Bonifacio and his monument in Pasig
From the Desk
November 30 is Bonifacio day. It is a holiday across the country and it commemorates one of the pillars, if not, the only pillar of the Philippine Revolution, Andres Bonifacio. He was born in November 30, 1863 and unlike his idol, Dr. Jose Rizal, he didn't have the luxury to study abroad and just buried himself on books to assure him of a more distinguished and wisdom driven life. His first meeting with Dr. Rizal during the infancy of the La Liga Filipina is minute and just some small talks. However, the lasting imprint that Rizal gave to Bonifacio paved the way for the Revolution that toppled a three century old regime of colonizers. His lasting contribution to freedom earned him the respect of the next generations of Filipinos whom he have fought for in line. Such is his passion that despite the life he has led or the kind of death that took him, he was still able to partake in the glories of a nation indebted to his service. One may just hope that his ideals be shared now more than ever as we are facing national difficulties.
The city of Pasig is one of the few to have a Bonifacio Monument perched at the heart of the town. It is also quite unique as the statue itself sits a top a cenotaph with the hero riding a horse. Dignified and still unlike the statues of the hero that depicts bravery and on attacking stance, ours is more subtle and as if inspecting Filipino troops to a battle about to be won. For the longest time, this monument is at the center of a diverging road that welcomes you to Pasig's heart where the Plaza Rizal, the old houses and the Church are all located. Pasiguenos old enough to walk recall that center piece of a monument at that part of the town. They remember how it greets them as the pass by, the moat-like water canals that add to the landscaping and the obelisk that is left unfinished for many years. For everything that has been gone in the advent of the 21st Century Pasig, the Bonifacio Monument stands as fitting homage to a town that also cradled heroes and freedom fighters.
Choosing this site for a monument is of course chosen for a reason. Aesthetically, the location is a center and a prominent area where people can really converge and gather. A gate was installed at the plaza to protect the monument from littering and loitering and there was even an incident that rowdy boys stole the sword of Bonifacio and thankfully it was the only thing they got. However before that, people can freely go up and some children would even dare ride the horse with the hero. Atop the horse they would see the beauty of Pasig for it has a panoramic and commanding view of the old town. Another reason is that the area itself is easily found and a landmark on its own. It is accessible from anywhere and complements the Plaza Rizal and the Church. In short, the location was carefully chosen and a symbol of the town's gratitude to the hero. Most importantly our ancestors chose this place as Bonifacio's plaza because it is at the edge of a historic tributary of the Pasig River, the Bitukang Manok or the Parian Creek. It was at this same spot where thousands of Pasigueno's coming from Santolan, Maybunga and Rosario converged to retake their town in the famed Nagsabado sa Pasig in 1896. Realizing that the Pasigueno Katipuneros would not have acted if not for inspiration Bonifacio, the people struck the foundations of this plaza to memorialize a hero that once said, "Tunay ngang magigiting ang mga Batang Pasig!"
In November 23, 2018, as part of the movement of reliving the old town of Pasig and the beautification of the Pasig Parks, the monument was moved to the old area of the fountain. Imposingly changed but mirrors the same gratitude. It became a whole new park that incorporated the old Starlight Stage and the Conception Mansion all the way to the Plaza Rizal. It became more spacious and utilitarian allowing the public to more "in touch" with the hero. The old area of the monument was changed to house the Carillion Bells that announce the passing of time and our commitment to the preservation of history.
Regardless where you put Bonifacio, the town is thankful for the hero's lasting influence to the bravery of the sons and daughters of Pasig. In birth Bonifacio may be a common indio but the life he has led and the heroism that became his life made us prouder to be called no more as indios but Filipinos; a proud race with a proud nation.