In our history books, we learned how heroes have fought for the freedom of our country, the Philippines. Perhaps we would not be free today if not for the heroes who laid down their lives. For 333 years, the Philippines was colonized by Spaniards and it was impossible to seek freedom. Many Filipino revolutionaries bravely tried and fought for freedom and Andres Bonifacio was one of them. In celebration of Bonifacio day 2021 and the 158th birthday of one of the Philippines’ greatest heroes, let us travel back in time and reminisce how great of a Filipino Bonifacio was.
Every 30th of November, Bonifacio day is annually celebrated. It is also part of our 2022 Holiday list. Andres Bonifacio was born on November 30, 1863. His parents were Santiago Bonifacio and Catalina de Castro. Santiago Bonifacio was a tailor, local politician, and boatman who operated a river-ferry. His mother Catalina de Castro was employed in a cigarette-rolling factory. Andres was the eldest among his other siblings namely Ciriaco, Procopio, Troadio, Esperidiona, and Maxima. At fourteen, they become orphans therefore Andres became responsible for raising his younger siblings. Although misfortunes happened, it never hindered Andres to achieve his dreams, he was very diligent in accepting various jobs. Aside from making walking canes and paper fans which he sold in Manila’s busy streets, he also worked for the British trading company J.M. Fleming & Co. as a broker, or corredor, for local raw materials such as tar and rattan. He later moved to the German firm Fressell & Co., where he worked as a bodeguero, or grocer.
He devotes most of his spare time to reading books and learning new skills such as making crafts. Andres was married twice, he was first married to Monica who died of leprosy a year after their marriage. Later on, he married Gregoria de Jesus who was only sixteen years old back then.
In celebration of Bonifacio day 2021 and the 158th birthday of one of the Philippines’ greatest heroes, let us travel back in time and reminisce how great of a Filipino Bonifacio was.
Bonifacio has many aliases and historians call him Supremo of the Katipunan, The Great Plebeian, the Unofficial First President of the Independent Philippines, and of course, we know him as the Father of the Philippine Revolution. Why? That is because he has great roles that had a huge impact on the history.
In 1892, Bonifacio joined La Liga Filipina, a nationalist movement organized by Jose Rizal. Later on, Rizal was imprisoned and the organization was disbanded. Andres Bonifacio established the “Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan” (commonly known as “Katipunan” or “KKK”) where he was called Supremo. Bonifacio became the commander in chief of the revolutionary army of the Katipunan. Their goal was to separate the Philippines from Spain and exclusion of the Spaniards in the country. Women were also allowed to join the organization and Bonifacio’s wife- Gregoria de Jesus was one of them. To widen their organization, the official publication of the Katipunan was released with Emilio Jacinto as editor. Two works of Bonifacio were published in the Kalayaan– “Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa” and “Ang Dapat Mabatid ng mga Tagalog.” The organization was discovered by the Spaniards after a priest contacted the authorities to raid the printing shop where documents, oaths signed in blood, receipts, and ledgers related to Katipunan were confiscated from the shop.
Bonifacio was also remembered for “The Cry of Pugadlawin” wherein together with his troops, they tore their cedulas which symbolizes rebelliousness against the colonizers and this happened on August 23, 1896.
One of his historical roles is in The Tejeros Convention. The Katipunan was unorganized and chaotic since it has members from Manila and other provinces which are the two subgroups known as Magdalo and Magdiwang. Because of their political differences, the Tejeros Convention was initiated to unify the group. Bonifacio was assigned to preside in the election of the officers of the new government that was to be set up. Emilio Aguinaldo was chosen by the majority to be the president of the new revolutionary government and Bonifacio was elected as the Secretary of Interior. However, Daniel Tirona opposed and argued that a lawyer should handle the position which insulted Bonifacio. He, later on, left the estate house together with his supporters which made the Tejeros convention null and void. “Acta de Tejeros” was signed by Bonifacio’s supporters which dictates his reason for invalidating the Tejeros Convention. However, that night, other elected officers have already taken their oath of office. Therefore, Bonifacio created an independent government in accordance with the “Naic Pact” enacted by him. Signed by his supporters including two of Aguinaldo’s generals who later on turned their back on Bonifacio and pledged their loyalty. Aguinaldo completed his Cabinet members through the appointment and there the Revolutionary Government on April 17, 1897 was established. Later on, Aguinaldo sentenced Bonifacio to treason. After Aguinaldo ordered the arrest of Bonifacio and his brother, Procopio and Andres were sentenced to death. On May 10, 1897, Procopio and Andres were shot at Mount Nagpatong, near Mount Buntis in Maragondon, Cavite.
It was a tragic circumstance that ended the Supremo’s life. Many believed that Bonifacio should be remembered as the first president for he was the leader even before the Revolutionary Government was formally created.
Why do Filipinos Celebrate Bonifacio Day?
Unlike other heroes who were remembered for their death, Bonifacio’s birthdate is celebrated because he was executed by the Filipino revolutionary government and not by the Spanish. Bonifacio has dedicated his time fighting for Filipino freedom. His love for the country was undeniable and it cost him his life.
Andres Bonifacio Day is a national public holiday in the Philippines celebrated every 30th of November. It is a regular holiday in the Philippines and it is a non-working holiday where Filipinos could pay respect and celebrate it through visiting monuments dedicated to Bonifacio. November 30th was first declared as Bonifacio Day through Philippine Legislature Act No. 2946. It was signed by then-Governor General Francis Burton Harrison in 1921.
On this occasion, Bria Homes recognizes Andres Bonifacio for his contributions to Philippine independence. May he be remembered not only for his courage but also for his love and for sacrificing his life for our country.
Written by Lysandra Faye Batac