I grew up learning about many heroes. There is Jose Rizal, an educated lover boy, who is a mix of Spanish, Chinese and Filipino descendant- known for his rebellious writings against the Spanish regime. He is our national hero because according to the “experts” he represents the true character of Filipinos which happened to be a non-believer of violence. On the other hand, Andres Bonifacio is also a hero but never had the kind of buzz that Rizal had. Now his case is so much different from Rizal because aside from not being eloquent, this guy decided to fight the Spaniards and went up against Emilio Aguinaldo, who was then the very first President of the Republic of the Philippines and was known as an ally of the Spaniards. Among the two great characters of the Philippine history, historians voted for Rizal to be our National Hero not because of the books he has written, not because he was killed in Luneta, but because he was educated, has a good image, and didn’t use a machete to fight for our country.
If I were alive back then, I will be voting for Andres Bonifacio. He truly represented the true character of a Filipino. He stopped schooling at 14 because his parents died and he was left with no money at all. The only way he educated himself was by reading Rizal’s novels, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and books about the French Revolution. He went out to have war with the Spaniards with nothing but his ideals and principles, love for country and a machete. I am not a violent person, and for sure Bonifacio isn’t too but it is written in our history that the Spaniards has tagged us as “indio” (Mexican slang; dirty, uneducated, poor, dark-skinned… in short, undesirable) just because we cannot speak their language. Many were tortured because no one wanted to bow down to their religion. Bonifacio was called a rebel and was charged with treason and sedition just because he wanted to fight for the Philippines freedom from the Spaniards. Imagine that, the nerve of those Spaniards to accuse Bonifacio of being a traitor to his country when they were the ones who have been violating our rights in our own very land.
Snooty Filipinos will never even dare be associated to a popular but uneducated personality. It is true and let’s all just be honest about this. How many times did we ever made fun of a fellow Filipino because of his/her “carabao English“? Manny Pacquiao and Charice Pempengco were just a few of our homegrown talents that took over the world but were still scrutinized because of their lack of education. These two showed hard work and determination but were still insulted and dragged down by those who thought they were better in speaking the English language and has fairer skin, but has not contributed anything significant for our country.
Historical failure or not. Who is the real Filipino among the two? Who is the real hero? Rizal now, maybe Bonifacio tomorrow. I know who I believe in. For those who does not know the history … will never know what being a hero and a Filipino is all about.