It was July 7, 1892. The news of the day that time was the exile of Dr. Jose Rizal to Dapitan for all the headaches he has caused the Spanish colonial government and the Catholic Church in the country with his writings. It was said that Rizal was expecting that he would be executed that time, only that he would be getting an additional 4 years to his life.
Three days earlier, he founded a civic organization called La Liga Filipina which aimed at what can be called as “people empowerment.” Now with its founder and leader gone, it would be expected that the flame he started would be extinguished. But as fate would have it, the flame did not die as was expected, but it took a rather radical shift in its trajectory.
The beginning of that shift happened in the house of Deodato Arellano in 72 Azcarraga near the corner of Candelaria Street in the busy suburb of Manila that is San Nicolas. (not Tondo as some historians say as Tondo’s boundaries actually lie along the north of Azcarraga) when La Liga Filipina member Andres Bonifacio saw there’s no hope in the reform struggle espoused by the La Liga. So Bonifacio, Arellano, Teodoro Plata, Ladislao Diwa, Valentin Diaz, and Jose Dizon founded the secret society called the Kataastaasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Most High, Most Respected Association of the Children of the Nation) or simply known as Katipunan which aimed in toppling Spanish rule in the country.
Signing their names by the blood from their wrists, they and others who subsequently joined the Katipunan committed themselves for the country’s freedom through an armed struggle. And the rest, they say, is history.
Much has changed since 1892. Azcarraga of the old is now the busy Claro M. Recto Avenue while Candelaria is now Elcano St. And the house where the Katipunan was established has given way to a commercial building. Being part of the busy commercial area known as Divisoria, the area is now a place of frantic activity.
In the midst of all this chaos, a large sculptural relief done by Ros Arcilla was put in place as a reminder that the very spot at the corner of Recto Avenue and Elcano served as an important historical bookmark that generations should learn and understand.
Acknowledgements as well to Traveler on Foot
© The Urban Roamer