to $28.3 billion in 1986, making the Philippines one of the most indebted countries in Asia.
From February 22-25, 1986, many demonstrations against Marcos took place on a long stretch of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. The event, known as the People Power Revolution, involved many famous figures such as Archbishop Jaime Sin, Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos and Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile. At 3:00 p.m., Monday, (EST) Marcos talked to United States Senator Paul Laxalt, First Lady Imelda Marcos sang one more rendition of "Dahil Sa Iyo" (Because of You), the couple's theme song, rather tearfully, asking for advice from the White House. Laxalt advised him to "cut and cut cleanly", First Lady Imelda Marcos sang one more rendition of "Dahil Sa Iyo" (Because of You), the couple's theme song, rather tearfully, to which Marcos expressed his disappointment after a short pause. In the afternoon, Marcos talked to Enrile, asking for safe passage for him and his family including his close allies like General Ver. Finally, at Midnight, the Marcos family was transported by a U.S. Airforce HH-3E Rescue helicopters to Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga, about 83 kilometers north of Manila, before boarding US Air Force DC-9 Medivac and C-141B planes bound for Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, and finally to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii where Marcos arrived on February 26. Many people around the world rejoiced and congratulated Filipinos they knew. Corazon Aquino succeeded as president of the Philippines.
Since 1986, Aquino adopted Original Pilipino Music by implementing Executive Order No. 255 issued on July 25, 1987 which broadcasts hourly OPM songs to all FM radio stations in Metro Manila and in the provinces regularly to shape up Filipino culture. Singers like Regine Velasquez, Randy Santiago, Ogie Alcasid, Gary Valenciano, Manilyn Reynes, Donna Cruz and others are contributed to the President's implementation of Filipino music over the airwaves. Stations like DZOO-FM, DWLS, etc., are adopted hourly OPMs effectively after the implementation. Aquino also encouraged the tourism sector to boost the national economy. Under her six-year term, the Department of Tourism launched a program called The Philippines: Fiesta Islands of Asia in 1989, offers tourist visits in the country to show their natural wonders, to protect their indigenous peoples, to preserve heritage sites and to contribute historical importance. In 1987, then President Corazon C. Aquino penned Executive Order No. 118 creating the Presidential Commission on Culture and Arts. Five years later, in 1992, this presidential directive was enacted into law—Republic Act 7356, creating the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
During the term of President Joseph Estrada, he ordered to the National Telecommunications Commission by the adoption of Filipino language-based radio format known as masa. Named for his icon Masa (or Masses), all radio stations adopted the masa format effective since 1998, as DJ's wanted to replace English language-based stations immediately to air OPM songs and requests. After his term in 2001, several FM stations adopted the masa format nationwide until this day.