HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 47 no. 1 (2001)

Beliefs and Practices of Samareño Pulahanes: A Struggle for Freedom and Self-Rule

Daniel C. Talde

Discipline: History



Through a series of in-depth interviews with the Pulahan members themselves and those who have had experiences with them, the results of the study reveal that the Pulahanes became popular because they epitomized the people who are in constant quest for true independence that the “civilized” Filipinos are ashamed and afraid of.


The Pulahanes were not afraid to go beyond the bounds of what the colonial masters defined as morally right or wrong. Their respect for Andres Bonifacio and their worship of Jose Rizal are proofs that these people are acting not out of banditry but out of a desire to be free. To further prove this point, looting among the Pulahanes was not the option to supply food for their growing army. The movement established a communal farm (agrikultura) where communal efforts (pintakasi) served as a means of cultivating the land to supply food. Besides, the explicit pronouncement that stealing was a crime in the community shows that banditry was not a way of life for them.


The use of anting-anting and oraciones also occupy an important place in their beliefs and practices. From their perspective, these magical objects serve as refuge because these would protect them from harm against the superior weapons of the enemy. From the point of view of the outsider, this belief in anting-anting and oraciones appear strange and outrageous. Yet, this same belief helped them gather all their courage to defend and fight for their peaceful existence.