On this day, April 12

pamitinan cave
Pamitinan Cave | Photo: from http://rizalprovince.gov.ph

Today in History, April 12, in 1895, after a week-long journey into the mountains of San Mateo, Morong (Rizal), Andres Bonifacio and 8 leaders of the Katipunan reached the Pamitinan Cave and wrote on the cave walls, “Viva la Independencia Filipina.

In Jan 1892, an underground org known as the Katipunan was conceptualized, but it was only on the night of 7 July of the same year that was formally established when Rizal was arrested and exiled to Dapitan. It aimed for the Philippines’ independence via revolt.

Spreading all throughout Luzon and Visayas, the Katipunan sought to recruit members into this secret organization, amassing their numbers, organizing chapters, and holding secret meetings. In the Holy Week of 1895, drawing from the folk tradition, and seeking to find a secret headquarters for the organization,  Andres Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Restituto Javier, Guillermo Masangkay, Aurelio Tolentino, Faustino Mañalak, Pedro Zabala, and 2 others went on a hiking “pilgrimage” into the interiors of Morong (now Rizal province).

Led by a certain man named Tandang Pelis, the group reached the caves of Pamitinan, believed to be the cave of Bernardo Carpio, the Tagalog figure of legend who was said to possess superhuman strength and was imprisoned in the cave by an engkanto.

Carpio’s struggle to escape under the mountain, in between two boulders was believed to have been causing the frequent earthquakes in the area. Here, in the cave, after performing some initiation rites, Bonifacio wrote on the wall in charcoal, “Long live Philippine independence”.

After this, all the members in the group signed their names on the wall. This was the earliest declaration of Philippine independence. Other dates include 26 Aug 1896 (Cry of the Revolution), which was moved to 23 August as per official reckoning, and the 12 June 1898 independence proclamation.

The Katipunan, after having been discovered by the Spanish authorities in August 1896, launched an open revolution with the tearing of the members’ cedulas. With this event, the Philippine Revolution against Spain commenced. (@indiohistorian (Kristoffer Pasion)

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