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The Cry of Katipunan

Introduction of the controversy:

We have seen it on history books, the cry of Balintawak or the cry of the Katipunan wherein
Katipunero’s were seen tearing cedulas. In this controversy, we are about to explain whether or not this
event took place. It has been a controversy because there were no other witnesses other than Dr. Pio
Valenzuela. Here we are about to explain the different view about the event.

Sides and /or Evidences of the Controversy:

The event turns into a controversy due to the given information from Dr. Pio Valenzuela -the no
other eyewitness of the Cry of the Katipunan. After he abandoned the revolutionary cause after its
outbreak and fled to Binan, Laguna for his safety, he take Governor General Ramon Blanco’s
proclamation of amnesty to the revolutionist to returned into Manila on September 3, 1896 and
surrendered his self. Valenzuela was imprisoned in Fort, Santiago and inspected by a Spanish
Investigator, Francisco Olive. He stated that the Cry of the Katipunan was held on Wednesday, August
26, 1896 at Balintawak. On the other hand, on his Memoirs of the Revolution he claimed that the “Cry”
was held at Pugad Lawin on August 23, 1896, as follows.

In September 1896, Valenzuela stated before the Olive Court, which was charged with
investigating persons involved in the rebellion, only that Katipunan meetings took place from Sunday to
Tuesday or 23 to 25 August at Balintawak.

In 1911, Valenzuela averred that the Katipunan began meeting on 22 August while the Cry took place on
23 August at Apolonio Samson’s house in Balintawak.

From 1928 to 1940, Valenzuela maintained that the Cry happened on 24 August at the house of Tandang
Sora (Melchora Aquino) in Pugad Lawin, which he now situated near Pasong Tamo Road. A photograph
of Bonifacio’s widow Gregoria de Jesus and Katipunan members Valenzuela, Briccio Brigido Pantas,
Alfonso and Cipriano Pacheco, published in La Opinion in 1928 and 1930, was captioned both times as
having been taken at the site of the Cry on 24 August 1896 at the house of Tandang Sora at Pasong
Tamo Road.

In 1935 Valenzuela, Pantas and Pacheco proclaimed “na hindi sa Balintawak nangyari ang unang sigaw
ng paghihimagsik na kinalalagian ngayon ng bantayog, kung di sa pook na kilala sa tawag na Pugad
Lawin.” (The first Cry of the revolution did not happen in Balintawak where the monument is, but in a
place called Pugad Lawin.)

In 1940, a research team of the Philippines Historical Committee (a forerunner of the National Historical
Institute or NHI), which included Pio Valenzuela, identified the precise spot of Pugad Lawin as part of
sitio Gulod, Banlat, Kalookan City. In 1964, the NHI’s Minutes of the Katipunan referred to the place of
the Cry as Tandang Sora’s and not as Juan Ramos’ house, and the date as 23 August.

Valenzuela memoirs (1964, 1978) averred that the Cry took place on 23 August at the house of Juan
Ramos at Pugad Lawin. The NHI was obviously influenced by Valenzuela’s memoirs. In 1963, upon the
NHI endorsement, President Diosdado Macapagal ordered that the Cry be celebrated on 23 August and
that Pugad Lawin be recognized as its site.


Although there were inconsistencies in the statements of Pio Valezuela that made his accounts not
credible enough for the historians, it helped the Philippines’ history to bridge the gap between these
incidents. He gave the Filipinos background knowledge about what happened during his time. Not only
Pio Valenzuela but also other eyewitness accounts mention captures, escapes, recaptures, killings of
Katipunan members; the interrogation of Chinese spies; the arrival of arms in Meycauyan, Bulacan; the
debate with Teodoro Plata and others; the decision to go war; the shouting of slogan; tearing of cedulas;
the sending of letters presidents of Sanggunian and balangay councils; the arrival of civil guard; the loss
of Katipunan funds during the skirmish. All these events, and many others, constitute the beginning of
nationwide revolution.


We would certainly give much less credence to all accounts coming from Pio Valezuela, and to the
interpretations Agoncillo got from him verbally, since Valenzuela gave so many versions from the time
he surrendered to the Spanish authorities and made various statements not always compatible with one
another up to the time when as an old man he was interviewed by Agoncillo.
Pio Valenzuela backtracked on yet another point. In 1896, Valenzuela testified that when the Katipunan
consulted Jose Rizal on whether the time had come to revolt, Rizal was vehemently against the
revolution. Later, in Agoncillo’s Revolt of the masses, Valenzuela retracted and claimed that Rizal was
actually for the uprising, if certain prerequisites were met. Agoncillo reasoned that Valenzuela had lied
to save Rizal.


The controversy among historians continues to the present day. 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 eyewitness (Dr. Pio Valenzuela) is not enough to
authenticate and verify a controversial issue in history. Historians and their living participants, not
politicians and their sycophants, should settle this controversy.