Bonifacio Day is around the corner, and the Urban Roamer would not be remiss if we do not pay tribute to the memory of this great and tragic figure in our history.
In the past Bonifacio Day editions of this site, the Urban Roamer has already visited the famed Monumento in Caloocan, the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista where his widow lived, and the Museo ng Katipunan in San Juan. For this year’s Bonifacio Day edition, it is time we look at another famed Bonifacio landmark in the City of Manila.
I am of course talking about the Bonifacio Monument and Mural located at Mehan Garden, right across the Manila City Hall.
Offically named “The Life and Heroism of Gat Andres Bonifacio”, it would be hard to miss this one, a prominent landmark in its own right, with the image of the towering and valiant Bonifacio leading the charge to a battle while surrounding the figure are various images that depict key moments in his life from his sad childhood to his tragic death at the hands of his own countrymen.
The monument mural was done by the late visual artist Eduardo Castrillo. And if you are already familiar with Castrillo’s work, you can already tell it’s a Castrillo from the way the figures are represented which is a trademark of his. It was completed in 1997 as part of the 2-year Philippine Centennial celebrations which began in 1996 and also marked the centenary of Bonifacio’s death.
But if you think there is already much to see looking at the art, there is also something to see at the back as well. It is not another artwork but it is a text of the Kartilya ng Katipunan, the principles and by-laws Andres Bonifacio’s Katipunan lived by. Teachings that still ring true more than a century later today, despite the many changes that has been seen here since it was first written.
These days, the area of the Bonifacio Monument and Mural serves as a waiting area for passengers and a place frequented by skateboarding enthusiasts. On more formal occasions, it served as venue for many official activities in the city. On a number of occasions, it has served as venue for the oathtaking of Manila’s elected city officials.
The Bonifacio Monument and Mural stands today as a fitting monument and honor a city can give to its most famous son who is known as the “Hero of Manila.” May his legacy continue to burn bright in the hearts and minds not only among the people of Manila but also among fellow Filipinos.
Acknowledgements as well to eduardocastrillo.com