The new economy gave rise to a new middle class in the Philippines, usually not ethnic Filipinos. In the early 19th century, the Suez Canal was opened which made the Philippines easier to reach from Spain. The small increase ofPeninsulares from the Iberian Peninsula threatened the secularization of the Philippine churches. In state affairs, the Criollos, known locally as Insulares (lit. "islanders"). were displaced from government positions by the Peninsulares, whom the native Insulares regarded as foreigners.
The Insulares had become increasingly Filipino and called themselves Los hijos del pais (lit. "sons of the country"). Among the early proponents of Filipino nationalism were the Insulares Padre Pedro Pelaez, archbishop of Manila, who fought for the secularization of Philippine churches and expulsion of the friars; Padre Jose Burgos whose execution influenced the national hero Jose Rizal; and Joaquin Pardo de Tavera who fought for retention of government positions by natives, regardless of race.
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In retaliation to the rise of Filipino nationalism, the friars called the Indios (possibly referring to Insulares and mestizos as well) indolent and unfit for government and church positions. In response, the Insulares came out with Indios agraviados, a manifesto defending the Filipino against discriminatory remarks. The tension between the Insulares and Peninsulares erupted into the failed revolts of Novales and the Cavite Mutiny of 1872 which resulted to the deportation of prominent Filipino nationalists to the Marianas and Europe who would continue the fight for liberty through the Propaganda Movement.
The Cavite Mutiny implicated the priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora (see Gomburza) whose executions would influence the subversive activities of the next generation of Filipino nationalists, in particular Paciano Rizal, elder brother of Jose Rizal, who then dedicated his novel, El filibusterismo to the these priests.
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