Should Bonifacio Be Our National Hero?

I was all poised to start my Nerdy Wednesday post about the movie release of Sherlock Holmes part 2 when suddenly, I found myself staring at Google’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer-inspired home page.

tom sawyer

This image of Tom Sawyer and his friends inspired me today!

Right there and then, I remembered Mark Twain and was reminded that today is his 176th Birthday! On top of that, it’s also Sir Andres Bonifacio‘s Day (the Filipino hero I admire the most). And so I guess even if Mr. Holmes is my favorite, he’d be happy to give way for these two people who deserve to be featured today.

Happy 176th Birthday, Samuel!

I knew it since high school that Mark Twain is just a pen name, that’s why I’ve always regarded the creator of Tom Sawyer by his real name – Samuel Langhorne Clemens. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is his famous piece, placing his name on literature’s history. After the Tom Sawyer hit, Samuel followed a sequel,”The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” that also earned him great honor as an American novelist. Every time I think about Tom Sawyer, I instantly see a cute but guileful boy dressed in the old American fashion way. I think his character greatly embodies what it feels like to be a tyke during the late 1800s.

mark twain

Mark Twain; November 30, 1835 - April 21, 1910 (74 yo)

By the way, this post is entitled as such: “Should Bonifacio Be Our National Hero?” because I want to know the views of other Filipinos about this stand. I just included a little about Samuel Clemens because a) he’s my idol, b) it’s also his birthday today, and c) I was inspired by the “Tom Sawyer painting the fence” image at Google.

Happy 148th Birthday, Andres Bonifacio!

If it weren’t that Jose Rizal has kept a journal of his thoughts, achievements, and adventures and if it weren’t that he has the influence and financial stature, I’d say that Andres Bonifacio deserves the title of being the Philippine’s National Hero. I’m sorry Rizal fans, but even the RA 1425 (aka Rizal Law) mandate couldn’t change my perspective about who should gain merit for the independence of the Philippines.

Like yeah, Rizal used the power of his pen to incite the people to a revolution, but without the actual hands of Andres Bonifacio who brought the revolution into reality, did we ever achieve something? Even if Rizal was the inspiration of the Katipuneros, Bonifacio was the real force. And I do think that Bonifacio is also wicked smart. Sans any formal training, he was able to devise ways on how to strengthen the Philippine team revolting against the Spaniards.

andres bonifacio

Andres Bonifacio; November 30, 1863 - May 10, 1897(33 yo)

Anyway, those extra hours studying the life of Rizal also paid off – I do appreciate his efforts, his skills and most importantly, his heart who loves our country so much. On the other hand, I don’t really see Jose Rizal as the ultimate nemesis of Andres Bonifacio for the title. In fact, Rizal supports Andres Bonifacio. But there’s this one person whom I think was really unfair and inconsiderate towards the lowly President of the Katipunan – Emilio Aguinaldo.

If I do think that Bonifacio deserves the title of Jose Rizal better, then you should double that conviction if I say that Andres Bonifacio deserves to be the first Philippine President and not Emilio Aguinaldo. It’s just so much heart-piercing that even at the start of the true Filipino regime, political assaults and corruption are already present. Yeah, I wasn’t there during that time and so I really don’t know what truly happened. Yet I think I believe the assumption that Aguinaldo ordered the execution of Bonifacio. And by the way, where are the real bones of Andres Bonifacio? Historians say t’was already found and is now on display yet I doubt it. I just do hope that no dog is already sinking its teeth under my hero’s bone shafts!

There, there. I’m quite happy that at least, I’ve shared what my thoughts are regarding Andres Bonifacio. I guess if my History teacher in college will read this, he’ll be really happy to know that he’s influenced me so much. As for my Rizal teacher, maybe she’d also appreciate that though I’m pro-Bonficaio, at least she was able to influence me to be cool with Rizal. How about you? Whom do you think deserves to be the real Hero of our beloved country? Take my poll!

“In the fury of your struggle, some of you might die in the midst of battle, but this is an honor that will be a legacy to our race and our progeny. – El Supremo”

Wow! Two geniuses were born on November 30! I guess this is one lucky day – Happy Birthday to everyone born on the same day as with Samuel and Andres Bonifacio!



  1. Boysanib

    Pif, Andres Bonifacio led a losing revolution. “What is freedom? If the slaves of today becomes the tyrants of tomorrow?”

  2. krish ann

    i agree!!.if it was not because of matter how Rizal write his “hinaing” or the filipinos “hinaing”..nothing will happen!..

  3. krish ann

    hello ..can you answer this question?..

    “Rationalize between the options provided by Rizal and Bonifacio in solving the Philippine problem of their time in terms of their effectiveness and practicality..”

    i just need an answer for my Reaction paper in my Rizal’s History subject…i dont know much about Bonifacio but i believe he’s deserving to the title of National Hero and also as the First President of the Phils.

    thank you so much 🙂

    • Wow, that question seems so hard. I’m not really that well-versed about the musings and political views of both Rizal and Bonifacio (mostly because I already forgot most of what I’ve learned back in college and what I have retained now are just fragments) but I do think that both of them have the similarities and differences. Your reaction paper is yours to make and your views might be different with mine but here’s what I can say in a very simplified form:

      Clearly, Rizal wanted reforms and a change of government in a peaceful, non-bloody way. He wants to use the IRON PEN to pierce down the hearts of the enemies and stimulate a bloodless revolution. He believes that independence can be given to the Philippines through peaceful talks and treaties. In a way, his ideas are pretty much good – but then, they’re only IDEAL, not practical during those times. A bloodless revolution is a far-cry. The Spaniards know that they are more equipped than us Filipinos and therefore, they are quite confident that they have the upperhand. If we resist them, it’s easy on their part to raise up firearms and start bloodshed. That’s why, Rizal’s ideals are very promising – but not effective nor practical. On the other hand, Bonifacio understands that independence from Spain can only be gained through sheer FORCE. He wants to spark uprisings to awaken the whole nation that a need for unity and conscientiousness is necessary. That’s why he took up his bolo and started what seems to be a far-fetched idea at first but was eventually transformed into reality – the Philippine Revolution.

      There you go, that’s what I can say. I hope you gained some insights and ideas. However, please do not copy-paste my answer to your reaction paper. If you agree to my thoughts, just kindly state them on your own words. Goodluck!

  4. krish ann

    thank you so much ^_______^..and yes im not going to copy paste it ^_^…i’ll make my own but i’ll get some of your ideas :))

    thanks a lot!’re my life savior!!:)

  5. Emilio became popular in the KKK because he led is troops to victory while Bonifacio had lost battles 1 by 1, leading to his unpopularity. this resulted in an unrest among the katipunan (Within Aguinaldo’s Magdiwang troops and Bonifacio’s Magdalo troops.) Ultimately leading to Aguilnaldo’s succession as the leader of the KKK and him executing Bonifacio, fearing that the latter may betray the Katipunan to the Spanish authorities.

    @Fria: “Revolucion y Fuerza” isn’t very effective when used by not-so-smart people. The KKK was comprised by farmers, household slaves, and other groups termed by spaniards as “Indio” (Rizal became an Honorary member because it was him that inspired Bonifacio. Also it was because of this that he got executed ). most of them had no military training. it was no match against the experienced spanish soldiers.

    remember: “An expert with a stone can still beat a novice with a sword.”

    Rizal saw that before freedom filipinos need education first. And If only filipinos of that time heeded what he said we could’ve been like Singapore now.

    Also the June 12 Kalayaan was a joke. We know now that it was a token fight between the Americans and Spaniards. after the Spanish crown sold us to America for $100 Million dollars.

    See? if only we were smart before we were free. *facepalm*

    • @boysanib: Bonifacio is smart, but he just didn’t get the kind of education that Rizal did. And yeah, the militia team were composed of farmers, bakers, whoevers, etc. but we still do owe them our lives because he gave up theirs for our freedom. I do agree that what we had was not absolute freedom, because up until now, we are mere puppets of a higher governing race. But still, I’m happy we aren’t a colony of Spain anymore because if we were, we’re probably doomed now. Everything was Aguinaldo’s call. If he didn’t play the traitor part then we could have acquired the kind of freedom we needed. But then, even if he sold us for money, the Americans handled us well. I sure am amiable with the Commonwealth government and us being under the Americans that time. If it weren’t for the big-headed hacienderos of Negros who pushed Quezon to file independence from the US, we could have established our government more efficiently. We’ve been arguin’ about this since first year college (as far as I can remember). . .But then, I must say you got a point. Very well said and what’s a “facepalm?”

  6. I’m pleased I located this site,

  7. Really interesting articles. I enjoyed reading it.

  8. Anonymous

    Rizal indeed wanted reforms without the revolution. However, he said, in Data for my Defense, “I have believed little by little autonomy would come and finally independence is true”… “That these things–union and money– after years could prepare for a revolution, I don’t have to deny”. With these, they change the idea that Rizal was a benign thinker who does note define revolution. He believed that independence would come, just that Philippines was not ready yet (he even stated that it will come in 100 years or so). If you have read El fili, this was also the main message of the novel – revolution was not impossible (Simon who attempted a revolution because the Spanish govt was not hearing their cries).

  9. Kathryn

    Wow. You have points that are really directed to your main point. I commend your writing skills and using it for historical and mind-sharpening articles. More power!

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