From Pangasinan to Hong Kong: The Exile of Emilio Aguinaldo and its Impact on Philippine History

December 27, 1897, was a significant day in the history of the Philippines. It was the day when General Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of the Philippine Revolution, was exiled to Hong Kong, marking the end of the first phase of the revolution.

The Philippine Revolution was a long and hard-fought struggle for independence against the Spanish colonial rulers. It started on August 23, 1896, and by the time the Spanish authorities agreed to negotiate with the revolutionaries, a provisional government was already established in Kawit, Cavite, with Aguinaldo as its president.

The negotiations resulted in the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, signed on December 14, 1897. The pact called for a ceasefire, the surrender of arms by the revolutionaries, and the payment of a substantial sum of money to them by the Spanish authorities. In exchange, the revolutionaries agreed to go into exile in Hong Kong.

On December 27, Aguinaldo and a group of fellow revolutionaries, including his brother, Crispulo, boarded the S.S. Uranus in Sual, Pangasinan, bound for Hong Kong. The ship was escorted by Spanish gunboats to ensure that the terms of the pact were complied with.

The exile of Aguinaldo and the other revolutionaries was a significant blow to the Philippine Revolution. It marked the end of the first phase of the struggle for independence and paved the way for the second phase, which started with the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Aguinaldo’s exile did not mean the end of his leadership. From his base in Hong Kong, he continued to lead the revolution and coordinate with the leaders of the Katipunan, the secret society that started the revolution. He returned to the Philippines in May 1898 and declared independence on June 12, 1898, in Kawit, Cavite.