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Andres Bonifacio: A Philippine Hero

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Andres Bonifacio is a well known filipino nationalist and revolutionary. In the time of spanish colonial rule, he became the founder and leader of the Katipunan Movement that sought the independence of the Philippines and started the Philippine Revolution. This is of great significance to the Philippine history and my family history as well. Andres Bonifacio was the uncle of my great grandmother. I'm proud to have learned of his bravery and leadership and share his story with you.

Although not officially recognized as such, Bonifacio is considered by some filipino historians to be the first president of the Philippines, most definitely a hero. Andres Bonifacio (November 30,1863 - May 10, 1897) was the eldest of six children. Born in Tondo, Manila his father served as a municipal official in Tondo working as a tailor. His mother (mestiza - of spanish descent) worked in a cigarette factory. By his late teens both his parents died, his mother of tuberculosis in 1881, and his father passed a year later. In order to support his family, Bonifacio dropped out of school and worked as a messenger and wherehouse agent and later on setting up a family business selling canes and paper fans. His first wife died of leprosy, and with his second wife, Georgia de Jesus, he had fathered one son who died as an infant.



The Katipunan

Bonifacio was self educated and had read books about the French Revolution, biographies of the Presidents of the United States, and studied colonial and civil penal codes. In 1892 he joined a peaceful organization that called for political reforms in the Spanish government in the Philippines called, La Liga Filipina (The Philippine League). Following the arrest and exile of La Liga Filipina's leader Jose Rizal, the group disbanded.

Bonifacio believed that there needed to be an armed revolution to free the Philippines from Spanish rule. The same day he learned of Rizal's arrest, he and others formed the Katipunan organization. Katipunan was an underground society who felt strong in freeing the Philippines from Spain by armed forces if necessary. Bonifacio and the others performed a blood compact and used their blood to sign their names as members of the society. Being a freemason, the Katipunan used principles of masonry in its organization. They implemented codes, hand signals, symbols and secret initiation ceremonies in accepting new members. They viewed all men, rich or poor as equals and were taught to care for one another in sicknesss and need.

Philippine Revolution

In March 1896 there was a publication of Kalayaan featuring Bonifacios writings including a poem "Love for the Homeland". Katipunan membership increased greatly from less than 300 members in January 1896 to about 300,000 to 400,000 by August. Bonifacio became the central force in uniting and organizing the society, although he was not its first leader. It was only when the first set of leaders failed to live up to their responsibilities that Bonifacio established his leadership of the Katipunan and was eventually elected supremo.


Due to it's size in numbers the Spanish soon discovered the Katipunan, making arrests of any filipinos who were actual or suspected members of the group. Bonifacio gave orders to different chapters of the Katipunan in various parts of the Philippines and began the revolution. The revolutions spread quickly throughout the country, most successfully in Cavite where they were able to liberate town after town. In the province the Katipunan were divided in two; the Magdalo (headed by Emilio Aguinaldo) and the Magdiwang (headed by Mariano Alvarez). There was conflict between the two and Bonifacio was called to settle differences. Once arriving in Tejeros, it was decided that they would elect officials of a revolutinary government, and Bonifacio made it known that the result was to be respected by everyone. Aguinaldo was elected president, and Bonifacio, the Secretary of the Interior. It was protested by Daniel Tirona that an "uneducated man" was unfit for the position. Bonifacio then aimed his revolver towards Tirona and as supremo of Katipunan, declared the elections to be invalid.

Following this, Bonifacio's group went to Naik and drew up a Naik Military Agreement declaring a separate government from the one established at Tejeros. Because of this Aguinaldo ordered the arrest of Bonifacio and his men, being charged with treason against revolutionary government of Aguinaldo. On May 1897, Bonifacio was shot and executed at the foot of Mount Buntis. He was buried in a shallow grave marked only by a few twigs and leaves.


Bonifacio as National Hero

On March 17, 1918 Bonifacio's remains were found and placed in an urn and put into the care of the National Library of the Philippines. When Emilio Aguinaldo ran for President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Manuel Quezon (his opponent and eventual victor) invoked the memory of Bonifacio against him. Some historians such as Milagros Guerrero, Emmanuel Encarnacion, and Ramon Villegas have pushed for the recognition of Bonifacio as the first president of the Philippines instead of Aguinaldo, the officially recognized one. This view is based on his position of president/supremo of the Katipunan revolutionary government from 1896-97. This view also emphasizes that Bonifacio established a government through the Katipunan before a government headed by Aguinaldo was formed at the Tejeros Convention. Bonifacio's birthday on November 30 is celebrated as Bonifacio Day and is a public holiday in the Philippines. There are many monuments honoring Bonifacio in the country. The two most famous can be found at Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines and at Caloocan. Bonifacio is also depicted in the 10 peso note and 10 peso coin in Philippine currency.

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lor on August 31, 2014:

why is andres bonifacio are national hero

G.H. on August 30, 2012:

this a best prodject

_cheryl_ (author) from California on August 13, 2012:

Thank you so much for sharing how much his biography touched you Dylan. It's so inspiring to know that we have such passionate leaders to look up to.

Dylan on August 03, 2012:

I did not realize that my tears are falling as i was reading Bonifacio's biography...I could feel how much pain he have suffered.. betrayal of trust by his own hurts bigtime..He is my National Hero and the First President of the Republic of the Philippines..

_cheryl_ (author) from California on July 17, 2012:

Thanks writerjj, I agree. Not only do I admire his bravery and love for freedom, but as I learned more about him I sensed a great passion for his purpose as well. :)

writerjj on June 27, 2012:

nice...very nice hub! informative and enlightening. Bonifacio is a symbol of Filipino bravery and love for freedom. We sure could use some some of his qualities and characteristics :)

_cheryl_ (author) from California on March 18, 2012:

Hi dennis, I wish I did. All that I know is according to my mother and my aunt who know of our relation to him. Family records would be real nice to have. Either way, I'm just thankful to know of this true inspiring hero and to have learned of what true pride and courage he displayed for us all. Thanks for reading my hub!

dennis on March 14, 2012:

hi cheryl, my great grandmother is Isabel Bonifacio who is, accdg to my family, the niece of Andres Bonifacio. I have been doing genealogy and I am looking for family records. I was wondering if you have any possession of family records that i can use for my family tree. Family records such as birth certificates of ancestors or death certificates of ancestors indicating dates and places of births and deaths as well as names of parents and their parents' parents as far as records can show. thanks much

_cheryl_ (author) from California on March 06, 2012:

Thanks so much Joshua :)

joshua on March 04, 2012:

wow!! amazing; andres bonifacio" the great plevian and father of the Katipunan" ,.. ang galing . im so sure kung wala silang mga bayani, were not free from now of the dayuhans.... hehehe .. ikaw nah, the best kah!

Concerned Pilipino on February 19, 2012:

I commend you for sharing your story about your great, great, great grandfather, Andres Bonifacio. Anyone with that family lineage would obviously be proud of it. You are like with Gemma Cruz Araneta, she is related to Dr. Jose Rizal. Well, talking about your great,great,great grandfather, it is unfortunate that he will be killed by his own countrymen. Well, with the topic of who will be our national hero, I think we should just call all of them Philippine Heroes. Everyone of them, like Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Mabini, the Del pilar's, Tandang Sora, Lapu-Lapu and many others sacrificed themselves for the good of the Philippines.

_cheryl_ (author) from California on January 31, 2012:

Omg Rhea, he gave you a zero grade really? The question that your professor should've asked then was "who is TAUGHT to be the national hero?" Asking who you think, is asking your opinion. There's no way you should've received a zero for stating what you thought just because your professor didn't agree. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your comment.

Rhea Broughton on January 27, 2012:

when i was in college, we had a subject RIZAL, and i remember i had an argument with my prof, because we had a quiz asking who do think is the national hero? My answer is Andres Bonifacio, because in my heart he is my national hero, he used blood for the freedom of the country unlike Rizal, sulat lang ng sulat, maipaglalaban mo ba ang pilipinas sa salita? so my prof. gave me 0 grade!!!hahahaha

_cheryl_ (author) from California on January 19, 2012:

Thank you pseudo-scripto14, in my mind he is rightfully the first Philippine President! I will definitely look into more of that book by Ambeth Ocampo, thank you for sharing that information. :)

pseudo-scripto14 from Philippines on January 17, 2012:

It's nice and good to know that you are of heroic lineage! But the image that other people projected on him are bit far off! When I first read Ambeth Ocampo's illustration of him I was surprised co'z he's not just a typical revolutionary who wore torn "camiza de chino" and faded pants but it's otherwise. He was always dressed for the occasion unlike the picture they portrayed on him! And I agree with cheeky girl and vadette971 he should be recognized as the first Philippine President! great Info! Check about Ambeth Ocampo's book regarding your great great grandpa! You will know the real Andres Bonifacio! Kudos!

_cheryl_ (author) from California on January 16, 2012:

fe mejia, sorry I don't know of any others. Good luck on your son's history project. Thanks for reading my hub. :)

fe mejia on January 16, 2012:

want to know who are the other existing relatives of andres bonifacio here in the philippines, to be exact in tondo manila, mt son badly needed yhe infos for their project in history, thanks for replying if you know one.

malamig on January 13, 2012:

all the pinoy hero are great and brave.

nbbjhhfgd on January 13, 2012:

im a pinoy. :)

_cheryl_ (author) from California on January 12, 2012:

Hi Andre, unfortunately I don't have a copy of the Bonifacio family tree. I need to look into that. As far as I know, knowledge of our relation to him was passed on from my aunt to my mother. I'd like to learn much more about it myself.

andre calizo on January 10, 2012:

hi cheryl. do you have a copy of the Bonifacio family tree? those of the other heroes have been given due coverage and research. I believe your own family, with Andres and his brothers at the top of the tree deserves recognition. It will also be helpful for our researchers, academicians and scholars. Thanks.


_cheryl_ (author) from California on January 05, 2012:

Glad this info was able to help with your assignment Domo :) Thanks for reading!

Domo on January 04, 2012:

Thanks for sharing! I really needed this for my last min. homework:D

_cheryl_ (author) from California on December 06, 2011:

Interesting zutorishi, I wish I knew more details on my family history with him.

zutorishi de kuyab on November 30, 2011:

WOW cheryl were just alike andres bonifacio is my great great grand father too

_cheryl_ (author) from California on November 23, 2011:

Thanks for reading my hub JC, you're right he was definitely truly inspiring. It's great that your nephew is doing his project about him!

JC on November 22, 2011:

My nephew has a project about recognizing Filipino heroes. I chose Andres Bonifacio as my topic. His courage is truly inspiring. Even through his writings, we could see his love for God and his country. He's a true patriot and defender of the oppressed.

_cheryl_ (author) from California on October 15, 2011:

I'm very thankful to have learned of him myself. My mother was the one who told me that Bonifacio was my great grandmother's uncle. Isn't it awesome to learn of such heroic braveness, courage, and leadership is a part of your family? I would've loved to meet him. :)

Mary on October 15, 2011:

Hi, I ended up being here because I googled "Family tree of Andres Bonifacio". I came from the Bonifacio family and my great grandma once told me that the father of my great grandpa is the cousin of Bonifacio. :)

_cheryl_ (author) from California on October 08, 2011:

MoiraCrochets, thank you! I've yet to see any documentaries on him, I'd love to see one. I appreciate your vote up and rating. :)

Moira Durano-Abesmo from Sagay, Camiguin, Philippines on October 04, 2011:

Sayang talaga si Andres Bonifacio. I saw this documentary on TV, can't remember what channel, and I truly believed na napolitika siya kaya Emilio Aguinaldo became the first recognized Philippine President. Sayang talaga.

Great hub! Voted up and rated useful!

_cheryl_ (author) from California on June 10, 2011:

Your welcome Vernon :)

Mai,yes I believe he is- based on the history of it all. He did after all, establish the first revolutionary government. :)

''mai" on June 08, 2011:

so,now.? the real hero is bonifacio? not rizal.? i read many comments about the standing of two but, bonifacio really their choice...

_cheryl_ (author) from California on February 15, 2011:

kissy, Harold patuasic, and jhellyrhyna, thank you all for reading my hub on Bonifacio. He is an inspiration to so many!

jhellyrhyna on February 14, 2011:

..hmm..Im so very proud that I'm a Filipino..bonifacio is so great..

Harold patuasic on January 11, 2011:

i really think so that desereved 1st in the philippines


kissy on January 11, 2011:

i really think so that desereved 1st in the philippines

_cheryl_ (author) from California on December 20, 2010:

Thanks for your comment vadette971, I agree. It seems there a plenty more who feel the same way. =)

vadette971 from Zambales, Philippines on December 18, 2010:

i really think so that Bonicafio deserved to be the 1st Philippine presient on history...

maricar on December 10, 2010:

i salute

rollyocampo on November 29, 2010:

Mga ilang oras lang po mula ngayon (November 30, 2010; 12:41am), kami pong mga taga Heroes del 96 dito sa Caloocan City ay iproproklama si Gat Andres Bonifacio bilang Unang Pangulo ng Pilipinas. Sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon marahil, ang mga ordinaryong mamamayang Pilipino ay magkakaisa upang pagtibayin sa publiko ang isang bagay na hanggang sa ngayon ay nababasa lamang natin sa mga aklat o artikulo tulad ng sinulat nina Dr. Milagros Guerrero, Emmanuel Encarnacion, at Ramon Villegas. Mahalaga na ang tunay na tala ng kasaysayan ay ating panindigan at isabuhay.

Birth of the Filipino Nation came about in August 1896 in Old Caloocan (parts of which are now in Quezon City) when a brave band of men and women led by Gat Andres Bonifacio launched the first national uprising against a European colonial power in all of Asia. Along the way, Bonifacio formed the first Philippine national government and should therefore be properly recognized as the first Philippine President.

Mabuhay si Gat Andres Bonifacio, si Emilio Jacinto, ang Gomburza at ang libu-libong mga Katipunero na nag-alay ng buhay para sa kalayaan ng ating bayan simula noong Agosto 1896.

Gaganapin po ang proklamasyon mismo sa Bonifacio Monument na isinusulong natin na mapabilang sa talaan ng UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites. Ang Monumento po ay idineklara noong nakaraang Bonifacio Day (November 30, 2009) na National Cultural Treasure ng National Museum.

Kasama po namin sa pagkilos mamaya ang mga kaibigan sa Caloocan Historical Society, sa Kamalaysayan, Saniblakas, at iba't-ibang organisasyon sa Caloocan City tulad ng SAMATRIP, PD 1517 Coalition, Pariles, HPNAI, SAMAKA, BSMSM, Guardians, Caloocan City People's Council, Movement for Change and Good Governance, atbp.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang Pinoy!

Purihin ang Panginoong Diyos sa kanyang patuloy na pagpapala sa ating lahat!

Salamat po.

_cheryl_ (author) from California on October 04, 2010:

Thanks Bernard, true hero indeed!

Bernard on October 04, 2010:

..we have a debate that's this is very useful... i know andres bonifacio is the original hero.

_NIAN_ on September 21, 2010:


_cheryl_ (author) from California on August 26, 2010:

Hey nathalie, no need for apologies! =) No offense taken at all. You say you speak a little's more than what I can speak! LOL! Happy that you took the time to read my hub on a great hero Andres Bonifacio.

nathalie on August 26, 2010:

sorry you live in california well i speak a little tagalog but i am british so we are friends?sorryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

_cheryl_ (author) from California on August 25, 2010:

Sorry nathalie, of both my filipino parents only my mom knew how to speak tagalog. My dad was raised all over the world growing up in a military family and could understand most tagalog but never spoke it. I grew up hearing it all the time from my mom and grandparents as well as family/friends, so I could understand mostly when someone spoke to me in tagalog but I've always responded in English. I regret not learning to speak it at a younger age though! =)

nathalie on August 25, 2010:

bakit walang tagalog puro English

_cheryl_ (author) from California on August 24, 2010:

Thanks for reading, I'm glad ou really liked it. I agree, Andres Bonifacio is truly a hero! on August 23, 2010:

Andres Bonifacio is truly a hero because when Rizal died he replace him as a lieder......of the katipunan......

i really like it....

_cheryl_ (author) from California on August 12, 2010:

I appreciate your comment russssssssssssssssel, thanks for reading! =)

russsssssssssssssel on August 12, 2010:

thank you very much because you make me read

_cheryl_ (author) from California on August 09, 2010:

Thank you Maximum A, I really appreciate your comment. I do intend to learn and write more of the philippine history!

Maximum A on August 08, 2010:

wow! ur related to him! it's true he is considered the first president, because before aguinaldo was declared president, there was already a written document among the magdiwang that andres bonifacio is the president of the "katagalugan", which did not just actually mean Luzon, but also the rest of the philippine people. keep writing about our history!! :)

_cheryl_ (author) from California on July 30, 2010:

Hi *fish, wow- that's interesting to learn of someone else who is also related to him!

*fish on July 30, 2010:

Hi Cheryl, we must be related. He's my great, great, great, great grand-uncle too from the De Castro side.

_cheryl_ (author) from California on July 14, 2010:

Thanks freesiaraynn, CREW BONIFACIO...I like it. =)

Freesiaraynn from Philippines on July 14, 2010:

really nice article...just reminded me of my crew's name CREW BONIFACIO when I had my advance training for outfit advisor under the belt of scouts of the Philippines, one of the best crew...modesty aside.

_cheryl_ (author) from California on June 22, 2010:

Thank you, he truly is a great hero!

uuuu on June 15, 2010:

walang kwenta hindi q mhanap ung hinahanap q ahahahah........... joke....

this is a great..

bec. andres bonifacio was grat hero...

_cheryl_ (author) from California on April 05, 2010:

Thank you Cheeky Girl. Yes, he should've been recognized as the first president in my eyes. And you're right! Fort Bonifacio was named after him. It was originally named Fort McKinley and (turned over to the Philippines by the U.S. in 1949)made the permanent headquarters of the Philippine Army in 1957 then renamed after Bonifacio. I'd love to visit there, maybe once the kids are a bit older...we have a lot of family there still. I appreciate your comment! =)

Cassandra Mantis from UK and Nerujenia on April 05, 2010:

This is an interesting story about s great hero. Why don't they admit that he was the first president? Is it down to dogma and the status quo being maintained. I wonder is Fort Bonifacio named after him? Well done on this amazing hub. I loved my visit to this great country some while back. Nice memories indeed!

_cheryl_ (author) from California on February 13, 2010:

Rossimobis, I'm touched to know that I was able to correct your knowledge of Bonifacio from way back. I really appreciate your comment. I love that it was educative and inspirational for you, that was my whole intent for writing this, and yes...the world is truly a small place =)

Chibuzo Melvin Mobis from Nigeria on February 13, 2010:

When you hear of d world being a small place,u feel it is all about meeting someone you lost contact with some where you don't expect or meeting someone that knows or u know but somehow lost contact with or even coming across some sort lost or new contact, you can see it in anyway per say,i heard the name Andres Bonifacio when i was 15years old,that was many years back;then, i heard that he was from Spain and fought in the Philippine but today,i got to know exactly who he is.History is for men and it leaves us with knowledge.(The world is a small place).I love this hub because it is educative and inspirational.

_cheryl_ (author) from California on February 08, 2010:

I'm glad I was able to inform you of the Bonifacio note! Thank you for your commment Mel22, I appreciate you stopping by to read my hub.