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Gomburza marker at Luneta Park

Gombura or GOMBURZA is an acronym denoting the surnames of the priests Mariano Gomez, José Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora, three Filipino priests who were executed on 17 February 1872 at Luneta Park in Bagumbayan, Philippines by Spanish colonial authorities on charges of subversion arising from the 1872 Cavite mutiny. Their execution had a profound effect on many Filipinos; José Rizal, the national hero, would dedicate his novel El filibusterismo to their memory.[1]

The uprising by workers in the Cavite Naval Yard was the pretext[2][3] needed by the authorities to redress a perceived humiliation from the principal objective, José Burgos, who threatened the established order.


During the Spanish colonial period, four social class distinctions were observed in the islands. These were 1) Spaniards who were born in Spain— peninsulares, 2) Spaniards born in the colonies of Spain (Latin America or the Philippines)—insulares or criollos, 3) Spanish mestizos, Chinese mestizos or 'Indios' (natives) dwelling within or near the city (or town) and the church, and, finally, 4) Chinese or Sangley and rural Indios.[4]

Burgos was a criollo, a Doctor of Philosophy[citation needed] whose prominence extended even to Spain, such that when the new Governor and Captain-General Carlos María de la Torre arrived from Spain to assume his duties, he invited Burgos to sit beside him in his carriage during the inaugural procession, a place traditionally reserved for the Archbishop and who was a peninsular Spaniard. The arrival of the liberal de la Torre was opposed by the ruling minority of friars, regular priests who belonged to an order (Dominicans, Augustinians, Recollects, and Franciscans) and their allies in civil government, but supported by the secular priests, most of whom were mestizos and indios assigned to parishes and far-flung communities, who believed that the reforms and the equality they wanted with peninsular Spaniards coming. In less than two years, de la Torre was replaced by Rafael de Izquierdo.

The Cavite Mutiny[edit]

Main article: 1872 Cavite mutiny

The so-called Cavite Mutiny of workers in the arsenal of the naval shipyard over pay reduction owing to increased taxation produced a willing witness to implicate the three priests, who were summarily tried and sentenced to death by garrote on February 17, 1872. The bodies of the three priests were buried in a common, unmarked grave in the Paco Cemetery, in keeping with the practice of burying enemies of the state.[2] Significantly, in the archives of Spain, there is no record of how Izquierdo, himself a liberal, could have been influenced to authorize these executions.[citation needed] Gregorio Meliton Martinez, then the Archbishop of Manila, refused to defrock the priests, citing they did not break any canon law. He ordered the bells of every church to be rung in honor of the executed priests. The aftermath of the investigation produced scores of suspects, most of whom were exiled to Guam in the Marianas. Except for a few who managed to escape to other ports like Hong Kong, most of the suspects died.

Recovery of remains[edit]

Grave site of Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora in Paco Park, Manila.

Early in 1998, bones believed to belong to one of the three executed priests were discovered at the Paco Park Cemetery by the Manila City Engineers Office.[5]

Gomburza sculpture at Parish of the Holy Sacrifice.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Zaide, Gregorio F. (1984). Philippine History and Government. National Bookstore Printing Press. 


  1. ^ "Nationalista Party History". Archived from the original on 2007-06-27. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  2. ^ a b "The Secularization Issue and the Execution of Gomburza". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  3. ^ "Padre Jose Ma. Burgos". Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  4. ^ "Hidalgo and Luna: Vexed Modernity". Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  5. ^ Casipit, Jennifer R. "GOMBURZA. Reluctant martyrs started it all". Retrieved 2007-07-30. 

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87 news items


Sat, 01 Aug 2015 03:39:54 -0700

Ojascastro said the Filipino book was dedicated to heroes of the revolution like Hermano Pule and Gomburza, and the faithful who cannot understand English. Aside from Cavite, the book will also be used by some churches in Southern Luzon and the United ...
Tue, 17 Feb 2015 10:51:16 -0800

Textbook history makes it easier for us to remember the three priests as “Gomburza” (for Gomez, Burgos and Zamora). Who thought up this sequence? If we follow the alphabetical order, the acronym should be “Burgomza.” If we follow seniority at the time ...

Philippine Star

Philippine Star
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 08:45:00 -0700

It begins with landmark events in the late 19th century (the martyrdom of Gomburza, the execution of Rizal in Bagumbayan, etc.) and moves on to the story, revealing Mabini's foresight in unmasking the dishonesty and greed of the trapos of the time ...
Tue, 02 Sep 2008 00:00:00 -0700

The error etched and perpetuated in bronze is that Gomburza were martyred by strangulation using the garrote. That is what it looks like, but aren?t executions designed to be swift and relatively painless? To do otherwise is to indulge in cruel and ...


Sun, 22 Mar 2015 12:30:00 -0700

Gomburza” is dated 1970—three years before the centennial of the martyrdom of three priests who agitated for the nationalization of the Spaniard-dominated clergy. More dark colors in Jaime's bold expressionist strokes recapture that spark that ...

GMA News

GMA News
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 03:00:27 -0700

Gomburza,” is a riveting painting of Jose Burgos, Mariano Gomez and Jacinto Zamora, who were executed by Spanish authorities in 1872. In the painting are images of politicians, priests, the Statue of Liberty, Jose Rizal, and De Guzman's family: the ...

GMA News

GMA News
Thu, 18 Jun 2015 20:42:11 -0700

... but he was only prompted to use the name Rizal so the Spaniards wouldn't be able to track him down as his brother Paciano was being pursued for being linked in an uprising which led to the martyrdom of three Filipino priests known as the Gomburza.


Sat, 18 Apr 2015 15:44:49 -0700

SiningSaysay, from two Filipino words meaning art and history, is a collaboration among three institutions working to make it an innovative way of teaching history. The University of the Philippines (UP), UP Alumni Association (UPAA) and Araneta Center ...

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