Friday, November 30, 2012

Rotary Notes 6: Andres Bonifacio and Philippine History

Today is another Philippine holiday to commemorate the death of Andres Bonifacio, one of the pillars of the Philippine revolution against Spain in the late 1890s.

Last June this year, our rotary club sponsored a talk from a UP historian about Andres Bonifacio. I posted it last June 12, 2012,  Independence Day, Andres Bonifacio and Liberty. Portions of that short paper, below.

Prof. Michael Charlestone "Xiao" Chua of De La Salle University (DLSU) History Department gave a talk to our club on "Undress Bonifacio: Paghubad sa Mito ng Bobong Supremo" (Undress Bonifacio: Exposing myths of a stupid supreme leader), held at Metro Club, Rockwell, Makati.

I thought that Michael would look down on Andres Bonifacio, he did the opposite. He said that unlike common conceptions (or misconceptions) and beliefs about the man, Andres Bonifacio was:

1. Not the typical bolo-wielding leader in many monuments around the country. Rather, the person there was a typical Katipunan rebel who revolted against Spain.
2. No ordinary worker-leader, he was a middle class worker in an British company and could speak, read and write English;
3. Was an intellectual, he read many books about the French Revolution, Napoleon, American Revolution, Rizal's two books, other literatures.
4. The first Philippine President when he reorganized the Katipunan from a secret rebel group to an open revolutionary government with himself as the Supremo, set the date of simultaneous armed uprising against Spanish forces. This was around August 28, 1896. 

I learned many things from Prof. Chua's talk. It so happened that our club's name is RC Taguig Fort Bonifacio, a former AFP camp called Fort (Andres) Bonifacio. From his talk, I was convinced that Bonifacio was indeed the first President of the Philippines and not Emilio Aguinaldo.

Prof. Chua also showed various writings by Andres Bonifacio that were relegated by mainstream education about the Philippine Revolution. For instance, for Bonifacio, to love the country, the community, oneself, is not so much to launch a revolution, but in doing one's work with honor and dignity. Honesty, dignity, integrity, these were some of the central teachings of Bonifacio and other Katipunan leaders then. These could be traced to their being FreeMasons. My Mason friend, Ozone Azanza, says that it is very basic and simple to become a Mason -- be a responsible father and husband, able to provide the needs of the family, has humility and personal integrity. Amen to that.

Advancing the philosophy of freedom and liberty, individual freedom and national independence, more personal responsibility and integrity, are among the important teachings of the anti-colonialism independence movement then which remain to have high relevance today. Personal  independence from colonizers, politicians and the high priests of coercion and deception. They remain an important challenge for liberty minded writers and propagandists.

See also:
Rotary Notes 1: Barangay Roads and Solar Panels, August 30, 2010

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