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The Man Who Said “No Serendra” to the Spanish…

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Andres Bonifacio, the Man Behind the Philippine Revolution, the other KKK, and BGC



The Bonifacio Monument in Grace Park, Caloocan City, designed by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino to commemorate the hero and known locally as “Monumento”.


Every 30th of November, Bonifacio Day is celebrated as a national public holiday in the Philippines. This is the birthday of hero, Andres Bonifacio. On July 7th 1892 Bonifacio and others formed the secret revolutionary government, the Katipunan (meaning “Association”, whose full name was abbreviated as “KKK”). This gave rise to the Philippine Revolution in 1896 which aimed to topple Spanish rule in the Philippines, and eventually resulted in American rule.


Bonifacio is known as the “Father of the Philippine Revolution” and his followers acknowledged him with the title “Supremo” (or “Supreme Leader”). They believed that revolution was the solution to the Spanish oppression in contrast to exiled Jose Rizal’s more peaceful strategy. The popularity of Jose Rizal as a pacifist Filipino doctor from the elite of society often overshadowed Bonifacio’s accomplishments. Bonifacio established a revolutionary government, and some Filipinos consider him their first President. His revolutionary government is called Kataastaasang, Kagalanggalangan na Katipunan in Tagalog which means “the highest and most respected association”. It is abbreviated as KKK in their flag.


Andres Bonifacio y de Castro was born in Tondo, Manila on 30 November 1863, on the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle after whom he was named.


He was the eldest child of six, whose father, Santiago Bonifacio, was a tailor and eventually a teniente mayor (a.k.a. deputy mayor) for the Spanish colonial government. His mother, Catalina de Castro Bonifacio was a supervisor at a cigarette factory in Manila. Bonifacio’s maternal grandfather was Spanish and maternal grandmother was Filipino-Chinese.


After learning Spanish, Latin and mathematics, young Andres had to drop out of school at 14 due to poverty and the need to work to support his younger siblings. He proved to be talented in making canes and elegant paper fans (or abanico). His talent in art was later seen as a maker of posters for businesses.


Later, Bonifacio worked at an English and a German trading companies J.M. Fleming and Fressel in Manila, beginning as a clerk and messenger and later promoted as a warehouseman and sales agent for handicrafts and fabrics until the Revolution started in 1896.




His background in sales and marketing helped in spreading the idea of resistance against Spain, at a time when the slightest idea of independence led to severe punishment, incarceration, confiscation of properties and perhaps death itself. Bonifacio was able to sell the idea of revolution and uprising to Filipinos both rich and poor who had no experience of nationhood.


Bonifacio was, with Jose Rizal, one of the founding members of the KKK’s predecessor La Liga Filipina. This was an organisation that aims to promote political reforms but the group was superseded by the more militant KKK and eventually disbanded when Rizal was arrested and executed on December 30th 1896.


Bonifacio was a Freemason and many believed that the logos and secret rituals in the KKK got its inspiration.


The first incident of rebellion was the “Cry of Balintawak” on August 23rd, 1896. This involved tearing up of tax certificates (or cedulas), as commemorated in the Bonifacio Monument. This was followed by simultaneous and coordinated attacks in Manila and in Cavite where revolts were led by Bonifacio’s rival, General Emilio Aguinaldo, who was from the landed, affluent classes, or ilustrados.



Andres Bonifacio on the Philippine 5 peso bill in 1970, with the Katipunan (or KKK), the revolutionary government of Bonifacio on the reverse.


Over time, divisions between Aguinaldo and Bonifacio, essentially between rich and poor, eroded KKK effectiveness, and eventually led to factionalism and Bonifacio being accused of treason and conspiracy to murder Aguinaldo, and his being declared guilty despite insufficient evidence and executed on May 10th 1897.


The success of the KKK-led rebellion against the Spanish led to a short period of quasi-independence after the Americans defeated the Spanish in the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1st 1898, and on June 12th Aguinaldo issued the Philippine Declaration of Independence. However neither Spain nor the USA recognised Aguinaldo’s regime and instead the “Treaty of Paris” handed the country to the Americans.


The result was the bitter, bloody and largely forgotten Philippine-American War, a long wait for Bonifacio’s dream of independence till 1946, and the widespread adoption of English, which is why many of us are here!



Fort Bonifacio, named after Andres Bonifacio, was a large military base before being developed as Bonifacio Global City.


Bonifacio’s legacy included the military facility known as “Fort Bonifacio” to those who’ve been here more than 5 years, and Bonifacio Global City (or “BGC”) to newcomers!


As the “Father of Philippine Revolution” would have said to his Spanish foes, “No Serendra!”



“Home of passionate minds” is the caption of Bonifacio Global City as a group that pays tribute to the passionate men and women of the Katipunan who had a vision to make the Philippines a land of freedom and beauty. The Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation supports that vision by providing urban development and affordable but high-class real estate. This is the legacy of Andres Bonifacio and we all enjoy it today.




A fun weekend fiesta at Bonifacio Global City High Street, last year 28-30 Nov. 2014!


Authors: CS Gaerlan and Marcelle Villegas 


More information about BGC, visit Bonifacio Global City


Photo source:

Bonifacio Monument –

Bonifacio painting –

Money –

Bonifacio High Street –

Bonifacio Global City –

Global City logo —

BGC Urban Fiesta –




The Andres Bonifacio Monument (Caloocan City)”>”>







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