First Pampanga Revolt

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The First Pampanga Revolt was one of the earliest uprisings against the Spanish regime in the Philippines. It was orchestrated by Kapampangan leaders called “principales” in April 1585 due to the abuses inflicted to the natives by the oppressive Spaniards. The Kapampangan leaders plotted to storm Intramuros and kill all Spanish officials in the walled city, but the plot did not succeed when it was immediately discovered by the Spanish authorities. The revolt’s masterminds were then arrested and executed.

The Letter of Don Juan de Manila to the President of the Royal Audiencia

Don Juan de Manila, a principalia from Pampanga, wrote to the Royal Audiencia in the Philippines to report the atrocities the Spanish encomienderos had committed to the Kapampangans. The letter detailed how the Spanish seamen seized rice, pigs, and other food commodities; how they raped the Kapampangan women; and how they insulted the Filipino natives by calling them names. The letter also chronicled how the Spaniards forfeited the natives’ wages and ordered  them to pay tributes even when their lands and properties were already confiscated.

Don Juan wrote that he, along with other principales of Pampanga, felt the same way about the abuses of the Spaniards and asked the Royal Audiencia for justice to be served to them. He also asked the Spanish authorities to send someone to the region to verify their complaints. He then warned that if the misdeeds continue, chaos would ensue, and he might not be able to restrain himself to commit sins against God.

The Sacking of the Native Forces

Don Juan de Manila and Don Nicolas Managuete, both part of the Kapampangan principales, gathered a force of about 100 Filipino natives and went to the neighboring province of Candaba carrying 50 arquebus, barrels of gunpowder, and other firearms. However, a Filipino native said to be a distant relative of Don Juan de Manila, tried to contain the rebellion, inflicting death to the forces of Don Juan. The Kapampangan forces were also robbed of their arms as well as gold.

The Crushing of the Rebellion

Upon hearing of the plot of a rebellion through a Filipina native married to a Spanish soldier, the Spanish authorities dispatched an army of 30 soldiers to crush the rebels. The Spanish soldiers triumphed, and the forces of Don Juan and Don Nicolas retreated.

The Surrendering of Don Nicolas Managuete

The forces under Don Nicolas Mananguete retreated to an impregnable hill to reinforce. The Spanish soldiers asked Don Nicolas to surrender, but the Kapampangan leader wanted a pardon from the Spanish authorities. He also asked for his father confessor to assure his safety. The soldiers agreed to do so and took Don Nicolas and his forces to the monastery where they were imprisoned.

The Massacre of Don Juan de Manila’s Forces

The soldiers heard that Don Juan, along with the other principales, retreated to another place to plan another attack. The soldiers then ordered a siege with the other natives of the land and arrested a dozen of Don Juan’s forces disguise[3] d as travelers. They went to the hideout of Don Juan, who went out to meet them with his men. They were all killed as they fled.


Michael Raymon Tayag-Manaloto Pangilinan. “Kapampangan Revolt (1585-86): The Letter of Don Juan de Manila”. Accessed 12 January 2021.

Michael Raymon Tayag-Manaloto Pangilinan. “Kapampangan Revolt (1585): A Detailed Report”. Accessed 12 January 2021.

The Philippine Revolution”. Accessed 12 January 2021.==Citation==


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