The seeds of the Philippine Revolution of 1896 were sown in the 1870s and 1880s, when Filipino calls for reform from the Spanish colonial government were ignored. The armed revolution against Spanish rule began in August 1896. On August 24, the Katipunan -- a secret society dedicated to Philippine independence -- established a government for the archipelago and voted to start an armed revolution.
Estimates of the Katipunan's strength in 1896 vary wildly, from 30,000 to 400,000. Leadership of the Katipunan was disputed until 1897, when Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo had rival leader Andres Bonifacio arrested and executed for sedition. General Aguinaldo led Filipino insurgents in a series of successful battles against combined forces of Spaniards and Filipino mercenaries in the early days of the revolution. By late 1897, however, Aguinaldo's revolutionaries had been pushed back into the mountainous region southeast of Manila.
Truce and Insurrection
On Dec. 15, 1897, General Aguinaldo agreed to a truce with the Spanish government, called the Pact of Biat-na-Bato. Terms of the truce called for the exile of Aguinaldo and other revolutionary leaders while promising reforms to the colonial government. Aguinaldo returned to the Philippines after the U.S. naval forces destroyed the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay in May 1898, and declared himself president of an independent Philippine nation. When Spain ceded the Philippines to the U.S. at the conclusion of the Spanish-American War, Aguinaldo continued to fight for Philippine independence against the United States.