7 Things You Didn't Know About Andres Bonifacio

If Jose Rizal is associated with the Ilustrados, Andres Bonifacio is linked to the masses.

Andres Bonifacio was born on November 30, 1863. He is best known as one of the founders of the Katipunan, a Philippine movement which wanted independence and freedom from the Spaniards.

In 1921, November 30 was officially made a Philippine Holiday.

A copy of the only known photograph of Bonifacio

As we celebrate Andres Bonifacio's 152nd birth anniversary, here are 7 things you probably didn't know about him.

1. Andres Bonifacio as a bookworm - he might not have been a voracious reader as Jose Rizal but he was well-read than Emilio Aguinaldo. He read Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. He was also interested in the History of the French Revolution  and took the time to read Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. Just imagine if Bonifacio was alive today, he might enjoy the movie or Musical based on Hugo's novel.

2. Bonifacio was home-schooled - Andres' father was a well-paid tailor and who hired a private tutor to teach his son how to read, write and do simple Math. Bonifacio might have lacked formal education but his thirst for knowledge didn't stop him from learning. He continued on his own by reading books.

3. Bonifacio as a translator - Bonifacio translated Rizal's Mi Ultimo Adios from the original Spanish to Tagalog.  He distributed copies of it to the members of the KKK.

4. Andres was married twice - Bonifacio's first wife died from illness and they didn't have any children. In 1893, Bonifacio married 18-year-old Gregoria de Jesus. The couple was first married in a Church to appease the young lady's parents. Later on, they had the Masonic blessings of the Katipunan.

Oriang, as she was known, played a significant part in the Katipunan. She was the Keeper of Documents. Andres and Oriang had a son, Andres Jr. who died young in 1896.

5. Bonifacio as a friend - Andres considered the younger Emilio Jacinto, a beloved friend and adviser. He invoked such loyalty in Jacinto that when he was killed in 1897, Jacinto refused to join forces with Aguinaldo. He also did not make any attempts to recognize Aguinaldo as the supreme leader of the Filipino forces. From 1949-1969, the Philippine 10-peso bill bore the images of both Bonifacio and Jacinto.

Bonifacio and Jacinto  on the 10-peso bill. (photo not mine)

6. Andres Bonifacio was a gun-slinger - According to noted historian Teodoro Agoncillo, who interviewed Bonifacio's contemporaries, Andres never fought with bolos or sabres. He used guns or revolvers instead. Bonifacio must have known about the popular saying, "Never bring a knife to a gunfight."

National Artist, Guillermo Tolentino, who sculpted the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan, depicted Bonifacio holding a revolver on his left hand.

Bonifacio holding a gun (photo from wikipedia)

7. Bonifacio was executed by Filipinos - In 1897, Andres Bonifacio was charged with sedition and treason by the Magdalo-controlled government. His brother, Ciriaco, was killed by soldiers loyal to Emilio Aguinaldo. His other brother, Procopio, was with him on May 10, 1897 when they were both executed in Mount Maragondon, Cavite. Their remains has never been found.