• Our national hero Andres Bonifacio


    SOME Filipinos have begun to call Andres Bonifacio, founder of the Katipunan, the “First President of the Philippines.” That title removes the honor from another great Filipino, Emilio Aguinaldo. But Bonifacio does have a claim to the title, not only because he came to be elected president of the “Tagalog Republic”—which some Katipuneros organized formally as a government parallel to the Katipunan.

    Andres Bonifacio was born on Nov. 30, 1863 (which is why today is a national holiday) in Tondo, Manila. Santiago Bonifacio, his father, was once a tailor and a sailor who ran the ferry on his hometown’s river and who a later became a local politician. His mother, Catalina de Castro, worked in a factory that rolled tobacco into cigarettes. They worked very hard to support Andres and his five younger brothers and sisters. In 1881, Catalina contracted TB and in 1882 died. Andres’ father was also stricken with TB and died in 1883.

    Andres was 19 years old when he had to forgo his dreams of attaining college education because he had to work and earn the income to support his siblings and be their mother and father.

    He worked for a British trading company, J.M. Fleming & Co., as the purchasing manager for raw materials. Later he moved to the German company, Fressell & Co., to work as the warehouseman.

    Tragedy seemed to dog him. His first wife died not too long after their marriage – of leprosy. He married again, to Gregoria de Jesus, who survived him and is known to us a historical figure for being Andres Bonifacio’s widow. Andres died without any surviving children, for their only child died in infancy.

    Founder of KKK
    Bonifacio joined Jose Rizal’s La Liga Filipina, which Rizal formed in 1892—soon after he was allowed to return to Manila from exile—to promote reforms in the Spanish colonial administration and improve the lives of the Filipinos. But the Spanish colonial authorities suspected Rizal of aiming for rebellion, revolution and then independence, and promptly arrested Rizal after the Liga held its only meeting.

    Just four days after Rizal’s arrest, Andres Bonifacio and others revived La Liga—to continue pressuring the Spanish colonial rulers to grant the Filipinos autonomy and enjoy human rights. At the same time, Bonifacio and his patriot friends, Ladislao Diwa and Teodoro Plata, also formed the Katipunan—or the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan. (The “Highest Most Respected Society of the Children of the Nation.”) Its aims were to obtain freedom and self-rule through persuasion and struggle—including armed struggle if necessary.

    Though the founders, like Andres Bonifacio himself, were well-read on history and revolution, most of the members of the Katipunan were less schooled people from the lower middle and working classes. These were people for whom turning their society into a revolutionary army was not a difficult decision.

    Bonifacio and his fellow patriots were soon establishing regional chapters not just in Luzon but also in the Visayas. He was elected Supremo of the Katipunan in 1895. They published the newspaper Kalayaan and wrote stirring essays for it.

    Under Bonifacio’s leadership, Katipunan in 1986 grew from only about 300 members to more than 30,000 in July. It had become a organization that could credibly fight a revolution for freedom and independence from Spain.

    Bonifacio launched the revolution on Aug. 23, 1896, in a speech (The Cry at Pugad Lawin) calling on the Filipinos to rise in revolt and claim their freedom and independence. He led his followers in tearing up their “cedulas” (community tax certificates) as a symbol of releasing themselves from the rule of Spain.


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    1. Andres Bonifacio organized the Filipinos to fight for their freedom from the cruel Spanish colonizers, their pedophile, rapist and greedy priests (Padre Damaso) and their corrupt, traitor tax collectors (Inquilinos, like the biblical Zaccheus). The parents of Jose Rizal were Inquilinos serving the interests of the Spaniards. Bonifacio invited Rizal to join the Katipunan multiple times but Rizal refused. When Rizal was arrested by the Spaniards he was actually on a Spanish ship going to Cuba to help the Spaniards fight for their colony. Aguinaldo was another traitor. He was invited by Bonifacio to join the Katipunan but Aguinaldo was making money with his Spaniard connections so he refused. It was only when he saw the Katipunan reaping success that he joined. Obviously he did not want to be with the Spaniards and against the Katipunan when the Spaniards were defeated. He had Bonifacio assassinated by his Kawit company in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. He also sold out the revolution to the Spaniards in exchange for P200,000. He was doublecrossed by the Spaniards on the payment so he got angry and asked the help of then Commodore Dewey whom he met in Hong Kong. When he went back to the Philippines he was doublecrossed by Commodore Dewey who proceeded to steal the victory of the revolution from the Philippines in favor of America. Rizal and Aguinaldo are traitors, not heroes. Bonifacio is the real hero.

    2. Albert Martines on

      BONIFACIO, no doubt is a true hero. Unfortunately, he was born poor and the RICH OLIGARCHS at that time found a way to oust him from the leadership of the Katipunan. Everybody knows who replaced him and ordered his death. What a pity – even at that time, the rich wants to dominate the poor………………Today is no different…….

    3. Andres Bonifacio was a true hero, patriot, and an inspiration to his his poor downtrodden countrymen…. A true giant of a man…..a man of his time !!!!

    4. Ang Andres Bonifacio, ang tunay na bayani at national hero ng Pilipinas.
      NOT Jose Rizal.
      Ang Emilio Aguinaldo, ang tunay na traydor ng bayan, ang mukha ng corrupt na illustrado na strata ng lipunan…

    5. Because Andres came from the grassroots, uneducated and yet educated himself thru reading and self education, inspite of being very poor yet intelligent and charismatic leader. He was killed by Emelio who should not be regarded as the first Philippine president. Andres should be the national hero and Rizal only second. the reason Rizal was made the national hero was because elite bourgeouse colonial mentality leaders during that time prefer Rizal being highly educated, well traveled and belonging to the elite. But Andres led the revolution against Spain and convinced the masses to rise up. Andres is a true national hero and should be on top of Rizal. while Emilio should have a bad place in history and be regarded as a murderer and traitor. Andres is now becoming more popular because of the similarity with the late Fidel Castro who rise up his people and fought the US imperialism and ousted dictator corrupt Batista and so as Ernesto Che Guevarra. they both got involved in the revolution hands on unlike Rizal who waged his revolution thru his pen. although he died as a martyr in a firing squad. Andres top them all as as sacrifices and leadership.

      • Freedom Liberty Justice on

        Please do not demean diminish the honor of Andres Bonifacio by comparing him to Fidel Castro, the former oppressed his own people with the brutality that his ideology affords.

        There is a reason why Cuban exiles or immigrants are celebrating his death.

        Andres Bonifacio was good uniquely on his own.

    6. Andres Bonifacio was found guilty by the Court Martial formed by Late Gen. Aguinaldo and was buried on top of the mountain in Maragondong, Cavite. The remain of Bonifacio was excavated from his grave by Gen. Marcelino Alapaap Aure, KKK, then brought to his (Alapaap) home in Mendez, Cavite. When Gen. Marcelino died, Margarita his wife decided that the bones of Bonifacio be buried with Gen. Aure, her husband..

      This secret was revealed by Margarita Vidamo Aure wife of Gen. Aure to her sons and duaghters before she (Margarita) died. .

    7. we celebrate Bonficacio day. do we celebrate an aguinaldo day? what is the significance? don’t know much about history but read that aguinaldo sold us to the spaniards and again to the americans! true?

      • I believe Ambeth Ocampo can shed light on this one. For me, I never considered him (aguinaldo) a hero anyway. Especially what he did to Heneral Luna!