Published: July 6, 2012
As the seventeenth century gave way to the eighteenth, the Filipinos found themselves more and more at the mercy of the Spaniards. Injustice, cruelty, and religious intolerance led to uprisings that disturbed peace in the countryside. Foremost among these uprisings were the following:
1. Dogohoy’s Uprising, 1744-1828. The longest uprising in the Philippines—the Dagohoy rebellion—was caused by a Spanish priest’s refusal to give a man a Christian burial. The man had been in the service of the priests and died in a fight. Considered as having died in a duel, the priest refused to give him the burial asked for, and this incensed the dead man’s family. Francisco Dagohoy, brother of the dead man, led the revolt which immediately spread throughout Bohol. Dagohoy holed up in the mountains and from there he defied the Spanish authorities for many years. With the help of native soldiers, the Spanish government finally defeated Dagohoy’s forces. The governor pardoned the rebels and allowed them to settle in the lowlands.
2. Agrarian Uprisings, 1745-1746. By acquiring large tracts of fertile land, the Spanish friars became wealthy and powerful. They leased the land to the Filipinos but charged high rent. And not only that, they also prohibited the Filipinos from gathering even wild fruit and firewood from the friar estates. The tenants greatly resented this. They rose in rebellion against the administrators of the friar estates.
Some of these disturbances occurred in the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, and Morong (in Rizal) in 1745 and 1746. The Filipino tenants there, and particularly of the towns of Lian, Nasugbu, and Taal (in Batangas), Hagonoy (in Bulacan), Imus and Silang (in Cavite), Biñan (in Laguna), and Parañaque, and Taguig (in Rizal) fought the government troops sent out to quell the uprisings. The uprisings were in time put down but the agrarian problem remained one of the thorniest irritants during and even after the Spanish regime.
3. Diego Silang’s Uprising. Perhaps the most famous uprising in the Philippins during the Spanish regime was that of Diego Silang in the Ilocos provinces. An intelligent and law-abiding Filipino, Silang petitioned the Spanish authorities at the time of the British invasion of Manila to stop the collection of the hated tribute. He also asked that he be made the leader of a group from the Ilocos region to fight together with the Spaniards against the British invaders.
Instead of thanking Silang for loyalty, the Spanish authorities jailed him. Released through the help of influential friends, Silang then incited the Ilocanos to rise in arms against the Spaniards. His army of loyal volunteers expelled the Spanish officials in Vigan, abolished the tribute and the forced labor, and proclaimed an independent government with Vigan as capital.
In several skirmishes with Spanish army, Silang showed his brilliant leadership. His wife, Maria Josefa Gabriela Silang, fought valiantly at his side.
Unable to kill or capture him, the Spaniards had him murdered by a man named Miguel Vicos. But Silang’s death did not stop the Ilocanos from going on with the struggle. Gabriela Silang took over the leadership of the rebellion and fought off the forces the Spaniards sent against her. Defeated in the battle of Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, the fiery woman general escaped to Abra. There she recruited enough followers and marched against Vigan. Defeated, she fled back to Abra pursued by the Spaniards. She was overtaken and was executed with her followers.
4. The Palaris Uprising of 1764. In 1764 the people of Pangasinan rose in revolt under the leadership of Juan de la Cruz Palaris. The primary causes of this uprising were the abuses of the Spaniards and the collection of excessive tribute. The revolt, however, was immediately prompted by the failure of the Spaniards to halt the British invaders, thus making the Filipinos see that the Spaniards were, after all, poor fighters. The revolt spread from Binalatongan to Dagupan, Santa Barbara, San Jacinto, Malasigue, Calasiao,and other Pangasinan towns, and even in Bayombong in present-day Nueva Vizcaya. For a year Palaris was master of these towns. The Spaniards were then busy fighting both the British and Diego Silang and his wife Gabriela. In 1764, however, with both Silangs out of the way, the Spaniards wert after Palaris. With more than 3,000 Ilocos soldiers, they routed Palaris and his men.
[Image Credit: athenasantosmagcaselopez.com]