HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 47 no. 1 (2001)

Social Crises, Prophets and Alternative Orders: Interpreting Millenarianism in an Indigenous Society

Maria Nela B. Florendo

Discipline: History



There are at least two cases in the Cordillera, Northern Luzon, that have been classified as millenarian movements: the Sapilada in the Lepanto and Besao areas in the Mountain Province (1901) and the Manolay Cult in Apayao (1930s). Minor uprisings during the Spanish period reportedly exhibited millenarian features.


Millenarianism has been closely associated with the Judeo-Christian tradition. When millenarianism as a category of social movement is applied to indigenous resistance, is this a reconstruction of an outside view looking into indigenous society? What social crises in Cordillera indigenous society led to these movements? What alternative orders did these purport to create? Were these homegrown or products of lowland-upland interactions?


This paper explores the context of these unique experiences of the Cordillera. It also includes historiographic notes, both substantive and methodological, that concern millenarian movements as an area of historical study.