Bonifacio: A Perversion of Philippine History

A. BonifacioAndrés Bonifacio


On November 30, the Filipinos will be, again, celebrating the birth of Andres Bonifacio. He is regarded as the first Filipino symbol of people power – the rise of the masses against tyranny and oppression.

I am wondering what the internet has to say about Bonifacio. So I searched on the name. Apparently, there are a hundred of results.. Not quite impressive for me, as yet, because I am looking for the context of each material. Thus, I will be quoting some interesting finds.

This is what the U.S. Library of Congress has to say about Andres Bonifacio:

Andrés Bonifacio was born in Manila in 1863, the son of a government official. When both his parents died in the 1870’s, he left school to support his five brothers and sisters. By the mid-1880s, he had become a fervent Filipino nationalist; when José Rizal established the Liga Filipina in 1892, Bonifacio was one of its first members.

After the Spanish arrested Rizal in July 1892, Bonifacio decided that the Philippines would only achieve independence through revolution. On July 7, he founded the Katipunan, a secret society open to both peasants and the middle class that employed Masonic rituals to impart an air of sacred mystery. It insinuated itself into the community by setting up mutual aid societies and education for the poor. By 1896, the Katipunan had over 30,000 members and functioned at the national, provincial, and municipal levels.

Following the execution of Rizal in 1896, Bonifacio proclaimed Filipino independence on August 23, 1896. This time, the Spaniards moved against him, forcing his flight to the Marikina mountains, while other forces headed by Emilio Aguinaldo were more successful and won control over some towns. When Bonifacio tried to rein him in, Aguinaldo ordered him arrested and charged with treason and sedition. He was tried and convicted by his enemies and executed on May 10, 1897. Today he is regarded as a national hero.

As for wikipedia:

Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro (November 30, 1863May 10, 1897) was one of the chief leaders of the revolution of the Philippines against Spanish colonial rule, the first revolution in Asia against European colonial rule.


Had Bonifacio listened to Rizal, there probably would have been no revolution. In the end, the people’s cry for freedom and justice brought down the walls of colonial power. The outbreak of the Philippine Revolution in August 1896 was the beginning of the end of three-and-a-half centuries of Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines.

This is from Southeast Asian Studies, Northern Illinois University website:

Bonifacio’s life as a militant katipunero ended on Mount Hulog, a mountain in Maragondon, Cavite. Bonifacio and his younger brother Procopio were accused by the Spaniards of rebellion and were sentenced to die. On May 10, 1897, Mariano Noriel handed a sealed envelope to Lazaro Makapagal and instructed him to take the two Bonifacio brothers to Mount Taal. Once there Bonifacio requested Makapagal to open the envelope. In it was the order (from Emilio Aguinaldo) to execute both brothers. Makapagal had no recouse but to follow the command, lest he be punished severely. In doing so, he executed the Filipino who sprearheaded the Philippine Revolution against Spain.

Here’s a quote from an essay of Ambeth Ocampo (Remembering Bonifacio):

Bonifacio Day is also odd, because heroes — like saints — are often remembered more for their death than their birth. Rizal’s birthday, June 19, is a holiday in Laguna province, and the date of his execution, Dec. 30, is a national holiday known as Rizal Day.

The notes and comments are endless. One can never say he has understood the Phil-Spanish Revolution without mentioning the name Andres Bonifacio. Some regarded him as the Father of the Philippine Revolution more than any hero during his time. I can only say a little more to what Filipinos know about him factual or imaginary.

Ending this tribute, let me quote the first stanza from his poem “Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa“:

Aling pag-ibig pa ang hihigit kaya
sa pagkadalisay at magkadakila
Gaya ng pag-ibig sa sariling lupa?
Aling pag-ibig pa? Wala na nga, wala.


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