“Reason teaches us that we must be united in will, united in thought, and that we might have strength to search out the reigning evil in our Nation. This is the time for the light of truth to surface; this is the time for us to show that we have our own sentiments, have honor, have shame, and have solidarity.”
— translated excerpt from Andrés Bonifacio in Ang dapat mabatid ng mga Tagalog (What Filipinos Should Know)
Andrés Bonifacio is hailed as a national hero in the Philippines for his revolutionary work and is often claimed to be the “father of the Philippine Revolution.” The Philippine Revolution occurred during the 19th century as a response to corrupt Manila Spanish society, the social, economic, and religious constraints under Spanish rule, and the poor treatment of indigenous peoples.
Bonifacio was originally a member of reform leader José Rizal’s La Liga Filipina, which sought reform for Spanish rule in the Philippines. The organization, however, dissolved almost immediately upon Rizal’s arrest. This prompted Bonifacio to form the secret society Katipunan, or in its entirety, Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (“Highest and Most Respected Society of the Children of the Country”).
As the founder and leader of the Katipunan movement, Bonifacio championed for independence against Spanish colonial rule during the course of the Philippine Revolution. Bonifacio kicked off the revolution by leading thousands of his followers to tear up their community tax certificates or cedulas in defiance of taxes created by the Spanish, which stirred nationalism among the Filipino people. Bonifacio became a critical leader in the Revolution as he lead several revolts to reclaim territories in defiance of the Spanish regime. His efforts allowed the organization to grow from 300 to 30,000 members, highlighting his ability to unite people in the fight for freedom, despite the possible repercussions they might face from the Spaniards.
Although José Rizal is more commonly known as the national hero of the Philippines because of his pacifistic approach to Spanish rule, Bonifacio has undoubtedly earned the credit of achieving independence after a 333-year Spanish rule, through his leadership in putting the Philippine Revolution into motion.
In honor of Bonifacio, Philippine Legislature passed Act No. 2946 in 1921, establishing his birthday (November 30) as a national holiday in the Philippines. Filipinos celebrate this holiday by visiting the Andrés Bonifacio Monument (more commonly known as the Bonifacio Monument), which is a memorial monument in Caloocan, Philippines designed to commemorate the Philippine revolutionary.
“Rizal planted (the) seed of revolution; Bonifacio watered it”
— Manuel F. Almario from the Philippine Daily Inquirer