Posted by: cherrylaurel | August 23, 2010

Historical failure: Who should be the real National Hero of the Philippines?

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.



  1. Anyone willing to stand up to a fascist regime is a hero in my book. My own nation has many ‘heros’. But now those same heros are being forgotten in favor of celebrities who run their mouth and have money, rap ‘singers’ who should have stayed in prison and kept their trash there, and modern politicians who steal from the people who elected them.

    I see another revolution on the horizon here.

  2. Nice post. Every one can be hero in own little ways. Keep up and more power. 🙂

  3. I suggest you to read the Book Rizal without undercoat by Ambhet Ocampo and Bones of Contention of the same author before deciding! sa akin po kasi Kay Gat Andres Bonifacio and napili ko! Is any body knows that Rizal serves as a Soldier or Spaniards with the rank of Captain and supposed to be assigned in Cuba before He was arrested and sent back to the Phils? Did we know that Rizal also requested to be exile in Sabah Malaysia?

    • no he didnt serve as a soldier or a captain! he request to be a volunteer doctor of spaniards soldiers,the request was granted,he was on his way to cuba but that was also the time that Andres Bonifacio and his comrades are ready to dush against the spaniards yelling Rizal’s name…when spaniards are aware of that,they waylaid Rizal and arrested him and sent back to the phil. for being the master mind of the rebellion against the spanish government!

  4. over time, my opinion shifted towards Bonifacio. he who has studied more than what has been pushed around in textbooks by Zaide will not take too long to see why rizal was thrust into the role so that fewer people will hear of the exploits of bonifacio, and hopefully blunt the violent edge of any future revolution with something calmer. much like people power.

    thank you for rekindling discussion on this topic. the younger generation will benefit more if we have discussions like this.

    Paul Yan

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