PCDSPO and the Official Gazette have put forward an interactive Timeline of the Revolution, on the Official Gazette Website. For what this project is about and hopes to achive, see this introductory essay:
One thing to bear in mind is that there can be different interpretations of what constitutes a nation, or even a territory. Consider how the Spaniards viewed the Philippines, as a territorial expanse administered as the Captaincy-General of the Philippines. What the Spanish considered the Philippines is, today, quite a few separate entities: the Philippines, Guam (the Marianas), and the Caroline Islands. From the very start, our Revolution viewed the Philippines as entirely limited to Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. For the Spanish, it extended to Guam (administered, for example, as part of the Archdiocese of Cebu) and the Carolines. Under the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded the Philippines and the Marianas to the United States; but sold the Caroline Islands to Germany.
While the delineation of the Captaincy-General of the Philippines is somewhat imprecise (as far as accessible maps are concerned) an idea of its territorial expanse can be gleaned by comparing three sources: one from a Spanish historian, two others from two online fora.
Another way of looking at the Philippines at the dawn of the Revolution is to see how the Spanish themselves and others categorized Filipinos. Ferdinand Blumentritt’s Ethnographic Map of the Philippines, circa 1890, has three broad categories of people: “Hispano-Filipinos” in red; “New Christians and Pagans” in yellow; and “Moros” in green. Today we might put forward this categorization as lowland Christians in red; Lumads in yellow; and Moros in green.
A visitor to the Aguinaldo Shrine might notice, on the ceiling of the living room, a large political map of the Philippines, with the provinces of the country as they were delineated in his time. Below, is a contemporary map, from the 1890s, made by the Manila Observatory of the Jesuits. It shows the provinces as they existed at the time of the Revolution. Today’s Aurora and Quezon provinces, for example, back then, were three: El Principe; Infanta; and Tayabas. This map, reproduced in the magnificent David Rumsey Historical Map collection, became the basis for our putting forward what we believe has never been attempted before: a geographic representation of particular points of time in the Revolution.
The sun in our flag has eight rays, permanently commemorating the first eight provinces to rise in revolt on August 30, 1896, and which were placed under martial law by Governor-General Ramon Blanco. Here are those eight provinces:
And also, our first national anthem. Click on it to listen. The anthem can be heard in 0:39 to 2:19.
But the Revolution came to a temporary halt with the Pact of Biak-na-Bato. In May, 1898, it resumed; and on June 12, 1898, the Proclamation of Independence, the designation of Emilio Aguinaldo as dictator, the presentation of our flag, and the first performance of our national anthem, took place in Kawit.
Wikimedia Commons has a facsimile of the Proclamation of Independence. After this point, Apolinario Mabini became an adviser to Aguinaldo and proposed putting some legal order into the affairs of the Revolution.
The first step was a decree on June 18, 1898, formally establishing the dictatorial government.
The next step came in July, 1898, when the dictatorial government was transformed into a Revolutionary Government. Mabini strongly felt the Proclamation of June 12 required ratification by elected or appointed delegates from the various provinces.
At Malolos, the Delegates to the Malolos Congress again ratified the June 12 Proclamation of Independence, this time, representating all the provinces that had participated in the resumption of the Revolution in 1898: combining the first eight provinces (August, 1896 in yellow); subsequent provinces that revolted in September, 1896 (yellow-orange); provinces that revolted in 1897 (red); and provinces that joined the Revolution when it resumed in 1898 (blue).
Then came the election and appointment of delegates to a Congress, which met at Malolos. It debated, and proposed, then approved, a Constitution. On January 23, 1899, Aguinaldo was inaugurated as President. This photograph shows him walking from the convento of the Malolos Cathedral, to the inaugural ceremonies in Barasoian Church.
IV. Manila 1896-1901
During the Centennial historical conferences, a historian recounted a poignant scene. As Filipinos prepared to inaugurate their First Republic at Malolos, a delegation marched out of Manila -still firmly in foreign hands- to join the rites.
A slight transparency of the vintage map shows how different the landscape was at the time: the shoreline of Manila Bay back then, would be far inland, today, with much of the shoreline reclaimed in the century since.
A slight transparency also contrasts the much smaller areas of districts, and the fields and relatively underpopulated areas of 1896 Manila, with the concrete jungle of today.
V. Additional Readings
The following are sites well worth exploring for anyone interested in getting to know more about the Revolution, its personalities, the problems and controversies of the time, and how people coped with them, and how historians have interpreted them.