APOLONIO DE LA CRUZ
Early Katipunan Martyr
Apolonio de la Cruz was one of the early plebian heroes who responded to the call of the
motherland to serve unselfishly and offer their lives in the struggle for independence. There is
little information about the early life of de la Cruz. Recollections by his only daughter, Segunda
Gallardo de la Cruz viuda de Lammoglia, offer that Apolonio was born sometime in 1864 and was
the only child of Felipa de la Cruz who had her origins in Bigaa, Bulacan. Around the year 1884, de
la Cruz who was about twenty years old, married Apolonia Gallardo, daughter of a Guardia Civil.
They had three children, Emigdio, who was born 1885, Victor in 1889 and Segunda, who was born
Like a number of other workers at the printing office of the Diario de Manila where he
worked as foreman, Apolonio de la Cruz was a member of the Katipunan, the secret revolutionary
society that drew heavily from the working class for its affiliates. With Mapaghiganti (to avenge)
as nom de guerre, he was the treasurer of the Katipunan chapter in Tondo, Manila.
The newspaper Diario de Manila was published by the Ramirez y Compañia that was
located at Núm. 40 Calle Beaterio, corner Núm. 1 Calle Magallanes in Intramuros, Manila. It had
its business and editorial offices at 31 Escolta corner Calle San Jacinto in Binondo, Manila. The
printing plant was operated by Filipino workers many of who were members of the Katipunan.
They conducted their activities under the unsuspecting eyes of the management who were active
members of the Spanish colonial reserve forces. The Katipuneros did their secret activities during
lunch break between 12:00 and 2:30 when the Spanish personnel would take their meals and their
siesta. The prints men would avail of the plant’s furnace to manufacture daggers, knives and
lithographic types with which they printed receipts and propaganda material for the Katipunan.
They also held daily meetings, collected dues and conducted initiations of new Katipunan members
at the upper floor of the plant. These Katipunero prints men provided the types and expertise to
the Katipunan printing press, which published the Katipunan newsletter, the Kalayaan.
Apolonio de la Cruz was a leader in these clandestine activities and held the rank of Jefe.
He attended the historic meetings of the chief of the Katipunan in Pasig on May 1, 1896 and was
entrusted with important documents of the organization. In his testimony before the military
court on 6 September 1896 Pio Valenzuela mentioned him together with Aguedo del Rosario as
furnishing him (Valenzuela) types, without charge, from the printing press of the Diario de
Manila, which were used in the publication of Kalayaan.
Sometime before the existence of the Katipunan was exposed in August 1896, he had a
petty, if covert, rivalry with a Visayan co-worker, Teodoro Patiño, who was said to be beset by
gambling debts at the time. This rivalry, which later climaxed with the issue of whose salary was to
be increased, compounded by his debts, was what apparently prompted Patiño to expose the
Katipunan to the authorities, and his motive was clear enough: revenge. However, it was his sister,
Honoria, a certain Sor Teresa de Jesus, a nun, who prodded him to do so through Father Mariano
Gil, an Augustinian priest. His sister lived in an Augustinian orphanage in Mandaluyong.
Father Gil, who had long suspected the secret society’s existence, lost no time in locating
the Spanish authorities, who then raided the printing press on August 19,1896. Incriminating
evidence was found in the possession of De La Cruz, including a punta diamante or ceremonial
dagger and a list of Katipunan members. Valenzuela likewise testified that De la Cruz was arrested
by the Guardia Civil “on Thursday, August 20, about daylight”. Thrown in prison with other
suspected Katipuneros, De La Cruz was probably tortured. According to Valenzuela, on the same
day of De La Cruz’ arrest, Emilio Jacinto’s mother called at his home to report to him that Jacinto
“had fled the city because Apolonio de la Cruz had given the authorities the names of the members
of the Assembly.”
The unexpected discovery of the Katipunan advanced the timetable for the launching of
the Philippine Revolution.
As for De la Cruz, he was executed by firing squad on February 6, 1897 together with nine
other comrades in the Katipunan namely, Roman Basa, Teodoro Plata, Vicente Molina,
Hermenegildo de los Reyes, Jose Trinidad, Pedro Nicodemus, Feliciano del Rosario, Gervasio
Samson and Doroteo Dominguez.
Agoncillo, Teodoro A. The Revolt of the Masses. Quezon City: University of the Philippines
Alvarez, Santiago . The Katipunan and the Revolution Memoirs of a General. Translated into
English by Paula Carolina S. Malay Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press,
Ataviado, Elias M. “The Forsaken and Forgotten Heroes and Martyrs of the Philippine
Revolution”. The Journal of History Volume IV, No. 2 January-April 1956. p. 17.
Lammoglia, Umberto G. The Katipunan Members of the Diario de Manila. Manila:
Unpublished Work, 1993.
Minutes of the Katipunan. Manila: National Heroes Commission, 1964.