Andres Bonifacio was born to Santiago Bonifacio and Catalina de Castro,
a Spanish mestiza, in a shack in Tondo, Manila on November 30, 1863.
He started his early education in the school of Guillermo Osmeña of
Cebu. He reached only primary school. At the age of 14, his father and
mother died, forcing him to quit his studies and to look after his younger
brothers and sisters. As a means of support, he had them help him make
wooden canes and paper fans, which he sold in the streets.
Having learned how to read and write, he became a clerk messenger of
Fleeming and Company, a business firm dealing with rattan, tar, and other
articles of trade. Because of his industry he was promoted as agent.
But his earning were still not sufficient to support the orphans.
He moved to Fressell and Company as an agent. He showed determination
and industry in his job. He supplemented his low
education through reading and self-study. Among the books he read
were Rizal's novels, the lives of presidents, Victor Hugo's Le Miserables,
the ruins of Palmyra, and the French Revolution. Those books prodded
his spirit of rebellion and gave him impulse to organize the Katipunan.
This organization spread rapidly in 1894 in many parts of the Philippines.
He felt that he was about ready to lead a successful revolt in May 1896.
However, before he could act, the Katipunan was discovered by the authorities.
More than 1,000 Katipuneros assembled with him at Pugad Lawin, Caloocan,
on August 23, 1896 and tore their cedulas. Since the time
the Katipunan was discovered, they evaded arrest, won uncertain victories
and incurred severe defeats. This prompted the Magdiwang faction
to invite Bonifacio to Cavite to settle their differences and remain
An assembly was called at Tejeros, Cavite. Bonifacio presided
the conference to establish the Republic of the Philippines. In the
election, Emilio Aguinaldo was elected President, Mariano Trias,
Vice-President and Bonifacio as Secretary of the Interior.
Daniel Tirona questioned Bonifacio's qualifications, and Bonifacio
was offended. Evoking his authority as the supreme head of the Katipunan,
he declared the proceedings void. Bonifacio moved to Naic, Cavite
and started to form his own government and army. Meantime, the advancing
troops of Spanish General Camilo de Polavia threatened to capture Cavite.
Aguinaldo ordered Gen Pio del Pilar and Noriel who were being given new
higher positions to leave the Bonifacio camp and go back to their duties.
Bonifacio with his family and men left Naic for Indang. On his return
from Montalban, Aguinaldo sent men to arrest him, but Bonifacio resisted
arrest and was wounded. He faced a trial for acts inimical to the existence
of the new government and was given the death sentence by a military
Aguinaldo's men executed him in the mountains of Maragondon,
Cavite on May 10, 1897.