Pule Revolt (1840-1841)

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This is an uprising that sought religious freedom during the Spanish colonial rule.

Early Life

Apolinario dela Cruz, better known as Hermano Pule, was born in Lucban, Tayabas  (now Quezon Province) on July 22, 1815. He aspired to become a priest at an early age. In 1830, he went to Manila to pursue his dream to become a priest but his applications were immediately rejected because he was considered an indio. To earn a living and to support his daily needs while staying in Manila, he applied as a servant in San Juan de Dios Hospital. While working, his love for theology persisted. He had the opportunity to join Cofradia de San Juan de Dios, a brotherhood that was affiliated to the hospital where he was employed. He eventually became a lay preacher. In the course of time, he was able to hone his public speaking skills and became an enigmatic preacher. [1]

The Pule Revolt

Pule established Cofradia de San Jose in 1940. The members of the religious confraternity grew in numbers and this prompted them to seek permission from the Spanish government and the church. However, their request was not granted. Pule persevered and sent a petition to Audencia Manila but it still did not get an approval. Despite the series of rejection, Pule continued his religious movement. When the friars learned that Pule and the members of the Cofradia carried on with their religious activities, they accused him of heresy and recommended to ban the organization from conducting their religious practices. Consequently, the gobernadorcillo ordered the arrest of all the members of the brotherhood on October 19, 1940. [1][2]

The incident pushed Pule to write and send a report to Archbishop Seguo in Manila. He was enraged by the unchristian acts of the friars. On January 29, 1841, Pule's letter was forwarded to the Bishop of Nueva Caceres. The petition letter was then endorsed to the vicar and parish priest of Lucban, respectively. The two friars rejected the petition and denounced Pule's unorthodox acts. When Governor General Marcelino de Oraa y Lecumberri knew about the accusations of the friars, he ordered the arrest of all the members of the Cofradia. Pule was able to anticipate the attack so he was able to prepare 4,000 men, who were armed with bolos and amulets. [1][2]

The Alcalde Mayor of Tayabas sent a military troop composed of 300 men and directed to seize the camp of Pule. Initially, the government tried to offer amnesty to the brotherhood but the latter coldheartedly turned it down. This instigated the government forces to attack their camp but they ended up being defeated by Pule's armed group. [1]

When Governor General Oraa learned about the defeat of his military troop, he commanded Lt. Col. Joaquin Huet to lead another battle that can suppress the uprising. The government offered an amnesty but Pule and his aides were excluded from the pardon. The brotherhood rejected the pardon and a battle ensued. On November 01, 1841, Pule and his members were defeated by the Spanish military forces. Pule was able to escape but was eventually caught. He was tried in court and was found guilty. He was then executed and beheaded on November 04, 1841. His head was displayed on the roadside leading to the town of Majayjay. His fellow leaders in the confraternity, Dionisio de los Reyes, Francisco Espinosa de la Cruz, and Gregorio Miguel de Jesus, were also sentenced to death. [3][4][1][2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Palafox, Queenie. “193rd Birth Anniversary of Apolinario Dela Cruz.” National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), https://nhcp.gov.ph/193rd-birth-anniversary-of-apolinario-dela-cruz/. Accessed on January 18, 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Duka, Cecilio. “Struggle for Freedom: A Textbook on Philippine History.” Sampaloc Manila: Rex Book Store, Inc. 2008.
  3. Halili, Maria Christine. “Philippine History.” Sampaloc Manila: Rex Book Store, Inc. 2004.
  4. Ongsotto, Rebecca, and Reena Ongsotto.“Philippine History Module-based Learning.” Sampaloc Manila: Rex Book Store, Inc, 2002.



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