The Philippines commemorates the greatness of our heroes today, specifically Andres Bonifacio,who was born on November 30, 1867. The holiday was, however, celebrated yesterday because President Noynoy Aquino imitated the doing of the previous president in moving the holiday to the nearest Monday to make the weekends long and to help the economy.Well, nevertheless, Andres Bonifacio was one of the people of the country who was born brilliant and with valor. Perhaps, he learned the real meaning of sacrifice when he became orphan and was forced by fate to be bread winner of the family of 6 broods during those times of Spanish oppression. What a hard life, wasn’t it?He was able to study in San Juan de Letran and faced fellow students with his simple garbs and slippers. He loved reading and because of that, he became exposed to the literature of the French Revolution, the biographies of the U.S presidents, and the great novels of Jose Rizal, the El Filibusterismo and the Noli Me Tangere.According to the Wikipedia, he was able to read the “Les Miserables” and the “Wandering Jew.” He was a prolific writer also even if he admitted that Emilio Jacinto was better. Anyone could appreciate the great piece of poem he wrote, “Pagibig sa Tinubuang Lupa,” which was “Love for the Native Land” in English. When Rizal came back to the Philippines after specializing in ophthalmology (I always wonder why he did not take obstetrics) and organized the La Liga Filipina, he was one of those who joined and became active member. This freemason brotherhood did not last because Rizal, as all Filipino students knew, was captured and exiled in Dapitan, Zamboanga for writing what the Spaniards thought were subversive novels. Andres founded in secret the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan , the KKK or the Katipunan for short. It was a revolutionary organization, of which aim was to free the Philippines from the clout of the Spaniards. It was a form of government itself, because it had a president, and justices. It had its own laws and marriage rites.In fact, Andres married Gregoria de Jesus through this Katipunan marriage ceremony. The use of newspaper, “Kalayaan” helped propagate membership. Did Andres tried to get Rizal as part of it? Of course, he did.Rizal was his inspiration. He sent Dr. Pio Valenzuela,also a physician like Rizal, to convince him to join.However, as we all knew, Rizal and his fellow middle class Filipino men who were educated in Spain only wanted an annexation of the Philippines as a province and a representation of the country to the Spanish courts. Rizal and his Filipino friends in Europe only wanted peaceful reforms.They thought that the Filipinos were not yet prepared for its own liberty.Thus, Rizal did not give his support to the Katipunan. Aggressive Katipunan members, however, pushed through with activities. Later, it was found out and the Spaniards caught all the men they suspected. Undaunted men of Katipunan bombed the water stations of San Juan del Monte, which is now the site of the Pinaglabanan monument in San Juan City, where I used to pass by when I was training in the San Juan Medical Center as a resident of obstetrics and gynecology. Now, there is a shrine where there is a museum about the Katipunan uprising.
Nevertheless, as we all Filipinos know, Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo were able to gain Philippine independence.However, greed overcame Aguinaldo’s camp and he became president of the revolutionary government. Now, the Philippines is a unit of its own and enjoying the democracy that we have now. Of course, democracy was another term that we got from another colonizers, the Americans. Anyway, what is important now is that we are having better lives now than the people of yesteryears who were slaves in their own lands. Women can now have their say and we all could demonstrate our feelings. We can have our own lands and enterprise. We can access education in whatever form we want.We are left to have good choices and it is now up to us to live it up. Life, even if there are hardships, is meaningful in our country now. We are free. Thanks to Boni. He, however, was not able to enjoy what he labored for because he was persecuted in Maragondon, Cavite because his rival, Emilio, thought that he was a security threat. It was because he thought that Andres would be setting up a separate government. It was a thing in the past but it was a blatant proof that political rivalries and killings really happened even then. Nevertheless, heroes are heroes and they should be remembered as people who made our history and our integrity of our nation. It is now our turn to guard our own independence and be heroes in these modern times.
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