A. ANDRES BONIFACIO
Andres Bonifacio, the supremo, a self-taught revolutionary, a national hero. He was born to a poor family in Tondo, Manila, on November 30, 1863. His parents were Santiago Bonifacio and Catalina de Castro. When both his parents died in the 1870's, when he was 14, he left school to support his five brothers and sisters. He worked as a craftsman, messenger and warehouse keeper. He read the same kind of books that Rizal was reading such as Eugene Sue’s Wandering Jew and Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, and that proves that he was not as poor and illiterate man as other writers and historians said. Although not well-schooled because he reached only grade 4 in primary school, he was quite literate and fluent enough to read and write in Spanish. Through reading, he made himself aware of the social conditions, and open to the realities. He did not make poverty as an excuse to be illiterate. Unfortunately the history is so unkind to him that he was often pictured as illiterate, poor and plebian. Bonifacio left few accounts and journals. These are “Pahimakas” and “Pag-ibig sa Tinubunag Lupa”.
By the mid-1880s, he had become a fervent Filipino nationalist; when José Rizal established the La Liga Filipina in July3, 1892, Bonifacio was one of its first members together with Mabini. He admired Jose Rizal, whose works on Noli Mi Tangere and El Filibusterismo inspired him and developed a strong sense of nationalism. Rizal’s writings laid down the foundation of the revolution. He organized a secret society and revolutionary group, Katipunan, in 1892 when Rizal was arrested and deported to Dapitan. It derived its ideology from the French revolution. Shortly after, Bonifacio became the Supremo (head) of the Katipunan. Unlike those in the middle class or illustrados who just want power and equality in the society, Bonifacio and his circle of plebeians did not seek reforms from the Spanish... [continues]
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