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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, November 30, 2019
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Remembering Andres Bonifacio

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Andres Bonifacio was born on Nov. 30, 1863 in a small hut at Calle Azcarraga, presently known as Claro M. Recto Avenue in Tondo, Manila. He was the eldest in a brood of five and he had to assume the responsibility of raising his younger siblings when he was orphaned at barely fourteen.

Although he had limited formal education, poverty never hindered his thirst for knowledge. He crafted and sold paper fans and wooden canes, worked as a messenger, and as a warehouseman, but at the same time devoted most of his free time to reading books while trying to improve his knowledge in the Spanish and Tagalog language and learning about the struggles for freedom elsewhere in the world. From the start, this was a Filipino who never gave up after life dealt him a bad hand.

Andres Bonifacio pursued his seemingly impossible dream of independence for his land with a passion that was unmatched by most Filipinos during his time. He became Supremo of the Katipunan and is argued to have been the first president of our national government but his fight for freedom was spoiled by an ugly turf war with Emilio Aguinaldo that ended in his execution, along with his brother Procopio, for the crime of sedition. Both men wanted the same thing but it was unfortunate that they couldn’t agree on the method.

His educational attainment and military expertise may not have been equal to other Filipino heroes of the revolution but his love for the country was absolute. As we celebrate Bonifacio Day, let us not dwell on the circumstances surrounding his untimely death but remember Andres Bonifacio for his determination to rise above poverty and become a better man. He did not live to see his beloved land attain independence, but his contributions that led to that goal should rightfully be commemorated and appreciated by the Filipinos who enjoy freedom today because of heroes like him.

There are many things we can learn from the extraordinary life and death of Andres Bonifacio. He conquered adversity and poverty, educated himself, and gave his all as he fought for his beloved country. Men like him are a rare breed, during his time and up to now. Let us recognize this Filipino hero among us as we pursue the same goals for our country and appreciate their ideals and efforts so we do not make the same mistake his compatriots did when they killed him because both sides couldn’t leave enough room for disagreements and dissent.*

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