Sunday, August 03, 2008

THE TONDO CONSPIRACY OF 1587-88


According to the Laguna Copperplate Inscription -- a legal document written in Kawi now housed in the National Museum of the Philippines -- the former region of Tondo has already existed in the year 900 AD; hence, it is over eleven hundred years old. Furthermore, this document claims that Tondo was ruled by a man called Jayadeva who holds the Sanskrit title Senapati or "admiral".

Tondo became so prosperous that around the year 1500 AD, the Kingdom of Brunei attacked it and established the city of Maynila on the opposite bank of Pasig River as the new capital of Luzon Empire. And although the traditional rulers of Tondo, the Lakandula, retained their titles and property, the real political power resided in the House of Soliman, the Radjahs of Manila.

After the Spaniards conquered the Luzon Empire in 1571, Tondo was included in the creation of the Province of Pampanga, which at that time, was the first colonial province carved out of the former empire. Moreover, according to a census conducted by Miguel de Loarca in 1583, the people of Tondo reportedly spoke the same language as that spoken by the natives of the province of Pampanga. Institute of National Language commissioner Jose Villa Panganiban once wrote that the dividing line between Kapampangan and Tagalog was the Pasig River, and that Kapangpangan was therefore originally spoken in Tondo.

Eventually, Tondo became a separate province in the later half of the Spanish colonial era, but there was a major reorganization of political divisions under the Americans; the province of Tondo was dissolved, and its towns given to the provinces of Rizal and Bulacan. Today, Tondo just exists as a district in the City of Manila.


Although Tondo was one of the first provinces to declare rebellion against Spain in 1896, about three hundred years earlier, a group comprised of very prominent Filipinos conspired to overthrow the Spanish rule. It was, however, a failed attempt. Its mastermind was Agustin de Legazpi; nephew of Lakan Dula and son-in-law of the sultan of Brunei. His first cousin was Martin Pangan, who was then the gobernadorcillo of Tondo. It was to be known as the Tondo Conspiracy of 1587-88.

Besides Lakan Dula and Martin Pangan, the other major conspirators were Magat Salamat, son of Lakan Dula and Chief of Tondo; Juan Banal, another Tondo chief and Salamat’s brother-in-law; Geronimo Basi and Gabriel Tuambacar, brothers of Agustin de Legazpi; Pedro Balinguit, chief of Pandacan; Felipe Salonga, chief of Polo; Dionisio Capolo (Kapulong), chief of Candaba and brother of Felipe Salonga; Juan Basi, chief of Taguig; Esteban Taes (Tasi), chief of Bulacan; Felipe Salalila, chief of Misil; Agustin Manuguit, son of Felipe Salalila; Luis Amanicaloa, chief of Tondo; Felipe Amarlangagui, chief of Caranglan; Omaghicon, chief of Navotas and Pitongatan, chief of Tondo.

Augustin de Legazpi had made contact with a Japanese sea captain, Juan Gayo, through a Japanese Christian and interpreter, Dionisio Fernandez, who had also joined the conspiracy. A secret agreement was concluded in which Captain Gayo would supply arms and Japanese warriors to help the Filipino rebellion and recognize Augustin de Legazpi as king of the Philippine kingdom. In reciprocity, Captain Gayo and the Japanese warriors would receive one-half of the tribute to be collected in the Philippines.

There were other secret meetings other than those with the Japanese that had to be concluded before the final plan of the uprising was to become completely enforceable. First, a secret delegation would travel to Borneo to secure combat troops and ships from the Sultan of Brunei. Second, obtain the support and participation of the inhabitants of Laguna and Batangas in this struggle for freedom. Once a full commitment was received from Borneo, Batangas and Laguna, the armed rebellion would begin upon the arrival at the Manila Bay of the Sultan of Brunei’s warships with warriors on board. The conspirators and their armed warriors would then launch a ferocious attack to completely annihilate the Spaniards and then set the city on fire.

It would have been a good plan climaxed by an epic battle had it not been for a turncoat who betrayed the conspiracy and reported it to the Spanish authorities.

On the way to meet with the Sultan of Brunei, Magat Salamat, Juan Banal, and Augustin Manuguit stopped at Cuyo, Calamianes, to meet with its native chief, Sumaclob. The chief was swayed to join the conspiracy and pledge to contribute 2,000 of his men for the cause. However, Magat Salamat made an error in judgment by soliciting the participation of another Cuyo native, Antonio Surabao. Upon learning of the secret plan, Surabao rushed to expose it to his master, Captain Pedro Sarmiento, the Spanish encomendero of Calamianes. And once Salamat, Banal and Manuguit were apprehended, Captain Sarmiento hastily traveled to Manila and informed Governor Santiago de Vera on October 26, 1588 of a brewing conspiracy against Spanish rule.

The governor immediately ordered the arrest of all persons implicated in the revolutionary plot. Everyone was thoroughly investigated, tried in court, and made to suffer cruel punishments. To the Spanish authorities, the conspirators were nothing more than traitors, but to the Filipino people, they were brave liberators — martyrs of a lost cause.

Augustin de Legazpi and Martin Pangan were brutally hanged — their heads cut off and exposed on the gibbet in iron cages; their properties and assets were seized by the Spanish authorities and the sites of their homes plowed and sown with salt so that they would remain barren.

The Japanese Christian interpreter, Dionisio Fernandez was hanged and his property confiscated. Dionisio Capolo (Kapulong), chief of Candaba (Pampanga) was sentenced to exile from his town and made to pay a heavy fine. Governor Santiago de Vera pardoned him. Later he served as a guide and interpreter for two Spanish expeditions to the Igorot country in 1591 and 1594.

The other five leading members of the Tondo Conspiracy were exiled to Mexico — Pedro Balinguit (chief of Pandacan), Pitongatan (chief of Tondo), Felipe Salonga (chief of Polo), Calao (chief of Tondo), and Agustin Manuguit (chief of Tondo). They were the very first Filipinos to reside in Mexico.

It wasn’t until during the late nineteenth-century when another significant conspiracy in Tondo was hatched to overthrow the Spanish regime. However, unlike the Tondo Conspiracy of 1587-88, this time it was the members of Manila’s working class — not the heads of prominent families — who were mainly the mind and force behind it.


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Previously posted as The Brunei Connection (10/20/06)

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Related link:

A Walk To Tondo Church




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I very much appreciate my articles and photos appearing on fellow bloggers' sites, popular broadsheets, and local broadcast news segments, but I would appreciate even more a request for permission first.
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posted by Señor Enrique at 4:33 PM


23 Comments:

Anonymous Mandaragat said...

Galing, Senor! I'm glad there's internet, otherwise I am only confined with Zaide's written materials.

August 03, 2008 8:11 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Glad you appreciate this interesting facet of Manila history, Mandaragat. I might be meeting with a couple of folks from Tondo this week and this may be an interesting topic for discussion over a cup of coffee.

August 04, 2008 7:42 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

WHOA!!! This is very interesting indeed, very intriguing, just love it. I don't know anything about this Copperplate Inscription written in Kawi, with this very detailed line of Tondo rulers & history, love this Eric!

What I have on old Tondo are these, which I will present in bullet form...

# Miguel Lopez Legaspi changed the most populous district of the Philippines from "Tundo" to Tondo.
# "Namayan" was founded three centuries earlier & the name was changed to "Santa Ana de Sapa"
# "Namayan" was composed of villages of Betis, Macabebe, Lubao & Wawa (later named Guagua), people living in these area were called "Capampangan" (meaning "in the same river")
# Tundo was ruled by two old RajahS Lakandula & Matanda, who submitted to Spanish domination under Martin de Goiti.
# In the genealogy of Fernando Malang Balagtas (1503 - 1589) a descendant of a royal family in Borneo, Rajahs Matanda & Lakandula & the father of Rajah Sulayman were first degree cousins.
# The younger Rajah Sulayman (related by marriage to the Sultan of Brunei) King of Maynila & the Pampango revolted in a reverie battle in Bankusay.
# Because of Spanish "encomenda" system forced by the Spaniards on the Tondenos, Magat Salamat, son of Lakandula, together with Martin Pangan (governor of Tundo) led an uprising. Magat Salamat was arrested on his way to Borneo to ask for help, in the island of Camalianes, north of Palawan. Other chieftains were involved in the plot Maghicon (principal of Navotas, Tasi Bassi (principal of Bulacan & Salalila (principal of Maysilo), which were all hanged by the Spaniards.
# The pacification of Tundo, lead the Spaniards to try & capture Maynila. With Rajah Sulayman's resistance & opposition, the Spaniards burned his kingdom.
# 1571, the arrival of Legaspi, which Rajah Sulayman would not welcome him, but with his uncles Rajahs Matanda & Lakandula plea, Rajah Sulayman gave in & conclude a peace pact with the "Adelantado"
# Latter part of 1571, Rajahs Sulayman & Lakandula wentwith Legaspi in Pampanga to serve as "interpreters" in pacification of the place.
# 1574, two years latter after the death of Legaspi Rajahs Sulayman & Lakandula headed a revolt in Maynila.
# The exact date of Rajah Sulayman remain unknown & a topic of controversy among historians. Some presume that Rajah Sulayman lived in the person of Agustin de Legaspi, a leader of Tundo Conspiracy who died in 1588.

Eric, your research is more detailed, with names like "Pitongatan" which I forever wonder where on earth this name of a street in Tondo came from?

For your readers who are interested about Maynila, please see...

http://katonynabanlawkasaysayan.blogspot.com/2008/07/maynila-na-wala-nang-nilad.html

Thank you Eric, this Blog of yours, it proved that a researchers' work is never done. Very interesting that I have to go back to my drawing board.

Take good care Eric,
ka tony

August 04, 2008 1:12 PM  

Blogger nutart said...

You should already have a history book written along with Ka Tony, Eric! This will be a great service to ALL Pinoys! I hope ifever this precious book comes out, that it be substituted to all the inane history books given in the schools around! And that the DECS approve of it with all the principals of ALL schools throughout the nation...without the open secret of placing 10% lagay for them!

I don't know but don't you think with all the Filipino exiles in Mexico at that time---no wonder our cultures are similar to each other?

Thank you so much, Eric, for all the fantastic research!

August 04, 2008 7:55 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Bernadette,

Thank you for the accolade BUT from my understanding, historians or writers of history are almost always proficient with their research efforts and speak a foreign language or two to gain access to documents of old; hence, Ka Tony, with his knowledge of Spanish, makes an ideal historian of our pre and Spanish colonial times. I, on the other hand, am merely a storyteller and derive my material from published works by historians. Therefore, Ka Tony should publish his book on Filipino history soon and fast! This way, I'd have more materials to draw from ... hehehe.

Isn't it something? Pedro Balinguit (chief of Pandacan), Pitongatan (chief of Tondo), Felipe Salonga (chief of Polo), Calao (chief of Tondo), and Agustin Manuguit (chief of Tondo) were the very first Filipinos to reside in Mexico.

August 05, 2008 7:44 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Truth be told, Ka Tony, my material for articles on our local history is mostly derived from published works. On this case, as I had mentioned in its initial posting, my source was "The Philippines -- A Unique Nation" by Sonia M. Zaide.

However, I was to discover later on that many history scholars had questioned the veracity of Zaide's writings.

Nonetheless, I may continue to draw from her book, and as always, invite learned folks like you, Ka Tony, to share with us your insight or opinions. At least, we're creating a setting for a lively discussion of our history. Unfortunately, many local folks are not that savvy or interested in it, Perhaps, our discussions might inspire some to take another look and appreciate our past.

From this short article alone, one of the things that amazed me was the definition of "Capampangan." Thank you for that, as well as for the other significant details that give this blog article added dimension!

August 05, 2008 8:07 AM  

Anonymous jhay said...

Ever since high school, I rarely used Zaide's books. I was told by my mentors and teachers that the history books I should really pay attention to were those by Teodoro Agoncillo, and Renato Constantino.

I sure am glad I followed their advice. :D

August 05, 2008 8:58 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I have one of Agoncillo's books but none yet by Renato Constantino. And now that you've mentioned it I may look for one of his during the upcoming book fair.

Many thanks, Jhay!

August 05, 2008 10:26 AM  

Anonymous mandaragat said...

Another sad part of Philippine history. I wonder why the Catholic Church were silent when it comes to what was happenned back then.

I'm sure there's a lot of materials (intentionally) hidden somewhere in the Manila or Vatican archives.

August 05, 2008 11:43 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I think, Mandaragat, the friars or the church would be the first to be petrified of any sort of native uprising. They have so much wealth to lose if they got thrown out of the archipelago.

Yes, I wouldn't be surprised if the Vatican has many of our relics, too.

August 05, 2008 12:05 PM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric & Bernadette,

First I would like to thank you both for all the kind words. This didn't came from me, I just happen to research and concluded the facts.

It's interesting to know that "Namayan" (Pampanga) one of the oldest settlement in the Philippines, has a lot in common with Indonesia (including Brunei & Borneo), specially the language. Indonesians count the same as the Capampangan, they both call their rice "nasi". pork "babi" The funniest thing that happened to me was an Indonesian friend asked me how we say in Tagalog, "love making" so I asked him how they say it in theirs, we both agreed that the word is so "vulgar" to say, so we decided to write it down & exchange notes...it turned out, IT'S THE SAME WORD!!!

I have a feeling that the Spaniards used the same water route as the Malay, Chinese, Hindu & Arabs for them to survive from their long journey & learn the trading ways. Later in our history as Bernadette said Acapulco (Mexico) & Manila were sister city, during the famous Galleon Trade. Mexico gave us; avocado, chesa, chico, tobacco, mais, etc... and we gave them; mango, siling labuyo & goods from Asia. A lot of Pinoy working for the Spanish galleon jump off ship & blended with the Mexicans and some reached as far as Louisiana, were our "siling labuyo" are being enjoyed today by the locals!

The Mexicans, they also blend with us, well... the few who jumped ship or were shipped in the Philippines against their will. I wrote a blog about "The capture of Aquinaldo in Palanan by General Funston" with the help of the Macabebe scouts at my BanlawKasaysayan site...

"Colonel Frederick Funston, a soldier of fortune and a US Congressional Medal of Honor winner, for killing thousand's of Filipinos and capturing Gen. Emilio Aquinaldo. Funston's famous quote "Filipinos are lazy lout...is born tired, stays tired, and dies tired." March 24, 1901, Funston and his commandos landed on the cost of Casiguran and was met by a spaniard named Segovia (who joined the Katipunan, later became spy for the Americans). Americans dress as enlisted men, in khaki and blue shirts without insignia and "Filipinos" from Macabebe, wore guerrilla garb. They will play a trick on Aquinaldo's troop, Americans as prisoners, while Segovia and the Macabebes as Filipino rebels.

The Macabebes of Pampanga were called in Philippine history as "mga Pilipinong traydor." Original Macabebes were Mexican soldiers or Mexican descent, serving under the Spanish flag in the Philippines. They were called "Guachinangos", a Nahuatl term meaning 'an inhabitant of a forest' Guachinangos were Mexican Indians. They were brought in the Philippines as "balance" for empty ships coming from Acapulco of the famous galleon trade Acapulco/Manila. To avoid expenses of sending back to their native Sonora, the Spanish authorities settled them in Macabebe, some in Mexico, Pampanga. Their salary from the Spaniards: few pesos, rice and a can of sardines...hence "ang kasabihan"..."taksil na Macabebe, bakit ipinagpalit ang Pilipinas sa isang lata ng sardinas?" They look like Filipinos, 'cuz of the dark skin, facial feature & height and the wore long hair. When Spain lost the war to the Americans, the Macabebes, served the Gringos with the same deal of "salary").

In Palanan where Aquinaldo was hiding and getting ready to "sail for Hongkong" to scape. Funston, Segovia, American soldiers & the Macabebes' trick worked and was able to pass the sentry. As soon as Aquinaldo appeared, in a starched khaki and polished black boots to see the "prisoners" Segovia shouted "Now is the time Macabebes! Give it to them" Then faced Aquinaldo... "You are our prisoner, we are not insurgents, we are Americans. Surrender or be killed" Aquinaldo was captured."

Yeah Eric, Bernadette, talking about the resemblance of Fil-Mex culture, he, he, he,
ka tony

August 05, 2008 1:59 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I didn't know about the "Guachinangos", Ka Tony! Wow! And I often wonder why a town in Pampanga was named Mexico. Now I see the connection.

Speaking of Funstion and his band of 'fresh-from-the American Indian-genocide' troops who used to call the Filipinos 'niggers,' have you read my post, "Same As It Ever Was?"

http://senorenrique.blogspot.com/2008/05/same-as-it-ever-was.html

The Macabebes did get the all-time distinction of traitors, but our history is full of traitors and 'balimbings."

August 06, 2008 7:08 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

You are right Eric,

Our history are full of traitors & Balimbings, like I wrote in one of my comments on your blog, 90% of our Revolutionary Generals surrendered, pledged allegiance to the Gringo's flag. They were given "small time" government or community positions & hunt "Tulesanes," the True Pilipino Revolutionaries who were continuing the revolution for our independence. The "common tao" after witnessing their respected generals are now on the side of the Gringos & were allowed to "rule," in their "simple mind" the Gringos were here helping us establish our self rule.

I have an old 1902 book written by Lazaro Segovia, the Spaniard "turn coat" who joined the Philippine Revolution, which later turn coat once again, this time played a big roll with General Funston, "THE FULL STORY OF AQUINALDO'S CAPTURE" The book is a narcissistic account of the incident more than anything else. According to him the torture called "water cure" was from the Spanish and was only adopted by the Gringos.

The 'fresh-from-the American Indian-genocide' troops not only called us "niggers" but also "gugus" (a coconut hush like that Pinoy used as shampoo). I wonder if a "white trash" soldiers can say "niggers" to a Pinoys when a "buffalo soldier" (how native American Indians called Black soldiers, because their hair resembles the fur of the buffalo) was on his side?

Have a great day Eric,
ka tony

August 06, 2008 8:49 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

Thank you for those information and much thanks also for Ka Tony's follow ups on history.
I've read a lot of Zaide's books and I will try to find a book by his daughter Sonia.
There are really so much information now about our history but some were just made into a dramatic form to attract attentions. I've been told also by my grand-parent and great grand-parents on some historical events that happened in their lifetime and surely coincide with what G. Zaide has written. Some of the newer add ons in our history are just amazing and some are unbelievable. :D
But hey, it is up to everyone to accept or deny the existance of those new finds in our annals of history. I just don't want to see that in few more years, our past history would change with those careless authors riding on someone's information.

August 06, 2008 9:29 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hollywood does a good job of revising history for dramatic effect, Reyd ... hehehe. But you're right, we really ought seek out factual accounts of our history.

However, with our local history having so many conflicting versions at times, many of our youths are simply turned off. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't promote the accurate chronicling of our past.

August 07, 2008 8:28 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Sometimes I wonder, Ka Tony, what our nation would have become had there been no turncoats to sell our ancestors' plans for revolts. Would we have been a greater and more progressive country not only in Aisa but in the entire world?

August 07, 2008 2:06 PM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Eric,

I really think so!!! A lot of so called historians played down Bonifacio's intelligence, because he only reached the 4th grade and the also they based it on Daniel Tirona's sarcastic remark that minister of interiors should only be given to a person with a higher education at the Tejeros Convention. The Supremo was a 'bodegero" meaning not in charge of the stock room, but a "store keeper" for Fressell & Co. a trading firm. This company had; law books, history of the U.S. & French Revolution, even Rizal's Noli & Fili, books that were outlawed during that time & many more. Not only he read these books but discussed it with the owner!!!

The Supremo already set up a revolutionary government, in which he was the President, Dictator & the King, before the Tejeros Convention! Bonifacio is always presented to us as a person who only speak Pilipino, few people know that he translated Rizal's "Mi Ultimo Adios" from Spanish to Pilipino!

The Supremo's KKK was exposed at its earlier stage by the Prayle Mariano Gil, it was not ready for battle, less member, lack of arms, funds & support from the middle class. But in spite of these factors, I still believed if he was not murdered, he will be a great leader.The Supremo knew that by imposing a dictatorial government, he'll have a full control of the country, a good example was the early Martial Law by the dictator marcos. With this kind of control "turn coats" will face the firing squad! The 90% revolutionary generals who tuned their coats for the Gringos, sila ang ginaya ng kanilang mga sundalo at mamayan ng Pilipinas...so lahat tayo naging Balimbing!!!

So Eric, my conclusion is this, if Bonifacio only listened to Emilio Jacinto's advise not to attend the Tejeros Convention, our history will be different & we are probably in competition now with Japan & China for supremacy in Asia! This is one of the many "Ifs" in our history!

salamat Eric,
ka tony

August 07, 2008 3:13 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Truth be told, Ka Tony, studying our local history saddens me at times. Ang dami kasi nating mga katangian na nasayang dahilan sa mga hindi kanais-nais na ugaling umiral sa ating mamamayan.

Actually, until now, our politicians remind me me so much of those less than desirable characters of the past that marred our history.

Yes, I had always believed that Bonifacio was a very intelligent man and could have been a great leader, but there was that guy from Cavite who succeeded in grabbing the glory but led us nowhere. I cringe whenever he is glorified as a "hero."

August 07, 2008 4:06 PM  

Blogger ka tony said...

100% tama ka Eric, the reason why the dictator marcos knew na kailangan baguhin ang ugali ng Pinoy, so he can go on with his dictatorship & suck the country's wealth! Remember his early Martial Law tagline...

"upang kinabukasan ay makamtan, disiplina ang kailangan"

August 07, 2008 10:05 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I guess, Ka Tony, most dictators have to ultimately resort to harsh measures and even the systematic torture and killings of those who oppose their views. The goal is to attain total control of the population, after all.

But didn't the friars practice the same heinous tactics in the Philippine archipelago during the Spanish rule?

August 08, 2008 8:51 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

The friars Eric, practice the same heinous tactics in the Philippines & in the Americas...but they did it in "The Name of God" ...chosssss!

ka tony

August 08, 2008 9:11 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And most wars in the history of man were fought under the banner of Christianity ... hehehe.

August 08, 2008 9:38 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Oh Eric, the bloodiest & the longest wars as well!

salaam halayikum,
ka tony

August 08, 2008 12:40 PM  

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