By Ed Aurelio C. Reyes

Kamalaysayan Writers and Speakers

(March 1996)

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ATIPUNAN SPIRITUALITY, as reflected in such codes of ethics as the Kartilya and Dekalogo , has gradually become known to the people, thanks to the continuing spread of popular knowledge and adoption of the Kartilya during this period of Katipunan centennials. But there was another unmistakable indication of such spirituality in the choice of setting for the Katipunan's first cry for Philippine independence.

No, this is not the August 1896 event at Balintawak which some historians are still debating as to the exact date and exact site within the wide Balintawak area. The KKK's first cry for freedom actually came more than a year earlier, specifically on Good Friday (April) of 1895, in the Pamitinan cave of Mt. Tapusi in the Montalban Mountains. They even wrote their slogan for independence and signed it with their names, using charcoal. The place chosen was the cave of the imprisoned King of the Tagalogs, who, according to ages-old legend, was purifying himself in preparing to lead the people to their redemption from oppression. By the time of Bonifacio, that legendary figure had come to be called "Bernardo Carpio."

Highlighting such a character from our own folklore was spiritual enough an act for the Katipunan, which we have come to regard only as a brave and angry bunch of firebrands that raised bolos against centuries of Spanish rule. But choosing that particular folkloric character who was said to be undergoing self-purification as preparation for leadership in a liberative process was an unmistakable spiritual message to the Katipuneros and the people.

The time chosen was Good Friday, which, as we all know, is focused on the purity of the offering of Christ which led to His resurrection and our redemption. Bonifacio's message to the Katipuneros, apparently, was that they should be ready to face much sufferings if the Katipunan was to play the role of redeemer of the people from their centuries-old yoke.

Bonifacio had profound messages right there and very few people realize it.  Why? Because few people know that any such event took place at all.  And few of our people now know about the legend of Bernardo Carpio.  History books are only focused the Katipunan's alleged discovery by a certain Fr. Gil, of the Cry in August 1896, and of Bonifacio's entrapment and elimination in Cavite.  If their entry into that cave is ever mentioned, it is only in search of a "good hiding place" for themselves and their weapons.

Employees of the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA-JP) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, produced a unique pasyon  for this year's observation of the Lenten season. Penned by this writer as a NASSA-JP editor and consultant, it is titled Isang Pasyon: Pagsunod ni Andres sa Landas ni Hesus.  In our annual retreat held last March at the Lagawe Clergy House in Ifugao, we dramatized this pasyon, and drew a more profound realization of the spirituality of the Katipunan from the messages of Pamitinan and other little-known events of a hundred years ago. 

This week, Holy Week in the Centennial Year of the Philippine Revolution, this column enjoins readers to include in their prayers and ponderings the matter of Katipunan spirituality.

(Kamalaysayan Media Service)



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