Apolinario dela Cruz
Born Apolinario de la Cruz in barrio Pandác, Lucbán,Tayabas (now Quezon) on July 22, 1815. Since childhood, Hermano (meaning Brother) 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
He organized the Confradia de San José (Confraternity of St. Joseph) in 1840 which worship according to their conscience. The brotherhood fostered the practice of Christian virtues. When Spanish religious authorities including General Marcelino Oraa and Archbishop Jose Segui heard about the organization, they immediately condemned the brotherhood as heresy. Despite its 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 that reached the Royal Audiencia (high court), which disregarded his appeal. In September 1841 members of St. Joseph met in Majayjay, Laguna but the meeting was broken up and the Spanish authorities ordered the arrest of Pule and his members. Finally forced to fight for religious freedom, 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 October 23, 1841. However, reinforcements came on November 1 with Colonel Joaquin Huet who not only annihilated the Confradia forces but massacred hundreds of defenseless 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 November 4, 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.