What do you do on a Bonifacio Day? It’s not exactly like Christmas Day or New Year’s Day or even All Saints’ Day where you know what to do and where to go.
Or maybe you can do something different this time. Spend the day to learn more about the reason why this day is being celebrated. Gather your family or friends and drive to Cavite and retrace the last days of Andres Bonifacio.
I learned about this Bonifacio Trail during the celebration of the Philippine Centennial in 1998 from my friend who was a priest based in Indang, Cavite. He suggested that I trace Philippine history from the viewpoint of an indio instead of an ilustrado.
Ever wonder why Andres Bonifacio, the indio Supremo was not present during the declaration of independence in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898? Well, he was executed a year before the independence was declared.
There was rivalry between the two leaders of the revolutionary government. On March 22, 1897, during the Tejeros Convention in Cavite, Emilio Aguinaldo, representing the Magdalo group, won the election over Andres Bonifacio, representing the Magdiwang. Bonifacio accepted the result but felt insulted when he was not made Vice President. He tried to nullify the result of the election, being the Supremo of the Katipunan.
In the days that followed, Bonifacio and his men refused to acknowledge the Aguinaldo leadership. In April 1897, Aguinaldo ordered the arrest of Bonifacio after receiving a letter that Bonifacio had burned down the village and ordered the burning of the Indang church. On April 25th, Bonifacio was finally caught in Limbon, Indang. Banifacio and his brother Procopio were brought to Maragondon, Cavite, for trial, and on May 8, 1897, the Bonifacio brothers were found guilty and were sentenced to death. On May 10, 1897, the brothers were executed on the mountains of Maragondon.
How to get there, what to see, what to do
Those who wish to trace the last few days of the Supremo can now do this on a day. Drive a car with a good navigation system. You can also use Waze. But if everything else fails, you can just ask around for directions.
Visit all three monuments in the province of Cavite where Andres Bonifacio spent his last days. These monuments mark the places where he was caught (Pinaghulihan), where he underwent trial (Pinaglitisan) and where he was killed (Pinagbarilan).
The Pinaghulihan monument is located in Limbon, Indang. To get there, drive from Manila to Silang, Cavite, via Cavitex and then Aguinaldo Highway. At the end of by-pass road where the new McDonald’s store is located, turn right and continue drive to Indang, Cavite. The monument is located in Limbon, the first barangay (village) of Indang. The statue of Bonifacio now stands on the same spot where he was shot by the men of Aguinaldo.
From Indang, the injured Bonifacio was carried on a hammock to Maragondon, Cavite, where he stood trial on charges of sedition and treason. The Bonifacio Trial House or the Pinaglitisan is now a museum. To get there, drive to Indang town proper and then turn right to the road going to Naic. At the junction of the road to Naic town proper, turn left to the road going to Maragondon. The Trial House is located a few blocks from the church.
Andres and his brother Procopio were found guilty and recommended to be executed. On the morning of May 10, 1897, they were brought to Mount Nagpatong in Maragondon and were executed. A shrine now stands on the same place where the Bonficios lost their lives. To get there, drive to Ternate road going to Puerto Azul. After the long bridge crossing Maragondon River, turn left on the road going to Mount Nagpatong where the shrine is located.
The road going there passes thru a residential area, then a stretch of agricultural lands before entering several kilometers of unpaved road before crossing a narrow bridge that leads to a ranch where the shrine is located inside. It is not easy to find. But getting there is all worth it as it brings a sense of national pride for a man who died for our country.
The shrine has a large mural depicting the events in the life of Andres Bonifacio. It is said to be made by sculptor Toym Imao. Spend at least an hour there going thru the details of the mural. It will give visitors a deeper appreciation of the man who sacrificed his life so that we could get our freedom.
Where to stay, what to eat
As the drive can be done in a day, it is not necessary to stay overnight but for those who wish to do so can continue their drive to Ternate or Nasugbu and find lodgings in any of the resorts in the area.
For those who wish to grab something to eat, the Pinaghulihan monument in Indang and the Pinaglitisan monument in Maragondon are located very close to the local public markets where there are carinderias serving the usual pansit and tapsilog. But these two markets are better known for their fresh fruits: native mangoes in Maragondon and dragon fruits.
But for those looking for appetizing meals, there is this restaurant called Lolo Claro’s in Maragondon. It serves affordable but tasty selections like nilagang baka, salpicado, fried chicken and pansit guisado that go back to the time of the Katipuneros. A supreme feast to celebrate our National Hero’s Day!