Bonifacio's Birth and Early Life:
At the age of 19, Andres Bonifacio was forced to give up plans for higher education and begin working full-time to support his orphaned younger siblings. He worked for the British trading company J.M. Fleming & Co. as a broker or corredor for local raw materials such as tar and rattan. He later moved to the German firm Fressell & Co., where he worked as a bodeguero or grocer.
His first wife, Monica, came from the Palomar neighborhood of Bacoor. She died young of leprosy (Hansen's disease).
Bonifacio's second wife, Gregoria de Jesus, came from the Calookan area of metro Manila. They married when he was 29 and she was just 18; their only child, a son, died as an infant.
Establishment of Katipunan:
Philippines Uprising Begins:
Attack on San Juan del Monte:
Bonifacio was forced to withdraw to Marikina, Montalban, and San Mateo; his group suffered heavy casualties. Elsewhere, other Katipunan groups attacked Spanish troops all around Manila. By early September, the revolution was spreading across the country.
Bonifacio led a separate faction from Morong, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) to the east of Manila. A third group under Mariano Llanera was based in Bulacan, north of the capital. Bonifacio appointed generals to establish bases in the mountains all over Luzon island.
Despite his earlier military reverses, Bonifacio personally led an attack on Marikina, Montalban, and San Mateo. Although he initially succeeded in driving the Spanish out of those towns, they soon recaptured the cities, nearly killing Bonifacio when a bullet went through his collar.
Rivalry with Aguinaldo:
To Bonifacio's shame, he not only lost the presidency to Aguinaldo, but was appointed to the lowly post of Secretary of the Interior. When Daniel Tirona questioned his fitness even for that job, based on Bonifacio's lack of a university education, the humiliated former president pulled a gun and would have killed Tirona if a bystander had not stopped him.
Sham Trial and Execution:
Aguinaldo had Bonifacio and Procopio tried for treason and sedition. After a one-day sham trial, in which the defense lawyer averred their guilt rather than defending them, both Bonifacios were convicted and sentenced to death.
Aguinaldo commuted the death sentence on May 8, but then reinstated it. On May 10, 1897, both Procopio and Andres Bonifacio likely were shot dead by a firing squad on Nagpatong Mountain. Some accounts say that Andres was too weak to stand, due to untreated battle wounds, and was actually hacked to death in his stretcher instead. Andres was just 34 years old.
Andres Bonifacio's Legacy:
Jose Rizal is the most widely recognized "national hero of the Philippines," although he advocated a more pacifist approach of reforming Spanish colonial rule rather than overthrowing it by force. Aguinaldo is generally cited as the first president of the Philippines, even though Bonifacio took on that title before Aguinaldo did. Some historians feel that Bonifacio has gotten short shrift, and should be set beside Rizal on the national pedestal.
Andres Bonifacio has been honored with a national holiday on his birthday, however, just like Rizal. November 30 is Bonifacio Day in the Philippines.