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Hermano Pule

Apolinario de la Cruz (22 July 1815 4 November 1841), known as Hermano

Pule (/rmn pl/; Spanish for "Brother Pule"[1]; also spelled Hermano Puli), was
a Filipino religious leader who founded and led the Cofrada de San Jos. The cofrada was
established in 1832 in response to the racial discrimination of the Roman Catholic Church in
the Philippines. During the Spanish colonial period, Catholic religious orders refused to admit native
Filipinos as members. In retaliation, Hermano Pule established his own religious order which was
exclusive for native Filipinos. During its peak, the cofrada had 4,500 to 5,000 members from the
provinces of Tayabas,Laguna, and Batangas. Fearing an armed rebellion, the Spanish colonial
government sent military forces to violently suppress the cofrada. On 23 October 1841, Hermano
Pule and his followers resisted the aforementioned attack. However, more troops were sent and
the cofrada was finally quelled by the colonial military forces on 1 November 1841. Pule was then
captured, tried, and executed.

Early life[edit]

Apolinario de la Cruz was born on 22 July 1815 to Pablo de la Cruz and Juana Andres
in Barrio Pandc in the town of Lucban in Tayabasprovince (now Quezon Province). Both of his
parents were peasants and religious Catholics.[2][3][4][5] In 1829, he decided to become a priest and
tried to join the Order of Preachers in Manila. During those times, Roman Catholic religious orders
barred indios (native people of the Philippines) from joining, thus de la Cruz's application was
rejected for the sole reason of his race.[5][6] He then decided to work as a lay brotherat the San Juan
de Dios Hospital where he was admitted to the Cofrada de San Juan de Dios, a brotherhood
affiliated with the hospital and was open to indios. During this time, he improved his public speaking
and studied the Bible along with other religious writings.[2][4][5][7]

Cofrada de San Jos[edit]

Formation and expansion[edit]
In December 1832, eighteen-year-old de la Cruz, along with Filipino secular priest Br. Ciriaco de los
Santos and nineteen other individuals fromTayabas founded the Cofrada de San
Jos (Confraternity of St. Joseph), composed of indios. He then became known to his followers
asHermano Pule (Brother Pule).[7][6][8] The Filipino brotherhood fostered the practice of Christian
virtues centered around the cults of Saint Francis of Assisi and the Virgin of Antipolo.[7] They also
incorporated elements of pre-colonial pagan beliefs such as the use of anting-
anting(talismans).[9] Most of its adherents were from Tayabas, Laguna, Cavite,
and Batangas.[6][8] The cofrada prohibited Spaniards and mestizosfrom joining without de la Cruz's
permission as a form of retaliation against the Church for discriminating against natives.[5] Members
of thecofrada met monthly on the 19th day to honor the feast of Saint Joseph. They also paid
monthly fees of one real to defray the cost of Masses in Lucban, and their monthly fiestas.[7][10]
In 1837, the confraternity was renamed Cofrada del Sr. San Jos i voto del Santisimo Rosario and
evangelized in Lucban, Majayjay, andSariaya.[7] By 1841, the cofrada had had grown to an
estimated 4,500 to 5,000 members. [2]

The Spanish were unaware of the cofrada's existence until 1840. However, as early as 1833,
Filipino priests have noticed their activities in the vicinity of Mount San Cristobal and Mount

Due to the increased number of members, Hermano Pule decided to have the cofrada recognized
and authorized by the church and the government. He first sought recognition and authorization from
the Bishop of Camarines but his request was denied. Not discouraged, he sought the approval of
the Real Audiencia but he was also denied.[2][10]

The Franciscan friars of Tayabas province denounced the Cofrada and decided that it had to be
stopped. They called the attention of thegobernadorcillo of Lucban and had 243 Cofrada members
arrested on 19 October 1840. The provincial governor of Tayabas, Don Joaquin Ortega who was a
husband to one of the members of the Cofrada, immediately ordered the release of the prisoners
once the news of the arrests reached him. This order from the governor was opposed by the vicar,
Fr. Antonio Mateo and the parish priest Fr. Manuel Sancho of Lucban; both wanted the
imprisonment of the arrested members.[2]

Hermano Pule immediately sent a report to Archbishop Jos Segu in Manila rebuking the acts of the
friars in Tayabas. Pule challenged the authority of the vicar and of the parish church to do such acts
because the aims of the cofrada were never against the Catholic faith. On 29 January 1841, a letter
of dela Cruz was sent to the Bishop of Nueva Cceres restating that the cofrada was not against
canon law. This petition letter was forwarded to the juez provisor of the bishopric, who, in turn
endorsed it to Fr. Antonio Mateo, Vicar of Tayabas, and Fr. Manuel Sancho, the parish priest of
Lucban. The petition was ignored.[2]

In 1841, Governor-General Marcelino de Ora Lecumberri had the cofrada outlawed, thinking that it
was a seditious organization.[6] In addition to the fact that the cofrada only accepted natives, it was
highly suspected that religion was used as a blind for political design and potential insurgence
against Spanish authorities. Governor-General de Ora ordered the cofradas disbandment and the
arrest of its members.[2][7][5][10]

Feeling an attack on their religious freedom from Catholic authorities, Hermano Pule and his
aide, hermano mayor Octavio Ygnacio "Purgatorio" de San Jorge[n 1] rallied 4,000 followers at Barrio
Isabang on the slopes of Mount Banahaw, and was able to resist an attack from alcalde
mayorJoaqun Ortega and his 300 men on 23 October 1841.[11][5][4][5] Ortega and many of his men
were killed in the battle. Pule then transferred his camp to Alitao, adjacent to Tayabas capital where
his followers crowned him "King of the Tagalogs". By that time, he had considered severing his ties
with the Church. [2][10]

When the news of the skirmish reached Governor-General Marcelino de Ora, reinforcements from
Manila were sent to Tayabas. On 1 November 1841, the government forces led by Col. Joaqun
Huet arrived Tayabas. They initially offered government amnesty to the cofrada with the exception
of Hermano Pule and his aides. When they refused, they were annihilated by Colonel Huet's
government forces, allegedly massacring hundreds of old men, women, and children who joined
Hermano Pule in Alitao.[2][6][5]

Capture, trial, and execution[edit]

Pule fled to Barrio Gibanga in Sariaya but was captured by Colonel Huet's forces the following
evening. On 4 November 1841, after a brief trial held at the present-day Casa Comunidad, he
was executed by firing squad in the town of Tayabas, at the age of 27. The authorities had his
body quartered. His dismembered head, hands, and feet were exhibited throughout Tayabas
province.[n 2][2][4][6][7][8][10]

The other leaders of the Cofradia: Octavio Ygnacio "Purgatorio" de San Jorge, Dionisio de los
Reyes, Francisco Espinosa de la Cruz, and Gregorio Miguel de Jesus were also executed.[2][10]

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