Boni150: Lessons on Freedom, Democracy, Election and Revolutionary Love

Gregoria de Jesus "The Revolutionary" by Fred Esquillo. Oil on Paper. At Bahay Nakpil-Bautista Museum.

Gregoria de Jesus “The Revolutionary” by Fred Esquillo. Oil on Paper. At Bahay Nakpil-Bautista Museum.

“Matakot sa kasaysayan pagkat walang lihim na di mabubunyag.” – Ka Oriang

May 9 and 10 are red days in history of the people.

The next day after the Lakambini’s  birthday, the Supremo himself was abducted and summarily executed by Magdalo soldiers, a faction chapter of the Katipunan in Cavite under the command of Miong who is convicted by narrative history of violating basic principles of the true fighting sons and daughters in building a ‘Filipino nation’ as agreed upon in the Kartilya through blood compact.

Lakambini (Muse) was the nom de guerre of Gregoria de Jesus (May 9, 1875 – March 15, 1943). She joined the Katipunan Philippine liberation movement (KKK) at age 18. She was a founding member of the women’s chapter and also its appointed Vice-President. Among her tasks was being a keeper of rather incriminatory documents of the movement. Ka Oriang, as we know her today, married Katipunan founder Andres Bonifacio (November 30, 1863 – May 10, 1897). Their son Andres Jr. however died of smallpox at infancy.

In a hot day in a spacious house, we sat at one quarter of the nearly century-old Bahay Nakpil-Bautista in Quiapo where Ka Oriang with her second husband Julio Nakpil (1867- 1960) and their six surviving children used to live. Julio Nakpil was a trusted Secretary of Bonifacio as well as composer for the Katipunan. Ka Oriang and Julio stayed in the house of Julio’s childless sister Petrona Nakpil and her husband Ariston Bautista, a revolutionary doctor and philanthropist.

Ka Oryang is buried at Manila North Cemetery while the Supremo’s remains have never been found. Archived at Bahay Nakpil-Bautista are some prints and audio-recordings of narratives and testimonials by Ka Oryang about the summary execution of Bonifacio and her experience in searching for the (chopped-chopped) remains of Bonifacio.

Ka Oriang’s descendant Bobbie Santos Viola said that today’s summer pales in comparison to the “hotness” of the place during Spanish occupation being an armory and hideout for Katipuneros. It pales in comparison to the “hotness” of the documents that Ka Oryang could be carrying around either through her belly, her basket, her horse or her car. She further stressed that the heat is incomparable to the fire of nationalism of both Ka Oryang and of Gat Andres. She concluded that if ever Gat Andres was not “hot-headed” as critics negatively tag him, the Philippines could not have advanced from Spanish oppression and social injustice.

This was a rather warm opening welcome for guests at the Home of Heroes during Diklap, a solidarity program last May 10 organized by Bonifacio 150 Committee (Boni150 Committee) to commemorate the birth of Gregoria de Jesus and the death of Andres Bonifacio.

Historian Prof. Doti Abaya spoke about the legitimacy based on research of Bonifacio as first president of the Filipino people, followed by Miguel Malvar (1865 – 1911) and Macario Sakay (1870 – 1907). On the other hand, Miong or Emilio Aguinaldo is the first president of the colonial power followed by the rest of presidents of the puppet republic that we know today: Manuel Quezon, Jose Laurel, Sergio Osemeña, Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay, Carlos Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal, Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III.

For more than a hundred years, Filipino people suffer from poverty, corruption and repression under these puppets of American colonialism. On the other hand, Filipino children and youth are made to believe by colonial history books under a puppet education that the names Bonifacio, Sakay and Malvar are bandits, hard-headed, unlawful and renegade rebels.

Prof. Abaya also reminded the audience that the first election fraud in Philippine history happened in the 1897 Tejeros Convention. As Bonifacio along with his Magdiwang force insisted Aguinaldo and his Magdalo force for a negotiation to work towards a common goal, the Magdalo force had plotted already to debunk the revolutionary government and collaborate instead with the American government.

Daniel Tirona from the Magdalo camp had led the distribution of “filled” ballots in favor of Aguinaldo and the Magdalos. Despite the cheating in an election held at the Magdalo turf, Bonifacio gained a seat as Director of Interior Affairs that Tirona objected for the mere reason that Bonifacio does not possess a law degree or university diploma. This objection shows that Aguinaldo’s government, the foundation of the government that we have now today, is elitist with selfish interests. Prof. Abaya shared the funny irony that Aguinaldo’s loyal man Tirona later ended as shoeshine boy, masseur and coffee-server of American officials.

Being Supremo and founder of Katipunan, it was right for Bonifacio to use his authority and declare the convention as null and void. Studies reveal that the Convention was a trap for Bonifacio by Aguinaldo to intensify the clash between the Magdiwang and Magdalo then later give reason for the execution of Bonifacio. Aguinaldo is also guilty of the execution in 1896 of the known Trece Martires or Thirteen Martyrs of Cavite. This was revealed to the Boni150 Committee in its recent visit to Maragondon in Cavite where Andres Bonifacio and his brother Procorpio were killed.

Clearly, Aguinaldo was a “warlord” and a double traitor: first, a traitor of the Katipunan for master-minding the killing of a great fighter of Philippine liberation from Spain along with the others who remain in the cause; and second, a traitor of Philippine independence for selling the country’s governance to America in the amount of $400,000 plus amnesty and hundred hectares of land.

Political Economist Prof. Edilberto Villegas who is a direct grandson of Miguel Malvar talked about the colonial scheme of deliberately purging the people’s consciousness and love of country through Hollywood cultural products and online mechanisms. He also commented on the government’s lack of appraisal for the contributions of martyrs more than it pays tribute to collaborators, puppets, landlords and warlords. However, Filipino people have great sense of nationalism and care for each other and that our culture of bayanihan is something that colonizers were not able to take away from us.

There is then always hope for political change as long as we adhere to nationalist principles and collectivism instead of individualism.

Another agitating note from Prof. Ed: It was politically justified for Bonifacio and the Katipunan when they decided to take up arms because it was the ultimate way to achieve freedom from colonial slavery. It is then also politically justified for people of today to take up arms because the election that we have now is a pseudo-democracy and is not honest for ordinary people while the present government does not end poverty by ending colonial ties. It is always significant for the youth to know our history and contribute in helping build our present-future.

The audience was also serenaded by the Minstrel of Hope Children’s Choir based in Sta. Ana, Manila.

Shirt Design by Boni150 Committee. For orders contact Boni150 Facebook Group.

Shirt Design by Boni150 Committee. For orders contact Boni150 Facebook Group.

Bonifacio 150 Committee is convened by the Linangan ng Kulturang Filipino, Bahay Nakpil Foundation and Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD) among others. It was launched in November 2012 to conduct series of discussions, educational trips, exhibits and cultural activities to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Andres Bonifacio.

Join Boni150’s next cultural talk on Julio Nakpil in commemoration of his 146th birth anniversary on May 22 and next educational trip to Maragondon Cavite on May 26. Join the Boni150 Facebook Group for more information.


Bahay Nakpil-Bautista is located at 432 Ariston Bautista Street (adjacent street in front of Quiapo Church). It is open from Tuesday to Sunday (9AM – 5 PM) am to 5:00 pm. For more information about entrance rates, lakbay-aral schedules and other activities, contact 345-5755 or email

You might also want to read:

Agoncillio, Teodoro. From the Revolt of the Masses: The Story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 2002.

More photos here.

See also Sketching at Binondo Plaza.

About Joanna Lerio

cultural journalist, multidisciplinary artist, educator, traveller, dreamer, yogini, vegetarian, advocate
This entry was posted in Advocacy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s