Filipinos, from Batanes up north to Tawi-Tawi down south, will respectively look at the bulletin board today and read for themselves the heroism, sacrifice and nationalism of the founder and eventual Supremo of the Katipunan.
Andres Bonifacio (Nov. 30, 1863, Manila—May 10, 1897, Mt. Buntis, Cavite), known as the “Father of the Philippine Revolusion,” has been described by historians as a patriot, founder and leader of the nationalist Katipunan society, who instigated the revolt of August 1896 against the Spanish.
From the writings on the board, never scratched out by the dust of time, today’s generation and their elders will once more read some lessons like determination against odds, teamwork, and dreaming big.
Only 33 years old when the well-read warehouse clerk declared Philippine independence in 1896 – when the 26-year-old Emilio Aguinaldo, the officially recognized first president of the country, declared independence on June 12, 1898—following the execution by Spain of Jose Rizal on December 30, 1896 in Bagumbayan, now the Luneta in Manila.
Bonifacio, orphaned at an early age, was a self-educated man, a very smart person and an au courant who read books and articles on politics, law, revolution and religion.
In his home, Bonifacio, who married twice—his neighbor Monica (surname not known) and later Gregoria de Jesus —kept a collection of La Solidaridad and letters of Juan Luna, Marcelo H. del Pilar and Jose Rizal.
Bonifacio earned the distinction of being called the Great Plebeian who immersed himself in the daily struggles of the working classes and exemplified the aspirations to nationhood and freedom of the nation’s poor.
Historians say Bonifacio believed that for private and public services to be delivered efficiently and effectively, workers should be hardworking and time-oriented because the development of the country and the progress of society depended on them.
After the Spanish arrested Rizal in July 1892, Bonifacio, who had in his demeanor the mirror of great courage, decided that the Philippines would only achieve independence through revolution.
On July 7 that year, he founded the Katipunan, a secret society open to both peasants and the middle class that employed Masonic rituals to impart an air of sacred mystery.
Today, the Filipinos will also read in the bulletin board that this will be the last November 30 they will celebrate the heroism of what some historians call the Unofficial First President of the Independent Philippines.
By virtue of Presidential Proclamation 90 signed last November 10, Bonifacio’s birth anniversary as a legal holiday will already be celebrated on the nearest Monday to November 30 every year.
The Filipinos are still looking at the board, and looking up to the man who set on fire a sense of patriotism among the then less than five million population throughout the archipelago.