Hermano Pule, 26 Yrs Old
(1815-1841) was born Apolinario de la Cruz in barrio Pandác, Lucbán, Tayabas (now Quezon), but is better known as Hermano Pule. He led the first major revolt in the Philippines, based on a struggle for religious freedom and independence.
As an infant, Apolinario wanted to become a priest. At the age of 24 in 1839, he attempted to enter a prestigious monastic order in Manila. He was refused because he was considered of a lower social class, an ‘indio’ (native and indigent). Frustrated, he worked in the San Juan de Dios Hospital. During his spare time, he studied the Bible and other religious material. He also listened to church sermons, thus developing his own racially-inspired versions of theology.
In June 1840, without permission of the Holy Father, he founded the Cofradia de San José (Confraternity of St. Joseph) which excluded all Caucasians. The brotherhood fostered a practice of Christian virtues, while excluding brothers and sisters of other races. When Spanish religious authorities became aware of the creation of the organization, it was condemned as heresy and against the teaching of Christ of brotherly love. The brotherhood’s number grew despite its proscription by the Catholic Church.
Authorities, including (Spanish)Governor-General Marcelino Oraa and Roman Catholic Archbishop Jose Segui, regarded the Cofradia as heresy and an abomination of universal Christian values, ordering its dissolution. Despite its religious prohibition, the Cofradia continued to multiply in its numbers.
Feeling an attack on their religious freedom from Catholic authorities, Pule rallied 4,000 followers at Barrio Isabang on the slope of Mount Banahaw and was able to resist an attack by Alcalde-mayor Juan Ortega and his 300 men on October 23, 1841.
However, reinforcements came on November 1st, with Colonel Joaquin Huet who annihilated the Cofradia forces, allegedly massacring hundreds of old men, women and children who joined Pule in Alitao in defying the Catholic leaders of the Church.
Pule fled to Barrio Ibanga but was captured by authorities the following evening, and on November 4, 1841 he was executed by a firing squad at the town of Tayabas.