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November 30, 1863, Andres Bonifacio was Born in Tondo, Manila

On November 30, 1863, Andres Bonifacio, the Father of the Philippine Revolution and one of the founders of the Katipunan, was born in the present day Tondo, Manila to Santiago Bonifacio and Catalina de Castro.

Andres Bonifacio was born on November 30, 1863 in a small hut at Calle Azcarraga, presently known as Claro M. Recto Avenue in Tondo, Manila.  His parents were Santiago Bonifacio and Catalina de Castro.

    Andres was the eldest in a brood of five.  His other siblings were Ciriaco, Procopio, Troadio, Esperidiona and Maxima.  He obtained his basic education through a certain Guillermo Osmeña of Cebu.  The Bonifacio family was orphaned when Andres was barely fourteen.  With this, Andres assumed the responsibility of raising his younger siblings.

In order to support the needs of their family, he maximized his skills in making crafts and sold paper fans and canes. He also worked as messenger in Fleming & Company. Eventually, he moved to Fressel & Company, where he worked as warehouse man until 1896. Poverty never hindered Andres’ thirst for knowledge. He devoted most of his time reading books while trying to improve his knowledge in the Spanish and Tagalog language. The warehouse of Fressel & Company served as his library and study room.

Andres was married to Gregoria de Jesus who happened to be his second wife. His first wife – Monica- died of leprosy a year after their marriage. Gregoria was only sixteen years old and Andres was twenty-nine when their romance sprung. At first, Gregoria’s parents were against their relationship, but in time, allowed the couple to be married in Catholic rites. The two were married in 1892, both in Catholic and Katipunan rites. Gregoria chose “Lakambini” as her nom de guerre.

Unlike the middle class leaders who held onto the mistaken belief that Spain would hear their cries for reforms, Bonifacio knew deep in his heart that Spain would never grant the reforms demanded by the Filipino reformists.

Hence, on the night that the news of deportation of Dr. Jose Rizal to Dapitan leaked out, Bonifacio founded the Katipunan on July 7, 1892, along with Valentin Diaz, Teodoro Plata (Andres’ brother-in-law), Ladislao Diwa, Diodato Arellano (brother-in-law of Marcelo H. Del Pilar) and few others in Tondo, to secure the independence and freedom of the Philippines by force. They formalized their membership in the organization by signing the Katipunan pact with their own blood.

On that same year, Bonifacio married Gregoria de Jesus, who took charge of the confidential files, firearms, seals and other materials of the society.

With the discovery of the Katipunan on August 19, 1896, Bonifacio and the other Katipuneros gathered secretly at the farm of Juan A. Ramos, a son of Melchora Aquino, at Pugad Lawin, then a part of Balintawak, on August 23, 1896 and agreed to fight to the bitter end, tore their cedulas as a symbolic gesture of their defiance of Spanish rule and the start of Philippine Revolution against Spain.

Since the time the Katipunan was discovered, they evaded arrest, won uncertain victories and incurred severe defeats. This prompted the Magdalo faction to invite Bonifacio to Cavite to settle their differences and remain united.

An assembly was called at Tejeros, Cavite. Bonifacio presided the conference to establish the Republic of the Philippines. In the election, Emilio Aguinaldo was elected president, Mariano Trias, vice president, and Bonifacio as secretary of the Interior.

However, Daniel Tironaquestioned Bonifacio’s qualifications, and Bonifacio was offended. Evoking his authority as the supreme head of the Katipunan, he declared the proceedings void. Bonifacio moved to Naic, Cavite and started to form his own government and army.

Meantime, the advancing troops of Spanish Governor- General Camilo de Polavieja threatened to capture Cavite. Aguinaldo ordered General Pio del Pilar and Mariano Noriel, who were being given new higher positions, to leave the Bonifacio camp and go back to their duties.

Bonifacio, with his family and men, left Naic for Indang on his way to return to Montalban. Aguinaldo sent men to arrest him, but Bonifacio resisted arrest and was wounded in the process. He faced a trial for acts inimical to the existence of the new government and was given the death sentence by a military tribunal.

Aguinaldo’s men executed Bonifacio in the mountains of Maragondon, Cavite on May 10, 1897.


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