Dakilang Ina Essay Outline

For places and things named after Apolinario Mabini, see Mabini.

This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Mabini and the second or maternal family name is Maranan.

Excelentísimo Señor
Apolinario Mabini
1stPrime Minister of the Philippines
In office
January 23, 1899 – May 7, 1899
PresidentEmilio Aguinaldo
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPedro Paterno
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
January 23, 1899 – May 7, 1899
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byFelipe Buencamino
Personal details
BornApolinario Mabini y Maranan
July 23, 1864[1]
Tanauan, Batangas, Captaincy General of the Philippines
DiedMay 13, 1903(1903-05-13) (aged 38)
Manila, Philippine Islands
Alma materColegio de San Juan de LetranUniversity of Santo Tomas

Apolinario Mabini y Maranan (July 23, 1864 - May 13, 1903) was a Filipinorevolutionary leader, educator, lawyer, and statesman who served first as a legal and constitutional adviser to the Revolutionary Government, and then as the first Prime Minister of the Philippines upon the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. He is regarded as the "utak ng himagsikan" or "brain of the revolution”

Two of his works, El Verdadero Decalogo (The True Decalogue, June 24, 1898), and Programa Constitucional dela Republica Filipina (The Constitutional Program of the Philippine Republic, 1898) became instrumental in the drafting of what would eventually be known as the Malolos Constitution.[2]

Mabini performed all his revolutionary and governmental activities despite having lost the use of both his legs to Polio[3] shortly before the Philippine Revolution of 1896.

Mabini's role in Philippine history saw him confronting first Spanish colonial rule in the opening days of the Philippine Revolution, and then American colonial rule in the days of the Philippine–American War. The latter saw Mabini captured and exiled to Guam by American colonial authorities, allowed to return only two months before his eventual death in May, 1903.


Early life and education[edit]

Apolinario Mabini was born on July 23, 1864[1] in Barangay Talaga in Tanauan, Batangas.[4] He was the second of eight children of Dionisia Maranan, a vendor in the Tanauan market, and Inocencio Mabini, an unlettered peasant.[5]

In 1881 Mabini received a scholarship to go to the Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Manila. An anecdote about his stay there says that a professor there decided to pick on him because his shabby clothing clearly showed he was poor. Mabini amazed the professor by answering a series of very difficult questions with ease. His studies at Letran were periodically interrupted by a chronic lack of funds, and he earned money for his board and lodging by teaching children.[5]

Law Studies[edit]

Mabini's mother had wanted him to enter the priesthood, but his desire to defend the poor made him decide to study law instead.[4] A year after receiving his Bachilles en Artes with highest honors and the title Professor of Latin from Letran, he moved on to the University of Santo Tomas, where he received his law degree in 1894.[4][5]

Comparing Mabini's generation of Filipino intellectuals to the previous one of Jose Rizal and the other members of the propagandista movement, Journalist and National Artist of the Philippines for Literature Nick Joaquin describes Mabini's generation as the next iteration in the evolution of Filipino intellectual development:[6]

Europe had been a necessary catalyst for the generation of Rizal. By the time of Mabini, the Filipino intellectual had advanced beyond the need for enlightenment abroad[....] The very point of Mabini’s accomplishment is that all his schooling, all his training, was done right here in his own country. The argument of Rizal’s generation was that Filipinos were not yet ready for self-government because they had too little education and could not aspire for more in their own country. The evidence of Mabini’s generation was that it could handle the affairs of government with only the education it had acquired locally. It no longer needed Europe; it had imbibed all it needed of Europe.[6]

Mabini joined the Guild of Lawyers after graduation, but he did not choose to practice law in a professional capacity. He did not set up his own law office, and instead continued to work in the office of a notary public.[6]

Instead, Mabini put his knowledge of law to much use during the days of the Philippine Revolution and the Filipino-American war. Joaquin notes that all his contributions to Philippine history somehow involved the law:

"His was a legal mind. He was interested in law as an idea, as an ideal[...] whenever he appears in our history he is arguing a question of legality."[6]

Masonry and La Liga Filipina[edit]

Mabini joined the fraternity of Freemasonry in September 1892, affiliating with lodge Balagtas, and taking on the name "Katabay".[7][8][9]

The following year, 1893, Mabini became a member of La Liga Filipina, which was being resuscitated after the arrest of its founder José Rizal in 1892. Mabini was made secretary of its new Supreme Council.[10] This was Mabini's first time to join an explicitly patriotic organization.[5][7]

Mabini, whose advocacies favored the reformist movement, pushed for the organization to continue its goals of supporting La Solidaridad and the reforms it advocated. When more revolutionary members of the Liga indicated that they did not think the reform movement was getting results and wanted to more openly support revolution, La Liga Filipina split into two factions:the moderate Cuerpo de Compromisarios, which wanted simply to continue to support the revolution, and the explicitly revolutionary Katipunan.[5][7]

Mabini joined the Cuerpo de Compromisarios.[7]

When José Rizal, part of the "La Liga Filipina", was executed in December that year, however, he changed his mind and gave the revolution his wholehearted support.[5]

Polio and eventual paralysis[edit]

Mabini was struck by polio[3] in 1895, and the disease gradually incapacitated him until January 1896, when he finally lost the use of both his legs.[7]

1896 Revolution and Arrest[edit]

When the plans of the Katipunan were discovered by Spanish authorities, and the first active phase of the 1896 Philippine Revolution began in earnest, Mabini, still ill, was arrested along with numerous other members of La Liga Filipina.

Thirteen patriots arrested in Cavite were tried and eventually executed, earning them the title of "Thirteen Martyrs of Cavite". Jose Rizal himself was accused of being party to the revolution, and would eventually be executed in December that year.

When the Spanish authorities saw that Mabini was paralyzed, however, they decided to release him.[11][12]

Adviser to the Revolutionary Government[edit]

Sent to the hospital after his arrest,[13] Mabini remained in ill health for a considerable time. He was seeking the curative properties of the hot springs in Los Baños, Laguna in 1898 when Emilio Aguinaldo sent for him, asking him to serve as advisor to the revolution.

During this convalescent period, Mabini wrote the pamphlets "El Verdadero Decálogo" and "Ordenanzas de la Revolución." Aguinaldo was impressed by these works and by Mabini's role as a leading figure in La Liga Filipina, and made arrangements for Mabini to be brought from Los Baños to Kawit, Cavite. It took hundreds of men taking turns carrying his hammock to portage Mabini to Kawit.

He continued to serve as the chief adviser for General Aguinaldo after the Philippine Declaration of Independence on June 12. He drafted decrees and edited the constitution for the First Philippine Republic, including the framework of the revolutionary government which was implemented in Malolos in 1899.[14]:546

Prime Minister of the Philippines[edit]

Apolinario Mabini was appointed prime minister and was also foreign minister of the newly independent dictatorial government of Aguinaldo on January 2, 1899. Eventually, the government declared the first Philippine republic in appropriate ceremonies on January 23, 1899. Mabini then led the first cabinet of the republic.

Mabini found himself in the center of the most critical period in the new country's history, grappling with problems until then unimagined. Most notable of these were his negotiations with Americans, which began on March 6, 1899. The United States and the Philippine Republic were embroiled in extremely contentious and eventually violent confrontations. During the negotiations for peace, Americans proffered Mabini autonomy for Aguinaldo's new government, but the talks failed because Mabini’s conditions included a ceasefire, which was rejected. Mabini negotiated once again, seeking for an armistice instead, but the talks failed yet again. Eventually, feeling that the Americans were not negotiating 'bona fide,' he forswore the Americans and supported war. He resigned from government on May 7, 1899.

Philippine American War, exile, and return[edit]

The Philippine–American War saw Mabini taken more seriously as a threat by the Americans than he was under the Spanish:[15] Says National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose:

"The Spaniards underestimated Mabini primarily because he was a cripple. Had they known of his intellectual perspicacity, they would have killed him earlier. The Americans did not. They were aware of his superior intelligence, his tenacity when he faced them in negotiations for autonomy and ceasefire."[15]

On December 10, 1899, he was captured by Americans at Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, but granted leave to meet with W.H. Taft.[14]:546–547 In 1901, he was exiled to Guam, along with scores of revolutionists Americans referred to as 'insurrectos' and who refused to swear fealty to imperialist America. When Brig. Gen. Arthur C. MacArthur, Jr. was asked to explain by the US Senate why Mabini had to be deported, he cabled:

Mabini deported: a most active agitator; persistently and defiantly refusing amnesty, and maintaining correspondence with insurgents in the field while living in Manila, Luzon...[16]

Mabini returned home to the Philippines in Feb. 1903 after agreeing to take the oath of allegiance to the United States[14]:547 on February 26, 1903 before the Collector of Customs. On the day he sailed, he issued this statement to the press:

After two long years I am returning, so to speak, completely disoriented and, what is worse, almost overcome by disease and sufferings. Nevertheless, I hope, after some time of rest and study, still to be of some use, unless I have returned to the Islands for the sole purpose of dying.[17]

To the chagrin of the American colonial officials, however, Mabini resumed his work of agitating for independence for the Philippines soon after he was back home from exile.[18][not in citation given]


Not long after his return, Mabini died of cholera in Manila on May 13, 1903 at the age of 38.[14]:547

Historical Remembrance[edit]

Mabini's complex contributions to Philippine History are often distilled into two historical monikers - "Brains of the Revolution", and "Sublime Paralytic." Contemporary historians such as Ambeth Ocampo point out, though, that these two monikers are reductionist and simplistic, and "do not do justice to the hero’s life and legacy."[19][20]

"Brains of the Revolution"[edit]

Because of his role as advisor during the formation of the revolutionary government, and his contributions as statesman thereafter, Mabini is often referred to as the "Brains of the Revolution", a historical moniker he sometimes shares with Emilio Jacinto, who served in a similar capacity for the earlier revolutionary movement, the Katipunan.[21]

"Sublime Paralytic"[edit]

Mabini is also famous for having achieved all this despite having lost the use of his legs to Polio just prior to the Philippine revolution.[22] This has made Mabini one of the Philippines' most visually iconic national heroes, such that he is often referred to as "The Sublime Paralytic" (Tagalog:"Dakilang Lumpo"). Contemporary historians,[who?] however, point out that the title obscures Mabini's many achievements.

Controversy about Mabini's paralysis[edit]

Even during his lifetime, there were controversial rumors regarding the cause of Mabini's paralysis. Infighting among members of the Malolos congress led to the spread of rumors that Mabini's paralysis had been caused by venereal disease - specifically, syphilis. This was finally debunked in 1980, when Mabini's bones were exhumed and the autopsy proved conclusively that the cause of his paralysis was Polio.[23]

This information reached National ArtistF. Sionil José too late, however. By the time the historian Ambeth Ocampo told him about the autopsy results, he had already published Po-on, the first novel of his Rosales Saga. That novel contained plot points based on the premise that Mabini had indeed become a paralytic due to syphilis.[24]

In later editions of the book,[25] the novelist corrected the error and issued an apology, which reads in part:

I committed a horrible blunder in the first edition of Po-On. No apology to the august memory of Mabini no matter how deeply felt will ever suffice to undo the damage that I did.... According to historian Ambeth Ocampo who told me this too late, this calumny against Mabini was spread by the wealthy mestizos around Aguinaldo who wanted Mabini's ethical and ideological influence cut off. They succeeded. So, what else in our country has changed?

In the later editions, Mabini's disease - an important plot point - was changed to an undefined liver ailment. The ailing Mabini takes pride in the fact that his symptoms are definitely not those of syphilis, despite the rumors spread by his detractors in the Philippine Revolutionary government.



  • Two sites related to Mabini have been chosen to host shrines in his honor:
    • The house where Mabini died is now located in the campus of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Santa Mesa, Manila, having been moved twice. The simple nipa retains the original furniture, and some of the books he wrote, and also contains souvenir items, while hosting the municipal library and reading facilities.[26]
    • Mabini was buried in his town of birth - what is now Talaga, Tanauan City, Batangas. An interactive museum containing historical artifacts, his personal properties, books he wrote, and it also provides historical information about him, the Philippines during his time, and some of his town's historical background was constructed, and was recently renovated and improved, on this site. It also sells books about him and souvenir items. A replica of the house Mabini was born in was also constructed on the site.

Place names[edit]

  • Four Philippine municipalities are named after Mabini:
  • The Mabini Academy is a school in Lipa City, Batangas named after Mabini. The school logo carries Mabini's Image.
  • Southern Tagalog Arterial Road or Apolinario Mabini Superhighway is an expressway that connect the province of Batangas to the SLEX.
  • Apolinario Mabini Bridge, formerly known as Nagtahan Bridge in the City of Manila, was renamed in his honor.
  • Mabini reef, also referred to as Johnson South Reef, is a reef claimed by the Philippines in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. It is currently controlled by the People's Republic of China (PRC). In addition to the Philippines and China, its ownership is also disputed by Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Naval Vessels[edit]

Philippine Peso[edit]

  • Mabini's face adorns the Philippine Ten pesocoin, along with that of Andrés Bonifacio.
    • It was also featured on the ten peso bill that circulated or printed starting with the Pilipino Series in 1972 and continued until the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas stopped printing these notes (New Design series version) in 2002. From 1972-1997, he was the only one to portray on the front of the banknote until it added Andres Bonifacio that were printed from 1997-2002.

Government Awards and Citations[edit]

Portrayal in Media[edit]

  • Portrayed by Ronnie Quizon in the 2012 film, El Presidente.
  • Portrayed by Epi Quizon in the 2015 film, Heneral Luna - At the height of the film's popularity, reports of numerous incidents - including one during a Q&A with actor Epi Quizon - in which school-age youths asked why Mabini just sat in a chair throughout the film, implying a lack of familiarity with the famously paralytic statesman.[28] Even PresidentBenigno Aquino III remarked on the implications of the lack of awareness among students, saying "even if only a few students said this, we can say that this is a reflection of how little some of the youth know about history. Later, I will call up (Education Secretary) Armin (Luistro) to act on this."[29]

Selected works[edit]

  • The True Decalogue (El Verdadero Decalogo, June 24, 1898)
  • Contestaciones y Consideraciones Al Pueblo y Congreso Norte-Americanos
  • Ordenanzas de la Revolucion
  • Programa Constitucional dela Republica Filipina (The Constitutional Program of the Philippine Republic)[30] (c., 1898)
  • La Revolución Filipina (The Philippine Revolution, 1931)


From Mabini[edit]

...it belongs to no party, nor does it desire to form one; it stands for nothing save the interest of the fatherland.[citation needed]
The Revolution failed because it was badly directed, because its leader won his post not with praiseworthy but with blameworthy acts, because instead of employing the most useful men of the nation he jealously discarded them. Believing that the advance of the people was no more than his own personal advance, he did not rate men according to their ability, character and patriotism but according to the degree of friendship or kinship binding him to them; and wanting to have favorites willing to sacrifice themselves for him, he showed himself lenient to their faults. Because he disdained the people, he could not but fall like an idol of wax melting in the heat of adversity. May we never forget such a terrible lesson learned at the cost of unspeakable sufferings![31][citation needed]

About Mabini[edit]

Mabini is a highly educated young man who, unfortunately, is paralyzed. He has a classical education, a very flexible, imaginative mind, and Mabini's views were more comprehensive than any of the Filipinos that I have met. His idea was a dream of a Malay confederacy. Not the Luzon or the Philippine Archipelago, but I mean of that blood. He is a dreamy man, but a very firm character and of very high accomplishments. As said, unfortunately, he is paralyzed. He is a young man, and would undoubtedly be of great use in the future of those islands if it were not for his affliction.[32]
We cannot question the depth and breadth of the contribution to our country of the man we call the ‘Sublime Paralytic’ and the ‘Brains of the Revolution.’ He represented the intelligence and convictions of the Filipino people. His sharp mind was his weapon to strengthen the foundation of our democratic institution."[29]


Majul, Cesar Adib. Mabini and the Philippine Revolution

External links[edit]

The Mabini Shrine, now located in the PUP campus in Santa Mesa, Manila
2014 Philippine stamp showing Mabini
  1. ^ ab"FAQs". Mabini@150. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  2. ^Malcolm, George A. (26 November 2017). "The Malolos Constitution". Political Science Quarterly. 36 (1): 91–103. doi:10.2307/2142663 – via JSTOR. 
  3. ^ abPasion, Kristoffer. "The great Philippine experiment". opinion.inquirer.net. Archived from the original on 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2017-02-28. 
  4. ^ abcZaide, Gregorio F. (1984), Philippine History and Government, National Bookstore Printing Press 
  5. ^ abcdefRemollino, Alexander Martin (May 11–17, 2003), "Mabini: A Century After His Passing", Bulatlat.com, 3 (14) 
  6. ^ abcdJoaquin, Nick (July 28, 1962), "Mabini the Mystery", the Philippines Free Press 
  7. ^ abcde"Essays & Papers". Philippine Center for Masonic Studies. 
  8. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  9. ^Bueza, Michael. FAST FACTS: The life and legacy of Apolinario Mabini. Jul 23, 2014. Rappler. [1]
  10. ^"Philippine History -- La Liga Filipina". msc.edu.ph. 
  11. ^http://www.interaksyon.com/article/91797/jessica-zafra--10-things-we-know-about-apolinario-mabini
  12. ^http://www.asj.upd.edu.ph/mediabox/archive/ASJ-35-1999/roxaslim.pdf
  13. ^Tucker, Spencer C. The Encyclopedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine American Wars. [2]
  14. ^ abcdForeman, J., 1906, The Philippine Islands, A Political, Geographical, Ethnographical, Social and Commercial History of the Philippine Archipelago, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons
  15. ^ abJose, F. Sionil (26 May 2014). "Ap Mabini, the Filipino Everyman". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  16. ^Quoted in Arnaldo Dumindin, Philippine-American War, 1899-1902.
  17. ^Wolff, Leon (2006), Little brown brother: how the United States purchased and pacified the Philippine Islands at the century's turn, History Book Club (published 2005), p. 361, ISBN 978-1-58288-209-3  (Introduction, Decolonizing the History of the Philippine-American War, by Paul A. Kramer dated December 8, 2005)
  18. ^Philippine-American War, 1899-1902 by Arnaldo Dumindin. http://philippineamericanwar.webs.com/philippineindependence.htm
  19. ^Ocampo, Ambeth R. (23 July 2014). "Mabini still sounds painfully familiar". Philippine Daily Inquirer. INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  20. ^Ocampo, Ambeth R. (16 July 2014). "Mabini vs the Rich". Philippine Daily Inquirer. INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  21. ^Ocampo, Ambeth R. (18 July 2014). "Mabini in exile". Philippine Daily Inquirer. INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  22. ^Ocampo, Ambeth R. (23 July 2014). "Mabini by Mabini". Philippine Daily Inquirer. INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 9 October 2016. 
  23. ^Ocampo, Ambeth (September 27, 2004), "Looking Back: News and gossip from Mabini", Philippine Daily Inquirer 
  24. ^José, Francisco Sionil (November 11, 2007), "The Literary Life: Literature as History", The Manila Times, archived from the original on March 14, 2008, retrieved 2008-09-30 
  25. ^José, Francisco Sionil (2005), Po-On (6th ed.), Ermita, Manila, Philippines: Solidaridad Publishing House, p. 231, ISBN 978-971-8845-10-3 
  26. ^Ocampo, Ambeth (August 23, 2008), "Looking Back: The house where Mabini died", Philippine Daily Inquirer 
  27. ^"Foundation sets Mabini Awards for the Disabled], January 28, 2008, [http://www.pia.gov.ph Philippine Information Agency]". [permanent dead link]
  28. ^Dizon, Nikko (24 September 2015). "'Why is Mabini just seated?' Epy Quizon stands up to the confused". Philippine Daily Inquirer. INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 26 September 2015. 
  29. ^ ab"Aquino can't believe question asked why Mabini was seated throughout Luna movie". 
  30. ^http://malacanang.gov.ph/8128-the-constitutional-program-of-the-philippine-republic/
  31. ^Mabini, A. (1935). The Philippine Revolution. Manila: National Library of the Philippines.
  32. ^United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Philippines (January 31 – June 28, 1902), "Hearings Before the Committee on the Philippines of the United States Senate in Relation to Affairs in the Philippine Islands", Hearings before the Committee on the Philippines of the United States Senate in relation to affairs in the Philippine Islands [January 31-June 28, 1902], Govt. print. off., 2 

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