Apolinario de la Cruz
Apolinario de la Cruz, popularly known as Hermano Pule ("Brother Pule") (b. July 22, 1815 - d. November 4, 1841), led the first major revolt in the Philippines in a battle for religious freedom.
Pule was born in Barrio Pandác, Lucbán, Tayabas (now Quezon) on 22 July 1815. Since childhood, he always wanted to become a priest. He left home for Manila to work as a lay brother at the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Intramuros.
Battle for religious freedom
In 1840, he organized the Confradia de San José (Confraternity of St. Joseph). The brotherhood fostered the practice of Christian virtues and worship according to conscience. When Spanish religious authorities including General Marcelino Oraa and Archbishop Jose Segui heard about the organization, they immediately condemned it as heretical. Despite persecution, adherents grew in number, not only in Tayabas but in neighboring provinces like Batangas and Laguna.
Pule was accused of being a heretic and filibuster. He appealed the charges, but was rejected by the Royal Audiencia (high court). In September 1841, members of the confraternity met in Majayjay, Laguna but the meeting was broken up and Spanish authorities ordered the arrest of Pule and his members. Pule rallied 4,000 followers at Barrio Isabang on the slope of Mount Banahaw and was able to vanquish an attack by Alcalde-Mayor Juan Ortega and his 300 men on 23 October 1841. However, reinforcements came on 1 November with Colonel Joaquin Huet, who not only annihilated the Confradia forces but massacred hundreds of old men, women and children who joined Pule in Alitao. Spanish troops dispersed the brotherhood and killed many of its members.
Hermano Pule was captured, executed and decapitated on 4 November 1841. His head was placed on a bamboo pole and displayed to the public to bring fear to others who would dare the same.
- Quirino, Carlos. Who's Who in Philippine History. Manila: Tahanan Books, 1995.
- Zaide, Sonia M. The Philippines, a Unique Nation. p. 199.