Bonifacio Day is celebrated annually on November 30 in the Philippines. It is a national holiday commemorating Andrés Bonifacio, a national hero. Bonifacio was one of the founders of a secret society of revolutionaries commonly known as the Katipunan. Acknowledged as the ‘Father of the Philippine Revolution,’ he initiated the Philippine revolution against the Spanish Empire. Unlike José Rizal, who is remembered on Rizal Day, the date of his death, Andrés Bonifacio is commemorated on his birthday. The reason is that he was executed by his fellow countrymen and not at the hands of foreign colonizers.
History of Bonifacio Day
Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro was born on November 30, 1863, in Manila in the Philippines. Bonifacio had five younger siblings, so his parents worked hard to support him and his siblings. At a young age, Bonifacio worked full-time to support his younger siblings. He worked for a British trading company as a broker of tar, rattan, and other goods, later moving to a German trading company as a warehouse keeper. Since Bonifacio did not finish his formal education, he educated himself by reading books.
In 1892, Bonifacio joined a secret organization called ‘La Liga Filipina,’ founded by José Rizal, a Filipino nationalist. This organization became a threat to Spanish authorities, and Rizal was arrested and deported. After Rizal’s deportation, Bonifacio and other members reorganized La Liga Filipina. Not long after, they founded a new secret organization, the Katipunan. Bonifacio became the Supreme President of Katipunan in 1895. By 1896, under his leadership, its membership increased to around 30,000. In the same year, the Katipunan was revealed. After this discovery, Spanish authorities made several arrests to identify other members. Bonifacio and his fellows decided to start a nationwide revolt, beginning with a mass tearing of community tax certificates to symbolize defying Spanish authorities.
After several failed attempts, rebels led by Emilio Aguinaldo in Cavite succeeded in driving the Spanish out. Later, conflict arose within Katipunan factions, between the Magdalo (Aguinaldo’s) and Magdiwang (Bonifacio’s). The Tejeros Convention was held to unite the two factions and elect officers for the revolutionary government. Bonifacio lost the presidency and was appointed to a lowly position. He rejected this government and formed a rival government against Aguinaldo. Aguinaldo found out about this and ordered the arrest of Bonifacio. Bonifacio was then charged with sedition and treason and sentenced to death in 1897.
Bonifacio Day timeline
Andrés Bonifacio is born on November 30 in Manila in the Philippines.
Bonifacio becomes the Supreme President of the secret revolutionary society the Katipunan.
The Katipunan is discovered, leading to the Philippine Revolution.
Bonifacio is executed on charges of sedition and treason.
November 30 is declared a national holiday.
Bonifacio Day FAQs
Is Bonifacio Day a regular holiday?
Bonifacio Day is a public holiday, and schools and most businesses are closed.
Who was considered the brain behind the Katipunan?
Emilio Jacinto was known as the soul and brain of the Katipunan.
Is Emilio Aguinaldo the first president?
On January 23, 1899, Emilio Aguinaldo was proclaimed the first president of the Republic of the Philippines.
How to Observe Bonifacio Day
Visit Bonifacio Monument
Visit the Bonifacio Monument on Bonifacio Day. Make or buy a flower arrangement and lay these tributes at the monument as a sign of honor and respect for one of the country’s national heroes.
It’s a fact that reading can expand your horizon. Bonifacio was self-educated by reading books. That’s why donating books is a great idea to celebrate Bonifacio Day.
Learn about the history
There are several books about Bonifacio. Spend some time reading about your revolutionary hero. You may also want to read one of his favorite books.
5 Facts About The Katipunan You Need To Know
The Katipunan had a thorough recruitment process
New members of the Katipunan underwent an intensive initiation process, similar to Masonic practices, and they would be sworn to secrecy about all they had learned.
They had a secret chamber for punishment
They had a secret chamber (Camara Secreta) used to pass judgment on those who betrayed their oath and broke the Katipunan laws.
The Katipunan formed a triangle system
Bonifacio formed a triangle system, meaning that a Katipunan recruiter would only ask two members to join, and only the recruiter would know their names.
They attempted to ask Japan for help
After the meeting with the Japanese warship captain, the Japanese agreed to sell the Filipinos arms and ammunition, but the deal failed due to the lack of funds and the discovery of the Katipunan by the Spanish.
They had a national anthem
Bonifacio requested Julio Nakpil to compose a national anthem (“Marangál na Dalit ng̃ Katagalugan”) for his conceptual nation-state (Haring Bayang Katagalugan) with the Katipunan as its revolutionary government.
Why Bonifacio Day is Important
It commemorates a hero
Freedom is precious and achieved through sacrifice. Bonifacio was one of the heroes who fought for his country’s liberation from colonization. It’s worth commemorating and honoring the actions of a hero.
Bonifacio is a role model
Bonifacio did not finish his formal education, but he did educate himself through reading books. It was probably one of the factors that led to his revolutionary movement — not giving up.
It is a day to learn
The day is a reminder to spend some time reading, keep educating ourselves, and broaden our mental horizons. The only way we can progress is to consistently keep learning new things.
Bonifacio Day dates