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Filipino nationalism

The Aguinaldo Shrine built in 1845 is where the

Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain
was declared on June 12, 1898.
Flag of the Philippines

Filipino nationalism began with an

upsurge of patriotic sentiments and
nationalistic ideals in the 1800s
Philippines that came as a consequence
of more than three centuries of Spanish
rule. This served as the backbone of the
first nationalist revolution in Asia, the
Philippine Revolution of 1896,[1] and vovo
These nationalistic sentiments have led to
a wide-ranging campaign for political,
social, and economic freedom in the

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.[2] 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.[3][4] This
Spanish colonization united the Philippine
archipelago into a single political entity.[1]

The start of Filipino

nationalism (1760s–1820s)
The term "Filipino" originally referred to the
Spanish criollos of the Philippines. During
their 333-year rule of the Philippines, the
Spanish rulers referred the natives as
Also during the colonial era, the Spaniards
born in the Philippines, who were more
known as insulares, criollos, or Creoles,
were also called "Filipinos." Spanish-born
Spaniards or mainland Spaniards residing
in the Philippines were referred to as
Peninsulares. 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.[6] 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. These factors contributed to the
birth of the Filipino Nationalism. The
opening of the Philippines to the
international or world trade, the rise of the
middle class, and the influx of Liberal
ideas from Europe were only a few
examples of how the Philippines
developed into a stable country. "The first
manifestation of Philippine nationalism
followed in the decades of the 1880s and
the 1890s, with a reform or propaganda
movement, conducted both in Spain and in
the Philippines, for the purpose of
“propagandizing” Philippine conditions in
the hopes that desired changes in the
social, political and economic life of the
Filipinos would come about through
peaceful means." [7]


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[1]
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 from Spain
brought faster trade and quicker spread of
ideas from Europe.[1] 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.
Jose Basco, the 44th governor-general of the
Philippines under Spanish colonial rule

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


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.[1]

Secularization of parishes
Portrait of Charles III of Spain, 1761

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
priests 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.[9] 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.[1]

The expulsion of Jesuit priests 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 priests 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

Effect of the progress during

the period (1760s–1820s)

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.[1]
He championed the rights of Filipinos in
the islands and slowly made the term
applicable to anyone born in the

Further progress of Filipino

Nationalism (1820s-1860)
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).[10] However, on June 1, 1823, a
Creole revolt broke out in Manila led by the
Mexican-blood Creole captain Andres
Novales.[11] 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

Painting of a Spanish galleon during Manila-Acapulco

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.[12] 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.[13]
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 were British, three
American, two French, two Swiss and one
German.[13] 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.[14]
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

First Propaganda Movement


Padre José Apolonio Burgos

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.[1] 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.

Demonstrations became a norm in Manila

during the 1860s. One of the first of a
series of demonstrations was during the
transfer of the remains of former
Governor-General Simón de Anda y Salazar
from the Manila Cathedral after the 1863
earthquake. Anda was a hero for the
natives because he fought friar power
during his term, and he established a
separate government in Bacolor during the
British occupation of Manila. On the day of
the transfer, a young Indio priest
approached the coffin and laid a laurel
wreath dedicated by "The Secular Clergy of
the Philippines" to Don Simón de Anda.
Then, a young Indio student went to the
coffin and offered a crown of flowers.
Lastly, a number of gobernadorcillos went
to do their own salutations for Don Simón
de Anda. Since none of those acts were in
the program, the Spanish saw that it was a
secretly planned demonstration. Though
no one told who the mastermind was,
there were rumors that it was Padre
Burgos.[1] The demonstrations got more
frequent and more influential during the
liberal regime of Governor-General Carlos
María de la Torre (1869–1871). Only two
weeks after the arrival of de la Torre as
Governor-General, Burgos and Joaquin
Pardo de Tavera led a demonstration at
the Plaza de Santa Potenciana. Among the
demonstrators were Jose Icaza, Jaime
Baldovino Gorospe, Jacobo Zobel, Ignacio
Rocha, Manuel Genato and Maximo
Paterno. The demo cry was "Viva Filipinas
para los Filipinos!". In November 1870, a
student movement, denounced as a riot or
motin, at the University of Santo Tomas
formed a committee to demand reforms
on the school and its curricula. It later
announced support of Philippine
autonomy and recognition of the
Philippines as a province of Spain. The
committee was headed by Felipe

Carlos María de la Torre y Nava Cerrada, the 91st

Governor-General of the Philippines

During this period, a secret society of

reformists met in a cistern under a well at
the house of Father Mariano Gómez. The
society, headed by Jose Maria Basa,
worked mainly on a Madrid journal called
the Eco de Filipinas (not to be confused
with the El Eco de Filipinas that was
published much later, in September 1890).
The journal exposed problems in the
Philippines and pressed on reforms that
they seek for the country. Among the
members were Burgos, Maximo Paterno,
Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, and Father
Agustin Mendoza. It served as a precursor
to La Solidaridad. However, Burgos died
after the infamous Cavite Mutiny, which
was pinned on Burgos as his attempt to
start a Creole Revolution and make
himself president of the Philippines or Rey
Indio.[16] The death of José Burgos, and
the other alleged conspirators, Mariano
Gómez and Jacinto Zamora on February
17, 1872, seemingly ended the entire
Creole movement. Governor-General
Rafael de Izquierdo y Gutiérrez unleashed
his reign of terror in order to prevent the
spread of the Creole ideology—Filipino

Another event in history created an impact

on Filipino nationalism during this period.
Before 1869, the route through the Cape of
Good Hope proved to be a shortest
available journey to Europe by Indios and
Creoles alike. The journey takes 3 months
travel by sea. On November 17, 1869, the
Suez Canal opened after 10 years of
construction work. At its advent, the
journey from the Philippines to Spain was
further reduced to one month. This
allowed a much faster spread of European
ideology and an increase of Filipino
presence in Europe itself. The Propaganda
Movement would later benefit from the
Suez Canal for the shorter route it

Second Propaganda
Movement (1872–1892)
Filipino expatriates in Europe formed the Propaganda
Movement. Photographed in Madrid, Spain in 1890.

The events of 1872 however invited the

other colored section of the Ilustrados
(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.[17] 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 (Solidarity), which was first
published at Barcelona on December 13,
1888.[18] Rizal, the foremost figure of the
propagandists, created the Noli Me
Tángere (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.

Post-propaganda era
By July 1892, Rizal returned to the
Philippines and established a progressive
organization he called the La Liga Filipina
(The Philippine League).[19] 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.[20] The main aim of the organization,
named Katipunan, was to win Philippine
independence through a revolution and
establish a republic thereafter.[21] The rise
of the Katipunan signaled the end of
peaceful propaganda for reforms.

Philippine Revolution
Original flag of the Philippines, as conceived by
Emilio Aguinaldo.

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
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.
Leadership conflicts between Bonifacio
and Aguinaldo culminated in the Imus
Assembly in December 1896 and Tejeros
Convention in March 1897. Aguinaldo was
elected in absentia as President of an
insurgent revolutionary government by the
Tejeros convention. Bonifacio, acting as
Supremo of the Katipunan, declared the
convention proceedings void and
attempted to reassert leadership of the
revolution. In late April Aguinaldo fully
assumed presidential office after
consolidating his position with
revolutionary leaders. Aguinaldo's
government then ordered the arrest of
Bonifacio, who stood trial on charges of
sedition and treason against Aguinaldo's
government and conspiracy to murder
Aguinaldo, resulting in his conviction and

In December 1897, Aguinaldo agreed to

the Pact of Biak-na-Bato with the Spanish
colonial government. Aguinaldo and his
revolutionary leadership 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.

Independence declaration and

the Philippine-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.[22] After
Commodore George Dewey defeated the
Spanish squadron at Manila, a German
squadron, led by Vice Admiral Otto von
Diederichs, arrived in Manila and engaged
in maneuvers which Dewey, seeing this as
obstruction of his blockade, offered war—
after which the Germans backed down.[23]
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, an insurgency
against Spanish rule.[24]
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. In the treaty,
Spain ceded the Philippines, along with
Guam and Puerto Rico, to the United
States. Cession of the Philippines involved
payment by the U.S. of
US$20,000,000.00.[25] U.S. President
McKinley described the acquisition of the
Philippines as "... a gift from the gods",
saying 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",[26][27] in spite of the
Philippines having been already
Christianized by the Spanish over the
course of several centuries.

Filipino forces under Aguinaldo as

President of the insurgent Philippine
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.[28]
Aguinaldo dissolved the regular army on
November 13 and ordered the
establishment of decentralized guerrilla
commands in each of several military
zones.[29] 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
Insular Government

William Howard Taft addressing the audience at the

First Philippine Assembly in the Manila Grand Opera

The 1902 Philippine Organic Act was a

constitution for the Insular Government, as
the U.S. civil administration was known.
This was a form of territorial government
that reported to the Bureau of Insular
Affairs. The act provided for a governor
general appointed by the U.S. president
and an elected lower house. It also
disestablished the Catholic Church as the
state religion.

Two years after completion and

publication of a census, a general election
was conducted for the choice of delegates
to a popular assembly. An elected
Philippine Assembly was convened in
1907 as the lower house of a bicameral
legislature, with the Philippine
Commission as the upper house. Every
year from 1907 the Philippine Assembly
and later the Philippine Legislature passed
resolutions expressing the Filipino desire
for independence.

Philippine nationalists led by Manuel

Quezón and Sergio Osmeña
enthusiastically endorsed the draft Jones
Bill of 1912, which provided for Philippine
independence after eight years, but later
changed their views, opting for a bill which
focused less on time than on the
conditions of independence. The
nationalists demanded complete and
absolute independence to be guaranteed
by the United States, since they feared that
too-rapid independence from American
rule without such guarantees might cause
the Philippines to fall into Japanese
hands. The Jones bill was rewritten and
passed Congress in 1916 with a later date
of independence.[30]

The law, officially the Philippine Autonomy

Act but popularly known as the Jones Law,
served as the new organic act (or
constitution) for the Philippines. Its
preamble stated that the eventual
independence of the Philippines would be
American policy, subject to the
establishment of a stable government. The
law maintained the Governor General of
the Philippines, appointed by the President
of the United States, but established a
bicameral Philippine Legislature to replace
the elected Philippine Assembly (lower
house); it replaced the appointive
Philippine Commission (upper house) with
an elected senate.[31]

The Filipinos suspended their

independence campaign during the First
World War and supported the United
States against Germany. After the war they
resumed their independence efforts. The
Philippine legislature funded an
independence mission to the U.S. in 1919.
The mission departed Manila on February
28 and met in the U.S. with and presented
their case to Secretary of War Newton D.
Baker. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, in
his 1921 farewell message to Congress,
certified that the Filipino people had
performed the condition imposed on them
as a prerequisite to independence,
declaring that, this having been done, the
duty of the U.S. is to grant Philippine

After the first independence mission,

public funding of such missions was ruled
illegal. Subsequent independence
missions in 1922, 1923, 1930, 1931 1932,
and two missions in 1933 were funded by
voluntary contributions. Numerous
independence bills were submitted to the
U.S. Congress, which passed the Hare–
Hawes–Cutting Bill on December 30,
1932. U.S. President Herbert Hoover
vetoed the bill on January 13, 1933.
Congress overrode the veto on January 17,
and the Hare–Hawes–Cutting Act became
U.S. law. The law promised Philippine
independence after 10 years, but reserved
several military and naval bases for the
United States, as well as imposing tariffs
and quotas on Philippine exports. The law
also required the Philippine Senate to ratify
the law. Quezon urged the Philippine
Senate to reject the bill, which it did.
Quezon himself led the twelfth
independence mission to Washington to
secure a better independence act. The
result was the Tydings–McDuffie Act of
1934 which was very similar to the Hare–
Hawes–Cutting Act except in minor
details. The Tydings–McDuffie Act was
ratified by the Philippine Senate. The law
provided for the granting of Philippine
independence by 1946.

Commonwealth era

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 of
convention delegates. Governor General
Frank Murphy designated July 10 as the
election date, and the convention held its
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 September 17, 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.[1]

Japanese occupation and the

Second Republic (1941-1945)
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.[33] 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.
José Paciano Laurel was the only president of the
Second Philippine Republic.

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.[34]
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 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 Osmeña
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 founded to
fight the Japanese Occupation.

Third Republic (1946-1972)

Play media
Proclamation of independence

“ Carlos, America buried imperialism

here today! ”
– General Douglas MacArthur to Carlos
Romulo at the recognition of the
independence of the Philippines.[35]

On July 4, 1946, representatives of the

United States of America and of the
Republic of the Philippines signed a Treaty
of General Relations between the two
governments. The treaty provided for the
recognition of the independence of the
Republic of the Philippines as of July 4,
1946, and the relinquishment of American
sovereignty over the Philippine Islands.[36]

From 1946 to 1961, the Philippines

observed Independence Day on July 4.
However, on May 12, 1962, President
Diosdado Macapagal issued Presidential
Proclamation No. 28 proclaiming June 12,
1962 as a special public holiday
throughout the Philippines.[37][38] In 1964,
Republic Act No. 4166 changed the date of
Independence Day from July 4 to June 12
and renamed the July 4 holiday as
Philippine Republic Day.[39]

“ But in the hearts of eighteen million

Filipinos, the American flag now flies
more triumphantly than ever. ”
– President Manuel Roxas addressing the
crowd after the flag-raising ceremony on
July 4, 1946[1]

Despite eventual success of Filipinos to

claim political and social independence, a
new type of colonialism rose in the
country. It is known as neocolonialism.
Neocolonialism is defined as the practice
of using economic, linguistic, and cultural
forces to control a country (usually former
European colonies in Africa or Asia) in lieu
of direct military or political control. Since
most of the country was ravaged by the
Second World War, the Philippines
depended mainly on the United States to
restore her industries and businesses.[40]
The country only began to build local
industries to reduce economic
dependence on foreign nations during the
term of President Ferdinand Marcos.[40]
Nationalism in the real sense remained
stuck up in a false Filipinistic posture.[40]
Examples of governmental efforts to
enforce nationalistic policies began with
former President Ramon Magsaysay
sworn into office wearing the Barong
Tagalog, a first by any Philippine president.
It was fervently followed by the nationalist
program "Filipino First Policy" of Carlos P.

Radical nationalism

After World War II, the Hukbalahap

(Filipino: Hukbong Bayan Laban sa mga
Hapon) guerillas continued the
revolutionary struggle to establish a
Communist government in the
Philippines.[40] Nationalism in the real
sense remained stuck up in a false
Filipinistic posture.[40] The radical wing of
the nationalists, led by peasant leader Luis
Taruc, renamed themselves as the
Hukbong Magpalaya ng Bayan (English:
Army to Liberate the People). At its heyday,
the Huk movement commanded an
estimated 170,000 armed troops with a
base of at least two million civilian
supporters.[42] Ramon Magsaysay, which
was then the Secretary of National
Defense during the Quirino administration,
was instrumental in halting the
Communist movement.

In 1964, Jose Maria Sison co-founded the

Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth)
with Nilo S. Tayag. This organization
rallied the Filipino youth against the
Vietnam War, against the Marcos
presidency, and corrupt politicians. On
December 26, 1968, he formed and
chaired the Central Committee of the
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP),
an organization within the Communist
Party founded on Marxist–Leninist-Mao
Zedong Thought, stemming from his own
experiences as a youth leader and a labor
and land reform activist. This is known as
the "First Great Rectification" movement
where Sison and other radical youths
criticized the existing Party's leadership
and failure. The reformed CPP included
Maoism within the political line as well as
the struggle for a National Democratic
Revolution in two-stages, consisting of a
protracted people's war as its first part to
be followed by a socialist revolution.

Radical nationalism in the Philippines

emphasized the Philippine Revolution
under Bonifacio as unfinished and
henceforth continued, under working class
leadership. Writers such as Teodoro
Agoncillo, Renato Constantino advocated
patriotic sentiment by means of revisiting
Filipino history in a Filipino perspective.

Martial law and the Fourth

Republic (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.[43] 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.[44]

The first years of martial law saw an

increase in military hardware and
personnel in the Philippines,[43] 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),[45] 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.[46][47]
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.[46]

The Fifth Republic (1986-

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. Finally, on
February 25, the Marcos family was
transported by a U.S. Air Force 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

In 1986, Aquino adopted Original Pilipino

Music (OPM, defined as "any musical
composition created by a Filipino, whether
the lyrics be in Pilipino, English or in any
other language or dialect") by requiring
hourly broadcasts of OPM songs on all
radio programs having musical formats in
order to conserve, promote and popularize
the nation's historical and cultural heritage
and resources, as well as artistic
creations, and to give patronage to arts
and letters.[48] 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

On June 12, 1998, the nation celebrated its

centennial year of independence from
Spain. The celebrations were held
simultaneously nationwide by then
President Fidel V. Ramos and Filipino
communities worldwide. A commission
was established for the said event, the
National Centennial Commission headed
by former Vice President Salvador Laurel
presided all events around the country.
One of the major projects of the
commission was the Expo Pilipino, a grand
showcase of the Philippines' growth as a
nation for the last 100 years, in the Clark
Special Economic Zone (formerly Clark Air
Base) in Angeles City, Pampanga.

During his term, President Joseph Estrada

ordered to the National
Telecommunications Commission (NTC)
to adopt a Filipino language-based radio
format known as masa—named for his
icon term Masa (or Masses). All radio
stations adopted the masa format in 1998.
Many stations continued to use the masa
format after President Estrada left the
presidency in 2001 because the masa
format resonated with listeners.[49] Some
in the radio industry decry the effects
masa formatting has had.[50]

On August 14, 2010, President Benigno

Aquino III directed the Department of
Transportation and Communications
(DOTC) and the NTC to fully implement
Executive Order No. 255 , issued on July
25, 1987 by former Philippines President
Corazon Aquino, requiring all radio
stations to broadcast a minimum of four
original Filipino musical compositions in
every clock hour of programs with a
musical format.[51]

On April 13, 2012, The Manila Times, the

oldest English language newspaper in the
Philippines, published an editorial titled
"Unpatriotic editing and reporting", taking
the Filipino journalistic community to task
for their reporting of what it described as
"confrontation between our Philippine
Navy and 'law enforcement' ships of the
People's Republic of China" in the Spratly
Islands. The editorial opined that
Philippine reports should state that
disputed territories are Philippine territory,
and characterized those who refer to
disputed territories as "being claimed by
the Philippines" as "unpatriotic writers and

On February 14, 2013, National Book Store,

the Philippines' largest bookstore chain,
has withdrawn Chinese-made globes,
which reflect China's nine-dotted line
encompassing the South China Sea, from
its shelves. Department of Foreign Affairs
spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a
statement that, "[National Bookstore] has
taken a patriotic position to proactively
support the Philippine government in
advancing Philippine foreign policy
objectives." He said the decision to pull out
the globes came after a dialogue with the
bookstore management, which claimed
they were unaware of the “misinformation”
contained in the educational

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on radio" . Manila Bulletin. 2010-05-
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53. Rainier Allan Ronda (February 15,
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Retrieved from

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