6 Fun Facts You Might Not Know About Philippine National Heroes

Article by Therese Justine Bruel/ Graphics by Clarence Abiera

Independence Day is here! Why not spend today learning a bit more about our beloved heroes? Here are a few fun facts about some of our fiercest bayanis!

6 Fun Facts You Might Not Know About Philippine National Heroes

Rizal was the Ultimate Tito!

Jose Rizal Ultimate Tito

Rizal had a lot of free time when he was exiled to Dapitan. He made irrigation systems, planted a lot of trees, established a school—but did you know that Rizal also made time to be the Ultimate Tito to his nieces and nephews?

If you read his letters, you’ll see that he made his nieces and nephews write to him in Spanish, just so he could correct their penmanship, spelling, grammar—and even the accents they put on top of their vowels!

Bonifacio did theatre!

Andres Bonifacio theatre

Theatre acting was actually a big part of Bonifacio’s life. When he still lived in Tondo, Bonifacio would frequent Teatro Zorrilla. Later on, he founded El Teatro Porvenir, a theatre group. The Katipunan relied on the performances of this theatre group to rank in the funds. Just goes to prove to all those naysayers that the arts are an important field in the country!

Mabini: the Dark Chamber of the President!

Mabini and Aguinaldo

Mabini was President Aguinaldo’s right-hand man, and Aguinaldo rarely did anything if it wasn’t advised by Mabini. Because of this, Mabini earned the moniker “the Dark Chamber of the President” because he was powerful enough to influence the president on certain issues. It also didn’t help that Mabini wasn’t fair-skinned, so it is thought that his detractors called him that as jests to his skin color, as well! Who cares about those jests when you’re among the most powerful men in the country, right? #MorenxPower

Jacinto and Bonifacio were best bros!

Emilio Jacinto and Andres Bonifacio

It is rumored that during the Cry of Pugadlawin (or the Cry of Balintawak), this exchange happened between Jacinto and Bonifacio:

Bonifacio: Mabuhay ang Katipunan! (Long live the Katipunan!)


Bonifacio, to Jacinto: Emilio, ano na ang ating gagawin? (Emilio, what are we going to do now?)

Even if this truly was just a rumor, there’s no denying how close Jacinto and Bonifacio were. Jacinto was Bonifacio’s confidant, his most trusted friend, and his greatest advisor. Bonifacio was the one who taught Jacinto how to speak in Tagalog, because Jacinto could only speak in “Kastilang tindahan”. And although Bonifacio wrote the “Dekalogo ng Katipunan”, which was thought to be the Katipunan’s guiding principles, he actually thought that Jacinto’s “Kartilya” was better than what he wrote, and so he used Jacinto’s version instead!

Goyo’s heartbreaking secret! 🙁

Gregorio del Pilar

If you’ve learned anything about Gregorio del Pilar, it’s probably that this young and handsome general stole a lot of hearts. Yes, your young general of a bayani was a playboy! However, his heart finally settled when he met Dolores Nable Jose—and he was actually looking forward to marrying her as soon as the war ended! But we all know what happened: our brave general died in Tirad Pass. And what makes this more heartbreaking? They actually found a handkerchief that had her name embroidered on it on his body! He carried her with him ’til death! Our hearts. 🙁

The Katipunan had a women’s chapter!

Katipunan Women's Chapter

Our history books rarely ever talked about the women in the revolution. We probably only know about Gabriela Silang and Melchora Aquino—but did you know that Melchora Aquino was actually a part of the Katipunan? And beyond that, the Katipunan actually had a women’s chapter? The women’s chapter consisted mostly of wives, sisters, and close relatives of the Katipuneros. The Katipunan originally didn’t want them to swear allegiance with the “Sanduguan” or the blood compact—but they did it anyway! Girl power!