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The Philippine Revolution
The Cry of Pugadlawin

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, slipped 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.

Bonifacio's Manifesto of August 28

This manifesto is for all of you. It is absolutely necessary for us to stop at the earliest possible time the nameless oppressions being perpetrated on the sons of the people who are now suffering the brutal punishment and tortures in jails, and because of this please let all the brethren know that on Saturday, the revolution shall commence according to our agreement. For this purpose, it is necessary for all town to rise simultaneously and attack Manila at the same time. Anybody who obstructs this sacred ideal of the people will be considered a traitor and an enemy, except if he is ill or is not physically fit, in which case he shall be tried according to the regulation we have put in force.


The Cry of Balintawak
First Skirmishes

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 Spaniards, 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 were 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.

History of the Filipino People. Teodoro A. Agoncillo

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