A hero’s ‘fall’ from grace

    NO WAY TO HONOR A HERO  An unwanted “offering” of trash lies at the foot of the Bonifacio monument in Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila, proof that a hero can be easily neglected in his own hometown. PHOTO BY ABBY PALMONES

    An unwanted “offering” of trash lies at the foot of the Bonifacio monument in Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila, proof that a hero can be easily neglected in his own hometown. PHOTO BY ABBY PALMONES

    We discriminate against our own heroes.

    Take Andres Bonifacio, for example.

    Every November 30 when the nation marks his death anniversary, there is not much of a celebration even in his home district of Tondo in Manila to honor the man who defied Spanish rule with, according to history books, a gun and a bolo.

    Neither is there a grand wreath-laying each at the supposedly major monuments–one in Caloocan City and the other in Manila near Intramuros– to his heroism, which tribute should be led by the President of the Philippines or anyone else with political power.

    Bonifacio’s monument in the country’s premier city–Manila–is a pathetic sight. It is apparently 24/7 home to indigents, sidewalk vendors, intoxicated vagrants and others whom our poor boy would have wanted to deliver from the wretched life they now deal with.

    The site, dwarfed by the Greek-inspired and iconic building housing the Philippine Postal Corp. or PhilPost or simply, Post Office, seems to be also the home-cum-office for some government personnel, as indicated by shirts and pants flapping in the wind from a clothesline.

    Worse, it could probably be the biggest bus/jeepney terminal in the Philippines but apparently without the government earning a centavo from it.

    Somewhere in the transportation depot rises but barely the Bonifacio monument, or what passes for one because it is hardly, well, monumental. The monument can be easily lost in the tarpaulins, sign boards and other visual nuisances screening off the sort-of landmark.

    The monument seems to be an afterthought, an irony because where it stands is named after him–Liwasang Bonifacio or Plaza Bonifacio–superseding Plaza Lawton or simply Lawton.

    It is tiny, dwarfed by all the flotsam around it, only coming to life a bit when a fountain in front of it is switched on.

    Unlike the Rizal monument at Luneta (now Rizal Park), Bonifacio’s is not watched over by honor guards of the state, not fenced off, not enclosed by manicured gardens.

    At night, not even the so-called hero of the masses, if he were to come back to life, could save people passing through Liwasang Bonifacio–it is dark, it stinks, it’s no man’s land.

    And the government is making a fuss about an eyesore of a 49-story condominium–the “national photobomber”–spoiling any picture taken of the Rizal monument from anywhere on the Roxas Boulevard side of Luneta.

    Rizal died for the motherland, so did Bonifacio, and more horribly, according to historical accounts.

    But looking at the dingy state of Bonifacio’s monument, one can easily forget that he was a nationalist, a revolutionary leader and the country’s first president.

    Bonifacio is a true-blue Manileño, having been born in Tondo on Nov. 30, 1863. But even in his own hometown, this hero is remembered only on his birthday and forgotten the rest of the year.



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    1. Every Nov 30 the nation marks the birth, not death, anniv of Andres Bonifacio.
      Now I know why most Filipinos are weak in History & Geography.

    2. There is an error: November 30 is the Andres Bonifacio’s birthday anniversary… and not death…

    3. He is my hero. We should be watchful, since every roads and highways are being changed name, that in the future many will be changed more if the present government will stay longer, like the the names of the 7,100 Philippine islands and it might be even the name of our country will be possibly changed, this monument might also be changed and put their the statue of Ninoy Aquino or Cory Aquino instead.

    4. He is my hero. We should be watchful, this monument might be changed and put their the statue of Ninoy Aquino instead.

    5. AGREED! More should be done for a hero like Bonifacio….a true inspiration for a sovereign nation especially today when outside cultures water down patriotism and pride in ones nation

    6. Where are the charlatans who were very outspoken in arguing that Bonifacio
      –not Rizal– should be our national hero? I urge them to look hard at how those
      irreverend feet of the masses walk all over the supposed hallowed grounds for
      their hero.

    7. Jose A. Oliveros on

      Aside from vagrants and other characters who have made Liwasang Bonifacio their “home”, another insult to the memory of Andres Bonifacio is the fact that since 1963, Plaza Lawton was renamed “Liwasang Bonifacio”, precisely in honor of Bonifacio, yet 52 years hence, public utility buses still carry the name “LAWTON” in their signboard. And the LTFRB which regulates the public transport system and all Mayors of the City of Manila who had held office and/or have been holding office at Manila City Hall, a stone’s throw away from LIwasang Bonifacio, have not corrected that anomaly. TALK OF HONORING BONIFACIO.