Filipino American WarHistory

Malolos Congress

Sept. 15, 1898: The Malolos Congress

Following the declaration of independence from Spain on June 12, 1898 by the Revolutionary Government, a congress was opened in Malolos, Bulacan Province on Sept. 15, 1898 to draw up a constitution for the First Philippine Republic.

Filipino soldiers in Malolos Sept 15 1898
Sept. 15, 1898: Filipino soldiers commanded by Gen. Jose Ignacio Pawa await Emilio Aguinaldo’s arrival at Malolos, Bulacan Province
1898 Fil soldiers
Filipino soldiers at Malolos
Filipino soldiers at Malolos, tinted, 1898_opt[1]
Filipino soldiers at Malolos
Malolos Congress Sept 15 98 Aguinaldoi and cabinet over stone bridge
President Emilio Aguinaldo and his cabinet in carriages are about to pass under the triumphal arch and over the stone bridge
Malolos Congress Aguinaldo entering Barasoain churchyard Sept 15 1898
Emilio Aguinaldo’s carriage is about to pass between the ranks of Filipino soldiers drawn up in formation in the churchyard of Barasoain

Malolos Congress Opening Sept 15 1898

The basilica at Barasoain was filled with delegates and spectators. Outside, the Banda Pasig played the National Anthem. When Aguinaldo and his officers arrived, the delegates, the cream of the Filipino intelligentsia, spread out to give way to the President. Cries of “Viva!” reverberated.

President Aguinaldo formally declared the victorious conclusion of the war of liberation against Spain.

Gregorio AranetaThe Congress proceeded to elect its officers, namely, Pedro A. Paterno, President; Benito Legarda, Vice-President; Gregorio Araneta, First Secretary; and Pablo Ocampo, Second Secretary.

On September 29 the Congress ratified the independence proclaimed at Kawit on June 12, 1898. Aguinaldo partly said in Tagalog:

� now we witness the truth of what the famous President Monroe said to the effect that the United States was for the Americans; now I say that the Philippines is for the Filipinos.�

Felipe Calderon 1900A committee to draft the constitution was created with Felipe G. Calderon (LEFT, in 1900) as its most prominent member. With the advise of Cayetano Arellano, a brilliant mestizo, Calderon drew up his plans for a constitution, deriving inspiration from the constitutions of Mexico, Belgium, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil and France. In the session of October 8, Calderon presented the draft of this constitution.

A few other amendments were inserted in the draft constitution before it was sent to Aguinaldo for approval.

It was the first republican constitution in Asia. The document stated that the people had exclusive sovereignty. It stated basic civil rights, separated the church from the state, and called for the creation of an Assembly of Representatives which would act as the legislative body. It also called for a Presidential form of government with the president elected for a term of four years by a majority of the Assembly.

Filipino diplomats in Paris 1898-99
Filipino diplomats in Paris, France, 1898-99. From left: Antonino Vergel de Dios, Ramon Abarca, Felipe Agoncillo, and Juan Luna.

Aguinaldo declared that this constitution was �the first crystallization of democracy� in Asia. He sent ambassadors to the United States, Japan, England, France, and Australia to seek recognition for his government.

After promulgating the Malolos Constitution, the Filipino leaders made preparations to inaugurate the first Philippine Republic.

Malolos Congress a session of 1898
A session of the Malolos Congress

barasoain church 2

A session of the Malolos Congress, 1898
A session of the Malolos Congress
Aguinaldo's office at Malolos, 1898
Aguinaldo’s private office at Malolos, 1898
Officials in Aguinaldo government 1898
Officials in Aguinaldo’s government, 1898.
Four Filipinos drinking in Lt James E Ware 14th Inf Vancouver Bks WA Album
Four unidentified prominent Filipinos drinking Schlitz beer. Photo was probably taken between July 1898 and January 1899, either in Cavite or Malolos, Bulacan. The photographer was Lt. James E. Ware of the 14th US Infantry Regiment. His unit arrived in the Philippines in July 1898 and departed in November 1899.
Malolos a view of 1898
1898: A view of a section of Malolos
Malolos Congress NY Times
Article published in the New York Times on Sept. 17, 1898.

Aguinaldo opens Malolos congress, in SFC Sept 17 1898

Malolos congress in SLH Sept 17 1898

Agoncillo arrives in US, SFC Sept 23 1898
The San Francisco Call, issue of Sept. 23, 1898, Page 8
Agoncillo arrives in US, text
The San Francisco Call, issue of Sept. 23, 1898, Page 8

Army for Aguinaldo

Army for Aguinaldo, text 1

Army for Aguinaldo, text 2
The St. Paul Globe, St. Paul, Minnesota, issue of Sept. 26, 1898

Constitution of Philippines, SFC Sept. 30 1898
The San Francisco Call, issue of Sept. 30, 1898, Page 3
Constitution of Philippines, text
The San Francisco Call, issue of Sept. 30, 1898, Page 3
Filipino army officers at church of San Fernando, Pampanga Oct 9 1898
Filipino army officers in San Fernando, Pampanga Province, await President Aguinaldo’s arrival from nearby Malolos, Oct. 9, 1898
Aguinaldo reviews troops at San Fernando, Pampanga, Oct 9 1898
Aguinaldo reviewing the Philippine Army led by Gen. Maximino H. Hizon, from the casa municipal of San Fernando, Pampanga Province, Oct. 9, 1898. Some American guests are seen with Aguinaldo in the photo.

On Oct. 14, 1898, Admiral George Dewey cabled Washington: “It is important that the disposition of the Philippine Islands should be decided as soon as possible. . . . General anarchy prevails without the limits of the city and bay of Manila. Natives appear unable to govern.”

Insolence of Filipinos Oct 17 1898
The San Francisco Call, issue of Oct. 17, 1898, Page 1
Agoncillo arrives in Paris, San Francisco Call Oct 17 1898
The San Francisco Call, issue of Oct. 17, 1898, Page 1
Aguinaldo residence in Malolos 1898
Aguinaldo’s official residence at Malolos. PHOTO was taken in 1898.
Malolos church one Filipino soldier 4 civilians
A church fortified and used as a prison by the Filipinos during their occupancy of Malolos. PHOTO was taken in 1898.
Malolos prison
The building on the left was used as a prison during the occupancy of Malolos by the Filipino army. A number of Spanish (and later American) prisoners were confined there. PHOTO was taken in 1898.
Filipino carromata at Malolos 1898
A carromata at Malolos. PHOTO was taken in 1898.
General Jose Ignacio Pawa's Bodyguard, Malolos, Sept 15 1898
Gen. Jose Ignacio Pawa’s bodyguard at Malolos, Bulacan Province, Sept. 15, 1898.
Malolos Congress Harper's Weekly New York, Nov 12, 1898
The Malolos Congress is featured in Harper’s Weekly, New York, Nov. 12, 1898.

Published in Manila on Nov. 1, 1898 by J.D. Mitchell. He wrote on the preface: “For the benefit of our readers we give here an explanation of the significance of the emblems on the Filipino flag and coat-of-arms which are on the cover. The red, white, and blue of the flag are respectively emblematic of the blood spilt in the cause of Liberty, the purity of Liberty, and the blue sky which covers all Liberty. The three stars represent the three rebellious islands of Luzon, Viscayas [sic] and Mindanao. The eight rays of the central emblem represent the eight provinces of these islands. Finally, the mountain on the coat-of-arms represents Biac-na-ba-to [sic], or ‘Stone-cut-in-two,’ the place where the afterwards violated treaty was signed between the Spaniards and the Filipinos.”

Nov. 24, 1898: First Thanksgiving Dinner in the Philippines

First Thanksgiving Dinner in Manila Nov 24 1898
The celebrants referred to the main dish as “Dewey’s Turkey”. PHOTO was taken in Manila on Thursday, Nov. 24, 1898.

On Nov. 26, 1898, the New York Times reported the first observance of Thanksgiving Day in the Philippines by the Americans:

First Thanksgiving news Nov 24 1898

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