Surprising as it may seem, there is not really much documentation about that prominent figure in Philippine history that is Andres Bonifacio. In fact, there is only one known photograph of him that exists, and he is wearing not a camisa but a coat and tie. It is the scantiness of information about him, along with the circumstances of his life and death, that the Bonifacio legend began to grow shortly after his infamous death in 1897.
For a people seeking a tangible symbol of sorts to identify themselves with, a puzzle arose as to how to depict a man like Andres Bonifacio. Thus was born the popular perception of Bonifacio as a man crying out in defiant anger, armed with a bolo on one hand and ready to charge. This image of Bonifacio became the prevalent depiction in many works of art about him that arose over the years, In one prominent example, a monument erected in memory of the First Cry of Balintawak which depicted a man with an unbuttoned camisa and holding a bolo and a flag was associated with Bonifacio even though it was not actually depicting the man. Continue reading