The Philippine Revolution from the Eyes of Nozaleda

He was the last Archbishop of the Philippines. Well, the last Spanish Archbishop of the Philippines. I am not sure if the street in Manila was named after him. During his rule as Archbishop of Manila many things happened Jose Rizal was executed; The fall of the Spanish Colonial Power in the Islands and the coming into exsistence of the The Philippine Independent Church or Iglesia Filipina Independiente. His name Archbishop Bernardino Nozaleda y Villa, O.P. the last Spanish Archbishop of Manila.

Nozaleda was born on May 6, 1844 in Cuenya-Nava, Spain. On the 13th of October he became a member of the Friar Preachers. He was appointed Archbishop of Manila on the 27th of May, 1889 and was ordained Bishop on the 13th of April 1890 [SOURCE].

Like all Archbishops of Manila, He was the most powerful man in the country. Yet not much is known about him. We would probably remember as one of the persons or the person who orchestrated the execution of Jose Rizal. He was portrayed by Peque Gallaga in Marilou Diaz Abaya’s film Rizal. What we know of him is not so much. Most of the things about him that could be found relate to how he was able to orchestrate the execution of Rizal.

In Saplaco’s THE TRIP TO CUBA THAT ENDED IN LUNETA, he wrote that Nozaleda and company were able to execute Rizal with the removal of Governor-General Blanco, a mason who was working to have Rizal out of the Philippines. Saplaco provides the tezt of telegram to Madrid sent by Nozaleda informing allies of the need to remove Blanco.

“Situation more grave. Revolt spreading. Apathy of Blanco unexplainable. To remove danger, an urgent necessity is the appointment of a chief (new governor general). Opinion unanimous, Archbishop and Provincials.” [SOURCE]

An interesting story.

Wheher it was true or not , who knows but the fact remains Blanco was replaced by Polviaje and soon enough Rizal was executed.

The machinations and actions against Rizal did not stop the revolution and the years to come Nozaleda would witness the end of Spanish Colonial Rule in the Philippines and the birth of the Philippine Independent Church. He resigned on the 4th of February 1902[SOURCE.]And in the powerful Nozaleda left Manila and went to left for Rome.

Although, he lived a long life, to be sure a longer life than Rizal, Nozaleda attracted controversy and strife , when the Vatican appointed him Archbishop of Valencia it stirred up a Hornet’s nest.

THE VATICAN DISPLEASED.; Spanish Demonstrations Against Mgr. Nozaleda Cause Surprise and Indignation.
January 11, 1904 The New York Times

Rome, Jan. 10 — Vatican authorities are greatly displeased because of the Spanish demostrayions against Msgr Nozaleda, ex-Archbishop of Manila, who was recently appointed Archbishop of Valencia. It is said at the Vatican that the appointment was intended to gratify the Spanish people, as Archbishop Nozaleda was one of Spain’s own prelateds who was struck most severely by the Spanish-American war, and wAS through that war lost the prominent position which he held in the Philippines.

The Vatican now finds that the appointment has caused dissatisfaction all around, as, while some persons look upon it as displeasing to Americans, it undoubtedly has failed to please the Spaniards.

The Spanish Government, through Ambassador Deaguera, has informed the Vatican that it is ready to surpress any manifestations against Archbishop Nozaleda, and that it will support his appointment.


A dispacth from Rome, jan. 1 said that the position of Archbishop Nozaleda Archbishop of Valencia by tradition entitles Mgr. Nozaleda to the red hat, and that if this honor should be bestowed upon him the Sacred College will have a member whose Anti-American sentiments are well known.

The Madird correspondenr of The London Standard, cabling to his paper on the same date, said that he expected a strong criticism in the Cortes and In Valencia because of the Archbishop’s appointment.

The Archbishop of Manila became the Titular Archbishop of Petra in Palaestina and of coure the Archbishop of Valencia, Spain. He died on the 7th of October. 1927 the Archbishop Emeritus of Valencia, Spain [SOURCE].

It must be interesting to look at the Philippines through the eyes of Bernardino Nozaleda. It is said he wrote and was able to publish a DEFENSE. Now that would be something worthwhile to read.

What you will find below is a chapter from the book written by Murat Halstead and it paints an encounter with Bernardin Nozaleda. I must warn you that it is piece that paints Nozaleda in a good light. I guess it also shows that all men including Nozaleda can be amiable when he wants tp be and will have a good side.

It would be interesting to read his Defense, which he wrote in the later years of his life, and justification of his actions during his time spent in the Philippines. His defense is actually called DEFENSE also. Again. It would be interesting to see this. z

The Philippine Revolution from the eyes of Archbishop Nozaleda.

Here is the chapter on Nozale



Interview with the Archbishop of Manila.

Insurgents’ Deadly Hostility to Spanish Priests-The Position of the Archbishop as He Defined It-His Expression of Gratitude to the American Army-His Characterization of the Insurgents-A Work of Philippine Art-The Sincerity of the Archbishop’s Good Words.

The intense feeling by the Philippine insurgents against the Spanish priests made it seem very desirable to see the Archbishop of Manila, and he informed two American priests that he would have pleasure in making an expression of his views to me to be placed before the people of the United States. He had been charged with extreme vindictiveness and the responsibility of demanding that the city should be defended to the last extremity, when actually, in the consultation of dignitaries that took place, and the surrender of the capital was demanded by General Merritt and Admiral Dewey, he declared the situation hopeless and that it was a plain duty to prevent the sacrifice of life. He was overruled by the peculiar folly that has caused Spain in the course of the war to inflict heavy and avoidable losses upon herself. Indeed, the war originated in the Spanish state of mind that it was necessary to open fire and shed blood for the honor of the arms of Spain. The Spanish officers knew they could not save Manila from the hands of the Americans while the command of the sea by our fleet was indisputable and we had unlimited reserves to draw upon to strengthen the land forces, irrespective of the swarms of insurgents pressing in the rear and eager to take vengeance for centuries of mismanagement and countless personal grievances. It was the acknowledgment of the Spanish Captain-General, when he received the peremptory summons from Merritt and Dewey to give up the city, that there was no place of refuge for the women and children, the sick and the wounded; and yet it was insisted that the honor of Spain required bloodshed-not much, perhaps, but enough to prove that the army of Spain was warlike. When the American army had been reinforced so as to have 8,000 men ready to take the field, General Merritt and Admiral Dewey had a conference and agreed to send the Spaniards in authority a formal notification that in forty-eight hours they would bombard and assail the defenses of the city of Manila if it were not surrendered. The Spanish reply was that the Americans could commence operations at once, but there was no place where the women and children, the wounded and the sick could go to find a place of security. This was tantamount to a declaration that the Spaniards were sliding into a surrender, but wanted to make a claim to the contrary.

The residence of the Archbishop is within the walled city and a very substantial edifice, the stone work confined to the lower story and hardwood timber freely used in massive form instead of stone. His grace was seated at a small table in a broad hall, with a lamp and writing material before him. He is imposing as a man of importance and his greeting was cordial to kindliness. He said his acknowledgments were personally due the American people for the peace of mind he had enjoyed during the occupation of the city by the army of the United States, for its establishment of order and the justice in administration that relieved good citizens from oppression and alarm. He was glad to have Americans know his sensibility on this subject, and wanted me to convey his sentiments to the President.

When asked what it was that caused the insurgents to be so ferocious against the priests and resolved on their expulsion or destruction he said the rebels were at once false, unjust and ungrateful. They had been lifted from savagery by Catholic teachers, who had not only been educators in the schools but teachers in the fields. The same Catholic Orders that were singled out for special punishment had planted in the islands the very industries that were sources of prosperity, and the leaders of the insurgents had been largely educated by the very men whom now they persecuted. Some of the persecutors had been in Europe and became revolutionists in the sense of promoting disorder as anarchists. It was the antagonism of the church to murderous anarchy that aroused the insurgents of the Philippines to become the deadly enemies of priests and church orders. It was true in Spain, as in the Philippines, that the anarchists were particularly inflamed against the church. His grace did not seem to have heard of the American anarchist, but the European revolutionist has received a large share of his attention.

He produced a box of cigars, also a bottle of sherry, and chatted comfortably and humorously. There was one thing then that he had in his heart-that his anxiety for peace and appreciation of order as enjoyed under the American military government should be recorded and responsibly reported to the people of the United States. The American priests had informed him that I was a friend of long standing of President McKinley, and he again enjoined that I should declare his sentiments to the President. A beautiful work of wood carving was shown on an easel, which had a frame of hard wood, the whole, easel and frame, with elaborately wrought ornamentation, cut out of one tree. It was at once strong and graceful, simple and decorative. The picture was a gold medallion, raised on a plate of silver, an excellent likeness of his grace. It was evident that the refinements of art were known to “these barbarians of the Philippines,” for their works testified.

His grace announced that he would return my call, and his convenience being consulted, the time was fixed for him to appear at 11 o’clock the next day, Sunday, and he came accordingly, accompanied by three priests, the chaplain of the First California, Father Daugherty who sailed with General Merritt to Manila, and Father Boyle, the superintendent of the famous observatory founded by the Jesuits, who was a typical Irishman Irishman of a strong and humorously hearty type. Father Boyle had one of the most perfect methods of speaking English in the Irish way that I have ever heard, and admitted that he had resided in England long enough to be born there; and this was great fun. It is not too much to say that the institution he represented is illustrious.

The cathedral of Manila is within the walled city and of immense proportions. It was shattered by an earthquake, and in its reconstruction wood rather than marble was used for the supporting pillars within, but no one would find out that the stately clusters of columns were not from the quarries rather than the forests, unless personally conducted to the discovery. Here 2,000 Spanish soldiers, held under the articles of capitulation, were quartered, consumed their rations and slept, munching and dozing all around the altar and pervading the whole edifice. The other great churches, five in number, in the walled city, were occupied in the same way. The Archbishop was anxious to have the soldiers otherwise provided with shelter, and if not all of them could be restored to their ordinary uses it was most desirable, in his opinion, the cathedral should be.

It is estimated that 2,000 of the American soldiers in the expeditionary force are Catholics, and Father Daugherty was anxious to preach to them in English. During the call upon me by the Archbishop this subject was discussed, and the suggestion made that the Americans had tents in great number that they did not occupy and that would probably not be preserved by keeping them stored in that hot and trying climate. They might be pitched on the Luneta, which is beside the sea, and the town thus relieved of 13,000 men, who, herded in churches, produced unsanitary conditions. This seemed reasonable, and the policy of the change would have a tendency to develop an element of good-will not to be despised and rejected. It might be that the cathedral alone could be cleared without delay or prejudice with a pleasant effect, and if so why not? His grace was certainly diplomatic and persuasive in stating the case, and his attendants were animated with zeal that the Americans should have the credit of re-opening the cathedral for worship. It was true the Spanish garrison first occupied it, but if the necessity that its ample roof should protect soldiers from the torrential rains had existed perhaps it had ceased to be imperative. The matter was duly presented to the military authorities, and the objection found to immediate action that the Spanish prisoners of war should not for the time be located outside the walled city. They must be held where they could be handled.

Coincident with the call of the Archbishop came Captain Coudert, of the distinguished family of that name in New York, and his grace was deeply interested in that young man and warmly expressed his gratification in meeting an American officer of his own faith. The Archbishop is a man of a high order of capacity, and his influence has been great. His position is a trying one, for it would be quite impossible for him to remain in Manila if the insurgents should become the masters of the situation. The claim of hostile natives that the Spanish priests have an influence in matters of state that make them a ruling class is one that they urge when expressing their resolve that the Friars must go. The Spanish policy, especially in the municipal governments, has been to magnify the office of the priests in political functions. The proceedings of a meeting of the people in order to receive attention or to have legal standing must be certified by a priest. It is the Spanish priest that is wanted in matters of moment, and the laws make his presence indispensable. The Spanish priests are, therefore, identified in the public mind with all the details of misgovernment. The civilized Filipinos profess christianity and faith in the native priests, carefully asserting the distinction. In his conversation with me, General Aguinaldo repeatedly referred to the necessity of consulting his advisers, and said he had to be careful not to offend many of his followers, who thought he had gone very far in his friendship for the United States. He gave emphasis to the assertion that they were “suspicious” of him on that account. It was my judgment at first that the General, in stopping short when a question was difficult and referring to the Council he had to consult, was showing a capacity for finesse, that he really had the power to do or to undo, though he has not a personal appearance of possible leadership. Now this, even, has been modified. His Council seems to be the real center of power. When I was talking with Aguinaldo there were two American priests waiting to propose the deportation of his prisoners who were priests, and he had to refer that question. The Council has decided to keep the priests in confinement, and it is remarked that the General desired to give up his prisoners and was false in saying he favored sending them to Spain. There are misapprehensions in this association. He has no doubt thought well of holding fast his most important hostages. If he personally desired to release the priests, he probably would not venture to do it. He is not so silly as to believe in his own inviolability by bullets, and digestion of poi poisons; and those who are such savages as to confide in these superstitions are not unlikely to try experiments just to strengthen their faith. The potentiality of Aguinaldo as a personage is not so great as has been imagined, and if he attempts a rally against the American flag he will be found full of weakness.

The Archbishop, I was told, had much pleasure in meeting an American he was assured would attempt to be entirely just, and present him according to his own declarations to the people of the United States. He knew very well, unquestionably, the stories circulated in the American camps, that his voice had been loudest and last in urging hopeless war, in telling impossible tales of visionary Spanish reinforcements, and denouncing the Americans as “niggers” and “pigs.” It is a fact that Spaniards have cultivated the notion among the rural Filipinos, that Americans are black men, and pigs is their favorite epithet for an American. The radical enemies of His Grace are, no doubt, responsible for unseemly stories about his animosities, for that he and those around him were sincere in their respect for, and gratitude toward the American army of occupation, for its admirable bearing and good conduct, was in itself too obviously true to be doubted.

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4 Responses to The Philippine Revolution from the Eyes of Nozaleda

  1. Buenaventura A. Buenaventura says:

    Dear Mr. Sonido,

    Would you like to read the following:

    The University of Santo Tomas and Rizal
    When the death sentence was read to him in the morning of December 29, 1986, the Catholic Church renewed its efforts to bring him back to its fold.
    ? At that supreme juncture, the highest and most responsible person interested in his religious conversion was the Archbishop of Manila, Bernardino Nozaleda, no other than his former Vice-Rector at Santo Tomas.
    ? In his death-cell, at sunset of December 29, Rizal received the visit of two Dominicans, one of whom was Fr. Evaristo Fernández Arias, still professor of the University. And Rizal is on record as having appreciated the visit and as having recalled the good advice given to him on his behalf by former Vice-Rector Fr. Nozaleda and by professor Fr. Vilá. Thus Rizal’s end was marked by gestures of friendship between him and his Dominican mentors.


  2. Buenaventura A. Buenaventura says:

    Dear Mr. Sonido,

    Here is additional information:

    In brief, the Jesuit account is this: On the 28th of December (the very day Governor General Polaviéja ordered the death sentence) Archbishop Nozaleda commissioned the Jesuits to the spiritual care of Rizal, indicating that it would probably be necessary to demand a retraction and suggesting that both he and Father Pi would prepare “formulas.”

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