Author: Francis Ross M. Padrelanan

Nationalism is a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those other nations or supranational groups (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). It is a strong belief of loyalty and devotion to one’s nation that you will do everything just to make sure your country is free from any foreign dictatorship. The father of the Philippine Revolution, Andres Bonifacio, said that Nationalism is the highest and purest kind of love that we can give to our country. It is the love that a certain person or group of people can give to his country. 

The Rise of Philippine Nationalism covers the events that led Filipinos to fight for their rights and equal opportunities. These are the events that led to the turning point that Filipinos are now aware      of the concept of freedom, independence, and equality. Although the true manifestation of Philippine Nationalism happened many years after these events, it made the Filipinos realize and feel that we should gain our independence no matter what it takes. The desire for reform of Filipinos is what brought them to revolt against colonial Spain.

This self-learning module will help you understand the meaning of Nationalism in the context of Filipinos during the colonial period. These are the events that led to the rise of Filipino Nationalism and how these affects in intensifying the feeling of Nationalism to Filipino people. This will also guide the learners to explain how the propagandists and the events caused them to strengthen and heighten their love for our country.

| Most Essential Learning Competencies 

  • Analyze the factors that led to the rise of Filipino nationalism; 
  • Examine how liberalism affected the emergence of nationalist sentiment; and
  • Analyze the aspirations of the Propaganda Movement and the Katipunan in the formation of Philippine Nationalism.

| Content Standards

By the end of this module, learners are expected to demonstrate an understanding of:

  • The factors that led to the rise of Filipino Nationalism;
  • People that contributed to the rise of Filipino Nationalism; and 
  • Getting acquainted with the events that led to Filipino Nationalism.

| Performance Standards

By the end of this module, learners are expected to:

  • Demonstrate their knowledge of the relevance of the contribution of the Philippines in responding to global issues, challenges, and problems.

| Self-Evaluation Form (Part I)

Answer the following questions.

  1. What are the events that led to the Emergence of Filipino Nationalism?
  2. How the Filipino Propagandist influenced others to seek reform from the colonizers and the organizations they had?


Lesson 1: Factors that led to the Rise of Filipino Nationalism

| Lesson Objectives

  • At the end of the lesson, the student is able to:
  • Identify and discuss the events that led to Filipino Nationalism;
  • Assess the effects of the factors that led to the rise of Filipino Nationalism or Nationalist Consciousness; and
  • Understand the Propaganda Movement.

| Lesson Overview

The emergence of Filipino Nationalism could be traced through various historical events in the country and Europe, as well as its contributing factors. It occurred when Filipinos had been conscious of the oppression they experienced through the socio-economic policies implemented by Spain that only affected them. This shared consciousness paved the way for the idea of a community that has its own aspirations. Thus, Filipinos, led by Filipino propagandists, demanded reforms. When these demands were not met, Filipinos realized the necessity of independence from the colonizers.

| Key Concepts 

  • Events that led to the Rise of Filipino Nationalism
  • The Effects of the Factors that led to the Rise of Filipino Nationalism 
  • The Filipino Propagandist 
  • The Movements for Reform

The Events that led to the Rise of Filipino Nationalism

1. Rise of Liberalism

Liberalism came to the Philippines because of the continuous contact with the Western Countries. Their ideas were brought to us by the Filipino Illustrados who had a chance to study in Europe because of their wealth. There, they experienced freedom, independence, and liberty. These brought to their mind that if we have these in the Philippines, they will enjoy their rights and be treated equally by the colonizers. The French Revolution (May 5, 1789 – Nov 9, 1799) became an inspiration to the Filipino Ilustrados (Aguilar 2005: Majul 1977). They brought the concept that they could question the government and even the faith (the church) that if the government exceeded its limit in abusing the rights of the people they would revolt against the government and establish a new government like in France during the French Revolution. 

2.  The Political Instability in Spain

The Spanish government like the other monarchy that has absolute power has also been threatened by liberalism. The continuous changes in the government and the Napoleonic Wars brought excessive expenses to the government which led them to impose additional taxes on their citizens which eventually caused the  bankruptcy of businesses and the destruction of Infrastructure. The Spanish government transformed, and the Cadiz Constitution of 1812 was implemented. The colonies of Spain had been affected and misgoverned, the cases of corruption increased and intensified the hostility between Filipinos and Spaniards because of this event.

3. The Administration of Carlos Maria de la Torre

Filipinos had experienced a liberal leadership through a Spanish Governor General Carlos Maria de la Torre in 1868. He involved Filipino natives in his administration of the government, and solicited suggestions in implementing government policies. He abolished espionage and imposed freedom of speech. Because of his actions liberal ideas and policies made him the champion of Filipinos and angered the Spanish in the country and the friars. After 2 years, he was replaced by Governor General Rafael de Izquierdo that turned back the previous policies of the past governor generals. Since the Filipino people had experienced liberal leadership and believed that it could be beneficial, they do not want to return to the former kind of government.

 4. The Issues of Secularization

          The liberal administration in Spain ordered closure of churches so the friars travelled to the Philippines and for them to secure positions, the Filipino priest must be removed, and this thing cannot be done easily because of the increasing number of regular priests in the Philippines. To solve this problem, they replaced secular priests with regular priests, and this pushed Filipinos to create a secular movement led by two Filipino priests Fr. Pedro Pelaez in Manila who died and was later replaced by Fr. Jose Burgos and Fr. Mariano Gomez in Cavite. 

5. Opening of the Philippines to International Trade

When the Suez Canal opened, it made travel from Europe to Asia easier and shorter. This made trading between continents faster, not only the swapping of goods but also the discussions of ideas and intercultural exchange. The opening of Port of Manila in 1834 to international trade caused enormous growth in the Philippine Economy and gave a chance to decide to capitalize or not hacienderos and inquilinos to participate in trading. This made them exposed to different nationalities having different ideals and aspirations, thus they were able to realize the inequality that they are experiencing in the hands of the Spanish colonizers.

6. The Execution of GomBurZa

Archbishop Gregorio Meliton Martinez issued a decree in 1861 that removed secular priests from parishes and shifted them under the control of Jesuits and Recollects priests. Secular priests fought for their rights and sought the assistance of Marshall Francisco Serrano, regent of Spain in 1870 but Archbishop Martinez exposed that parishes administered by secular priests were transforming into religious corporations and that is because of growing numbers of secular controlled parishes and this may drive to a pitiful result to their beloved Spain. 

In 1872, the Cavite Mutiny happened when the workers of Cavite Arsenal had a rebellion against the additional deduction of their salary and the loss of exemption in Polo y Servicios. Fr. Mariano Gomez of Cavite, Jose Burgos of Manila and Jacinto Zamora of Marikina were unjustly accused that they agitated the rebellion for the anti-Spanish Movement due to the testimony of Francisco Zaltua, the only witness they had. Governor General Rafael Izquerdo ordered the execution of the triumvirate by the garrote. The death of GomBurZa had a great effect on many late 19th century Filipinos such as Jose P. Rizal.

7.  The Rise of the Middle Class

Economic Development in the Philippines during the 19th century brought the rise of the creoles or the middle class who are considered third- class citizens. They are the Chinese and Spanish Mestizos who eventually become leaders in their community. The education they had gave them ideas on good government, equality, and the right of people to overthrow the government, thus making their position in the bureaucracy more secure and influential. Although, they were looked down upon by the First Class Citizen, the Peninsulares, Spanish born in Spain and by the Insulares the second-class Citizen, Spanish born in the Philippines. They had great influence on the native Filipinos of that time called Indios. Because of the influence they have they ignite the flame in the heart of the Filipinos to seek reform and ask for independence in spite of the fact that their goals were (1) political reforms, (2) equality between Filipinos and Spaniards, and (3) assimilation of the Philippines from Spain where the Philippines will become province of Spain which will eventually be beneficial to them. These goals brought them to demand representation in the Spanish Cortez and experience that aimed to open the eyes of the Spaniards to the needs of the country and bind both countries closer.



Propaganda Movement

The Propagandists were the Filipinos who had a chance to study in Europe where they experienced liberal leadership and brought such ideas to the Philippines. They created the Propaganda Movement which aims to create reforms in the Philippines that is why they are also called reformists. The most influential Propagandists were Jose P. Rizal, Graciano Lopez-Jaena and Marcelo H. Del Pilar. They work through writings that will influence the Filipino people to fight for their independence. 

Jose P. Rizal

He is considered the greatest reformist in the Philippines. He considered the Philippines as a nation and believed that the Filipinos should be united and enlightened in order to implement reform in the country. His two famous novels, Noli Me Tangere which he dedicated to Fatherland and the El Filibusterismo which he dedicated to GomBurZa tackles the cancer of the society, the racism, the maltreatment, and the injustice Filipinos have experienced to the Spaniards. These two novels and essays contributed to intensifying the patriotic feeling of Filipinos during that time. One of his works was Sa aking mga Kabata, a poem that teaches the love of one’s language. He started his formal education in Ateneo Municipal until he continued in Europe there he joined other propagandists and joined La Solidaridad that writes expositions and discontentment of Filipinos in Philippine society. He used pen names such as Dimas Alang and Laong Laan to hide his identity, until the time that he went back to the Philippines where he founded La Liga Filipina. On July 6,1892 Rizal was secretly arrested because he was considered dangerous by the Spanish authorities and deported to Dapitan. The Liga continues through the support of its members until the time that they get tired of paying their dues. His four years staying in Dapitan was dedicated to helping the less fortunate and teaching young boys until he asked permission from the governor-general to be a volunteer doctor in Cuba. The request was permitted but before the ship docked in Barcelona, he was arrested for the charge of treason and returned to the Philippines. He was sentenced to die by firing squad on December 30, 1896.

Graciano Lopez-Jaena

He was born in Jaro, Iloilo on December 17, 1856. The first editor in chief of the La Solidaridad which he founded in 1889, a newspaper published to expose the true condition of the Philippines. It is also a credit to him for the initiative to create a reform movement. He wrote the Fray Botod or Fat Friars, a novel about friars which he described as a big bellied man, abusive, immoral and selfish. He enrolled in University of Valencia and took up medicine and transferred to Madrid. He is one of the greatest Filipino orators, one of his greatest triumphs in this field happened in Madrid in 1882 during the International Congress of Commercial Geography. He suffered from tuberculosis and died on January 20, 1895 in Barcelona, Spain.

He founded The La Solidaridad on January 1,1889, but its first publication was on February 15, 1889. It was a newspaper that was published to expose the sentiments of the Philippines against the Spanish colonial government. The Propagandists used pen names to hide their identities, Rizal hid under the names Dimas Alang and Laong Laan, Mariano Ponce used Tikbalang, Naning and Kalipulako, Antonio Luna was Taga-Ilog, Plaridel was the pen name of Marcelo H. del Pilar and Jose Ma. Panganiban wrote under the name Jomapa. This became successful in its goal to expose the evils in Philippine society but ended its existence because of the lack of funds and disunity among its members.

Marcelo H. Del Pilar

He was born in Bulakan, Bulacan on August 30, 1850, of Julian H. Del Pilar a Filipino poet whom he inherited his love for arts and Elasa Gatmaitan. The political analyst became the second editor in chief of La Solidaridad, his pen name was Plaridel. The founder of Diariong Tagalog, a nationalistic newspaper that publishes the sentiments of Filipinos. It became influential since it can easily be understood by the natives. One of his works was Caiingat kayo, a manuscript that defended Rizal from the friars. He also wrote Dasalan at Tocsohan which criticizes the prayer of Our Lady and Hail Mary. He died on July 4, 1896b because of Tuberculosis.

Filipino propagandists founded organizations to collaborate and help each other achieve their goals which was to open the eyes of the Spaniards in the true situation of the Philippines. At first they worked individually until they realized that it is more advantageous if they gather together and combine all their resources and efforts to have a bigger voice and influence.

The Circulo-Hispano Filipino Association

The reformists movement consisting of Spanish and Filipino in Madrid founded in 1882 that aimed for social reform from the Spanish government in the Philippines. Prominent members were Miguel Morayta, professor of History in Madrid and Felipe de la Corte an author. Morayta became the president. For the propaganda to become successful the movement was divided into three sections. The political section was under Marcelo H. Del Pilar, the literary was headed by Mariano Ponce and the sports was under the leadership of Tomas Arejola. The joint campaign of the organization resulted in passing laws and petitions in the Spanish Cortez that are good for the interests of Filipinos and made a representation through Emilio Junoy on February 21, 1895.  The existence of the movement ended when it was discouraged by the Minister to fight for its aim.

The La Liga Filipina

A civic society founded by Dr. Jose P. Rizal on the night of July 3, 1892 at the house of Doroteo Ongjunco in Tondo Manila. The group aimed to directly involve the people to seek reform, also to unify the archipelago for mutual protection of law, defense against violence and injustice, and reforms needed for the society. After days of its foundation Rizal was exiled to Dapitan and because of the conflicts of its members it split up into two groups. At first it was active until the members got tired of paying their dues.        

List of Activities

Synchronous Activities

Activity 1: Create and Write

Description: You are going to create your own graphic organizer to discuss the topic.


1. Choose a topic that you wanted to discuss with your classmates.

     a. Factors that led to Filipino Nationalism

     b. Propaganda Movement

2. Find a partner (can be your seatmate) to discuss your work with each other.

3. Synthesize your work by making another graphic organizer.


Activity 2: Reporting

Description: Divide the students into two groups. One group will research on the aspirations of the Propaganda Movement, while the other group will research on that of the Katipunan in the formation of Philippine Nationalism. They should analyze what inspired these groups and their perspectives in achieving Filipino Nationalism.

The two groups will report their findings, and compare the approach of the Propaganda Movement and the Katipunan. They should also answer the question: if they were alive during the time of the Spanish Occupation, which approach will they adhere to?


Asynchronous Activities

Activity 1: Reflection

Description: The student will write a 300-500  essay that discusses how liberalism affected the rise of Philippine nationalism. The essay should also include the student’s reflection on whether and how these kinds of ideas affect our way of thinking today.


Self-Paced Learning (Optional Activities)

Activity 1: Desk Research


  1. Answer, what event in Philippine history do you think was the greatest catalyst or factor in the rise of Filipino Nationalism? Why?
  2. Aside from what we had discussed, research about the life of other Filipino Propagandists.


Note to teacher: This can support students’ development of research skills. Preferably done asynchronously to give students enough time to conduct desk research.



Self-Evaluation Form (Part 2)

Answer the following questions.


  1. Do you agree with what Andres Bonifacio has said that nationalism is the highest and purest kind of love?  


| Rubric for Discussions

Excellent Above Average Developing Needs Improvement

The central theme/idea/argument of the student’s output is focused and supported by evidence which indicates mastery of the content.


The flow of the discussion of the central theme/idea/theme is coherent.


The form and presentation of the central theme/idea is clear, persuasive, polite, and easy to understand.

| Rubric for Written Outputs

Excellent Above Average Developing Needs Improvement

The central theme/idea of the paper is focused and supported by evidence which indicates mastery of the content.


The flow of the discussion of the central theme/idea is coherent.


The form and presentation of the central theme/idea is clear and easy to understand..

| Rubric for Creative Outputs

Excellent Above Average Developing Needs Improvement

The artwork clearly presents information, ideas, and/or theme on topic which demonstrates understanding and mastery of the content.


The artwork is meaningful and elicits understanding on the subject.


| Learning Resources

Abueva, J. (1998). Tracking the Nation. Public Policy, 2(2), 83.

Cabañero, M. (2021, January 12). THE RISE OF PHILIPPINE NATIONALISM. [Video]. YouTube.

Manalo, A.R. (2022, February 6). Ilustrado, Revolutionaries or Accomplices of the Spanish Empire: The Contested Influence of Filipino Ilustrados on Philippine National Independence (1872-1898). The Journal of Contemporary Asian Studies. 

One News PH. (2019, August 5). Filipinos lack sense of nationalism – pol analyst. [Video]. YouTube. 

| References

Agoncillo, Teodoro A & Alfonso, Oscar M. (1969). History of the Filipino people, by Teodoro A. Agoncillo and Oscar M. Alfonso. Quezon City, : Malaya Books. 

Aguilar, F. V. (2005). Tracing origins: Ilustrado nationalism and the racial science of migration waves. The Journal of Asian Studies, 64(3), 605-637.

Ball, T., Minogue, K., Dagger, R. & Girvetz, H. (2023, September 14). liberalism. Encyclopedia Britannica.

Gabuat, M.A., Mercado, M., & Jose, M.D. (2016). Pilipinas Bilang Isang Bansa. Vibal Group.

Jandoc, K. R. L. (2012). La Liga Filipina: Rizal and institutional change. Philippine Review of Economics, 48(2), 151-182.

Julian, A., & Lontoc, N. (2018). Bagong Lakbay ng Lahing Pilipino. Phoenix Publishing House, Inc.

Kohn, H. (2020, November 28). Nationalism. Encyclopedia Britannica. 

Majul, C. A. (1977). Principales, ilustrados, intellectuals, and the original concept of Filipino national community. Asian Studies, 15.

Movement. 2023. In Retrieved July 26, 2023, from 

Nationalism. 2023. In Retrieved July 26, 2023, from

Propaganda. 2023.  In Retrieved July 26, 2023, from 

Palu-ay, A. (2006). Makabayan Kasaysayang Pilipino. LG&M.

Shouse, M. D. (2010). Foreign occupation and the development of Filipino nationalism (Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri–Columbia).