Bonifacio Day

Observed on November 30th in the Philippines, Bonifacio Day is a National holiday that commemorates and celebrates the birthday of Andrés Bonifacio. Andrés Bonifacio y de Castro was president of the Tagalog Republic and was a Filipino revolutionary leader. He was also one of the founding members and Supreme Leader of the Kataas-taasang, a movement that sought Philippine independence from Spanish Colonial Rule. 

A Short Biography for Andrés Bonifacio

Andrés Bonifacio was born on November 30th, 1863 in Tondo, Manila. He was the first child of six children born Santiago Bonifacio and Catalina de Castro. While he was a clerk and messenger for a British firm he learned English and would later enroll in a private school. While he was in his late teens, he would go on to work as an agent for the British trading firm Fleming & Co. He would rise up through the ranks to become a broker of rattan, tar, and other such goods. As he worked, he supplemented his education with his own self-education. He would read books on the French Revolution, books about the civil and penal codes for the Philippines, and novels such as Les Miserable.  

In 1892, he founded the Katipunan, a revolutionary secret society whose goal was to liberate the Philippines from Spanish colonial rule. The Katipunan had four major objectives: 1)To develop solidarity between members, 2)To secure Philippine independence by revolution, 3)To Unite Filipinos into one nation, and 4)To Establish the Philippines as a republic. In 1896, the Spanish learned of the existence of the Katipunan. This would directly lead to the events which started the Philippine Revolution.

Bonifacio would become the commander in chief of the Katipunan’s revolutionary army, but rival factions continued to fight for control. Eventually, Emilio Aguinaldo took control of the forces. At the Tejeros Convention, a vote was taken in order to find out who would overthrow the Spanish. Emilio Aguinaldo won, with Bonifacio coming in second place. However, Bonifacio rejected this and became a rebel leader. On May 10th, 1897, Aguinaldo would be tried for his crimes and ultimately executed. Because the Katipunan had been in control of the Philippines long before the creation of the government, some people said that Bonifacio should be remembered as the first president of the Philippines. 

It should be noted that Bonifacio is remembered on the date of his birthday and not on the date of his death. This is because he wasn’t executed by the Spanish, but was instead executed by the Filipino revolutionary government instead. 

Customs, Celebrations, And Traditions For Bonifacio Day

Most schools and government buildings are closed on Bonifacio Day. It is also a paid holiday for many in the Philippines. Many people will visit the monuments of Andrés Bonifacio and lay flowers at the foot of them. Other people spend the day visiting parks or shopping malls or spending time with friends and family. Some areas celebrate the day with parades or other public events.

Where is it celebrated?
Philippines (Regular holiday)
When is it?
This year (2023)
November 30 Thursday
Next year (2024)
November 30 Saturday
Last year (2022)
November 30 Wednesday