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SULTAN KUDARAT STATE UNIVERSITY

College of Teacher Education


ACCESS, EJC Montilla, Tacurong City
S. Y. 2018-2019

CONTROVERSY IN THE PHILIPPINE HISTORY:


TEXTUAL ANALYSIS

FELIX G. BERNARDO JR.

A REACTION PAPER PRESENTED TO

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT IN INTRODUCTION TO


PHILIPPINE HISTORY

APRIL, 2019
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THE SITE OF THE FIRST CATHOLIC MASS IN PHILIPPINES

Introduction

Where was the first Mass in the Philippines held?


The first proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Philippine shore is generally
linked to the celebration of the first Holy Mass in Masau, Butuan City and Limasawa,
Southern Leyte. It remained a controversial and unresolved issue in the Philippine History
because of the contradicting accounts, and it is a case of a historical distortion that
demands correction.

Comprehensive Discussion

In 1996, it reaffirmed the popular belief propelled by Republic Act 2733 that the
first Holy Mass was celebrated in Limasawa Island on March 31, 1521. The NHI cited the
memoirs of Antonio Pigafetta, who chronicled the expedition of Ferdinand Magellan, as
“the only credible primary source that yields the best evidence of the celebration of the
first Christian Mass on Philippine soil.”
In contrary, Ben Serrano (2006) clarified the historic first Mass celebrated by
Spanish colonizers was held in Mazzaua, Butuan City and not in Limasawa, Leyte on
Easter Sunday in 1521. Among the pieces of evidence are 101,600-year-old Balanghai
boats believed to have been used for trade and to transport people for worship services.
Efren L. Danao, 2015 explained on his article that “Tomas “Buddy” Gomez
disagreed with the NHI on naming Limasawa as the true venue and called for the
correction of this “long-standing historical error.” He wondered if a Mass was celebrated
on Philippine shores before the 1521 Easter Sunday. He cited records showing that
Magellan stayed in Homonhon (now a part of Samar Island) for eight days, including
March 24 which was Palm Sunday. “Is Easter Sunday Mass ever celebrated without being
preceded by Mass on a Palm Sunday,” he asked. He then argued that the First Mass
could actually have been held not in Limasawa or Masau but in Homonhon. In fact,
Pigafetta never said that the Easter mass in Limasawa was first. Neither did any of the
survivors of Magellan’s Expedition.”

Brief Conclusion

The annual celebration of Christianization remains debatable despite the


assertions from the NHI that it was in Limasawa. Historians firmly stand on their
viewpoints stating that it was in Homonhon and in Mazzaua, Leyte. Out of these versions,
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there might be one that could tell where it really was, however it stipulates a wide range
of reference to support the account and be able to construe this event.
Taking the account of Gomez as true, it may be possible that it was in Homonhon
(still part of Leyte) since Magellan stayed there for eight days, including March 24 which
was Palm Sunday, with the records he holds. The mere fact here is that the beginning of
Christianity was held in Leyte.

Reflection

The first Catholic mass opened a wide array of the fact of holding the Christian
beliefs for the Filipino. If Magellan failed to instill Christianity to native Filipinos, the earliest
people would be stereotyped to an inherent barbaric belief. It is also important to see in
a clear picture of the origin of our own identity.
The beginning of Christianity in the Philippines have a social significance in the
Filipino Christian, and so with myself as a member of the Roman Catholic World. May we
carry the essence of the Catholic faith and its history, for what the future may bring to us.

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THE CAVITE MUTINY

Introduction

The night of 20th January of 1872, about 200 Filipino military personnel of Fort San
Filepe Arsenal in Cavite, Philippines, staged a mutiny which in a way led to Philippine
Revolution in 1896. The 1972 Cavite Mutiny was precipitated by the removal of liberal
measures and imposed the iron-fist rule. The besieged mutiny was quelled, and many
mutineers were killed. Later, others were sentenced to death.

Comprehensive Discussion

The martyrdom of the three martyr priests in the persons of Fathers Mariano
Gomes, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora (GOMBURZA) have awakened the nationalism
of the Filipinos and paved the way to intrepid movements. Prior to the execution, the
GOMBURZA were implicated of the bloody incident in Cavite by Gov. Gen. Rafael
Izquierdo on his official report for being so vocal and active in the call for “secularization”.
In contrary, Dr. Trinidad Hermenigildo Pardo de Tavera indirectly blamed Gov. Izquierdo’s
cold-blooded policies such as the abolition of privileges of the workers and native army
members of the arsenal and the prohibition of the founding of school of arts and trades
for the Filipinos, in that way, it opened the mind of the Filipinos on the other hand.
According to the article posted by Chris Antonette Piedad-Pugay on National
Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) page, she clearly asserted that “the
Central Government failed to conduct an investigation on what truly transpired but relied
on reports of Izquierdo and the friars and the opinion of the public. So the Filipino clergy
members actively participated in the secularization movement in order to allow Filipino
priests to take hold of the parishes in the country making them prey to the rage of the
friars”.
The execution of GOMBURZA was a blunder on the part of the Spanish
Government, for the action severed the ill-feelings of the Filipinos and the event inspired
Filipino patriots to call for reforms and eventually independence.

Brief Conclusion

On February 15, 1872, the Spanish court-martial went ahead and maliciously
found the GOMBURZA guilty of treason for instigating the Cavite Mutiny. Two days later,
the three priests were put to death by garrote in Bagumbayan.

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Establishing the truth in the case, where the three really involved in the uprising?
In point of fact, the records of the trial have disappeared and the prosecution witness had
been ordered executed along with the three. The question will probably remain a mystery
in the Filipinos’ fight for freedom.

Reflection

The execution of the martyr priests, GOMBURZA eventually have sharpened the
Filipino nationalism to call reform against the colonialism. The Cavite mutiny teaches us
to be historically aware and be reminded of the unequal treatment and ruthless policies
of the Spanish regime, which is I think similar to what is happening in the Philippines
today, one of which is the exploitation of labor. Amidst the unjust practices, may we refrain
from it and don’t let the history happen again.

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THE CRY OF REBELLION

Introduction

In August 1896, the Filipino freedom fighters (KKK) launched nationwide open
defiance against Spanish Authorities. Some of the writers consider the first military
engagement with the enemy as the defining moment of the cry, after the failed
peace of the pact of Biyak na Bato. However, no specific accounts could tell when
and where the Cry of Rebellion happened.

Comprehensive Discussion

The Cry of Pugadlawin


The news of the discovery of the Katipunan spread throughout Manila and
the suburbs. Bonifacio, informed of the discovery, secretly instructed his runners to
summon all the leaders of the society to a general assembly to be held on August
24. They were to meet at Balintawak to discuss the steps to be taken to meet the
crisis. That same night of August 19, Bonifacio, accompanied by his brother
Procopio, Emilio Jacinto, Teodoro Plata, and Aguedo del Rosario, slippe d through
the cordon of Spanish sentries and reached Balintawak before midnight. Pio
Valenzuela followed them the next day. On the 21st, Bonifacio changed the
Katipunan code because the Spanish authorities had already deciphered it. In the
afternoon of the same day, the rebels, numbering about 500, left Balintawak for
Kangkong, where Apolonio Samson, a Katipunero, gave them food and shelter. In
the afternoon of August 22, they proceeded to Pugadlawin. The following day, in
the yard of Juan A. Ramos, the son of Melchora Aquino who was later called the
"Mother of the Katipunan", Bonifacio asked his men whether they were prepared to
fight to the bitter end. Despite the objection of his brother-in-law, Teodoro Plata, all
assembled agreed to fight to the last. "That being the case, " Bonifacio said, "bring
out your cedulas and tear them to pieces to symbolize our determination to take up
arms!" The men obediently tore up their cedulas, shouting "Long live the
Philippines!" This event marked the so-called "Cry of Balintawak," which actually
happened in Pugadlawin.
The Cry of Pugad Lawin (August 23, 1896) cannot be accepted as
historically accurate. It lacks positive documentation and supporting evidence from
the witness. The testimony of only one witness (Dr. Pio Valenzuela) is not enough
to authenticate and verify a controversial issue in history.

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The Cry of Balintawak
In the midst of this dramatic scene, some Katipuneros who had just arrived
from Manila and Kalookan shouted "Dong Andres! The civil guards are almost
behind us, and will reconnoiter the mountains." Bonifacio at once ordered his men
to get ready for the expected attack of the Spaniards. Since they had inferior arms
the rebels decided, instead, to retreat. Under cover of darkness, the rebels marched
towards Pasong Tamo, and the next day, August 24, they arrived at the yard of
Melchora Aquino, known as Tandang Sora. It was decided that all the rebels in the
surrounding towns be notified of the general attack on Manila on the night of August
29, 1896.
At ten in the morning of August 25, some women came rushing in and notified
Bonifacio that the civil guards and some infantrymen were coming. Soon after, a
burst of fire came from the approaching Spaniards. The rebels deployed and
prepared for the enemy. In the skirmish that followed, the rebels lost two men and
the enemy one. Because of their inferior weapons, which consisted mostly of bolos
and a few guns, the rebels decided to retreat. On the other hand, the S paniards,
finding themselves greatly outnumbered, also decided to retreat. So both camps
retreated and thus prevented a bloody encounter. This was the first skirmish fought
in the struggle for national emancipation.
On August 26, Spanish reinforcements were dispatched to Pasong Tamo
to drive away the rebels. But the latter, who were going to or were already in Balara,
could not be found. The Spaniards, frustrated in their attempt to contact the Filipino
contingent, shot, instead, two innocent farmers who we re leisurely going on their
way home. Returning to Manila, the Spanish soldiers boasted that a great fight
has taken place at Pasong Tamo, and that they had driven the rebels to the interior.
This was the origin of the so-called "Cry of Balintawak", which neither happened on
August 26 nor in Balintawak.
Meanwhile, the rebels, skirting the mountain trails day and night, finally
arrived in Mariquina. Later in the day, however, they abandoned it and proceeded
to Hagdang Bato on August 27. The following day, Bonifacio issued a manifesto
inciting the people to take up the Filipino cause and to get set for a concerted attack
on the Spaniards on August 29.

Conclusion

Where and When the Cry of Rebellion happened?


Pugad Lawin was never officially recognized as a place name on any
Philippine Map. According to Ambeth Ocampo’s account on the Cry of Rebellion,
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“there were no such as Pugad Lawin.” Pugad Lawin only appeared in historiography
only from 1928, or some 32 years after the events took place. It is possible that the
revolution was always traditionally held to have occurred in the area of Balintawak,
which was Distinct from Kalookan and Diliman. Therefore, while the toponym
“Pugad Lawin” is more romantic, it is more accurate to stick to the original “Cry of
Balintawak.”
Also, it is clear that the so-called Cry of Pugad Lawin of 23 August is an
imposition and erroneous interpretation, contrary to indisputable and numerous
historical facts.

Reflection

The controversy among historians continues to the present day. But what is
more important despite this unresolved issue, we upheld the value of freedom which
named and unnamed heroes have fought and shed their blood to attain reforms and
achieve independence.
May the spirit of heroism instill in the minds of Filipinos, now that the nation
is at the hand of adversity. May we learn from this event to continue fighting for our
freedom and to stand for our Democracy.

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