4 Lesser-Known Facts About Andres Bonifacio
In celebration of Bonifacio Day!
Historians call him by several titles of distinction: The Great Plebeian, Supremo of the Katipunan, the Father of the Philippine Revolution, the Unofficial First President of the Independent Philippines. But how well do we really know Andres Bonifacio?
Every November 30, the Philippines commemorates the birth anniversary and the heroism of the brave Katipunan founder that was Andres Bonifacio. On his 156th birthday, nothing could be more fitting than to uncover bits of information about Bonifacio’s interesting life and tragic death that forever changed Philippine history.
Bonifacio came from a middle-class family
It’s not entirely accurate to say that Bonifacio’s family was poor. In fact, his mother Catalina de Castro was a half-Spanish mestiza, which technically puts Bonifacio on a different league than the indios. Furthermore, both his parents had stable jobs. His mother worked as a supervisor in a cigarette factory and his father worked as a staff member in the office of the gobernadorcillo.
The eldest among five siblings, Andres Bonifacio spent his basic education years in Cebu. His parents even hired a private tutor to teach him arithmetic and Spanish. Unfortunately, however, he and his siblings were orphaned when Bonifacio was only 14 years old.
Bonifacio’s weapon of choice is the revolver
Bonifacio was a something of a warrior, that’s for sure. But just to set the record straight, Bonifacio preferred to use a gun to take up arms against his enemies—quite different from the statue displayed at Manila’s Liwasang Bonifacio.
For instance, during the election of the president and vice president at the Tejeros Convention, Bonifacio pulled a gun out at Daniel Tirona. This was after Tirona questioned Bonifacio’s election as Secretary of Interior.
The Battle Of San Juan del Monte, in which Bonifacio led an attack on Spanish artillery, also showed the Supremo holding a gun. Perhaps it is because the majority of forces of the Katipunan used bolo knives as a weapon that monuments of Bonifacio would also show him armed with a bolo.
Bonifacio was well-read
Just like in the TV of movies, the death of Bonifacio’s parents was a turning point in his life. At the time, he had to quit his studies to support his brothers and his sisters.
Hungry for knowledge but lacking in formal education, Bonifacio became a voracious reader and a self-learner while he worked. He read books about the US presidents’ lives, novels like Les Miserables, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, as well as the history of the French Revolution.
Not surprisingly, his readings ignited Bonifacio’s rebellious spirit, ultimately leading to his founding of the Katipunan.
Bonifacio’s exact cause of death is unknown
Gone too soon, Bonifacio was accused of treason for trying to overthrow Emilio Aguinaldo’s government. He was arrested in April 1897 and sentenced to death in May. Narratives of his live differ, with some saying he was shot dead by firing squad and others claiming he was hacked to death with a bolo. He was only 33 years old.
Andres Bonifacio is one of the most memorable figures in Philippine history, leaving behind a legacy that gives pride to the entire nation. This Bonifacio Day, everyone has a part as a Filipino to relive and celebrate the contributions that Bonifacio selflessly gave for our country.