On August 21 - 23, 1996, the Philippine Centennial Commission sponsored an international conference focusing on the theme: "The Philippine Revolution and Beyond." In the conference, held at the Manila Hotel, 95 papers on the 1896 Philippine Revolution were presented.

The following are abstracts of papers presented in the said international conference:

Dr. Jose Rizal and the Concept of the State

David S. Bell
Eastern Washington University
Cheney, Washington, USA

Nationalistics stirrings, fanned by colonial injustices, racial degradation and discrimination, particularly in clerical appointments, flagrant agrarian exploitation by the religious orders, resulted in numerous regional uprisings against the Spanish colonial administration. The most important revolts were those in Bohol, Pangasinan, and Ilocos in the 1740s and 1760s, respectively. Subsequently, economic changes such as cash crop cultivation for exportation, the opening of Manila to foreign traders and the completion of Suez Canal fostered an indigenous agricultural elite. Contacts between the Filipino enterpreneurial elite - the illustrados and the foreign merchants - produced an awareness and acceptance of new liberal ideas and a yearning by the members of the illustrado to further their education overseas and experience the outside world. The termination of liberal policies in 1872, together with the reimposition of repressive policies under the new reactionary governor general, served as an impetus for illustrado emigration. Numerous young Filipinos left for education in Europe and among those was Jose Rizal, a scholarly, articulate moderate from a middle-class Catholic family in Calamba. Deeply distressed by rampant clerical economic oppression, religious bigotry and neglect of the Filipinos, Rizal, before he left for Spain, penned poem to his peers exhorting them to work for their motherland - the Philippines.

While in Spain, Rizal and his colleagues, the propagandists, wrote numerous articles in La Solidaridad in which they addressed the injustices of the colonial administration. The objective was to raise the national spirit and restore the dignity of their countrymen. They were not advocates of revolution; rather they sought reforms within the existing order. In his famous novel, Noli Me Tangere (1887), Rizal argues for the government to correct the abuses. In his second novel, El Filibusterismo (1891), a disillusioned and bitter Rizal has his hero advocate total freedom for the Filipinos. He recognized that the Filipinos were not ready for revolution, and upon his return to the motherland, Rizal founded the La Liga Filipina - a civic organization.

From this organization whose objective was to unite the Philippines into one, we can discern the outlines of his concept of the state. Due to his subsequent arrest and deportation to Dapitan on Mindanao, Rizal's formulations were not realized. The moderate leadership La Liga Filipina was replaced by a militant organization, the Katipunan. The colonial administration accused him of sedition. He was tried and executed on 30 December 1896.

Dr. Jose Rizal was the inspirational fount for the revolutionary movement and his martyrdom moved his successors to focus on violence and armed revolt to achieved freedom and independence for the Philippines.

The 1896 Philippine Revolution: Harbinger of Awakening in Asia

Xiamen University
Xiamen, The People's Republic of China

There were tides of national democratic revolution during the period from the end of the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century in Asia. In the view of historians, it was an "awakening in Asia." Filipinos played the part of brave pioneers in the revolution. The 1896 Philippine Revolution was the first national democratic revolution in Asia. The Malolos Constitution was the first republican constitution in Asia.

Unlike constitutional monarchies and peasant rebellions presented in other Asian countries, the 1896 Philippine Revolution was a real revolutionary movement. The theory of revolution founded by Locke, Rousseau, and other Western philosophers were accepted by Del Pilar, Rizal, and other Europeanized Filipino intellectuals. When the Enlightenment ideas imbibed by Rizal and others finally became translated into a mass movement, a climax of revolution was in the offing. Other Asian countries had never before undergone such a great revolution as the 1896 Philippine Revolution.

The Philippine Revolution exerted a tremendous influence on Asian countries. In China, Chinese revolutionists led by Sun Yat-sen saw the bright future of Asia from the Philippine Revolution. They were inspired by it and drew a lesson from it. Chinese and Philippine revolutionists supported each other. Chinese progressive public opinion set a high value on the Philippine Revolution. In Indonesia, its national independence movement at the beginning of the twentieth century was affected by the Philippine Revolution. Although some Asian countries were directly affected by it, revolutionary ideas and the democratic system presented in the Philippine Revolution had actually influenced them. The course, from colonialism to independence, from tradition to modernization in Asia, was headed by the 1896 Philippine Revolution.

The Philippine Revolution in Our Collective Memory

Onofre D. Corpuz
National Historical Institute
Manila, Philippines

Summary of Contents:

1. The Revolution in our collective memory.

2. The "Katipunan Revolution" doomed to lose in Manila. The Katipunan abolished, July 1898, and revived, November 1899, to support guerilla warfare in the Christian Filipino-American War.

3. Agrarian society, not Manila, the base of the Revolution. The Struggle becomes the Filipino Revolution.

4. The enemy military forces. Biyak na Bato: Aguinaldo assumes overall leadership of the Revolution. The Spaniards decide to seek a truce, October 1897. The Provisional Republic, November 1897. The Hong Kong Junta repudiates truce of Biyak-na-Bato, February 1898. The recovery of Luzon, June-October 1898. Independence proclaimed, June 12, 1898. The Revolution in the Visayas, April-December 1898.

5. The army of liberation of Filipinas. The Filipino besiege Manila, June- August 1898. The Spaniards surrender Manila to the Americans, August 1898. Aguinaldo announces victory in the Revolution against Spain, September 1898. The Constitution, the Filipino Republic, January 1899.

6. McKinley sets collision course with the Revolution, May 19, 1898. Filipinos encouraged by American consuls. The balance of power system invites American take-over of the Philippines. Why the Revolution could not take Manila. U.S. Army troops in Manila. Tension between Filipinos and Americans. Aguinaldo's options. The Paris Peace Treaty negotiations.

7. McKinley Instructions, December 21, 1898, provoke conflict. Aguinaldo announces rupture with the United States, January 5, 1899. The American begins the new war, February 4, 1899. The Filipino Revolution flows into the Christian Filipino-American War, 1899-1906.

Landed Estates in the Colonial Philippines and Mexico: A Comparison

Nicholas P.Cushner
State University of New York
Buffalo, New York, USA

The institution of the large landed estate appeared throughout the Spanish Empire. The origin, development, and social effects of the estate in the Philippines and Mexico are compared. The geographic extension of effective Spanish rule, the presence of an urban population with the need for regular food supplies, the willingness to engage in large-scale farming, and a steady labor supply are points of comparison. In the Philippines, the Revolution of 1896 resulted in the large estate evolving for the most part into a system of tenant farming. In Mexico, the peasant farmer waited until 1910 for the beginning of land reform.

Principales y Conquistadores: Why It Took the Filipinos Too Long to End Spanish Domination in the Philippines

Luis C. Dery
De La Salle University
Manila, Philippines

The Spaniards, from 1571 to 1896 when the Philippine Revolution broke out, numbered only a few thousands yet they ruled the millions of Philippine inhabitants for more than three hundred years. The popular view is that this long duration of Spanish domination was due to Spanish military superiority and the invaluable role played by the friar missionaries. This paper revises this traditional view and highlights the role played by native principal families who served and sustained the Spanish colonial system in the country.

The historical importance of these native principal families is oftentimes neglected, especially in the relation to the establishment and maintenance of Spanish rule in the Philippines. Who these families were and what roles they performed in the Spanish conquest and Christianization of the Philippines and in the suppression of rebellions that challenged Spanish rule shall be the focus of this paper. In this paper, the writer also raises the question of why the Philippine Revolution happened only in 1896 whereas the South American colonies of Spain had already cast off the colonial yoke since 1820.

We have presented only 5 out of 95 abstracts.

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Source: National Commission for Culture & the Arts

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