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The Kataastaasang Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, also known as the Katipunan or KKK, was an anti-colonial revolutionary organization founded on 7 July 1892 by Andres Bonifacio, Teodoro Plata, Ladislao Diwa and others with the vision of completely separating the Philippines from Spain through an armed revolution.


After the dissolution of  La Liga Filipina, former members of the secret society, including Andres Bonifacio, envisioned to found another group that would revolt against the Spanish colonizers. The former society had been divided into two groups; one hoped to gain reforms through peaceful means and continued support for La Liga Filipina, and the other sought reform through more radical means, which was the start of the Katipunan. When Jose Rizal was exiled to Dapitan, Bonifacio became convinced that the only way to attain liberty from colonization was to mount a revolution.


The KKK was founded in a house on Azcarraga street in Tondo, Manila. As a sign of loyalty, members needed to perform the sandugo or blood compact, in which they signed a pact with their blood. Members agreed to recruit more people using the "triangle system." An original member would recruit two new members, who were then asked to do the same thing. They were also asked to contribute 25 centavos each month to raise funds for the association.

The association aimed to teach Filipinos good manners, cleanliness, fine morals and how to protect themselves against religious fanaticism, as well as encourage Filipinos to help themselves and  defend the oppressed.

The highest governing body of the Katipunan was called the Kataas-taasang Sanggunian or the Supreme Council, which was headed by the supremo or president. Each province had a Sangguniang Bayan and each town had a Sangguniang Balangay.

Jose Rizal did not become part of the Katipunan but its members still looked up to him as a leader.


Office Name Term
Supreme Leader/President Deodato Arellano 1892 – February 1893
Roman Basa February 1893 – January 1895
Andrés Bonifacio January 1895 – 1896
Comptroller/Intervenor Andrés Bonifacio 1892 – August 1893
Fiscal Ladislao Diwa 1892 – February 1893
Andrés Bonifacio February 1893 – 1895
Emilio Jacinto 1895
Pio Valenzuela December 1895
Secretary (of State after 1895) Teodoro Plata 1892 – February 1893
Jose Turiano Santiago February 1893 – December 1895
Emilio Jacinto December 1895 – 1896
Secretary of War Teodoro Plata 1896
Secretary of Justice Briccio Pantas 1896
Secretary of Interior Aguedo del Rosario 1896
Secretary of Finance Enrique Pacheco 1896
Treasurer Valentin Diaz 1892 – February 1893
Vicente Molina February 1893 – December 1895
Financier Darilyo Valino


Rumors about a secret society had long been in circulation, although there was no evidence found to support them. On 19 August 1896, Teodoro Patiño, who was working at the Diario de Manila printing press, told his sister Honoria about the existence of the association in retaliation against his coworker Apolonio dela Cruz, who had blamed him for the loss of printing materials used for the Kalayaan, the KKK’s main organ. The information upset Honoria, so much so that she relayed it to Sor Teresa de Jesus, the Mother Superior of the orphanage in Mandaluyong where she was staying. The nun persuaded Patiño to seek advice from Father Mariano Gil, the parish priest of Tondo. After hearing the revelations, the priest, accompanied by several Guardia Civiles, searched the premises of the Diario de Manila printing press where several Katipunan members worked and found evidence of the existence of the association. The governor was quickly informed and hundreds of suspected members of the KKK were arrested.

In an another version, José Turiano Santiago, a former Katipuneros who was said to be close to Bonifacio, claimed that Bonifacio himself ordered Patiño to divulge the society's existence to hasten the Philippine revolution and preempt any objection from members.


When the Katipunan leaders learned of the arrests, Bonifacio called an assembly of all provincial councils to decide the start of the armed uprising. The meeting was held at the house of Apolonio Samson, in a place called Kangkong in Balintawak. About 1,000 Katipuneros attended the meeting but they were not able to settle the issue.

They met again in another place in Balintawak the following day. Historians are still debating whether this event took place at the yard of Melchora Aquino or in the house of her son Juan Ramos. The meeting took place either on August 23 or August 24. In this second meeting, the Katipuneros in attendance decided to start the armed uprising and tore their cedulas (residence certificates and identity papers) as a sign of their commitment to the revolution. The Katipuneros also agreed to attack Manila on August 29.

But Spanish civil guards discovered the meeting and the first fighting occurred with the Battle of Pasong Tamo. While the Katipunan initially had the upper hand, the Spanish civil guards turned the fight around. Bonifacio and his men retreated toward Marikina via Balara (now in Quezon City). They then proceeded to San Mateo (in the province now called Rizal) and took the town. The Spanish, however, regained it three days later. After regrouping, the Katipuneros decided not to attack Manila directly but agreed to take the Spanish powder magazine and garrison at San Juan.

On August 30, the Katipunan attacked the 100 Spanish soldiers defending the powder magazine in the Battle of San Juan del Monte or Battle of Pinaglabanan. About 153 Katipuneros were killed in the battle, but the Katipunan had to withdraw upon the arrival of Spanish reinforcements. More than 200 were taken prisoners. At about the same time, Katipuneros in other suburban Manila areas, like Caloocan, San Pedro de Tunasan (now Makati), Pateros and Taguig, rose up in arms. In the afternoon of the same day, the Spanish Gov. Gen. Camilo de Polavieja declared martial law in Manila and the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija. The Philippine Revolution had begun.

In Bulacan, the Bulacan Revolutionary Movement was attacked by the strongest artillery forces ever converged in the capital town of Bulacan. This subsequently led to the Battle of San Rafael, where Gen. Anacleto Enriquez and his men were surrounded and attacked in the Church of San Rafael.

Spanish Response

Before the discovery of the Katipunan, Rizal had applied for a position as a doctor in the Spanish army in Cuba in a bid to persuade the Spanish authorities of his loyalty to Spain. His application was accepted and he arrived in Manila to board a ship for Spain in August 1896, shortly before the secret society was exposed. But while Rizal was en route to Spain, the Katipunan was unmasked and a telegram overtook the steamer at Port Said, recalling him to the Philippines to face charges that he was the mastermind of the uprising. He was later executed by musketry on December 30, 1896, at the field of Bagumbayan (now known as Luneta).

While Rizal was being tried by a military court for treason, the prisoners taken in the Battle of Pinaglabanan—Sancho Valenzuela, Ramón Peralta, Modesto Sarmiento, and Eugenio Silvestre—were executed on September 6, 1896 at Bagumbayan.

Six days later, they also executed the Thirteen Martyrs of Cavite at Fort San Felipe Fort in Cavite.

The Spanish colonial authorities also pressed the prosecution of those who were arrested after the raid on the Diario de Manila printing press, where they found evidence incriminating not only common folk but also wealthy Filipino society leaders.

The Bicol Martyrs were executed by firing squad on January 4, 1897 at Bagumbayan. They were Manuel Abella, Domingo Abella, priests Inocencio Herrera, Gabriel Prieto and Severino Díaz, Camio Jacob, Tomas Prieto, Florencio Lerma, Macario Valentin, Cornelio Mercado and Mariano Melgarejo.

They arrested and seized the properties of prominent businessmen Francisco Roxas, Telesforo Chuidián and Jacinto Limjáp. While there may be circumstantial evidence pointing to Chuidián and Limjáp as financiers of the revolution, the record showed no evidence against Roxas except that he was involved in funding the Propaganda Movement. Even Mariano Ponce, another leader of the Propaganda Movement, said the arrest of Roxas was a "fatal mistake". Nonetheless, Roxas was found guilty of treason and shot on January 11, 1897 in Bagumbayan.

Roxas was executed with Numeriano Adriáno, José Dizon, Domíngo Franco, Moisés Salvadór, Luis Enciso Villaréal, Braulio Rivera, Antonio Salazar, Ramón P. Padilla, Faustino Villaruél and Faustino Mañalac. Also executed with the group were Lt. Benedicto Nijaga and Corporal Gerónimo Cristóbal, both of the Spanish army.

On February 6, 1897, Apolonio de la Cruz, Román Bása, Teodoro Pláta, Vicente Molina, Hermenegildo de los Reyes, José Trinidad, Pedro Nicodemus, Feliciano del Rosario, Gervasio Samson and Doroteo Domínguez were also executed at Bagumbayan.

But the executions, particularly Rizal's, only added fuel to the rebellion, with the Katipuneros shouting battle cries: "Mabuhay ang Katagalugan!" ("Long Live the Tagalog Nation!" – Katagalugan (Tagalog Nation) being the Katipunan term for the Philippines) and "Mabuhay si Dr. José Rizal!" ("Long Live Dr. José Rizal!"). To the Katipuneros, Rizal was the honorary president of the Katipunan.

Schism, transfer of authority and dissolution

In the course of the revolution against Spain, a split developed between the Magdiwang faction (led by Gen. Mariano Álvarez) and the Magdalo faction (led by Gen. Baldomero Aguinaldo, cousin of General Emilio Aguinaldo), both situated in Cavite.

At a convention in Tejeros, Cavite, the revolutionaries assembled to form a revolutionary government. There, on March 22, 1897, it was decided to dissolve the Katipunan and establish a republic. Bonifacio lost his bid for the presidency of the revolutionary government to Emilio Aguinaldo, who was in Pasong Santol, fighting the Spanish forces, and instead was elected Secretary of the Interior. When members of the Magdalo faction tried to discredit him as uneducated and unfit for the position, Bonifacio declared the results of the convention as null and void, speaking as the Supremo of the Katipunan. Despite this, Aguinaldo took his oath of office as president the next day in Santa Cruz de Malabon (present-day Tanza) in Cavite, as did the rest of the officers, except for Bonifacio. Bonifacio and a few others issued the Acta de Tejeros, proclaiming the events at the Tejeros Convention to have been "disorderly and tarnished by chicanery," followed by the Naic Military Agreement characterizing actions at Tejeros to have been treasonous. This led to Andrés Bonifacio and his brother Procopio being arrested due to alleged incidents in Indang and, upon the orders of the Council of War and approved by Gen. Aguinaldo, they were both executed on May 10, 1897, at Mount Buntis in Maragondon, Cavite. He and his brother were buried in an unmarked grave.[94]

The Katipunan revolution led to the eventual establishment of the First Philippine Republic. The Philippine Republic, more commonly known as the First Philippine Republic or the Malolos Republic was a short-lived nascent revolutionary government in the Philippines. It was formally established with the proclamation of the Malolos Constitution on January 23, 1899, in Malolos, Bulacan, and endured until the capture of Emilio Aguinaldo by the American forces on March 23, 1901, in Palanan, Isabela, which effectively dissolved the First Republic. The United States eventually destroyed the First Philippine Republic in the Philippine–American War.




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