Andres Bonifacio, an admirer of Rizal, and a member of La Liga Filipina, organized a secret society named KKK (Kataastaasan Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan), or “The Highest and Most Venerable Association of the Sons and Daughters of the Nation.” The Katipunan, as the KKK was commonly referred to, was a small confraternity of three hundred members from 1892 to 1895, which grew to over 30,000 in 1897.
In his manifesto, Ang Dapat Mabatid ng Mga Tagalog (What the Tagalogs Should Know), Bonifacio pictured the pre-colonial past as one of great prosperity, until the Spaniards came and seduced the natives into becoming their allies, through the first blood compact between King Sikatuna and Legazpi, the King of Spain’s representative.
Bonifacio spoke of the people’s duty to redeem the country in order to bring forth independence not just in terms of political autonomy from Spain, but also as a general condition of well-being and abundance– a return of the golden age, which proved to be an attractive appeal to the working classes.
The Katipunan’s ideology was brought home to each member through the society’s initiation ritual, an adaptation of the Catholic Easter Vigil ceremony enhanced by Masonic symbols. In a dark room with only a lighted candle as point of illumination, the neophyte was made to answer a series of questions, like those asked in baptismal ceremonies. However, instead of repudiating the devil in order to be reborn in the Catholic Church, the new Katipunero had to repudiate the dark age of friar domination in order to be reborn in a new community of the children of the Motherland (Inang Bayan), that would call one another Kadugo, or “of the same blood.”
The final step of the ritual was the signing of membership papers with the Katipunero’s own blood, signifying not just to die, in freeing the Motherland, but also to repudiate the original blood compact between Sikatuna and Legazpi.