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Philippine Heroes - Gat Andres Bonifacio y de Castro (1863 - 1897)
 
 

Gat Andres Bonifacio y de Castro - Philippine HeroAndres Bonifacio was born on November 30, 1863 in Tronzo, Tondo, Manila. His parents were Santiago Bonifacio and Teodora Catalina de Castro. He was named after St. Andrew the Apostle who was the patron saint of Manila. Andres had five siblings. They were Ciriaco, Procopio, Esperidiona, Troadio and Maxima.

It was in the year 1877 when the family experienced so much hardship. There was a cholera outbreak in the city and a cattle disease almost wiped out the whole animal population. As if it was not enough, a killer typhoon hit their place. Life became harder for the poor like the Bonifacio's.

His mother worked as a supervisor at a cigarette factory in Meisic (now Chinatown) while his father was a porter in the docks of Binondo. His father stopped working when he contracted tuberculosis. To make matters worst, even his mother contracted the disease. The years 1881-82 were one of the saddest times of their lives after their mother and father died one after the other.

Andres was only 14 years old then. Being the eldest in the brood, he stopped schooling. With his brothers and sisters, they helped each other, earned a living by making and selling paper fans and canes. Andres also worked as a warehouse man/ clerk-messenger and sales agent of rattan products. While working, he studied the English language since already knew how to speak and write in Spanish.

He bought books about The French Revolution by Robiespiere, The Wandering Jew by Eugene Sue/ Les Miserable by Victor Hugo, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo by Dr. Jose Rizal, The Ruins of Palmyras, the Holy Bible, International Law, Penal and Civil Codes, Lives of the Presidents of the United States and some of the novels Written by Alexander Dumas.

Monica was the first wife of Andres. She died of leprosy. Andres fell in love again with Gregoria de Jesus who hails from Kalookan.

Andres joined La Liga Filipina because of his ardent admiration of Jose Rizal. When Rizal was exiled in Dapitan, he believed that the time has come for the Filipinos to take up arms to achieve the freedom they were longing for.

 

He wrote the essay What The Fillipinos Should Know? (Ano Ang Dapat Malaman ng mga Pilipino?) He said in the essay that Filipinos would never get a fair treatment from their Spanish colonizers.

Andres, together with Ladislao Diwa, Teodoro Plata and Deodato Arellano founded the first triangle of the Katipunan on July 7, 1892. He and Gregoria got married in 1893 at the Binovndo Church barely a year after Andres founded the Katipunan. Andres and Gregoria had a son but died of smallpox.

Andres and his party scaled the mountains of San Mateo and Montalban on April 12,1895 where they discovered the Makarok and Pamitihan caves. They chose Pamitinan cave as their initiation site for the would-be members of the Katipunan.

Andres called a meeting among Katipunan leaders at the house of Apolonio Samson in Kangkong (Pugadlawin) on August 21. There they talked about their planned revolt. August 23,1896 would be remembered in history as the First Cry of Balintawak. It was then when Andres and other leaders of the Katipunan tore their cedulas and shouted Long Live the Philippines! They vowed to fight the Spaniards no matter what the cost.

Andres and Emilio Jacinto attacked a gunpowder storehouse in San Juan del Monte (Pinaglabanan, San Juan, Metro Manila). The Spanish guards retreated. It emboldened Andres and his men. Andres, with Emilio, Guillermo Masangkay, Aurelio Tolentino, Faustino Manalac, Pedro Zabala and other Katipuneros triumphed over the enemies.

Meanwhile, a major conflict was brewing between the Katipunan's Magdalo and Magdiwang groups in Cavite. They sent an invitation to their supreme leader to unite the two factions at the Imus Assemby. Nothing was achieved though. Another meeting was called in Tejeros on March 22, 1897.

Aguinaldo was elected president. Andres was chosen minister of the interior. However, Daniel Tirona questioned the credibility of Bonifacio because he does not hold a law degree. Andres almost killed Tirona because he could not bear the insults he hurled at him.

Andres refused to recognize the Aguinaldo government. He founded a new government that questioned the results of the Tejeros Convention. More than 40 Katipuneros signed the military agreement on March 24.

Colonel Agapito Bonzon and Jose Ignacio Paua, Aguinaldo's brother-in-law arrested Bonifacio and his party on April 26,1897. They were brought to a military court headed by General Mariano Noriel. They were charged with treason and was sentenced to die. It was on May 10,1897 when Andres and his brother Procopio were brought to Mt. Buntis in Maragondon. Major Lazaro Makapagal and his men killed them.

To this day, Filipinos honor Bonifacio as the true "Father of the Philippine Revolution."

 
 
 
 
 
 

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