Philippine Revolution and Spanish Colonization 1896-1898

For more than 300 years, the Philippines was under the Spanish government. The colonialization began when a Portuguese under Spanish sponsorship after he renounced his portages citizenship, Ferdinand Magellan came to the Philippines in 1521 and claimed the islands as a colony for the Spanish Empire. This long colonialization that was full of mistreatment, discrimination, and abuse for Filipino people ended until Philippine Revolution happened. The Philippine Revolution during the Spanish Colonialization in 1896 to 1898 exposed the corruption and weakness of Spanish admiration however, this revolution, failed to oust the Spaniards from the Philippine islands.

The execution of GOMBURZA- Father Mariano Gómez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, the three Catholic priests in February 17, 1872, due to alleged sedition and treason by the Spanish military tribunal, fueled the revolutionary heart of prominent Philippine reformist and revolutionist Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio to fight for Philippine independence from Spanish regime.

The “Cry of Pugad Lawin” on August 23, 1896, was the start of the Philippine Revolution. Members of KKK “Kataas-taasan Kagalang-galang na Katipunan nang mga Anak ng Bayan”, a secret revolutionary society, founded in July 1892, led by Andres Bonifacio tore up their cedulas, which were considered as an identification receipt issued for payment of taxes under the Spanish government, as a symbol of their renouncement and determination to free Filipino People against Spaniards.


The Spaniards introduced Christianity and succeeded in converting the majority of Filipinos. At least 83% of the total population belongs to the Roman Catholic. In the contrary, the priest abuses were one of the problems during the Spanish occupation, this can be inferred from Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, and this injustice was part of the reason the Philippine revolution sparked.


Opening doors to World Trade and foreign Investment In 1834, Spain opened the Philippines to world trade. This meant that the goods from the Philippines could be shipped to any country abroad. And the other goods could be entering the Philippines directly. The new policy improved the Philippine economy. However, Filipino was forced to do labor also known as Polo Y Servicio, it was compulsory labor imposed by the Spanish colonial authorities on adult Filipino males. And if an Indio can’t pay imposed taxes, there could be a possibility that Indo will no longer have the opportunity to return to his family.


During the Spanish Colonialization, there were five social classes that Dr. Jose Rizal found unacceptable that also fuels the Philippine revolution, This was: Peninsulares, the highest among five classes, that consists of Spaniards who were born in Spain and took roles in the Philippines; Insulares, these were the Spaniards born in the Philippines who took an important position in the Spanish government in the Philippines; Mestizos, Filipinos of mixed indigenous Filipino (Austronesian/ Malay/ Malayo-Polynesian) or European or Chinese ancestry; Indios, these were pure Filipino; At last Chinese, these people were considered as the least in social classes. In Noli Me Tangere, a novel written by Dr. Rizal, social classes during the Spanish regime were clearly mirrored in every chapter of his novel. The effects of colonization on the native populations in the New World were mistreatment of the natives, harsh labor for them, and new ideas about religion for the Spaniards. The Philippine Revolution brought great social changes in terms of freedom of expression, information, and opportunities to Pilipino society.


Spain established a centralized colonial government in the Philippines that was composed of a national government and the local governments that administered provinces, cities, towns, and municipalities. This kind of government was seen by Rizal as another problem in the Philippines that needed reformation due to centralized power and Spaniards used this a privilege to abuse the Filipino people.


The injustices in the Philippines during the Spanish Colonial Era for more than 3 centuries sparked the heart of Filipino heroes Dr. Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and more to seek for reformation and to fight for the country’s freedom against the Spanish regime. The death of GOMBURZA played an important event on awakening anger and resentment for Filipinos to revolt for the mistreatment and dirt in the Philippine justice system. Spanish contributed to the great change of the Philippines' culture, beliefs, religion, economic, social, and political. However, this great change will never cover the abuses to the Filipino people that fueled Philippine Revolution in 1896 and ended the Spanish administration in 1898.


Abuse of power and abuse on Filipino people by the Spanish administration, adding the public execution of GOMBURZA fueled the patriotic heart of Philippine heroes to free our country against the abusive Spaniards. The Philippine revolution taught Filipinos to speak up, to be the voice, and amplify voices if there is an injustice that is happening. If Filipino is really seeking for a responsible government and nation, that is strong enough to fight for invaders, abusers, and manipulative countries, we have to be strong as an individual and as a nation, regardless of the after-effects. We, Filipinos, shall not waste the sacrifices of our heroes in the past centuries, let us be the heroes of this present century.


  1. Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2020, May 28). Philippine Revolution. Encyclopedia Britannica.
  2. PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM AND LIBRARY. (n.d.). The Martyrdom of GomBurZa. Www.Malacanang.Gov.Ph. [Retrieved 2021, February 24]
  3. Rizal, J. (1887) Noli Me Tangere
  4. HISTORY.COM EDITORS. (2009, October 29). Ferdinand Magellan. History.Com. [Retrieved 2021, February 24]
  5. Churchill, B. R.
07 July 2022
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