On the Concept of National Community
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With a roundtrip first class ticket which cost me P60, and under the assumed name of Procopio Bonifacio, I embarked on the steamship Venus on Monday, June 15, 1896, between 10 and 11 o’clock in the morning, accompanied by Raymundo Mata, a blind man, and Rufino Magos, both residents of Barrio Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite, who were deck passengers. On the boat as first class passengers were three women—Josephine Bracken, Narcisa Rizal, and Angelica Lopez—who were common-law wife, sister, and niece, respectively of Dr. Rizal. The Venus called at Romblon, Capiz, Iloilo, Cebu, Dumaguete, Dapitan and Sindangan. We arrived at Dapitan between 5 and 6 on the afternoon of June 21. The Venus dropped anchor in Dapitan Bay at a spot about 100 meters from the quay and 500 meters from the house of Dr. Rizal. From the Venus my two companions and I transferred to a banca, the three women to another, and we proceeded directly to the house of Dr. Rizal, where we went up between 6 and 7 in the evening.. The doctor was not in his house at that moment; but after a quarter of an hour he arrived from the quay and greeted us. Narcisa Rizal made the introductions.
In about ten minutes a man appeared with a letter for the doctor who, after reading it, told me that the Spanish governor2 of Dapitan desired an interview with him in order to learn about his visitors. The doctor, in a gray cotton suit and a cap, went to the governor’s house. Upon his return he told me that the governor had asked him about the persons who had arrived at his house, to which he replied that they were ,a man suffering from eye trouble, his physician (myself), and an attendant, with which information the governor was satisfied. That night we ate supper together pleasantly, during which the conversation revolved around the small green mango fruits on the table which served as dessert and which to us were preferable to and more agreeable than the olives of Europe. We also talked about the birthday anniversary of the deportee in Dapitan, which had taken place two days before, and which, according to him, he observed by taking a dose of fifty centigrams of quinine sulphate owing to a fever which he had.
After supper I expressed to the hero my desire to talk to him in private about a most interesting affair, and told him that the treatment of the blind man was only secondary to the purpose of my visit to Dapitan. We went to his hospital, where we left my two companions, and from there we proceeded to a place between his house and the hospital, which was situated about fifty meters from the house. We sat on a bench and a dialogue, more or less like the following, passed between us:
VALENZUELA.—There exists in Manila an association called Katipunan founded on the night of July 7, 1892, as a result of your arrest on the morning of that date. The object of the association is to seek the separation of the Philippines from Spain through violent means. In a general assembly which took place in Pasig on the 1st of last May, in which the principal chiefs of the association were present, the following resolutions, among others, were passed:
1. Attract to the Katipunan the educated and rich Filipinos; 2. Collect funds for the purpose of buying arms and everything necessary for the revolution; 3. Send-a commission of educated Filipinos to Japan, which will take charge of buying arms and munitions and soliciting the help and protection of the Japanese government in behalf of the Filipino revolutionists ; 4. Effect the separation of the Philippines from Spain by force of arms, the only way to secure the independence of the Philippines under the protection and help of Japan;
5. Submit these resolutions for the approval of Dr. Rizal, for which purpose Dr. Pio Valenzuela is named to go to Dapitan in order to inform Dr. Rizal of these resolutions and to wait for his answer; 6. In the event that the rich Filipinos refuse to cooperate in this great enterprise, each member of the Katipunan will contribute weekly all that he can possibly contribute.
Dr. Pio Alejandrino Valenzuela
The Seed Grows
RIZAL.—So, the seed grows. The resolutions of the association are very just, patriotic, and above all, timely because now Spain is weakened by the revolution in Cuba. I approve these resolutions and I suggest that they be complied with as early as possible in order to take advantage of opportunity. VALENZUELA.—But I believe that the revolution will break out prematurely, even without having arms. RIZAL.—This I do not approve. A revolution without arms should never be started against an armed nation. Its consequences will be fatal and disastrous to the country. The Filipinos will necessarily have to lose owing to lack of arms.
The Spaniards, once conquerors, will annihilate the Filipinos who show love ‘for their country, employ all obstacles to prevent the intellectual, moral, and material progress of the conquered people, who sooner or later will have to start another revolution. Cuba, which counts with the help and protection of the United States, having failed in her first struggle, paid dearly in the second, and is paying as much in this third struggle now. The Philippines does not reckon yet with the help of Japan. I hope she helps us, because it will be difficut to stage a second revolution after the first fails.When I was in Japan, a Japanese Minister put at my disposal three merchant ships with which to transport arms to the Philippines. I wrote to a rich Filipino 1 in Manila, asking him to lend me P200,000 for the purpose of buying firearms and munitions, but the rich Filipino refused me the loan. I returned to my native land so that I could unite myself with my brother Filipinos. Being united, we could manage to procure all that is necessary for our emancipation. I see that all of this is now being done by the Katipunan, and all of us should sustain, and work for the realization of the resolutions made in Pasig. VALENZUELA.—May I know who is this rich Filipino who refused to lend you the money so necessary for the health of our country?
RIZAL.—Not now, because I hope he, as well as others, will in the end help his countrymen with his money when he sees them united and ready to strike for the liberty of their country. VALENZUELA.—Permit me to explain to you the serious situation in which the Katipunan finds itself and then tell me what is the best solution to the problem.
RIZAL.—You may proceed.
VALENZUELA.—Those who are associated with the Katipunan number over 30,000, but you have to take into account the fact that many of those affiliated are not yet on our list owing to lack of time to gather the exact data. So many come to affiliate daily in the provinces, especially in the province of Manila, that I cannot tell you exactly the number of people affiliated with the Katipunan. One day last May a brother of ours was arrested and maltreated by a lieutenant of the Civil Guards in Pasig for being a member of a treacherous society. Since then our brothers in Pasig and Mandaluyong have been coming incessantly to my house and inquiring for the day and hour set for the attack against the Spaniards and the friars. On these occasions I always tried to calm down their inflamed minds. If, for a single brother caught and maltreated by the enemies, our brothers are ready to fight; what will happen if the Katipunan is discovered? There will be many arrests, vexations, and martyrdom of all sorts; and probably those of the Katipunan who will not tolerate such oppression will march to the field before the time is ripe, even if they are not provided with rifles or cannon.
RIZAL.—You have to use all precautions to prevent the discovery of the association. VALENZUELA.—And if the precautions fail?
RIZAL.—You, the principal chiefs, must see that the resolutions of the Katipunan are faithfully complied with; you are dutybound to avail yourselves of all means to prevent the premature shedding of blood. When the generals do not command, the soldiers stay still.
VALENZUELA.—The case of the Katipunan is different; if the generals do not give orders, the soldiers will order other soldiers. If the Katipunan is discovered, the revolution will inevitably break out. However, for my part, I will try to follow your advice; I will work so that they will not march to the field except in case of extreme necessity.
RIZAL.—Does the association count with its membership many persons in high society in Manila and in the provinces?
VALENZUELA.—Unfortunately, no; in Manila and in the provinces, there are about a hundred from the middle class; the rest are poor.
Attracting the Rich
RIZAL.—There is no other remedy but to attract to your association all the rich and influential persons of Manila and the provinces. You may avail yourselves of Antonio Luna, who is a very intelligent man, and who has free access to the homes of wealthy Filipinos. Luna, at the same time, can direct the campaign in case hostilities break out.
VALENZUELA.—What shall we do if we fail to attract these aristocratic Filipincs to the Katipunan? RlZAL. — These Filipinos will be your worst enemies if you commit the imprudence of attacking the Spaniards without the necessary preparation. When they see you without arms, they will go over the side of Spain to persecute you; and being Filipinos and rich too, they will win over your soldiers with their money. VALENZUELA.—And what are we to do then?
RIZAL.—See to it that these persons are at least neutral—that they help neither the Spaniards nor the Filipinos. VALENZUELA.—Neutrals? By what means can we make them neutrals ? RIZAL.—That is difficult to answer now. The means are born of circumstances and events. VALENZUELA.—Changing the subject of our conversation, I wish to let you know that some members of the Katipunan, among whom is Candido Tirona, are thinking of taking you out of here clandestinely on a ship well supplied with coal and conduct you to Japan through the Pacific Ocean. RIZAL.—If the ship is small, it will lack coal to reach Japan; in which case it is better to send it to the nearest foreign port—Hongkong.
VALENZUELA.—It will have sufficient coal to take you to the port where you are to disembark. The doctor invited me to talk on the beach, and upon arriving at a certain place he pointed to a spot in the sea where the boat to take him out to a foreign land may drop anchor. Later, we returned to his house and during the walk the following conversation took place between us:
RIZAL.—Tell our contrymen that, at the same time that we are preparing for a war against Spain, I desire to see a college established in Japan which will be converted later into a university for Filipino youths. I shall be greatly pleased to be the director of said college.
VALENZUELA.—I shall bear in mind all what you say and counsel, but I believe you would rather direct the revolution than manage the college.
RIZAL.—I am ready for both.
VALENZUELA.—As soon as we -have arms and munitions we shall try to take you out of Dapitan before the revolution starts in order that the Spaniards may not get you and shoot you. RIZAL.—As soon as you obtain arms, start the war against Spain right away; do not bother about me for I will know how to get out of here by any craft with the help of the Moros. When it comes to the redemption of the country, you must not look behind for just one man.
VALENZUELA.—If the revolution breaks out before schedule and you are still in Dapitan, the Spaniards will hold you and have you shot.
RIZAL.—To die and conquer is pleasant; but to die and be conquered is painful.
We arrived at the house of the doctor after 10 o’clock and went to bed. The following day before breakfast the doctor examined the blind man Raymundo after which, he told me that the eyes of the man could not be operated on as the retina had a lesion and was congested. However, he wrote the following prescription : Potassium iodide 3 grains Distilled water 100 grams To lie taken one spoonful each morning.
(Sgd.) DB. JOSE RIZAL
Dapitan, June 22, 1896.
The doctor and I went to the bench where we had been. talking the previous night. When seated, my two companions started toward us, but I went to meet them and told them to stay in the house, which they did. The doctor invited me to visit the hospital, where we stayed for an’hour. In the hospital I found boric acid solution, solution of bichloride of mercury, tincture of iodine, silver nitrate solution, alcohol, and other drugs which I do not remember; a low table and a high one made of wood; two beds and some chairs all made of bamboo. The doctor told me that he used boiling water and alcohol to disinfect his instruments in surgical cases. He also in- formed me that two of the biggest and most intelligent pupils assisted him in the operation; that he had successfully operated on two Moros, one for inguinal hernia and the other for hydrocele; and that the Moros liked him for his free treatments.
We carried on a rambling conversation, during which he mentioned that his library was in the care of Mariano Ponce in Hongkong. He told me also that at the same time that he practised his profession, he dedicated himself to the instruction and education of the youth whom he taught Tagalog, Spanish, English, and French. Then he turned to national affairs. He said that if the Filipinos did not do anything for their independence, Japan would intervene in order to obtain it within a quarter of a century at the latest. He asked me who the principal leaders of the Katipunan were and whether they were real patriots. I gave him their names and assured him that their patriotism was unquestioned.
He then spoke to me of the letter he had written to the Minister of War of Spain [Marcelo de Azcarraga], through the Governor General [Ramon Blanco] of the Philippines, wherein he applied for a post as military doctor in Cuba, which letter, he said, had not yet been answered. I exercised my objection to his application, telling him that Weyler, the general-in-chief of the Spanish troops in Cuba, might shoot him, being his enemy because, of the question arising from the Calamba estate.
To this objection he replied that he also might shoot Weyler first. He said that his intention in applying for the post of military doctor was to study the war in a practical way; go through the Cuban soldiery if he thought he would find there solutions which would remedy the bad situation in the Philippines. If he were admitted as a military doctor in Cuba, he explained, he could return to the Philippines when the necessity arose. We returned to his house and while there he.asked me to secure a revolver -for him which he needed, I got out my revolver from my trunk and gave it to him. He was pleased with it. A whistle from the Venus was heard. The doctor arranged for a banca to take us to the ship. He gave me as a gift the “kamuning” cane which he was using, and a bust of wood carved by him. We gathered our baggage, bade goodbye and rode in the banca, which took us to the Venus. We left Dapitan between 12 and 1 in the afternoon. The Venus returned to Manila, stopping at the same ports previously mentioned. We arrived in Manila between two and three on the afternoon of Friday, June 26. I reported the result of my interview with Dr. Rizal to Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto. They were the ones charged by the Supreme Council of the Katipunan to carry out the recommendation of the deportee at Dapitan. Mamerto Natividad took charge of transmitting to Luna, through Engineer Jose Alejandrino, the recommendations of Dr. Rizal.
“It has been customary to cite Dr. Valenzuela’s 1896 testimony, as printed in Archivo, Vol. III, to the effect that Bonifacio, upon hearing that Dr. Rizal objected to the proposed uprising without the necessary arms, exclaimed: “Lintik! Where did he read that in order to have a revolution there must be arms?” In that testimony, it was also pointed out that Bonifacio insulted Dr. Rizal behind his back and went so far as to call the latter a coward. When interviewed on this particular account, Dr. Valenzuela said: “No such thing ever occurred. In fact, TO PROTECT RIZAL I purposely told the investigator that I was not even allowed by the hero to step into his house upon knowing the purpose of my visit to Dapitan. I also reported Dr. Rizal as having said: “No! No! No! And a thousand no!” Even so, the Spanish prosecutor during Rizal’s trial did not make my statement public – a fact which showed the authorities were bent on liquidating Rizal at all cost. As to Bonifacio’s outburst, I can say that, too, was my own invention, obviously TO PROTECT DR. RIZAL BY MAKING HIM APPEAR VERY MUCH AGAINST THE REVOLUTION. The truth is that Bonifacio saw the logic and wisdom of Dr. Rizal. Bonifacio himself knew that we lacked arms for the projected uprising, and so he instructed me to order some two thousand bolos, which I immediately complied with. I ordered 1,000 bolos from the men in Saluysoy, Maykawayan, Bulakan and another 1,000 from Binakayan, Cawit, Cavite.”
Teodoro Agoncillo, The Revolt of the Masses
Notes, Chapter X, p. 336
University of the Philippines Press, 1956