‘Lakad Bonifacio’ | Reliving the time of the Katipuneros

REBEL BASE. Bobbi Viola (left) explains that the Katipunan shrine at the corner of C.M. Recto and Elcano streets was where the house of Deodato Arellano once stood, at number 72, Ascarraga. On July 7, 1892, Bonifacio, Arellano, along with Teodoro Plata and Valentin Diaz formed the Katipunan or KKK, the secret society, which led the revolution and united the Filipino as one nation.
REBEL BASE. Bobbi Viola (left) explains that the Katipunan shrine at the corner of C.M. Recto and Elcano streets was where the house of Deodato Arellano once stood, at number 72 Azcarraga. On July 7, 1892, Bonifacio, Arellano, along with Teodoro Plata and Valentin Diaz formed the Katipunan or KKK, the secret society, which led the revolution and united the Filipino as one nation.

A group of history buffs took a walk down the streets of Manila this weekend to pay tribute to the Father of Philippine Revolution, the Great Gat Andres Bonifacio.

MANILA – Imagine yourself transported back to the late 18th century, surrounded by poverty, hunger and oppressive Spanish colonizers. Now, imagine yourself walking in the unpaved, dusty streets of Manila, holding secret meetings, distributing copies of an underground publication, plotting the overthrow of the oppressors.

This was what “Lakad Bonifacio sa Binondo” (Bonifacio walk) tried to relive, as it visited places in Manila that had relevance to Andres Bonifacio and the Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, or KKK.

“Lakad Bonifacio” is a seven-stop, two-hour walk which starts from Tutuban, Divisoria, the birthplace of The Great Plebeian, up to Binondo Church, where he wedded Gregoria de Jesus, or “Oriang,” the Lakambini of the Philippine Revolution.

Held on Nov. 28, the short tour is on its second year, and visited various historical markers around the city of Manila, in celebration of Bonifacio’s birthday on Nov. 30.

BIRTHPLACE OF THE GREAT PLEBIAN. Bonifacio’s monument stands in Tutuban, Divisoria, the general area where his family’s home stood. Tutuban came from “tubaan,” the Tagalog word which means a place where they make tuba or coconut wine. From another angle, the monument is barely noticed, dwarfed by mall buildings and Christmas decors.
BIRTHPLACE OF THE GREAT PLEBEIAN. Bonifacio’s monument stands in Tutuban, Divisoria, the general area where his family’s home stood. Tutuban came from “tubaan,” the Tagalog word which means a place where they make tuba or coconut wine. From another angle, the monument is barely noticed, dwarfed by mall buildings and Christmas decors.

The tour was an experience both inspiring and sad, as many of the historical spots have become private properties installed with token markers that barely give importance to the significance of the sites in Philippine history. Participants in the tour lamented how government has failed to preserve physical structures linked with the heroes of the revolution.

The streets of Manila is dotted with old Spanish-era houses, now crumbling, dilapidated, and ignored, just like the homeless street dwellers who pick trash and discarded food to survive, the cargadores and vendors who earn hand-to-mouth income – scenes not so different from the time of Bonifacio, when revolution was rife. History has indeed repeated itself, and the reminders that there were many brave Filipinos who fought oppression and exploitation are being erased, from the physical surroundings and the people’s mind.

Lakad Bonifacio was organized by Bahay Nakpil-Bautista, the Katipunan museum in Quiapo which is run by the descendants of Gregoria de Jesus and Julio Nakpil. After Bonifacio was killed by Emilio Aguinaldo’s men in 1897, his widow, Oriang took sanctuary at the house of Katipunero and musician Julio Nakpil, whom she eventually fell in love with and married.

Their granddaughter, Bobbi Santos-Viola led Lakad Bonifacio.

In Quiapo, Viola pointed out Quinta Market, along Pasig River, where Bonifacio and other Katipuneros sat on boats, pretending to sell goods while having secret meetings. They would then row their boat upstream to proceed to another meeting. Quinta Market was demolished by the Estrada city administration this year as part of its privatization of public markets.

Not much have change from Bonifacio’s time, except maybe for the buildings, denser population and a different form of oppression and exploitation.

FENCED IN. The marker for the house of Dr. Pio Valenzuela is barely seen behind a metal fence on the side of a wall of a private building. The Katipunan’s official publication, Kalayaan was printed here. “Imagine Emilio Jacinto coming to this place after school, to write articles for the Kalayaan,” said a volunteer from Bahay Nakpil.

kalayaan house 2

28-D MADRID STREET. Bobbi Viola said one of the Spanish houses along Madrid street was where Gregoria de Jesus was relocated by her parents, to keep her away from Andres Bonifacio, whom they disapproved of for being older and a Free Mason member. They did not know that Bonifacio only lived nearby. It was from there that Oryang wrote to the gobernadorcillo of Binondo to ask for help and assert her right to see her novio.
28-D MADRID STREET. Bobbi Viola said one of the Spanish houses along Madrid street was where Gregoria de Jesus was relocated by her parents, to keep her away from Andres Bonifacio, whom they disapproved of courting their daughter because he was older and a Free Mason member. They did not know that Bonifacio only lived nearby. It was from there that Oriang wrote to the gobernadorcillo of Binondo in 1893 to ask for help and assert her right to see her novio.
WHERE RIZAL’S MOTHER DIED. Teodora Alonso, the mother of the national hero, Jose Rizal, died in a house that once stood along San Fernando street in Binondo, where a modern building now stands.
WHERE RIZAL’S MOTHER DIED. Teodora Alonso, the mother of the national hero, Jose Rizal, died in 1911 in a house that once stood along San Fernando street in Binondo, where a modern building now stands.
LUNA HOUSE. The brothers General Antonio Luna and painter Juan Luna were born in this house along Urbiztondo street, in front of the Raja Soliman Science and Technology School.
LUNA HOUSE. The brothers General Antonio Luna and painter Juan Luna were born in this house along Urbiztondo street, in front of the Raja Soliman Science and Technology School.
FIRST WEDDING. Andres Bonifacio and Gregoria de Jesus had their first wedding before a Catholic priest in Binondo church in 1893, but there were no records because they used different names. They later held a second wedding ceremony before the Katipuneros, which also served as Oriang’s enlistment as a Katipunera.
FIRST WEDDING. Andres Bonifacio and Gregoria de Jesus had their first wedding before a Catholic priest in Binondo church in 1893, but there were no records because they used different names. They later held a second wedding ceremony before the Katipuneros, which also served as Oriang’s enlistment into the Katipunan.

Text and photos by Dee Ayroso
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  1. Andrea Bonifacio – The greatest Pilipino ever lived.

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