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Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Longest Uprising In Philippine History


Can someone imagine an uprising raging on for 85 years? In the Philippines’ history of resistance against Spanish colonialism, one rebellion actually broke that yardstick it is the Dagohoy Rebellion.

Dagohoy Rebellion, Philippine History
Image: Benjie Layug
Led by the young revolutionary leader Francisco Dagohoy, the Dagohoy rebellion – which took place in Bohol – was ignited by the varied forms of colonial oppression buttressed by Spaniards, ranging from “excessive” and unjust tax collections to forced labor, from the system of bandala (an arrangement where farmers were required to sell their crops to the government) to payment of tributes. It was the culmination of shared resistance to these forms of Spanish colonial oppression.


However, for Dagohoy, the fuse of revolution was lit by a personal tragedy. Dagohoy’s brother, a constable named Sagarino, perished while in a hot pursuit of a fugitive who refused to embrace Christianity. However, the payback to that service from Father Gaspar Morales, a Jesuit priest, was an adamant refusal to confer a Christian burial to the young revolutionary’s brother.

Francisco Dagohoy, Philippine History
Image: Bohol Island News
The priest’s decision stemmed from his assertion that Sagarino “died in a duel” and did not receive any last rites of sacrament (extreme unction). Furthermore, according to Project Gutenberg, “… giving him a Christian burial was contrary to religious practices at that time. What complicated the situation was the order of the priest to expose the rotting corpse for about three days in front of Inabanga Church. It is also possible, however, that since the priest refused to grant the request, Dagohoy decided to place the corpse there to force the priest to change his mind.” Dagohoy was left with no other choice but to bury his brother without the benefit of a Catholic burial.


Father’s Morales was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. The uprising had been ignited. Dagohoy, a cabeza de barangay (or barangay captain, in today’s parlance) of Inabanga, called to arms his fellow Boholanos, and his compatriots responded with a resolute decision. In the process of this rebellion against Spanish colonialists, Dagohoy started to do away with the stipulated payment of tributes and refused to render his forced labor. Eventually, he enjoined his relatives, friends, and the town’s other residents in this fierce resistance against foreign oppression.

Francisco Dagohoy, Philippine History
Image: PDF Slide Net
Dagohoy’s first act of rebellion occurred in 1744, with the murder of Father Giuseppe Lamberti, an Italian Jesuit curate of Jagna. Later on, Dagohoy had killed Father Morales himself. Cebu’s Bishop Miguel Lino de Espeleta, a religious figure who “exercised ecclesiastical authority over Bohol, engaged in a futile effort to pacify the Boholanos. The whole province was swept into Dagohoy’s revolutionary fervor, with 3,000 Boholanos responding to his call of defiance against colonial rule. (Their number would swell to 20,000.)

Dagohoy successfully vanquished Spanish forces in battalions, outlasting several Spanish Governor-Generals and “missions” dispatched to end the uprising. On April 1828, however, under Governor-General Mariano Ricafort’s watch, the Spaniards sent its “strongest” expedition to Bohol. With an unholy combination of Spanish and native Cebuano troops, the colonialists sought to end Dagohoy’s ferocious resistance.

By August 31, 1829, the Dagohoy rebellion formally ended. But even after his death, Dagohoy’s legacy continued to waft across his comrades – the resplendent legacy of resistance against Spanish colonialism, which spanned for almost 85 long years.

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