Andres, Tomas, & Bibit

Manila Bulletin, November 28, 2010 | Go to article overview

Andres, Tomas, & Bibit


MANILA, Philippines - Rizalenos will join the rest of the Nation in pausing and remembering one of our national heroes, Andres Bonifacio, tomorrow, one day in advance of the date marked in the calendar in his honor.The late Supreme of the Katipunan has a special place in the history of the province of Rizal, as well as in the hearts of our comprovincianos. During the revolution against Spanish rule, Gat Andres personally led guerrilla forces from what was then the province of Morong against the forces of our erstwhile colonial masters.The fact that Morong became one of the major venues of armed confrontation between Spanish soldiers and Bonifacio-led guerrilla forces must have been one of the reasons Morong - which later became Rizal province - is represented by one of the rays of the sun in the Philippine flag.Besides Morong, the Rizal towns of San Mateo and Montalban also witnessed the military exploits of Gat Andres. He personally led his troops on a resolute assault against Spanish forces in those towns. Historians wrote that the colonial forces were forced to retreat from those two Rizal towns in the face of Gat Andres' fierce attacks.Gat Andres had been occasionally criticized for what some perceived as "arrogance" or an "over-bearing demeanour." Maybe, Filipinos of his generation were then expected to be meek and mild-mannered. Maybe, anyone who exuded confidence in one's self and who displayed assertiveness was labelled "mayabang." Gat Andres must have been really ahead of his time.In some ways, Gat Andres must have left deep imprints on the character of the Rizalenos whom he led in battle and who witnessed his military exploits in Morong, Montalban, and San Mateo.In many ways, Rizalenos reflect the "sugod, mga kapatid" attitude of Gat Andres when they are faced with major odds. "Sugod, mga kapatid" (Charge, comrades!) is a battle-cry associated with the Katipunan Supremo which our elders say was often heard when he led the assaults against Spanish soldiers. Gat Andres' critics branded the cry as one of the manifestations of braggadocio and reflected the hero's "utak itak" (bolo mentality) which must have been a condescending view of his armed response to oppression and colonial rule.The criticism notwithstanding, Rizalenos seem to have imbibed the Katipunan Supremo's "sugod, mga kapatid" spirit, especially when faced with odds and challenges that appear bigger than them.At the turn of the 20th century, they summoned the "sugod, mga kapatid" spirit when the threat of being absorbed by what was then the province of Manila was posed.They "charged" and won the battle. Instead of being absorbed by Manila province, they won for themselves a distinct identity as the new Province of Rizal.To this day, the "sugod, mga kapatid" spirit remains visible in the Province of Rizal. The symbolic shout is heard when there is a need to rebuild from destruction caused by natural calamities; to conquer the enemies of peace; to combat ignorance and sickness; to open doors to new and better economic opportunities. …

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