Every 30th of November, we celebrate Andres Bonifacio’s birth anniversary to recognize his being a national hero. Although he was popularly known as the Supremo of the Katipunan, he was still belittled by our society because some thought that he was just a peasant from the lower class. But he’s actually not that poor; in fact, he was a member of the middle class.
We will not touch the argument on whether he deserves to be recognized as the Philippines’ national hero. But, let us dig deeper into the life of this revolutionizer as an artist—and not just as a fighter.
Andres Bonifacio was surprisingly intelligent despite being unable to finish a formal education. He wrote exceptionally great poems—poems which some scholars claim to be better than Rizal’s because of its simple writing style yet profundity. Most of Bonifacio’s poems depict love for one’s country.
“Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa”
This might be his most familiar piece, yet less recognized by the masses. In this poem, he emphasized the love for country. He demonstrated that kind of love as one which wills a person to do anything to protect the country; that shedding blood for the nation’s sake is just an aftermath of that enormous love.
“Katapusang Hibik ng Pilipinas”
This was a poem which expressed Bonifacio’s disappointment on how the Spanish colonizers enslaved the Philippines. Throughout the poem, he was knocking on the hearts of the Filipinos to fight against the Spaniards. He even said that death is the heaven for the revolutionists. Although the poem is quite short, he never failed to stress the value of love for our own country.
“Ang Dapat Mabatid ng mga Tagalog”
This is a slap to the face for the Spaniards. Divided into three parts, this exposed their treachery and deceit. He used this to call the hearts of the Filipinos to fight, waking up the blinded souls of some.
“Katipunang Marahas ng mga Anak ng Bayan”
In this poem, he calls out the Filipinos to prepare for a great revolt. Recognizing the Katipuneros for such bravery, he fishes out the need for a revolution—all for the imprisoned Filipinos, the separated family members, and for Dr. Jose Rizal.
“Decalogo ng Katipunan”
Just like the Ten Commandments of God, there were also ten laws a Katipunero must adhere to. There were also punishments for those who would violate them. These ten laws focused greatly on love of the country and others. We may see Bonifacio as a lowly indio, but the fact that he could write such masterpieces is an undeniable proof of his immense intelligence. Considered to be one of the greatest writers and speakers of his generation, he knew not only fighting, but he also had a great weapon with blots of ink on paper with his poems.
“Aling Pag-ibig ang hihigit kaya
sa pagkadalisay at pagkadakila
gaya ng pag-ibig sa sariling lupa
Aling pag-ibig pa? Wala na nga, wala.”