There are 7 sites in Cavite that are part of the mandatory stops in the Byaheng Bonifacio: Byaheng Bayani ng Bayan. This is part of the many activities launched by the Department of Tourism and the National Historical Commmission of the Philippines, to celebrate the sesquicentennial year of Andres Bonifacio. Through this mini-Amazing Race, many would hopefully know more about Bonifacio, in a manner that is fun, engaging and relevant.
Before the Cavite leg, all I remember from my highschool history classes is that Bonifacio founded the KKK, a secret society of Filipinos that fought for independence from Spain. Little did I know that the few months that Bonifacio spent in Cavite, became his last.
You see, Bonifacio went to Cavite on December 17, 1896, to heed the invitation of Mariano Alvarez, his uncle-in-law, to somehow intervene between the warring factions of the Magdalo and Magdiwang forces. These two councils disagreed on the establishment of the revolutionary goverment to replace the Katipunan.
Despite the disagreements, the Tejeros Convention held on March 22, 1897 was convened to elect the officers of the new revolutionary government. Emilio Aguinaldo was then elected President, while the Supremo was the Director of the Interior. However, a man by the name of Daniel Tirona contested his win, on the basis that Bonifacio was not a lawyer. This did not sit well with Bonifacio of course. He and his few supporters then left the assembly.
The events that took place after that were grimmer than your favorite local soap opera’s plotline. It is said that Aguinaldo ordered the arrest of Bonifacio when some people at Limbon Indang misinterpreted the latter’s actions. Bonifacio and his men were subsequently captured at Indang and then imprisoned in Naic.
Bonifacio and his brother Procorpio were tried afterwards in Maragondon. They were both found guilty of sedition and were sentenced to death. Aguinaldo suggested exile instead, but was convinced by Artemio Ricarte to carry out the original sentence.
On May 10, 1897, they were shot by their fellow compatriots in Mt. Nagpatong in Maragondon, Cavite. To this day no one knows exactly where the two fell or where they were burried afterwards. A beautiful shrine, with sculptures by Toym Imao, the son of National Artist Abdulmari Imao, is now there to honor Bonifacio’s life and death.
What you can glean from my admittedly incomplete narrative is up to you. History can sometimes be unsettling, as in the case when you find out about what really happened to the heroes you have long admired. ” In the words of Ambeth Ocampo: “Our textbooks are understandably vague regarding the death of Bonifacio because it is very difficult to explain politics and power struggle to children who then grow up thinking Emilio Aguinaldo had Bonifacio killed.”
Nonetheless, there is a lesson or two for all of us here. Thanks indeed to endeavors such as the Byaheng Bonifacio, we are walked through the seemingly forgotten and often overlooked facets of Philippine history. We can then give a proper and long overdue tribute to Andres Bonifacio, a man whose courage and heroism should serve as an inspiration to many Filipinos.
The directions in getting around these sites are provided in the Byaheng Bonifacio brochure. If you don’t have one yet, you may also visit Tutubi’s blog, if you want to plan your itinerary in advance.
The blogger would also like to thank Popoy and Shella, two of his intrepid travel buddies, who accompanied him in this madness. The two mapped out an itinerary that allowed them to finish the Cavite sites in just under 6 hours or so. If not for them, he might have taken longer to finish the Cavite leg of the Byaheng Bonifacio.