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Kartilla of the Katipunan

In celebration of Andres Bonifacio Day on Nov 30, I am blogging my English translation of the Katipunan's Code of Ethics or Kartilla (Kartilya). Recruits to the revolutionary association had to learn these by heart. The code was first written by Emilio Jacinto. The Kartilya remains as relevant today as in 1896 .

My apologies for errors in translation. I know there are better translations than this one.

1) A life not spent for a holy and noble cause is like a tree without shade or a noxious weed.

2) Acts that stem from pride and selfishness do not come from a desire to help others..

3) True holiness comes from helping others, charity towards others and the measure of such is in each reasonable act or word.

4) Dark or white your skin may be, all men are equal though one may be greater in knowledge, material wealth, beauty these do not add to one’s humanity.

5) Those who are men of goodwill put honour before concern for self and those who do no good puts the self before honour.

6) For an honourable man, his word is an oath.

7) Do not waste time. Though wealth may be recovered, the opportunities lost by wasting time may not.
8) Defend the oppressed and fight the oppressor.

9) A circumspect man takes care in his use of words, for to him what needs to be kept in confidence, remains in confidence.

10) In the thorny path of life, the man is the head of the family, if he does wrong, the family will end up in ruin.*

11) A woman should not be treated as an object of mere pleasure for she is an equal helper in life’s travails. Her femininity is an asset and; remember that your mother is the woman who raised you from infancy to what you are now.

12) What you do not want to do to your wife, sons and daughters or siblings, do not do to another man’s wife, sons and daughters and siblings.

13) The nobility of a man is not in ruling others, or in the sharpness of his nose, or the fairness of his skin. It is not in the priestly duties of a minister of God, it is not in the high estate one is born into but is in doing charity towards fellow men, the decent, honourable, those who do not tolerate oppression nor oppress and those who care and help their land of birth.

14) Spread the teachings of this Kartilya like the sun spreading freedom throughout the archipelago and that we be one is spirit, brotherhood and in the joy of knowing that the lives we have offered, labours exerted and hardships would not have been in vain.

* This reflects on the nature of relationships between man and woman in the revolution. Today this article is usually translated as "where the parents lead, the children follow"


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