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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Pulumbarit

'Meet' Katipuneros via Museo ng Katipunan

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

July 7 marks the 128th founding anniversary of the revolutionary secret society Katipunan or the Kataastaasang Kagalang-Kagalang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK).

The stories of the members of the Katipunan are preserved at the Museo ng Katipunan at 29 Pinaglabanan Street, Barangay Corazon de Jesus, San Juan City.

The museum is located at the area where the Katipuneros first decided to take up arms against the Spanish colonizers in August 1896, four years after the secret society was founded.

The National Historical Society of the Philippines (NHCP) said the Museo ng Katipunan contains "archival documents, amulets, cryptic messages, and bladed weapons used by Katipuneros."

"Various artworks—busts, monochrome pastel portraits, and oil paintings depicting scenes from the revolution—created by renowned Filipino artists are also displayed," the NHCP said.

The Museo ng Katipunan has a library, an e-learning room, as well as a stereoscopy room featuring 19th Century photographs.

The museum also has a holographic image of Andres Bonifacio, often mistaken as the first Supremo of the Katipunan. However, there were two Supremos who led the Katipunan before Bonifacio: Deodato Arellano and Roman Basa.

Bonifacio only became the Supremo of the Katipunan in 1894, two years after the secret society was formed.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum is closed but on Facebook, quizzes are posted to encourage awareness about the Katipunan.

The founding of the Katipunan

According to the Presidential Museum and Library, the clandestine society was formed in Tondo, Manila on July 7, 1892 to advocate for independence from Spain through armed struggle.

The Katipunan was established only four days after Dr. Jose Rizal formed on July 3, 1892 a different secret society -- the La Liga Filipina, which advocated for social reforms through non-violent means.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines said Rizal organized the La Liga Filipina upon returning to the Philippines. He had been in Hong Kong but traveled back to the country by boat on June 26, 1892.

By this time, Rizal had already earned the ire of the Spanish officials because of the two novels he wrote: Noli Me Tangere (1887) and El Filibusterismo (1891), both of which are critical of the Spanish colonizers in the Philippines.

On July 7, 1892, Rizal was ordered exiled to Dapitan. On the same day, members of the La Liga Filipina formed the Katipunan.

They gathered at No. 72 Azcarraga Street in Tondo, Manila at the house of Deodato Arellano, the first president or Supremo of the Katipunan.

The Presidential Library said those who convened at Arellano's house included "Andres Bonifacio, Deodato Arellano, Valentin Diaz, Teodoro Plata, Ladislao Diwa, Jose Dizon, and a few others, all members of La Liga Filipina, a progressive organization founded by Rizal."

"The men assembled came to the agreement that a revolutionary secret society must be founded, and thus the Kataastaasang Kagalang-Kagalang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan was born," the library said.

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