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Philippines Celebrating Andres Bonifacio Day


Today, November 30, we Filipinos are commemorating the 148th birthdate of one of our heroes Andres Bonifacio. It's funny though that when you ask a certain student who Andres Bonifacio is, you could see a puzzled look as well as funny grin.  A lot of students nowadays have no clue who Andres Bonifacio is, they didn't even know why we commemorate this date. All they know is that Andres Bonifacio is carrying his famous  jungle Bolo fighting for something not all Filipinos are aware of. More often than not, if someone tries to ask the same question to their parents, even them can admit that there's more to tell about Gat. Andres Bonifacio than his Camisa Chino and his rolled trousers. He is really more than a face you could see on a Php 5 peso bill.

AndrĂ©s Bonifacio y de Castro was born on November 30, 1863 at Tondo, Manila. He was a Filipino nationalist and revolutionary. He was a founder and later Supremo ("supreme leader") of the Katipunan movement which is more popularly known as KKK, “Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan” ("Highest and Most Respected Society of the Children of the Country") which sought the independence of the Philippines from Spanish colonial rule and started the Philippine Revolution. He is considered a de facto national hero of the Philippines, and is also considered by some Filipino historians to be the first President, but he is not officially recognised as such.

By December 1896, the Spanish authorities recognized three major centers of rebellion: Cavite, under Emilio Aguinaldo and others, Bulacan under Mariano Llanera and Morong under Bonifacio. The revolt, mostly fell under rebel control by September–October 1896 was most successful in Cavite.

Apolinario Mabini, who later joined the rebels and served as Aguinaldo's adviser, wrote that the government troops in Cavite were limited to small, scattered constabulary detachments and thus the rebels were able to take virtually the entire province. In anticipation of Bonifacio's attack, the Spanish government had transferred much of its troops from Cavite (and other provinces) to Manila. Using tactics like trench warfare, the Cavite rebels won prestige in defeating Spanish troops in set piece battles.

Manila and its surrounding municipalities bore the brunt of the Spanish military campaign, becoming a no man's land, while Cavite is traditionally regarded as the "heartland of the Philippine Revolution". In Manila, Morong, Nueva Ecija and Pampanga, rebels in the area were generally engaged in hit-and-run guerrilla warfare against Spanish positions. Bonifacio served as tactician for rebel guerrillas and issued commands to areas other than his personal sector from Morong, though his reputation suffered when he lost battles he personally led.

Bonifacio supervised the establishment of Katipunan mountain and hill bases like Balara in Marikina, Pantayanin in Antipolo, Ugong in Pasig and Tungko in Bulacan from September to October 1896. Bonifacio appointing generals for these areas, or approving selections the troops themselves made.

Bonifacio led an assault on San Mateo, Marikina and Montalban in November. The Spanish were forced to retreat, leaving these areas to the rebels, except for the municipal hall of San Mateo where some Spanish troops had barricaded. While Bonifacio's troops laid siege to the hall, other Katipunan forces set up defensive lines along the nearby Langka (or Nangka) river against Spanish reinforcements from Marikina. Spanish counterattacks broke through the Langka river lines after three days. The Spanish troops thus recaptured the rebel positions and surprised Bonifacio in San Mateo, who ordered a general retreat to Balara. They were pursued, and Bonifacio was nearly killed shielding Emilio Jacinto from a Spanish bullet which grazed his collar.

In Balara, Bonifacio commissioned Julio Nakpil to compose a national anthem. Nakpil produced a hymn called Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan ("Honorable Hymn of the Tagalogs"). However, it was rejected years later in favor of the Marcha Nacional Filipina commissioned by Emilio Aguinaldo.
Andres Bonifacio died on May 10, 1897, he was just 33 years of age. This is just some of what Andres Bonifacio did during his time, so many, this article only covers not merely 10 percent of his whereabouts.

We don't just commemorate the date to remember the late Andres Bonifacio, we commemorate his heroism because we Filipinos believe that his story is somewhat the same for all of us. A traffic policeman is enduring the heat just to try to lessen the traffic, a garbage collector who tries to do everything to feed his family and an OFW who is pushing very hard to work while missing everybody just to provide all of his family's needs. We are all descendants from the great Andres Bonifacio, this date is not just for his, but for all of us as well.

Cheerio!

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