Author: Jazzy Buela, MBA

In the 17th century, insurrections against the Spanish regime were organized in different parts of the country.  These uprisings stemmed from various issues –  agricultural land problems, unjust taxation, forced labor and religious freedom. One example of such an insurrection was the Cavite Mutiny (1872), led by dissatisfied workers of the Cavite Arsenal. This mutiny, amplified by the secularization issue, led to the arrest and execution of the GOMBURZA, Filipino priests Mariano Gómes, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora. Historians claim that these series of events ignited the flame of nationalism among Filipinos. 

At this point, a new social class emerged in the Philippines.  The Ilustrados were middle to upper class Filipinos who studied and lived in Europe and thus were exposed to liberal ideas (Manalo, 2022). Filipinos who were well-off sent their children to Europe to have the best education and liberal ideas which could never be offered in our country. Initially, these Filipinos advocated for changes in the way the Spanish governed the Philippines through peaceful means called the Propaganda Movement. They called for reforms such as provision of human rights, education, representation at the Spanish Cortes and the incorporation of the Philippines as a province of Spain. However, these diplomatic efforts collapsed when Dr. Jose Rizal was arrested and exiled in Dapitan.  This caused the La Liga Filipina, another secret organization, to collapse, leading Andres Bonifacio to establish a group that sought freedom against Spain through revolutionary means.

This module introduces the Katipunan or KKK and its significance to the Philippines. The KKK, which was a secret revolutionary society, played a crucial role in the country’s fight for independence from Spanish colonial rule. This module explores the origins, key members, and impact of the KKK during this pivotal period in history.

The principles of the Katipunan, encompassing political liberation, moral upliftment, and civic engagement, deeply resonated with Filipinos, fostering unity in their pursuit of freedom. Within this module, the sacrifices and bravery of individuals who courageously paved the way toward a free and sovereign Philippines are brought to light.

| Most Essential Learning Competencies 

  • Examine the reasons for and the sequence of events that led to:
    • The Philippine Revolution;
    • The Cry of Pugad Lawin;
    • The Tejeros Convention; and
    • The Treaty of Biak-na- Bato,
  • Discuss the Participation of Women in the Philippine Revolution; and
  • Recognise the significance of and understand the events that led to the declaration of independence of the Philippines and the establishment of the First Republic.

| Content Standards

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

  • The factors that led to the rise of Philippine Revolution;
  • Understand the importance of the participation of women in the Philippine revolution; and 
  • Identify and discuss the significance of the events that contributed to the Philippine’s declaration of independence and sovereignty.

| 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 do you think is the significance of the Philippine Revolution in our history?
  2. What do you think are salient factors that led to the way our government is now?

Lesson 1: The Katipunan

Lesson Objectives

At the end of the lesson, the student is able to:

  • Understand the reason behind the Cry of Pugad Lawin and its significance in the Philippine Revolution, including the historical context and motivations of the revolutionaries.
  • Analyze the symbolic meaning of Andres Bonifacio’s act of tearing the cedula as a representation of resistance against Spanish oppression and the desire for independence.
  • Explore and explain how the Philippine Revolution spread to different parts of the world, examining the role of Filipino expatriates, publications, and global solidarity in raising awareness and support.

 Lesson Overview

The Katipunan, also referred to by its short name KKK or “Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng̃ mg̃á Anak ng̃ Bayan,” in full was a secret society established on July 7, 1892 in Manila. Its primary objective was to liberate the Philippines from Spanish rule through a revolution. 

The secret Society’s members were known as Katipuneros, and individuals aspiring to join had to undergo a rigorous initiation process before attaining official membership. Initially, only males were permitted to join the society; however, females were also welcomed into its ranks later on. When translated into English, the name “Katipunan” signifies the Supreme and Venerable Society of the Children of the Nation.

According to Agoncillo (1960), there are three main objectives of the Katipunan: political, moral, and civic.

Political. The primary political objective was to gain a total separation of the Philippines from Spanish rule by declaring independence and establishing an autonomous nation.

Moral. The moral objective revolved around the teaching of good manners, hygiene, good morals, and attacking obscurantism, religious fanaticism, and weakness of character. 

Civic. The civic aim revolved around the principle of self-help and the defense of the poor and the oppressed. All members were urged to come to the aid of the sick comrades and their families, and in case of death the society itself was to pay for the funeral expenses.

 Key Concepts

  • KKK – the Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, was an organization established in Manila in 1892 by Filipino nationalists opposed to Spanish rule. Its main objective was to achieve independence from Spain through revolutionary means.
  • Philippine Revolution – was a major rebellion by Filipinos against the Spanish colonial regime. The revolution, inspired by the French Revolution and other revolutions in Europe, led to the creation of the Philippines, whose independence was declared in 1898. 
  • Katipunero/Katipunera – member/follower of Katipunan.
  • Cedula – served as both an identification card and proof of payment for the residence tax during the era of Spanish colonization,  which individuals were required to possess and carry with them at all times.
  • Magdalo – a faction of the Katipunan was a chapter in Cavite, mostly led by Principalias of that province during the Philippine Revolution. It was named after Mary Magdalene, patroness of Kawit, Cavite. It was officially led by Baldomero Aguinaldo, but his cousin Emilio Aguinaldo (whose own Katipunan codename was “Magdalo”) was its most famous leader.

Magdiwang – a chapter of the Katipunan, a Philippine revolutionary organization founded by Filipino rebels in Manila in 1892, with the aim to gain independence from Spain. The Magdiwang Council was acknowledged “as the supreme organ responsible for the successful campaigns against the enemy.  The Magdiwang chapter was started by Mariano Álvarez but more popularly associated with Andres Bonifacio.

The Katipunan

Andres Bonifacio formed a secret group called the KKK or Katipunan. Their goal was to bring all Filipinos together and fight for our country’s freedom from the Spanish regime. 

They believed that by being good and working together as a strong army, Filipinos could achieve independence.

Originally a secret revolutionary society composed exclusively of men, KKK eventually embraced both men and women in their membership. Women played important roles such as hiding confidential KKK documents and joining secret meetings. They cleverly danced, sang, and celebrated whenever there were meetings to avoid suspicion from the Spaniards. But contrary to common misconception, the women of the Katipunan were not relegated to only playing supporting roles but rather were active members of the revolution (X. Chua, personal interview, July 12, 2023).

When in assembly, they had a safe place to gather at Tandang Sora’s house. She took care of the injured members and became known as the “Mother of the Revolution” in our history.


| The Women of Katipunan

During the fight to overthrow Spanish rule in the Philippines, Filipino women did not remain on the sidelines. According to Policarpio (1996), Filipinas actively participated in the war, fighting alongside their fathers, brothers, and husbands on the front lines. Some even disguised themselves as men to be able to join the battle. Their involvement defied traditional gender roles and demonstrated their courage and dedication to the cause of liberation. These women were not silent spectators but active contributors, challenging societal expectations and making sacrifices for their nation’s freedom. Their bravery and resilience serve as a testament to the Filipino people’s collective determination during this transformative period in history.

The following are the accounts on women in the revolution according to Policarpio (1996), See (2017), and Foundation for Media Alternatives. (2019).

Melchora Aquino, known as “Mother of Philippine Revolution”, serves as a remarkable role model, defying expectations related to gender as well as age. Recognizing her elderly status, the Katipunan bestowed upon her the codename Tandang Sora (Tandang being a term of respect in Filipino). History primarily recognizes her by this covert identity. Her contributions primarily consisted of material support, providing temporary refuge for the Katipuneros along with provisions such as food and other necessary supplies.

Gregoria Alvarez de Jesus-  known as the “Mother of the Katipunan,” Gregoria was also Andres Bonifacio’s life and revolutionary partner. She safeguarded the Katipunan’s seal and documents, established the women’s chapter, and displayed extraordinary courage and resilience in the face of constant danger during the revolution.

Teresa Magbanua, also known as Nanay Isa, was a Filipino schoolteacher and military leader who earned the title of the “Visayan Joan of Arc.” Despite her husband’s objections, she fearlessly joined the Katipunan when the Philippine revolution erupted. She actively engaged in numerous battles against both the Spanish and American forces, demonstrating exceptional leadership and bravery. In the Visayan region, she stood out as the only woman to lead troops during the revolution, making her a symbol of courage and strength among her fellow Ilonggos.

Agueda Kahabagan,  also known as the Tagalog Joan of Arc, was a remarkable figure during the Philippine revolution. She was the only female general listed in the Katipunan’s roster in 1899. Her bravery in battle against both Spanish and American forces was legendary. She fought under General Miguel Malvar and General Artemio Ricarte, leading troops armed with rifles and machetes. Oral history recounts her fearless horseback maneuvers, leaping over trenches while wielding a gun and dagger. Despite her significant contributions, Kahabagan’s name has unfortunately faded from the memories of modern Filipinos.

Trinidad Tecson, known as the “Mother of Biak na Bato,” played a significant role in the 1895 revolt at the age of 47. She actively supported the rebellion by stealing firearms, providing food, and caring for the wounded Katipuneros. In addition to her contributions as a supporter, she showcased her bravery by engaging in battles at San Ildefonso, San Miguel, and San Jose in Nueva Ecija. Trinidad Tecson served under several notable generals, including the prominent General Emilio Aguinaldo during the Biak-na-Bato period. Her dedication and valor earned her the title of the “Mother of Biak na Bato.


| Cry of Pugad Lawin

Andres Bonifacio called a meeting in Pugad Lawin, where some leaders of the Katipunandecided to launch the revolution in pursuit of  freedom for the Filipinos. In Pugad Lawin, they tore up their cedulas and shouted, “Long live the Philippines!” This important event is called the Cry of Pugad Lawin and marked the beginning of an armed struggle for Philippine independence led by Andres Bonifacio, with Emilio Jacinto as his advisor.

The term “Cry” is linked to the Spanish expression “el grito de rebelion,” which translates to the “cry of rebellion” or simply “el grito.” This bears resemblance to Mexico’s “Grito de Dolores” in 1810. However, “el grito de rebelion” specifically denotes a decision or call to revolt, without necessarily involving shouting, unlike the Filipino term “sigaw.”

Other important events that followed:



Tejeros Convention

The revolt spread throughout the other parts of the country, such as Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog region. The Katipunan had a lot of members; from its establishment with less than 300 members, it rose to 3000 members in January 1896. However, internal conflicts within members resulted in splitting of the Katipunan in Cavite: Magdalo and Magdiwang.

Magdalo, named after the patroness of Kawit Mary Magdalene, led by Baldomero Aguinaldo, Emilio Aguinaldo’s cousin. This group believed that a revolutionary government should be established, replacing the Katipunan.

On the other hand, Magdiwang, led by Mariano Alvarez, believed that the Katipunan should remain the government of the revolutionists because its by-laws and constitution were already recognized.

On March 22, 1897, leaders from two groups in the revolutionary government, Magdiwang and Magdalo, gathered in Tejeros, San Francisco de Malabon. They wanted to talk about the type of government the country needed and make plans to protect themselves. At first, Jacinto Lumbreras was in charge of the meeting to discuss the things to do to defend Cavite but this was not discussed. Instead, the leaders decided to elect the officers for the Revolutionary government. Later, Andres Bonifacio presided over the convention. Before the meeting started, he made the members of the assembly pledge that they would all respect the decision of the majority. 

The results of the election were:

  • President – Emilio Aguinaldo
  • Vice-President – Mariano Trias
  • Captain-General – Artemio Ricarte
  • Director of War – Emiliano Riego de Dios
  • Director of the Interior – Andres Bonifacio

Surprisingly, the Supremo got the lowest position while Aguinaldo got the highest despite not being present during the election. This caused disagreement among the members of the assembly, because for Bonifacio, this was an insult to his reputation as the founder of the Katipunan, that the result was manipulated. In addition, Daniel Tirona, protested against Bonifacio being elected because according to him, an educated person should be the one to handle the position. These had caused disagreement among the members that made Bonifacio declare the result of the election null and void.


| Outcome of the Convention

Despite Emilio Aguinaldo’s absence at the Tejeros Convention, where important elections took place,  he received a notification declaring him as the president of the Revolutionary Government on March 23, 1897. At the time, he remained in Pasong Santol, Dasmariñas, Cavite, to defend the town. After his election despite his absence, his followers urged him to take his oath of office. Aguinaldo, torn between his desire to stay with his troops and fulfill his new role, made the difficult decision to entrust the defense of the town to his brother, Crispulo.

Following this development, Aguinaldo proceeded to Hacienda Tejeros, where the election of government officials took place. The proceedings were presided over by Padre Cenon Villafranca, and Aguinaldo, along with other elected officials, pledged their oath as the new leaders of the revolution. However, it later came to light that Captain-General Artemio Ricarte discovered irregularities in the election, casting doubt on its legitimacy.

In the aftermath of the Tejeros Convention, Andres Bonifacio, who was not present at the assembly, expressed his suspicions about the fairness of the election in a letter to Emilio Jacinto. He believed that the process had been manipulated. In response, Bonifacio and a group of 45 followers convened on March 23, 1897, drafting a significant document which they signed and became known as the Acta de Tejeros (the Tejeros Act). This document outlined their reasons for rejecting the election results, indicating their dissatisfaction with the proceedings.

As tensions escalated, Bonifacio and his supporters relocated to Naic, Cavite, where they penned another crucial document called the Naic Military Agreement. This agreement solidified their rejection of the revolutionary government formed at Hacienda Tejeros.


| The Death of the Bonifacio Brothers

In an interview with public historian Professor Xiao Chua (X. Chua, personal communication, July 12, 2023), he discussed a significant historical document dated March 22, 1948, found in Kawit, Cavite. This document was signed by Emilio Aguinaldo, and it serves as his confession of ordering the execution of Andres Bonifacio, the esteemed leader of the Philippine Revolution. The confession provides evidence that Aguinaldo had ordered the execution of Bonifacio and his brother, Procopio, as recorded in facsimile to select historical books. 

According to the confession, initially, Aguinaldo had intended to exile Bonifacio and his brother instead of resorting to execution. However, he faced pressure from General Mariano Noriel and General Pio del Pilar, which ultimately influenced him to proceed with the execution of the Bonifacio brothers. This document sheds light on a critical chapter in Philippine history and adds to our understanding of the complexities and conflicts within the revolutionary movement during that time.

The Biak-na Bato Republic

Following Emilio Aguinaldo’s establishment of his headquarters in Biak-na-Bato, Bulacan province, the news quickly spread, reinvigorating the spirit of the revolutionaries. General Mariano Llanera in Nueva Ecija pledged his support to Aguinaldo during this time. In July 1897, the Biak-na-Bato Republic was formally established by Aguinaldo, accompanied by a proclamation that presented a list of demands. These demands included the expulsion of the friars and the return of their lands to the Filipinos, representation of the Philippines in the Spanish Cortes, freedom of the press and religion, abolition of the government’s power to banish Filipinos, and equality for all under the law.

To govern the Republic, a charter inspired by the Cuban Constitution was drafted by Felix Ferrer and Isabelo Artacho. It was signed on November 1, 1897. This constitution, known as the Biak-na-Bato Constitution, outlined the formation of a Supreme Council as the highest governing body of the Republic. It also enshrined fundamental human rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and the right to education. Aguinaldo was elected as the President of the Supreme Council, with Mariano Trias serving as the Vice President.

| The Pact of Biak-na-Bato

The Pact of Biak-na-Bato, signed on December 14, 1897, marked a temporary truce between Spanish colonial Governor-General Fernando Primo de Rivera and revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo. Under the agreement, Aguinaldo and his fellow revolutionaries agreed to exile themselves in Hong Kong in exchange for amnesty and cash indemnities totaling 800,000 pesos. The Supreme Council, headed by Emilio Aguinaldo as President and Mariano Trias as Vice President, oversaw the implementation of the pact, with other officials appointed for Foreign Affairs, Interior, Treasury, and War (Agoncillo, 1990). However, despite the pact, numerous Katipuneros, mainly peasants and workers, continued to resist Spanish rule and fight for a sovereign nation. They were not willing to settle for mere indemnities and remained committed to the revolution.

The pact’s provisions included Aguinaldo and his companions going into voluntary exile abroad, and Governor-General Primo de Rivera paying 800,000 pesos in three installments, with conditions related to the surrender of arms and thanksgiving for the restoration of peace Additional compensation was also promised to non-combatant Filipino families affected by the armed conflict. 

In addition, Agoncillo (1990) stated that despite the pact, the revolution continued as not all revolutionaries complied, and armed conflicts resumed in various provinces.  Many revolutionaries, including Aguinaldo, believed that Spain had reneged on their promises, leading them to purchase more arms and ammunition in preparation for further resistance.

Furthermore, Aguinaldo (1899) himself mentioned that the failure of the Spanish authorities to fulfill the terms of the treaty, along with the denial of the revolutionaries’ right to return to Manila, caused frustration and anger among Aguinaldo and his companions. 

Below is a timeline of relevant events:

List of Activities

| Synchronous Activities

Activity 1: Stepping into History’s Shoes

Description: The students will think of questions they want to ask figures from the Philippine Revolution. Each student will think of 1-2 questions and write it on a piece of paper. These questions will be put together in a jar and randomized. Later, each student will be given a chance to select a question/s from the jar and answer it based on their own ability or knowledge. Classmates can also add their own answers, with explanation. 


Activity 2: Smaller Circles

Description: Reflect on the context of the Magdalo and Magdiwang Factions. How do you think they are different, or the same? Fill in this Venn Diagram on the two factions, and discuss your answers.

Activity 3: Unfolding of Events

Description: What happened to the Katipunan before, during and after the Tejeros Convention? Write your answer in the pentagons. 

Explain how you think the Tejeros Convention made an impact on the Philippine Revolution. 


Activity 4: Complete the Chart 

Description: Plot details about the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, and answer the questions below:

  1. What were the provisions stated in the Pact of Biak na Bato?
  2. Did Aguinaldo and Primo de Rivera comply with the provisions stated? Why?
  3. Think of a situation when someone failed to fulfill the promise made to you. How did you feel? What did you do?


| Asynchronous Activities

Activity 1: Reflection

Description: The student will write a 300-500 essay which answers one question from the list below:


  • What was the reason behind the Cry of Pugad Lawin?
  • What does the tearing of the cedula by Andres Bonifacio symbolize?
  • How did the revolution spread to different parts of the Philippines?

| Self-Paced Learning (Optional Activities)

Activity 1: Check-in

Instruction: How well did you understand our lesson? Check the appropriate column.


Topic I understand  I need clarification 
The Philippine Revolution
The Cry of Pugad Lawin
Tejeros Convention
Pact of Biak na Bato


Activity 2: Watch and Learn


Watch the documentary: Maypagasa: Ang Bantayog ni Andres Bonifacio:

Answer the following:

  1. What caused the rift between Aguinaldo’s and Bonifacio’s men?
  2. Why was Bonifacio executed, according to the video?
  3. What was the impact of the death of Bonifacio to the revolution and the entire history of the Philippines?


Self-Evaluation Form (Part 2)

Answer the following questions.

  1. How do you think the events during the Philippine Revolution are impactful today? 
  2. Why do you think it is important to remember the people of the past that fought during the Philippine Revolution?

| 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..


| Learning Resources

Acosta, Z. (2019, February 15). Up for auction at Léon Gallery: Aguinaldo’s “letter” confessing to Bonifacio’s execution. 

Ileto, R. C. (1993). The ‘unfinished revolution’ in Philippine political discourse. Japanese Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 31(1), 62-82.

Malajito, Y. (2018, March 2). Historical proof of Aguinaldo’s betrayal now at Leon Gallery. 


| 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. 

Aguinaldo, E. (1899). True Version of the Philippine Revolution.

Foundation for Media Alternatives (2019). This day in #Herstory: Courageous and strong women of the Katipunan. Foundation for Media Alternatives.

Gripaldo, R. (2009). Bonifacio and Jacinto: Two philosophies of revolution and their sources. Filipino philosophy: Traditional approach, 97-112.

Gripaldo, R. M. (1997). PHILIPPINE REVOLUTION: A PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS 1. Anuaryo/Annales: Journal of History, 16(1), 1-1.

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. 

May, G. A. (2007). Warfare by pulong: Bonifacio, Aguinaldo, and the Philippine revolution against Spain. Philippine Studies, 55(4), 449-477.

Policarpio, P. (1996). The Filipino Women During the Revolution.

See, T. A. (2017, June 3). Strong Filipinas: Heroines of the revolution. Tulay 橋.

Southern New Hampshire University. (2023). HIS 100 – Perspectives in History. 

The Kahimyang Project. (2011, December 14). Today in Philippine History, December 14, 1897, the Pact of Biak-na-Bato was signed.