The Bonifacio according to Guillermo Tolentino

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.


the Cry of Balintawak monument which now stands in the UP Diliman campus became associated with Bonifacio even though the figure in question is not really him

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


Of conquistadores and libertadores: the case of Intramuros monuments

The southwestern portion of the area outside the walls of Intramuros is a curious sight to say the least, for the presence of a hodge-podge of monuments which have little to do with each other nor do have any commonalities with a single aspect of Philippine history…if any.

I have blogged about some of these monuments before: the Ninoy-Cory monuments and the Cardinal Sin one located near the corner of Padre Burgos and Bonifacio Drive, which are part of that particular monument complex. A bit farther is the most imposing of all the monuments in the area, and also the oldest in existence. This is the Legazpi-Urdaneta monument erected in memory of the conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and the Augustinian priest Fray Andres de Urdaneta who were instrumental in bringing the Philippines under Spanish rule in 1565.

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Isabel II: the monument that almost got ditched

Located in an inconspicuous corner at the northeastern end of the Intramuros walls stands this particular monument made of copper (which is why it’s greenish in color) This monument happens to be of one dedicated to one of Spain’s most controversial monarchs, Queen Isabel (or Isabella) II.


She became a polarizing figure when she assumed the throne of the Spanish monarchy at age 3, as her accession was opposed by those who feel that the crown should be given to a male member of the royal family, even though Isabel was a direct descendant of the late king Ferdinand VII and that the king himself had no male children. Continue reading


the quiet sentinels of Makati

The stretch of Makati Avenue in the busy commercial business district of Makati is an interesting sight by itself, not much because of the tall buildings along this road, but of the 3 monuments that gives this part of the city a distinct flavor, not to mention a reminder of what Philippine heroism is all about.

They also share a common history: all 3 were erected in 1972, a project of the Ayala Corporation in, for which sculptor Jose Mendoza was hired to do the work. Continue reading


Intramuros’ Cardinal Sin monument: then there are 3

Any occasion of some anniversary of some historic event or milestone is an opportunity to put up some statue or monument dedicated either to the event itself or to the person/s being commemorated during that particular event or milestone.

The commemoration of Corazon Aquino’s birthday last January 25, 2010 was an occasion for the City of Manila and its yellow-lovin’ mayor to unveil a monument dedicated to her, something we have covered here at the time. Since it was standing right next to the monument of her husband Sen. Ninoy Aquino, I’ve come to learn that this particular part of Intramuros is now called by some as Aquino park.


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