Diariong Tagalog was a Philippine-based newspaper established by Filipino propagandist Marcelo H. Del Pilar alongside Pascual H. Poblete in 1882. Its primary aim was to educate Filipino farmers and peasants in democratic liberal ideas that would eventually give rise to the country's secession from Spain.
Del Pilar's experiences of abuse from the hands of Spaniards were one of the many factors that inspired him in founding the newspaper. While studying law, he became more aware of the sociopolitical issues of his milieu, such as the Spanish friars' vehement dissent toward the Filipinization of parishes, fearing it would diminish their status and influence over the Philippine society.
The content of Diariong Tagalog were delivered in two languages, namely Spanish and Tagalog. It was the first daily to publish in Tagalog. The newspaper was decidedly liberal with a subversive twist. Its director Francisco Calvo y Muñoz was a Spaniard who demanded the representation of Filipinos in the Spanish Cortes or parliament.
Del Pilar was assigned to the Spanish portion of Diariong Tagalog, while Poblete—who had been a contributor to another daily, La Oceanie Española—handled the Tagalog portion. Del Pilar wanted the newspaper to be bilingual to gain a wider audience, especially from the masses. He envisioned the ideas going beyond the circles of those privileged enough to understand Spanish.
Under Governor-General Fernando Primo de Rivera's rule, writers were given some leeway for their works which they disseminated to the public. This allowed the operation of Diariong Tagalog, though the contributors and the newspaper itself were still heavily monitored.
Diariong Tagalog only lasted for five months (from June to October 1882), as Spanish authorities were quick to associate its readers to the anti-Spanish movement. Despite its short run, the writers behind Diariong Tagalog were successful in exposing the corruption of Spaniards in power, particularly those who belonged to the Church. Among the reforms pushed by Diariong Tagalog was civil registration, which at the time was still controlled by the Church.
Notable Figures of Diariong Tagalog
Jose Rizal was one of several renowned Filipino intellectuals who had their works featured in Diariong Tagalog. He wrote under the pseudonym "Laong Laan." Rizal's "El Amor Patrio" was translated into Tagalog as "Ang Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa" by Del Pilar (not to be confused with the poem by Andres Bonifacio). Even liberal Spaniards such as Francisco Calvo Muñoz, who belonged to the peninsulares class, contributed to the paper. A treasury official stationed in the Philippines, Muñoz stood as the publisher of Diariong Tagalog.
The newspaper received funding from several traders who hailed from Malolos, Bulacan, mostly relatives and acquaintances of Del Pilar who were also nationalists. The business management of Diariong Tagalog was handled by Basilio Teodoro Moran.
Diariong Tagalog suffered a streak of bad luck as it encountered serious difficulties even before it was born. The central government, that had suspicions about its tendencies, delayed the grant of its authority to publish more than what was normal.
The newspaper's cost was USD 1 monthly in Manila, USD 2 to 4 for three months, USD 4 for six months, USD 7 for one year, and USD 8 for six months in the provinces.
According to Moran, the newspaper debuted with 1,200 subscribers for its maiden issue. However, in August 1882, the count decreased to less than 800 subscribers due to the cholera outbreak. It began to recover in September and regained all 1,200 subscribers before a typhoon struck the following month. The typhoon destroyed Moran's sugar crop, which then forced him into debt and he eventually ceased paying the salaries of the newspaper's employees.
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