JUAN DE LA CRUZ
Juan de la Cruz, later to be known as
Palaris, was the leader of the second revolt in Pangasinan during the Spanish
times.He was born on
His father, Santiago de la Cruz, was a
former cabeza de barangay. His mother was Catalina Ugnay. They were both
natives of Binalatongan.
Cruz was extraordinarily big, thus earning the sobriquet, ”the
giant’s son.” He was fond of playing with calves. Also usually fat and strong,
he ran races with horses and grappled in a tug-of-war with the
As a boy, the town priest taught him
the rudiments of reading and writing Spanish. Being intelligent, he could
easily read many books.
He was 22-years-old when his parents
died, leaving him alone to support his brothers and sisters. His grandfather adopted
them. It was during this time that he witnessed an incident that rankled in him
and make him lose his respect for the Spanish authorities. It was that of the
priest slapping and kicking a native boy for not hiving kissed his hand. The
insurrection in Pangasinan that he would lead also had its beginnings
thereabouts. It coincided with the British invasion.
The insurrection started in
Binalatongan. Residents of the town defied the tribute collectors on the ground
that with the British occupation of
On November 3, 1762, De la Cruz, now
known as “Palaris” or “Palaripar,” led Pangasinan revolt together with his
brother Colet, Juan de Vera Oncatin, and two Hidalgo brothers. A certain Andres
were appointed master-of-camp of the province.
The early confrontations between the
British and the Spaniards were mostly diplomatic. During this time,
At the start, Palaris, backed by his
followers, simply intimidated the Spanish authorities to give in to his
demands, but when they succeeded in seizing an abandoned armory in Lingayen,
they turned combative. Now armed, the rebels would have been formidable force.
Owing to their lack of military skills, however, they were as vulnerable as
before to the onslaught of Spanish troops.
Obviously, the people of Pangasinan
were deeply Christianized. Dominican priests’ residing in churches in the
province played a decisive role in the suppression of Palaris’ revolt. They
served as the bridge of communication between the rebels and the Spaniards. The
people genuinely respect them. There were threatened with death by rebels, no
one was inflicted any serious physical injury.
The priests were constantly in touch
with Palaris. They implored him to cease the rebellion. Palaris told them that
he was willing to do so, but not the people. Having tasted freedom and its
fruit, Pangasinenses were not about to give these up. And they had reason not
to. Between 1762 and 1763, the ruling class of most of the towns of the
province was made up of Pangasinenses appointed or elected. The only Spaniards
in positions of authority who remained were the priests.
Spanish officials were slowly
reintroduced into the region. At first, the people received them with
jubilation; believing that real reforms would be forthcoming. But the new
imposition of new taxes told them that would again be in place. Another revolt
In contrast to the first stage of the
insurrection, this second phase was marked by much cruelty and ruthlessness on
both sides. Eventually, the rebels were routed by the combined forces of
Spanish and Ilocano troops. The surviving rebels retreated into the forest, but
were hunted down and publicly hanged. Some of them were quartered. Their
corpses displayed for all to see.
As Palaris, his own sister, Simeona,
betrayed him to the gobernadorcillo on
During his trial, Palaris declared
himself the author of the rebellion and asked the forgiveness from God, the
The town of
For Pangasinan, there would be no other
freedom fighter after Palaris.