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Rizal and Bonifacio: The Man of his Thoughts and the Man of his Actions

By: Astor, Rizzalynne Rozzette Maroto

Dr. Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio have been consistent topics being taught in schools, to
be precise, we all grew up learning about them. Everyone knows them and unconsciously they
have been a part of our lives. But furthermore, Rizal is more widely known than Bonifacio. He
is everywhere: from the one-peso coin, to textbooks, name of the streets, schools, monuments,
and even portraits or pictures in museums. You name it, he has it. The question is, why?
Jos Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda, the name that students often need to memorize,
has made known to have talents to other various skills and subjects. Thus, Studies show him to
be a Polymath which is according to the dictionary is a person of encyclopedic learning. Having
traveled broadly in Europe, America, and Asia, he had also mastered twenty-two languages
including native dialects making him a polyglot. We knew that he had also started the
Propaganda movement in our homeland when he created the progressive organization La Liga
Filipina and had opened the Filipinos eyes to the tyrannies of the Spanish Government through
his writings such as the famous Noli Me Tangere which was continued in its second part El
Filibusterismo. He's known in general as the Philippine National hero who was shot in
Bagumbayan and died for his country.
Hes an educated and skilled man widely known not only in the Philippines but also in other
countries. Indeed, he is in fact a man of his thoughts, as what historians had claimed about him.
This is certainly not questionable because from the wide range of his experiences and mastered
skills up to his writings and achievements, it had been already proven; but whenever his name
being said, we can never deny that the name of Andres Bonifacio also being brought up.
Unfortuantely, only a few documented proofs about Bonifacios life was discovered and known,
unlike Rizal who had lots. Still, some says that he should be the one carrying the title of being
the Philippine National Hero. Which resulted people taking sides having a pro-Rizal and proBonifacio.

When Renato Constantino published Veneration Without Understanding in nineteen sixty-nine,

to some it looks like that he is questioning the credibility of Rizal being the National Hero. There
he stated: The Philippine Revolution has always been overshadowed by the omnipresent figure
and the towering reputation of Rizal. Because Rizal took no part in that Revolution and in fact
repudiated it, the general regard for our Revolution is not as high as it otherwise would be. This
aroused lots of critics and the question of Rizal and Bonifacios place in history.
Andres Bonifacio Y de Castro, commonly known as Andres Bonifacio, is one of the
Philippine heroes and considered as a de facto Philippine National Hero according to the
Reference and Research Bureau Legislative Research Service. He had started the revolution
against the Spaniards, thus making him the first person who started a revolution in Asia and the
Father of Philippine revolution. Known for being the Supremo of a revolutionary group called
"Katastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipuanan ng mga Anak ng Bayan" short for KKK or
Katipunan. He formed it after La Liga Filipina was dissolved which he concluded that petitions
were not the absolute solution, rather, it is through a revolution where force is needed. He was
called as a rebel hero because General Emilio Aguinaldo charged him of treason which led to his
execution and was hacked to death by his fellow countrymen at the mountain of Maragondon,
He was a self-educated man who continued what Rizal had started. It may be in a different
manner that Rizal opposed but he led the uprising to which blossomed into the liberation of the
Philippines from the Spanish rulers. An action that made a great change to the fate of the Filipino
people and recognized until now. He was degraded by some but was also idolized by many
because of the actions he had courageously done and undeniably stood up until his last breath.
They are both giant historical icons in the annals of the Philippine history, in which one
compliments the other. Rizal ignited the spirits of the people who have been longed oppressed
and one of those whos greatly affected was Bonifacio who was inspired by his great works. It
was as if he made action to what Rizal had started out, as only writings and reforms. He changed
Rizals pen into his bolo that also had made changes that encouraged everyone to fight, despite

of the bloodsheds that occurred. As what Manuel F. Almario said in Philippinie Daily Inquirer in
2012, Rizal consciously planted and nourished the seed of revolution and Bonifacio watered it.
Truly they have awakened the Filipinos thirst for freedom and both played a vital role that led to
the Philippine Independence. They have been used as propositions in debates, taught in school,
portrayed in movies, and re-enacted in stage plays. All of the information people had, were the
things they have read from their books and what their teachers had fed them. However, after all
those years that spent listening to the non-stop lectures that felt like a tiring subject to some
because of the never ending disquisitions, do people really know Rizal and Bonifacio's deed or
they are just lessons in school being memorized instead of learned and was already blinded by
the sugar coating of other historians who only wanted to gain fame rather than to show the truth.
It is only right that we give recognition not only to what Rizal had done but also recognize
Bonifacios greatness alongside with him as well.
The other died gaining even more fame and being idolized by many because of his great works,
while the other one died accused and was killed by his own fellow countrymen and gained
recognition for his actions. But both had died unjustly accused and with resolved principles. As
Claro M. Recto had said and I quote, Nationalism is nourished by a sense of history. It is of its
own essence to know profoundly the past, so that we may be in the openness with the men who
made that history and in intimate communion with their thoughts, their deeds, and their noble
lives. Unquote. They are one of those great men who had fought for freedom, may it be in a
form of peace or force, and they may be Illustrados or Indios it does not make any difference
because in totality, what they had done made a change that resulted to what and where we are
now. The only thing we can do to preserve it and so for their actions will not go to waste is to
remember it and make it alive. Worshipping and exaggerating them isnt necessary to make them
more fantastic, they are already exemplary as they were.
The things we can do is to have a proper understanding of our history because it is very
important to us, as it will serve to demonstrate how our present has been distorted by a faulty
knowledge of our past. By unraveling the past we become confronted with the present already as
future. (Constantino, 1969.)

Like other renowned heroes, Rizal and Bonifacio's lives were controversial ones, both left many
unanswered questions to which until now remains a mystery.We study their history to understand
them more and to unravel the truth but sometimes we need to accept the fact that the past is
somewhat alike to a dark narrow road: full of shadows, secrets, and questions that can never be
We only need to bear in mind that their legacy is not only worthy to be memorized: rather, it
is worth it to be remembered.