Tuesday, October 11, 2016

history-ph second State of the Blog Address

The Young Filipino Historian: Second State of the Blog Address

This is the blog's second State of the Blog Address. This, however, is not your ordinary blog update. Last year, the first State of the Blog Address was published to provide an annual report on the progress being made by this history blog. This year, a tradition of publishing an annual address is being established by having the second address. This is the 24th update article published by this history blog. It is fervently hoped that the rationale of these updates be appreciated and understood by our growing audience. Small successes may these be to many, but let us consider that you are always to be entrusted with small things first.

Why October?
   It has to be recalled why the annual address has been delivered every October of the year. From December 2012 until September 2014, this history blog received only a total of 1,088 views. On October 4, 2014, The Young Filipino Historian (TYFH) was revived with the President Forever series. After 17 months of inactivity, it also marked the beginning of a new era of restoration and emergence for this history blog. The task was not easy, and this blog focuses on a discipline that is not so much popular in the Philippines. There is also competition presented by older and better organized, although usually trivialized, history blogs. Still, while the situation seemed bleak, the campaign towards restoration was on. This is where our story begins.

Not expected to outdo in the near future what has been achieved in the first two years, the bar at the time was quite low. In the first two months (October-December 2014), 20 new articles were published but they are not expected to garner anything significant number of views. However, it is to be established that this is not your ordinary history blog. More than simple trivia and speculation, the blog featured details and analyses that are not to be found among leading history blogs. Most of the articles also have a reference list to encourage readers to confirm what they have read and to widen the library lists of readers on history. Relevant images and videos were added wherever possible to keep articles from appearing bland. In fact, some of the views of the blog came from people redirected from their image searches. This is why images were optimized to increase searcheability. What is aimed here is to show that history is not only about dates, personalities, and places. There is more to it than meets the eye. These methods, however, had kept the article generation of the blog low.

From December 2012 until September 2014, a monthly average of 52 views were earned by this blog. For the month of October, it is only expected that more or less 100 views be recorded for this blog. Even this is a dismal output in blogger standards to date. Where has the blog come to in 2016?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hermano Puli: Religion and revolution

Hermano Pule.jpg
Apolinario de la Cruz, aka Hermano Puli
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
On September 21, less than two months before the 175th death anniversary of Apolinario de la Cruz, a film about him (Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli) has began showing and has been in more than 30 cinemas. Such is the hype for the film, which is already called the "Heneral Luna" of 2016, that its official Facebook page has more than 220,000 likes to date. The synopsis of the film is as follows (spoiler alert):

Decades before the rise of liberalism in Spanish-era colonial Philippines, a young charismatic preacher leads a movement for equality and religious freedom for his fellow native Filipinos. He is hailed as the Christ of the Tagalogs, but is sentenced to death for heresy by both Church and State.

Then again, who is Apolinario de la Cruz? Known in history as Hermano Puli (Brother Puli), de la Cruz was born on July 22, 1814 at Lucban in Tayabas (now Quezon province). In 1829, he decided to become a priest. However, the secularization movement had not yet progressed at this time. This meant that natives cannot be ordained as priests in any religious order in the Philippines. Thus, de la Cruz was rejected. Three years later, in 1832, he with 20 others founded their own order. It became known as the Cofradia de San Jose. At the same time, he became known to the adherents of the confraternity as Hermano Puli. Meanwhile, support for the Filipino religious order spread from Tayabas to neighboring provinces of Batangas, Camarines Sur, Cavite, and Laguna. Renamed later as Cofradia del Senor San Jose i voto del Santisimo Rosario, membership of the order had grown to 5,000 by 1841.

Hermano Puli saw the increasing membership of the confraternity, and thus sought to gain recognition. However, he was denied and was asked by the Church to disband the order. The friars incited the colonial officials to think that Puli's following was an organization seeking to overthrow the government. This led to the confraternity being outlawed by the Governor General Marcelino de Oraa Lecumberri in 1841. The followers of Puli rallied to him at Mount Banahaw and resisted an attack from local forces by October of the same year. Then, they crowned him as "King of the Tagalogs," a title reminiscent of the legendary king Bernardo Carpio. By November 1841, reinforcements were sent from Manila. Overwhelmed by the Spanish forces, Hermano Puli himself was caught and executed after a brief trial. However, his story was not extinguished by the Spanish. No less than Jose Rizal regarded him as his hero. How is his story received by our people today?