I still remember seeing the KKK reference in The Philippines and chuckling to myself. Obviously, I knew they weren’t advertising the American white supremacist group. But after asking a few people I didn’t seem to get a complete answer on what the KKK was referencing.
It turns out the KKK is a historically important secret society and revolutionary group. It’s beginnings dating back to 1892 when anti-Spanish Filipinos decided to band together with the aim of gaining independence from Spanish rule.
Now the official name of the society was Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan. Which when translated into English means Supreme and Most Honorable Society of the Children of the Nation. So it seems that shortening it to KKK or the Katipunan was a reasonable decision.
The founders of the group Andres Bonifacio, Teodoro Plata, Ladislao Diwa plus various others were mostly freemasons. This meant that a lot of the organizational structure adopted by the KKK was borrowed from The Philippine Freemasonry.
A lot of people associate the Filipino national hero Jose Rizal with the KKK. Although Rizal was not formally a member of the group; due to his being exiled to Mindanao at the time; he still remained a close affiliate with the KKK. The society had been created as a reaction to the La Liga Filipina organization being shut down, an organization in which Rizal was the founding member.
Members of the La Liga Filipina moved away from the organization when the realization came that the organizations’ peaceful stance would be suppressed by Spanish authorities. As these members moved to the KKK their aims were adjusted to the concept of an armed revolution against the Spanish.
The KKK had begun their work in preparing for the revolution over the course of many years. They had been working to stockpile weapons and build membership to their organization. These activities did not go unnoticed by the Spanish authorities, as they had begun to alert their superiors to possible anti-Spanish movements amongst the Filipinos.
Shortly after the Spanish became aware of the movement they received information on the location of the organizations’ operations. Spanish officers arrived at the site of the Katipunan newspaper printing operations and made several arrests; this became the trigger for the Katipunan to stage their revolution.
This led to a series of battles across manila and into its neighboring provinces. As a consequence, many rebels were killed or arrested and ultimately the Katipunan were subject to defeat. But this was only the beginning of the demise of Spanish dominance in The Philippines.
In the end, the movement worked to weaken the Spanish colonial power due to their frequent clashes. The Spanish were also weakened after needing to focus resources on fighting another war across the globe. After much resistance, the rebels were able to gather control over most of the countries territory.
In the end, the rebels were able to declare independence on June 12, 1898, in Cavite. After 333 years of colonial rule, The Philippines was finally able to declare independence from the Spanish.