Andres Bonifacio goes by so many titles of distinctions. Historians call him Supremo of the Katipunan, The Great Plebeian, the Unofficial First President of the Independent Philippines, and of course, we know him as the Father of the Philippine Revolution, but do you really know the person we celebrate on Bonifacio Day?

In celebration of the 158th birthday of one of the Philippines’ greatest heroes, let us travel back in time and reminisce how great of a Filipino Bonifacia was. 

What’s inside this blog?

About Bonifacio Day

Andres Bonifacio Day is a national public holiday in the Philippines celebrated every 30th of November to remember the birth anniversary of one of the country’s greatest heroes, Andres Bonifacio. He was born on November 30, 1863, and is considered the Father of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonization.

Bonifacio Day Date

The Bonifacio Day celebration takes place in the Philippines every November 30.

Facts About Andres Bonifacio

Photo credits to his grace via Flickr

In our history books, Andres Bonifacio is well regarded as the Supremo and Father of the Philippine Revolution. While the hero is part of our history lessons, it won’t hurt to get to know him even better. So, we’ve compiled five facts about Andres Bonifacio you should know.

1. He came from a middle-class family

Many know Bonifacio as the hero of the masses but is he really poor? The short answer is, not really. This Philippine hero actually came from a middle-class family. His mother Catalina de Castro was a half-Spanish mestiza, which technically separates Bonifacio already from the Indios. But that’s not all. Both his parents had stable jobs: his mother worked as a supervisor in a cigarette factory and his father worked as a staff member in the office of the gobernadorcillo. 

He even spent his basic education years in Cebu, and had a private tutor to teach him arithmetic and Spanish. Unfortunately, however, he and his siblings rose to the lower middle class after their parents died. Bonifacio was only 14 years old when they became orphans.

2. He was a voracious reader

When Bonifacio’s parents died, he quit his studies to support his siblings at a young age. Because of that, he was often called uneducated. But the truth is, he was actually a bright boy. He reached what is now second-year high school and never stopped learning. He loves to read. A lot. 

According to Rappler, his employer, Doña Elvira Prysler, even remembered Bonifacio holding a book every lunchtime and here are the books he read:

  • Books by Alexander Dumas, a French writer known for his adventurous historical novels
  • Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
  • The Wandering Jew (Eugene Sue)
  • The Ruins of Palmyra: Meditations on the Revolution of the Empire
  • The Holy Bible
  • Religion Within the Reach of All
  • Lives of the Presidents of the United States
  • Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo (Jose Rizal)
  • History of the French Revolution
  • Law (international law, civil code, penal code) and medical books

Not surprisingly, his readings ignited Bonifacio’s rebellious spirit, ultimately leading to his founding of the Katipunan. 

3. Bonifacio was a versatile young worker

As the new head of the family when their parents died, Bonifacio had to juggle various kinds of jobs to sustain their family. At night, he and his siblings made walking canes and paper fans, and in the morning, they sold them at premium prices in Manila’s busy streets. But that’s not all that Bonifacio worked on. He also took on other jobs like:

  • Bodegero (warehouse keeper) in a mosaic tile factory
  • Clerk-messenger for the English firm J.M. Fleming and Company
  • Maker of attractive posters for companies such as clothes dealers (he had good penmanship)
  • Bodegero and supply clerk then promoted as a sales agent at the German firm Carlos Fressel & Company
  • Moro-moro performer

4. Some considers him a better writer than Rizal

In an article by Rappler, National Artist and Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino chair Virgilio Almario argued that Bonifacio is a better writer than Rizal because his works, dubbed “akdang Katipunero”, were easier to grasp for the masses than the writings of the ilustrados.

One of the Supremo’s best works is “Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Bayan (Love of Fatherland).” It is a compelling poem about one’s love for the nation.

He also wrote other pieces like “Ang Dapat Mabatid ng Mga Tagalog (What the Filipinos Should Know)” and “Tapunan ng Lingap (Care a Little).

5. His cause of death is still unknown

Andres and his brother Procopio were taken to the mountains of Marogondon to be executed. The execution party was led by Lazaro Macapagal, the ancestor of Diosdado Macapagal and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who shared multiple accounts of the execution with contemporaries.

However, it’s not clear how Andres was executed. Some said, Procopio was shot first, Andres tried to run away, and Macapagal had to chase and gun him down.

In an article by Esquire Magazine, another version comes from other people in the execution party, as told to Guillermo Masangkay: Procopio was shot first, and Andres, unable to stand properly, was hacked down in order to save bullets. In any case, the brothers were buried in shallow graves on the mountain.

References: Rappler, Official Gazette, Globe Telecom, Esquire Magazine

Frequently Asked Questions About Bonifacio Day

Q: Why do Filipinos celebrate Bonifacio Day?
A: Andres Bonifacio Day is a national public holiday in the Philippines celebrated every 30th of November to remember the birth anniversary of the country’s greatest heroes, Andres Bonifacio. He was born on November 30, 1863, and is considered the Father of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonization.

Q: Is November 30th a holiday in the Philippines?
A: Yes, Andres Bonifacio Day is a regular holiday in the Philippines as it is the birth anniversary of one of the greatest heroes in the Philippines, Andres Bonifacio. 

Q: Is November 30 Bonifacio Day non working holiday?
A: Yes, November 30 Bonifacio Day is non working holiday. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reminded employers to strictly observe the rule on the payment of wages for the Special (Non-Working) Holidays on November 1 and 2 and the Regular Holiday on November 30.

Q: Kailan ang Bonifacio Day?
A: Ang Bonifacio Day ay ginaganap tuwing ika-30 ng Nobyembre para ipagdiwang ang kaarawan ni Andres Bonifacio. Ito ang sagot sa tanong mo kung kailan ang Bonifacio Day.

Q: When is Bonifacio Day Holiday?
A: Bonifacio Day Holiday is on November 30.

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