22 May 1867|
Quiapo, Manila, Philippines
|Died||2 November 1960
Quiapo, Manila, Philippines
|Spouse(s)||Gregoria de Jesús
Julio Nakpil (22 May 1867 – 2 November 1960) was a Filipino musician, composer and a General during the Philippine Revolution against Spain. He was a member of the Katipunan, a secret society turned revolutionary government which was formed to overthrow the Spanish government in the Philippines. His Katipunan adoptive name was J. Giliw or simply Giliw. He was commissioned by Gat Andres Bonifacio, President of the Revolutionary Government, to compose a hymn which was intended to become the National Anthem of the Philippines. That hymn was entitled "Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan". Thus, he is mostly remembered as the composer of the first National Anthem of the Philippines.
Julio Nakpil was born on May 22, 1867 as one of the twelve children of a well-off family in Quiapo district of Manila. His parents withdrew him from formal schooling after two years and had him look over the family stable. Julio educated himself at home and eventually learned how to play the piano as customary among the affluent families during that period.
During the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution on August of 1896, Julio was appointed as General by the Katipunan Government and was the commander of the revolutionary forces in the northern Philippines under Andrés Bonifacio.
Many of Julio's compositions during this time were inspired directly by the Revolution. Julio composed "Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan" which was intended by Bonifacio to become the national anthem of the Philippines but was ultimately rejected for Lupang Hinirang by Emilio Aguinaldo. After Aguinaldo ordered the Bonifacio brothers executed, Nakpil claimed to have received threats on his own life as well as that of General Antonio Luna, the latter ending up betrayed and executed by Aguinaldo's men.
After the Revolution, Nakpil fell in love with and eventually married Bonifacio's widow Gregoria de Jesús. They moved to Manila and raised six children. Their eldest child and the only boy was Juan Nakpil who became a prominent Filipino architect and was recognized as a National Artist for Architecture. Another child married the architect Carlos Santos-Viola. Julio continued to compose until his death in 1960. Before his death he also contributed to a book on his life that was published by his heirs in 1964.
In his memoirs titled 'Apuntes Sobre la Revolución Filipina (Notes on the Philippine Revolution), Nakpil wrote "I swear before God and before History that everything related in these notes is the truth and I entreat the historian not to publish this until after my death." On page 30 of his memoirs can be found Nakpil's notes on the death of Bonifacio, and on page 130 is his account of the assassination of Antonio Luna where Nakpil wrote "When General A. Luna was dastardly assassinated on the stairs of the Convent of Kabanatuan and already fallen on the ground, the mother of Emilio Aguinaldo looked out the window and asked: 'Ano, humihinga pa ba?'(So, is he still breathing?)"
On pages 157-158, Nakpil wrote of Aguinaldo,
"Emilio Aguinaldo's surrender to the Americans was a cowardly act. There was no doubt that he coveted the presidency. He surrendered for fear that others more competent than he would occupy the post of president of the Republic. Had he fought with his captors, regardless of whether he succumbed so that he might be considered a hero, at least to vindicate his crimes, by this time we would be admiring a monument to the second hero of the Philippines, unlike what he did delivering himself as prisoner and afterward taking an oath of allegiance to the American flag.
The crimes he committed against Andrés Bonifacio and Antonio Luna, and his attempt to assassinate the undersigned [Julio Nakpil] should be condemned by history, and Universal Freemasonry ought to expel him and declare him a spurious son. The coward finds many dangers where none exist!"
The house where Nakpil and de Jesús lived, known as "Bahay Nakpil", still stands in Quiapo and is maintained by his heirs as a museum that also offers walking tours of Quiapo and other special events and doubles as a performance area. "Bahay Nakpil" is the only Spanish-style building left standing in Quiapo.
- Alzona, Encarnacion (1964). Julio Nakpil and the Philippine Revolution. Manila, Philippines: Carmelo and Bauermann, Inc.