Thursday, November 29, 2007


Andres Bonifacio, the founder and organizer of the Katipunan, was born in the Tondo district of Manila on November 30, 1863 to a Tagalog father, Santiago Bonifacio and a Spanish mestiza mother, Catalina de Castro. He had three brothers and two sisters: Ciriaco, Procopio, Espiridiona, Troadio and Maxima.

Fate may have deprived him the opportunity to pursue a formal education, but he was gifted with a beautiful penmanship, talent in craftsmanship and love for books.

Andres was forced to give up his schooling when his parents died so he could shoulder the burden as being the family's breadwinner. The canes and paper fans that he peddled, including the posters he created for the local merchants, earned him just enough money to make ends meet at home.

Late in his teens, he was hired as a messenger clerk in the commercial firm of Fleming and Company, a British commercial firm where he learned the rudiments of the English language. His diligence and hard work soon rewarded him with a promotion as the company's agent in which he sold rattan, tar and various other products. Later, to further increase his earnings, he transferred to a German firm, Fressell and Company, which provided him with a more substantial salary as its agent.

And whatever free time he had, he indulged in self-study. Some of the books he read were the two novels by Rizal, The Ruins of Palmyra, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, The Wandering Jew, by Eugene Sue, the lives of the Presidents of the United States, International Law, the Penal and Civil Codes, some novels and a book on the French Revolution, which must have been fascinating for him because of its proletariat leadership and great success.

His first marriage was short-lived, for his wife, Monica, died of leprosy. In 1892, he met Gregoria de Jesus, and after several months of courtship, they were wed in Binondo Church. They were also remarried according to the Katipunan rites. After the ceremony, Gregoria was initiated into the Women's Chapter of the Katipunan. She chose Lakangbini (Muse) as her symbolic name. Her role in the Katipunan was taking custody of its papers, revolvers, seals, and other paraphernalia.

It was on July 7, 1982 when Rizal was arrested to be exiled in Dapitan that Bonifacio, Ladislao Diwa, Teodoro Plata, and Deodato Arellano founded the Katipunan. And although the secret society's founder, Bonifacio did not insist to become its president. He was cognizant of his limitations and recognized the worth of others. However, it was only after discovering that the first two presidents lacked the enthusiasm and seriousness in their duties as expected of them that he took over the helm. He also authored numerous articles and poems in the course of the revolution.

Unfortunately, Bonifacio lost all his battles during the revolution which led to heavy casualties and massacres. The revolutionaries in Cavite had better success, led by officers which included Emilio Aguinaldo. Consequently, they sent out a manifesto calling for a revolutionary government of their own that totally undermined Bonifacio's leadership.

Nonetheless, a convention was held in Tenejeros, Cavite to establish a unified front and to vote for a true leader of the revolutionary movement. It was attended by Bonifacio and some of his men and by the members of two locally-based rival Katipunan factions -- Magdalo and the Magdiwang. The former was headed by Emilio Aginaldo's cousin, Baldomero Aguinaldo.

Overwhelmed by the presence of numerous Caviteno delegates and lacking a power base in the province, Bonifacio was relegated a mere Director of the Interior, while Emilio Aguinaldo was elected President. The slighted Bonifacio then invoked his authority as Supremo and declared the results of the Tejeros Convention as null and void and left incensed.

It is believed that Bonifacio headed towards Batangas to lead another Katipunan faction in order to establish his own government. The Magdalo group subsequently got wind of it. Fearing the existence of a rival government in times of the revolution, Emilio Aguinaldo ordered for the arrest of Bonifacio and his brothers. Bonifacio and some members of his contingent were discovered by the Magdalo soldiers in the town of Indang, but refused to come out of the house peacefully when asked by the Magdalo men. A standoff ensued which lasted through the night.

At dawn, the Magdalo soldiers closed in and opened fire, but Bonifacio ordered his men not to shoot. The soldiers made their way in, tied up Procopio Bonifacio and beat him with a revolver. Ciracio Bonifacio, on the other hand, was held down by two soldiers and shot to death. Andres Bonifacio was stabbed and beaten with a rifle butt. Andres and Procopio were then taken to Naic, charged with treason and sedition, and tried in a court headed by General Mariano Norel. Punishment for the brothers was death by firing squad.

Aguinaldo supposedly superseded this judgment and ordered the Supremo to be exiled and banished to Mt. Nagpatong instead. Major Lazaro Makapagal, along with four soldiers, was given orders to take the Bonifacio brothers to Mt. Nagpatong. A sealed envelope was also given to Makapagal with strict orders not to open it until they reached the mountains.

At Mt. Buntis, on May 10, 1892, Major Lazaro Makapagal opened the letter and read its contents aloud. The letter was an absolute directive for him to have Andres and Procopio executed by firing squad or he himself would be shot. It was signed by General Mariano Noriel. Upon Makapagal's order, his soldiers opened fire on the Bonifacio brothers. They were buried in a shallow grave covered with twigs and branches. Andres was only 34 years old.

An expedition conducted by one of these former Magdalo soldiers found the grave of Andrés Bonifacio in 1918. His remains were exhumed and placed in an urn at the Legislative Building, which is now the National Museum in Manila. The building, however, was obliterated during the carpet-bombing of Manila by the Americans in 1945. Bonifacio's remains are lost forever.


Additional Sources:
by Teodoro A. Agoncillo
Garotech Publishing

by Ambeth R. Ocampo
Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Top Photo:

The monument of Andres Bonifacio that became famous in time for commemorating the Cry of Balintawak. Created by sculptor Ramon Martinez, it was unveiled on September 3, 1911, in Balintawak, but it has since been transferred in front of Vizon's Hall in the University of The Philippines Diliman.

Bottom Photo:
The Bonifacio Shrine near Manila City Hall and Universidad de Manila

copyright 2007 - Senor Enrique - all rights reserved


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:40 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, is Fort Bonifacio connected to Andres as well or both are two different things? Interesting history and I enjoyed reading it.

November 29, 2007 9:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On that fateful day, when the brothers were about to be executed, the younger Procopio's last words were, "Paano na tayo, Kuya?" Truly heart-breaking. Whenever I read how Andres Bonifacio was treated by his fellow revolutionaries, I get really furious about the injustice he suffered. Makes one wonder about the current state of affairs had Andres Bonifacio became the 1st President of the Republic instead of the elitist Aguinaldo. How I wish I could turn back the hands of time!

And by the way, cool you put that picture in front of vinzon's! brings back sweet memories... :)

November 29, 2007 9:38 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It is a military outpost named after Andres Bonifacio, Kyels.

Many thanks ... glad you enjoyed reading it :)

November 29, 2007 9:44 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

señor very nice tribute to my favorite hero =)

November 29, 2007 9:59 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I'm ssuming that you were once a UP Diliman student, Mogli :)

Bonifacio may have not attained a college diploma but I don't think he would have been hired by these firms if he didn't posses an intelligent disposition.

His only negative may have been a lack of military or warfare expertise to successfully launch and sustain the revolution; otherwise, those elites would have truly respected him.

November 29, 2007 10:05 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you, Pusa. It's not as comprehensive as it should be, but you know, anything more than a thousand words might put some readers to sleep ... hehehe.

November 29, 2007 10:36 AM  

Blogger Android Eyes said...

I recently saw RIZAL with Cesar Montano, great flick if I may say so, but I feel that Andres Bonifacio was a bit misrepresented in the story, after reading you post Sr. E. In the movie, he (Bonifacio) appears to be an 'adelantado', they made him look n sound almost like a war monger. Just my 2 cents. I trust all is well with you, again many thanx.

November 29, 2007 11:55 AM  

Blogger mgaputonimimi said...

ang ganda ng shot!

halos araw araw tinatahak banda sa rebulto nya at ang orasan...

mabuhay si Gat Andres!

November 29, 2007 12:14 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Bukas ang kanyang kaarawan ni Bonifacio, Mimi. Mabuhay siya!

Maraming salamat :)

November 29, 2007 12:38 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Romy,

They must have created the Bonifacio character based on Rizal's Elias -- a highly emotional revolutionary character in Noli Me Tangere.

Elias strongly believes that justice can be obtained only through revolution, and not from reforms. He also represented the core of the Filipino culture prior to the Spanish control of the archipelago.

November 29, 2007 12:49 PM  

Blogger Unknown said...

Great post, Eric. I'm also a Bonifacio fan...we used to have debates at home about Bonifacio and Aguinaldo. My uncle said that Bonifacio was 'pikon'. One example was an incident at the Tenejeros convention where he pulled a gun on a fellow Katipunero who questioned his qualifications. I believe that Gat Andres was a passionate man who loved this country with all his heart; he was a brave leader of the revolution but he failed because of traitors and chu-chu's who had a different agenda.

November 29, 2007 1:53 PM  

Blogger Unknown said...

Oh did you happen to watch Howie Severino's "Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo" last Monday night in I-Witness? Howie was with Bonifacio's great-great grandnephew, Gregorio Bonifacio, the first of Gat Andres' descendants to become a lawyer. It was an interesting take on Bonifacio.

Let's all have a drink tomorrow for Gat. Andres! hehehe

November 29, 2007 1:59 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Unfortunately, I missed Howie Severino's show on Bonifacio, Luna :( I bet it was a very interesting show with a Bonifacio descendant. Yes, a drink for the man tomorrow :)

I doubt it very much that Bonifacio would actually pull his revolver on the guy who would question his lack of a higher education, but I wouldn't be surprised if he threatened those at the Tejeros Convention with his side arm if he and his contingent weren't allowed to leave the premises in peace.

Nonetheless, I am one of those until today puzzled as to how Bonifacio could have engaged in battles with a more seasoned Spanish army when he and his men lacked the military training and sufficient armament.

But I believe that if only he had experienced great success in the battlefields, I'm sure Aguinaldo and his posse would have been mere footnotes in our history.

November 29, 2007 3:03 PM  

Blogger Unknown said...

It was sheer bravery and will to fight, I guess. Some historians say that Bonifacio was mainly influenced by Rizal, and his battle plan for taking Manila was supposedly taken from Noli. With all his guts, Gat Andres was not a good strategist...maybe the reason why the Katipuneros were massacred in Pinaglabanan.

I remember reading that Bonifacio believed in amulets, even making a pilgrimage to the mountains of Montalban where Bernardo Carpio was supposedly hiding. Baka isa din 'yon sa nagpalakas ng loob nya na lumaban sa mga Kastila. hehehe

Aguinaldo's military successes were short-lived kaya nga nagkabayaran di ba? And yes, if Bonifacio had a brilliant military strategist by his side, the likes of Aguinaldo would never grace even a 1 centavo coin.

November 29, 2007 3:57 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have lived half of my life in the old Fort Bonifacio! I'm quite nostalgic about the place because of its pristine-ness. Because of my "fate", I have always been aware of the existence of Andres Bonifacio. I still have to see a film aptly protraying his life. I have seen a film though (was it "Virgin Forest?") showing the last days of Aguinaldo. Quite realistic...and interesting.

To put it in the Now...the Magdalos have hit the headlines again ;-).

November 29, 2007 4:15 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it ironic that while tomorrow is Bonifacio Day - a coup d'etat in Makati is being staged (or is it over now?) at this instance?

Hi, Eric. :)

November 29, 2007 4:52 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

At this moment Rhoda, Trillanes is giving a press conference for those media people inside the hotel with them.

What I notice is that he lacks the eloquence of a leader of some significant effort. He also looks somewhat dazed.

Very confusing event.

November 29, 2007 5:25 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, Bernadette. These Magdalos have taken the spotlight once again but at the great expense of a five-star hotel and many of its guests. There was supposedly a big wedding reception scheduled in one of its function rooms tonight also. Now, however, a military tank had rammed its way into its lobby's main doors and tear gas was thrown inside.

I wonder why they chose the name Magdalo?

November 29, 2007 5:29 PM  

Blogger Ang Kuwago said...

Interestingly, the Magdalo (as with the Magdiwang) was a breakaway group from the Katipunan of Gat Andres. One of the two was run by Aguinaldo himself, the other by a cousin (I forgot which is which). I guess we can safely say that the Magdalo faction went against the principles and leadership of Bonifacio.

In my mind, if we want genuine change in this country, let us start with ourselves.

It may be of interest for all of us too, at this point, to understand that the original Kartilya ng Katipunan, as written by Emilio Jacinto to serve as the movement's tenets, made no mention of the use of force as a means to an end. It never espoused a bloody revolution.

With all due respect to Senor Enrique, the Kartilya may be read here:

If I have violated any ethical 'commenting' norms by posting this link, please feel free to remove my comment. Honestly.

November 29, 2007 10:13 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...


Walang pinagka-iba sa takbo ng "alimango" mentality ng mga politiko nuon at mga mapagkunwaring mapag-malasakit sa bayan kunon'g nag-aambisyon ng puwesto sa pamahalaan ng Pilipinas ngayong panahon!

Si Andres Bonifacio ay tinatangkilik kong tunay na bayani ng ating bansa..."Andres Bonifacio, a tapang a tao, a punta a giyera, a putol a tenga!"...Mabuhay ang ala-ala ni Gat Andres Bonifacio!

November 30, 2007 1:50 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Kuwago,

No offense taken whatsoever. Actually, thank you for sharing the link with us. I, for one, intend to read it. I had no idea that Emilio Jacinto espoused a non-violent endeavor.

Yes, I completely agree with you, change must first start from within. This is why to date, I see no true leader in the offing to guide our country towards greatness. Those current contenders seem more intent on polishing their images for television. Hence, it is up to each and everyone of us to manifest greatness.

To paraphrase an old adage, "No government can be good if its people isn't good to begin with."

November 30, 2007 4:55 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And Ed Santiago, the photojournalist, refers to it as "talangka mentality," Pete ... hehehe!

Not only was Bonifacio a brave man, but quite intelligent as well. How else could he have taken a job with a British firm and managed to get promoted as one of its agents if he had not the required mental faculty.

However, if only he had the proper military training.

November 30, 2007 4:59 AM  

Blogger dodong flores 도동 플로오리스 said...

Hi, Eric!
Interesting read for me and quite appropriate for today's celebration...
I didn't have much idea of what was going on long time between Bonifacio and Aguinaldo. Reading this entry gives me the light.
I can't say anything for now but I tell you I read not only your write up above but the interesting discussion as well. I would just like to say thanks to you for sharing this to us...

November 30, 2007 5:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another great post SE...Enjoyed reading it,though i felt sad to be reminded of the way he was treated in the end.

Happy Birthday to our great revolutionary Katipunan leader Gat Andres!!

Thanks for the detailed information.

November 30, 2007 6:53 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you, Aura!

Disheartening, indeed, to be reminded of the betrayals and jostling for power and glory by those who could've made greater contributions for the betterment of our civilization as a human race. But perhaps, our new generation will learn from our misguided intentions and do a better job.

December 01, 2007 5:34 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you, Dodong.

I just thought I'd share with you all my reads on our past heroes. I don't know, the older I get, the more interested I seem to become with our history and heritage. And this should explain why I enjoy reminding myself of what we've learned from our early schooling but somehow have forgotten as we got busy with our life as adults.

December 01, 2007 5:38 AM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

Here are some facts about Bonifacio's "all battles lost"...

The Kartilya ng Katipunan is a set of guiding principles and ideals that remain most relevant today amidst our nation's crises. August is a "red" month: all its primary dates are of the amok month. The Katipunan was betrayed on August 19 and the ensuing drama, from Balintawak to Pinaglabanan, unfolds during the month's final quarter. Dates are question. In prewar days the Cry of Balintawak was celebrated on August 26 at Pugad Lawin. Caloocan, scene of the Bonifacio uprising, was then a rustic town surrounded by fishpond, fields and forest. Balintawak was countryside; Pugad Lawin was deep woods; Pasong Tamo was a sylvan trail. To Caloocan, after the exposure of their secret society, fled Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto and followed by their men. The exodus from Manila of the Katipunan began on August 19. By August 22 the number of Katipuneros grew to over a thousand and Bonifacio summoned them to a general meeting in the barrio of Balintawak, from there they went deep in to the woods of Pugad Lawin. The rank and file of the Katipunan was still undecided; they fled to Manila to avoid arrest, not to start an uprising. Few days the rebels were back in Balintawak and the Katipuneros raised the cry of revolt, it was the eve of St. Bartholomew (Patron Saint of knives & bolos), August 23 the point of no return for the Katipunan. Bonifacio's Battle of Pinaglabanan said to have happened on August 29 -30. The assault on the garrison in San Juan and the attempt to seize the ammunition there and the reservoir dismally flopped; the fiasco from which Bonifacio and the Manila Katipunan would never recover. The Supremo fled to the mountains of Montalban.

And That, for the average Filipino, is the entire history of August, 1896: a Cry, an Uprising, a Battle and Defeat. But August of '96 ended more gloriously, with the Cavite Revolution exploding on the last days of the month and triumphing in its initial battles, the Magdiwang taking Noveleta and the Magdalo taking Kawit. Why it's the fiasco in Pinaglabanan rather than the victories in Cavite that was chosen to celebrate in August is a mystery. Since Bonifacio never won a battle, went to Kawit (against the advice of Jacinto) to meet the Magdiwang & Magdalo, who were well organized, for an election (of course who'll win in an election in a place you have resistance). Emilio Aquinaldo won the presidency of the First Republic of The Philippines and the first in Asia, without being present during the election! And the rest of The Philippine history?...big lies & a big joke.

Napakaraming mga tao ang nakaimbento, nakadiskubre, unang nakagawa, nakapagumpisa, nagpasimula: ng mga bagay sanhi sa pangagailangan, nararapat lang, maipabuti, na suertehang naumpisahan o 'di sinasadyang naumpisahan. At 'di umano ang mga bagay na ito ay kung hindi bibigyan ng halaga, pagpaplano ng tama, pamamalakad ng matuwid at pagpaplanohang mabuti para sa kinabukasan, ito'y hindi tatagal: masisira, guguho, magwawakas at hindi mararating ang tamang landas na ninanasa. Naging ganito ang pinagmulan ng ating Pamahalaan at kasaysayan, tuloy ang karamihan sa ating mga kababayan ay walang tinatawag na "National Identity" o "Pilipino Identity". Kung walang Kartilyang susunurin ng taos puso, at ang "LIDER" naman ay walang likas na talino pawang umaasa lamang sa "chismis" tayo-tayo, sila-sila, gaya-gaya, ingitan, siraan, kasakiman, kasibaan at pang sariling kapakanan lamang ang inaasam, tunay na walang mangyayari ang isang samahan. Nasa lakas, talino, sariling paninindigan, pagpaplano, kartilyang batas na sinusunod at ang minimithing hagarin para sa kinabukasan..."LIDER" ang nagpapatibay sa isang samahan. Sana naman ay maalis ang "Crab Mentality", "Balimbing Mentality", "Kawayan Mentality" at "No Mentality" at all ng karamihan sa ating mga kababayan, lalong lalo ang ito namang mga namumuno.

Ka Tony
21st of January, 2008

Muchisimas gracias otra ves Senor Enrique...salud!

July 04, 2008 12:34 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you for another addition, Ka Tony.

Indeed, our history is mired with acts of betrayals, but one thing that seems to stand out in this entire Bonifacio saga was the Katipuneros' overall lack of numbers, preparedness, and skilled officers to launch a revolution against the Spaniards.

July 05, 2008 1:02 PM  

Anonymous jasa pengamanan said...

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February 21, 2011 1:08 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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