No man has been so much dissected in history. Perhaps even more than Rizal. You don’t see much sophistication in him but you would not fault him for lack of courage, atapang atao Andres Bonifacio.
How one person who was not born with a silver spoon could raise an army so headstrong it would proceed to throw a mighty oppressor out of Las Islas is still a conundrum of sorts. The resources was not there. There were no cannons or heavy artillery or for that matter a slew of weapons to have some form of advantage over the Spaniards. No, the Americans were still a step back in the theatre of war. They arrived when the Himagsikan was already full blown. Such a powerful man given his beginnings. And his ending only makes his legend balloon, like a Che Guevarra of the Philippines.
Gentlemen, the top 10 things you might have missed about the great Plebian, Andres Bonifacio.
#10: Andres Bonifacio was named after a saint.
The KKK founder was born on the 30th of November, the feast day of Saint Andrew. It is for this reason that his parents, Catalina de Castro and Santiago Bonifacio decided to impart the name Andres on their child in honor of said saint.
#9: Bonifacio died childless.
Bonifacio’s legacy may come in the best form through his heroics and not via any offspring.
Although, the Supremo had fallen in love with two women on record, he never had the chance of raising a child as his son named Andres died due to an unknown disease.
#8: Bonifacio had 2 lovers.
Unlike the more sophisticated Rizal and perhaps because of the apparent lack of written accounts, Bonifacio’s love life is surrounded in mystery. Still 2 women have been linked to the legend.
Bonifacio was married to a neighbor named Monica. However, she succumbed to leprosy and died. He fell in love the second time with Gregoria de Jesus more commonly-called as “Oriang”. It was Oriang who bore him a son who was named Andres.
#7: Emilio Jacinto was Bonifacio’s most trusted confidante.
If there was any man who knew Bonifacio’s secret, it would have to be Emilio Jacinto. The brilliant Jacinto, a young lad with long hair and who at that time was still mastering the ropes in speaking Tagalog, provided a go-to sounding board for the older leader.
Historian Liberto Ramos confides that Bonifacio trusted the young Jacinto so much, he let the Katipunan use Jacinto’s version of “Kartilya ng Katipunan” and not his very own. And when Bonifacio has fallen, Jacinto refused to join the army led by Gen. Aguinaldo, the Supremo’s bitter rival.
#6: Andres Bonifacio is no moron.
Contrary to popular belief, Bonifacio is a learned man. Though it may have been established by historians no less that the Great Plebe had only a Grade-4 equivalent of formal training, he was still a well-educated Pinoy.
Thanks to his father, a much sought-after tailor, the young Andres was under the tutelage of capable tutors.
Ambeth Ocampo outlined in his book “Rizal’s Teeth, Bonifacio’s Bones” that Boni (short for Bonifacio) was a wide-reader. And the books he read are by no means light reading. Among them History of the French Revolution, the Bible, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and even the classics that came from Rizal, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.
#5: Andres Bonifacio had to wear ladies clothing.
No, don’t get us wrong. Boni was certainly not a gender-bender. The wily leader had to resort to wearing woman’s clothes to hide his identity. The incident happened when the Supremo was to pass a Balintawak checkpoint which was heavily guarded by the Guardia Civil.
And pass he did!
#4: Andres Bonifacio was a thespian.
Before he got serious in his underground movement that would set the stage for the ultimate showdown with the Spanish conquistadores, Boni was an actor in several moro-moro plays. Fact is, he even played the fictional character of Bernardo Carpio.
Pundits theorize that it was the stage where Boni found his most trusted relations, a company of brave men including Macario Sakay and Aurelio Tolentino.
#3: Bonifacio wield not only a bolo but also a revolver.
Contrary to many depicted images of the Great Plebeian, Boni did not rely on the sword alone but also carried a pistol with him. And though he was a proficient “eskrimador” – one who is a master of the art of wielding the bolo, Andres Bonifacio and the rest of the gang utilized firepower in their struggle.
#2: Andres Bonifacio was a military strategist.
Professor Michael Chua of De La Salle University propounded that the Supremo was no ordinary leader or “indio” for that matter.
In an Interaksyon.com interview, Prof. Chua divulged:
“In the battle of Manila in 1986, Bonifacio led a tactical attack against Spanish forces which was divided into two regions – Malabon-Balintawak-Caloocan and Sta. Ana- Pandacan – Sampaloc.”
“Bonifacio was able to capture the town’s magazine (storage for ammunition) and water station in San Juan before Spanish reinforcements arrived and later had them outnumbered.”
“Despite the setback, the battle led to revolutions in other provinces.”
In short, Boni had tunnel vision and because of this he was able to light the powder keg that blew the corrupt Spanish governance apart.
#1: Andres Bonifacio and brother Procopio died from the bolo and not via the gun. In short, hacked to death.
Sentenced to death on May 10, 1897 by no less than the Consejo de Guerra headed by General Emilio Aguinaldo – said to be newly elected Philippine president – Andres Bonifacio and his elder brother Procopio died by hacking and not by bullet wounds.
It was noted that those who were put to the task of disposing the Supremo reported in their testimonies to General Guilllermo Masangkay that they chose to save bullets. This only means that it was the blade that put an end to the life of the Great Plebian and not a hail of bullets.
What a painful way to die!
All the more, glory found Bonifacio. More than even the first president of the Republic his nemesis, Aguinaldo.
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