Today, we commemorate the 152nd birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio. Often dubbed as the Father of the Philippine Revolution, he co-founded the Samahang Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK). His namesake St. Andrew‘s feast day falls on November 30. His name was most probably assigned from the Calendar of Saints, as was customary back in those days.
Not much is known about the genealogy of Bonifacio, as pre-1900 Catholic Church records from Tondo, his hometown, are very scarce. The records might have been damaged when Manila was bombed during the Japanese occupation. Santiago, his father, was a boatman from Taguig. His mother, Catalina de Castro of Zambales, was a mestiza born of a Spanish father and a Filipino-Chinese mother. Both died due to tuberculosis in 1880 and 1881 respectively.
The book “Bones of Contention:The Bonifacio Lectures”(1998:90-91) by Ambeth Ocampo, provides an account of the marriage of Santiago and Catalina, where the grandparents of Bonifacio are named. It reads:
“On the 24th of January 1863 …Saturnino Buntan, parish priest of Tondo, authorized the marriage contracted between (Santiago Bonifacio) the son of Vicente Bonifacio and of Alejandra Rosales…and Catalina de Castro, single, mestiza espanola, a native of the province of Zambales and resident in this pueblo of Tondo… daughter of Martin de Castro and Antonia Gregorio… in the presence of Don Severino Ampil and Dona Patricia Trinidad as sponsors…”
Yes, the First President of the Philippines had Spanish and Chinese blood running through his veins. The blood of the tyrants whom he fought against, and the blood of the people who’s country is bullying us at present in our own backyard. Nevertheless, Andres Bonifacio is a Filipino in every aspect of the word, and one of the greatest Filipino at that.