The supreme quest for freedom and independence started in Barcelona, Spain when La Solidaridad, a fortnightly edited by Graciano Lopez-Jaena, financed by Dr Pablo Rianzares, and supported by the Comité de Propaganda, was published on February 15, 1889. With the policy to champion democracy and liberalism, to expose the real plight of the country, and to work peacefully for economic and social reforms, the newspaper published not only news, but also articles and essays about the Philippines and its people.
As editor of the newspaper, Lopez-Jaena did not receive any monetary compensation, but was given free meals, lodging, clothing, and modest pocket money. In 1891, he collected his articles and speeches and incorporated them in his book entitled Discursos y Articulos Varios.
In writing for the newspaper, Filipino reformists used pen names: Antonio Luna, Taga-Ilog; Jose Ma. Panganiban, Jomapa; Domingo Gomez, Romero Franco; Clemente Jose Zulueta, Juan Totoó; Jose Rizal4, Laong Laan and Dimas Alang; Marcelo del Pilar, Kupang, Plaridel, and Maitalaga; Mariano Ponce, Naning, Tikbalang, and Kalipulako, Eduardo Lete, Pedro Paterno, Jose Alejandrino, Isabelo delos Reyes, Antonio Ma Regidor, among others. Ferdinand Blumentritt5, a Bohemian scholar, and Miguel Morayta, a Spanish historian, also worked for the newspaper.
On October 31, 1889, Lopez-Jaena passed the editorship to Marcelo del Pilar, who left his family in the Philippines, went to Spain, and literally gave his life for the newspaper. Del Pilar became the moving spirit of the reform movement and contacted progressive Europeans who would fight side by side with Filipino reformists.
In the next five years, Del Pilar, put out the newspaper despite of affliction, deprivation, and starvation. The newspaper ceased publication in Madrid, Spain on November 15, 1895. Apolinario Mabini had written Del Pilar about the difficulty of raising funds and the added obstacles of getting copies into the Philippines.
Two months and three days later, that was on January 18, 1896, Ang Kalayaan, the official revolutionary newspaper of the Kataastaasang Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (Highest and Most Respectable Society of the Sons of the People) founded by Andres Bonifacio6 and Emilio Jacinto, was published under the editorship of Pio Valenzuela. Printed with 2 000 copies, it exposed the inhumane and indignities of civil guards and Spanish friars and called for a bloody revolution against Spain. To deceive the Spaniards, the founders and the editor made it appeared that the newspaper was printed in Yokohoma, Japan, that the Japanese were in sympathy with the Filipino people, and that the editor was Marcelo del Pilar, who at that time was in Madrid and at the eve of his death.
The first issue of the newspaper contained a supposed editorial of Del Pilar, which Jacinto actually wrote. It greeted the people and wished them solidarity and independence and offered them his life and all he have for the good of the Filipino people. There was also an article by Jacinto and Valenzuela’s Catuiran, which described the cruelties of the Spanish friars and civil guards of San Francisco del Monte on a helpless village lieutenant. It also contained Bonifacio’s Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa that expressed the oppression of Spain and encourage the Filipino people to liberate their country; and Jacinto’s Manifesto that urged the Filipino people to revolt against Spain and to secure their liberty.