Andres Bonifacio and General Martin Delgado
- November 26, 2023
General Martin Delgado: Remembering the Ilonggo Revolutionary
Much is known about our national heroes and their undying love and loyalty for the Philippines, and this is why we think about Dr. Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio and other well-known personalities. However, the names we first think of today were not the sole figures responsible, and a great example of these heroes came from the City of Love, Iloilo.
For 34 years, pioneering real estate developer Megaworld Corporation has constantly fulfilled its goal of providing the ultimate live-work-play lifestyle for its constituents. Furthermore, they recognize the responsibility of preserving the history of the land where they find themselves, especially that of Iloilo City. Apart from the bustling Iloilo Business Park township of BPO offices, residences, malls and art installations, the township is home to a monument, commemorating the life of one of Iloilo’s most famous sons, General Martin Delgado.
Life Before the Revolution
Martín Teófilo Delgado y Bermejo was born to a rich and aristocratic Spanish mestizo family on November 11, 1858, in Santa Barbara, Iloilo. The future revolutionary and patriot first went to Santa Barbara Parochial School and the once-named Seminario de San Vicente Ferrer in Jaro. Later, he attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila and studied to become a school teacher, eventually teaching in a public school for some time.
However, at 25 years old, he became the teniente mayor and capitan municipal of his hometown, titles which played a significant role in his success as a revolutionary. His duties involved defending the Spanish colony from threats such as Commodore George Dewey’s assault on the Spanish fleet at Manila Bay on May 1, 1898. Little did his colonizers know that Delgado’s loyalty lay not with them but with his countrymen. His men called the voluntarios, known for their loyalty to the Spanish flag, sided with Delgado and his cause for freedom.
An Important Revolutionary Outside Luzon
Months after the Manila Bay threat, Delgado seized control of their municipal building while the Panay resistances ensued in different towns. Moreover, on November 17, 1898, a momentous event occurred in Santa Barbara’s plaza as he proclaimed the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the District of Visayas. The Philippine National flag was hoisted on a makeshift pole. This was the first time the National Flag was raised outside Luzon, raised by Delgado himself. Reaching the top, passionate Filipinos celebrated with cries of “Viva Filipinas! Fuera España!”
Today, Santa Barbara celebrates the Kahilwayan or Cry of Santa Barbara festival every November 17 to commemorate this historical event led by the general.
Not long after came a series of changes as the initial Revolutionary government merged with the Republic of Negros and the Cantonal Government of Bohol to become the Federal State of the Visayas. It was a political subdivision of the Malolos government. This federated union, led by President Roque Lopez, with General Delgado as leader of its defense, forced their Spanish colonizers, led by Governor General Diego de los Rios, to surrender on Christmas Day 1898 at the present-day Plaza Libertad.
Gobernadorial Rule in Iloilo Province
These successes were short-lived, however, as the United States became their newest occupier. Due to these developments, President Aguinaldo dissolved the federal government and appointed Delgado as Iloilo Province’s civil and military governor under the new government. He then engaged in guerrilla warfare against them on Panay Island until his eventual surrender on February 2, 1901.
The United States eventually defeated the First Philippine Republic in 1902. Despite the circumstances, they showed interest in General Delgado and his role as the revolutionary leader of Panay, calling him “the ablest leader” in the region. He was appointed the first Governor of the Iloilo Province immediately after establishing the civil government on April 11, 1901. One year later, on March 3, 1902, he became the elected governor of Panay and served for three years.
A Simple Life Helping Others
General Delgado’s time in the American colonial government ended, and very little is known following his service as he lived a relatively quiet life. Shortly after, he chose to return to his hometown of Santa Barbara and served as a superintendent of a leprosy sanitarium for eight years. Unfortunately, his life took a very dramatic turn for the worse.
Per historians, he involved himself in a few political problems, and he traveled to Hong Kong for a skin condition. Rumors circulated that he had contracted leprosy, and as he was about to dock at home, he was sent back to sea as he could bring the disease on
land. He ended up in Culion, Palawan, at the leper colony where he died on November 12, 1918, at 60.
Justice for the Revolutionary!
On January 19, 2019, Megaworld unveiled a statue of General Martin Delgado created by the renowned sculptor, Ginés Serrán, to pay tribute to the Ilonggo patriot. Nevertheless, this is much more than a simple historical sight to behold, as this is a reminder of his true legacy.
The general showed us his love and loyalty for the country as a revolutionary leader and governor, and such patriotism deserved a much better ending than that of a tragic hero. Standing at four meters tall on a six-meter pedestal, the bronze monument is said to last thousands of years. Megaworld hopes future residents and visitors of Iloilo Business Park come not only for their lifestyle offerings and amenities but also to visit General Delgado at his monument. Every constituent, Ilonggo or not, should recognize his legacy and retell his story with pride, so no one would forget.
All need to know and remember General Martin Delgado and his heroic role in the nation’s independence, and the installation is where it begins.
Uptown Bonifacio: The Township of Hope
In the last 34 years, Megaworld Corporation, a pioneering real estate developer, has continuously uplifted lives, transformed society and shaped the nation by providing master-planned townships that constantly evolve. It purveys fine arts and culture integrated into its developments, serving as a living landscape of heritage. Its commitment to incorporating historical elements within modern urbanities ensures that the past is not forgotten, and is still being honored in the cultural narrative of its communities.
One of its successful townships is Uptown Bonifacio, with its state-of-the-art office towers that are home to top firms, international corporations, BPO companies, world-class retail, dining options and topnotch residential condominiums. To date, it is one of the most efficient townships in the country due to its high-end cosmopolitan living and accessibility to business districts in the Metro.
The township is named after Andres Bonifacio y de Castro, the leader of the Philippine Revolution against Spain and the third Supremo of the Kataastaasang, Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK), or simply the Katipunan. It was a secret organization movement founded in 1892, dedicated to armed resistance against the Spanish colonial government through revolution. Bonifacio has been honored in the Philippines with a national holiday on his birth anniversary, November 30.
In celebration of Bonifacio Day last 2022, Megaworld Corporation, in collaboration with Bonifacio Arts Foundation Inc., Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation and the local government of Taguig, unveiled the Bonifacio March monument in Uptown Bonifacio, Taguig.
The 10.2-meter statue stands as the centerpiece of the township and the first of its kind in the Philippines rendered in cold-cast bronze. It is a masterpiece by head sculptor Paul Albert R. Quiaño, art director Reizel M. Vibal and collaborating artist Jun Vicaldo.
The monument depicts Andres Bonifacio, sitting powerfully on his horse, wearing his officer’s uniform, carrying both a pistol and a bolo on his waist, while holding the KKK flag and marching forward to battle. It is an artistic representation that reflects Uptown Bonifacio’s growth, progress and dynamism as a township that continuously elevates and marches forward. Truly, Uptown Bonifacio exhibits the characteristics of the historic legacy of Andres Bonifacio.
Bonifacio was born on November 30, 1863, in Tondo, Manila. At the age of 14, he had to drop out of school after the death of his parents to support his six younger siblings. He turned to self-education by reading books on the French Revolution, the U.S. Presidents’ biographies, contemporary Philippine penal and civil codes and novels, including Jose Rizal’s writings.
His good understanding of the socio-political process and consciousness of the Filipino concept of sanduguan, kapatiran, kaginhawaan and katimawaan later encouraged him
to join La Liga Filipina—organized by Jose Rizal, whose goal was to implement reforms in the country under Spanish rule.
The Uprising of Katipunan
After the arrest and forced exile of Jose Rizal on July 7, 1892 to Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, Andres Bonifacio, together with other members in the Liga, namely Valentin Diaz, Teodoro Plata, Ladislao Diwa, Deodato Arellano, and Jose Dizon officially founded the Katipunan. In March 1896, they collaborated on the organization’s paper, Kalayaan (Freedom) led by Emilio Jacinto, which helped the rapid increase of the organization in membership. From about 300 Katipuneros, it grew to more than approximately 30,000 by August 1896. The Spanish government eventually learned about the Katipunan and arrested hundreds of suspects, most of whom were not part of the revolution.
On August 23, 1986, Bonifacio organized a mass gathering in Caloocan, later known as the Cry of Pugad Lawin, where they tore their cedulas or personal identity documents, symbolizing their refusal to be oppressed by the Spaniards. It is marked in history as the beginning of the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish regime.
Five days later, Bonifacio issued a manifesto urging “all towns to rise simultaneously and attack Manila” and appointed generals to command the rebel forces. He led an attack in San Juan del Monte (today’s San Juan City), which supplied Manila’s powder magazine and water station. Initially outnumbered, Spaniards fought until reinforcements arrived, which forced Bonifacio’s troops to withdraw and regroup in Marikina, San Mateo and Montalban.
The revolution spread quickly across the country, most especially in Cavite where it achieved success, liberating town after town. However, rebels in Cavite were embroiled in the friction between two competing dominant Katipunan chapters: Magdalo, headed by Emilio Aguinaldo, based in Kawit, and Magdiwang, headed by Mariano Alvarez, based in Noveleta.
Both factions of Magdalo and Magdiwang clashed, thus Bonifacio was called upon to settle the dispute.
On March 22, 1897, they held an election to issue governance within the Katipunan. Emilio Aguinaldo won and became the president of the Philippine Republic. While Bonifacio, who received the second-highest number of votes, was elected to a lower position as the Secretary of the Interior, this was still challenged by Daniel Tirona due to Bonifacio’s educational background. Insulted and humiliated, Bonifacio aimed his gun at Tirona, if not for the intervention of Artemio Ricarte to keep him calm. Bonifacio stormed out of the convention and declared the election results invalid.
Soon after, Aguinaldo allegedly received complaints against Bonifacio, and that he was said to be forming a separate government. As such, Aguinaldo ordered the arrest of Bonifacio and his men for treason and sedition. At the moment of arrest, Ciriaco Bonifacio, one of Andres’ brothers, was instantly killed. Bonifacio stood trial in a military tribunal. Even his assigned defense lawyer declared him guilty. He, and his brother Procopio were later sentenced to death.
Supremo of Independence
Andres Bonifacio’s contribution to Philippine history extends beyond his role as a revolutionary leader. His life influenced the nationalism of Filipinos then who were
inspired by his leadership and fought along with him. Now, his legacy of honor, fortitude and sacrifice continually serve as guide for Filipinos as they strive for a better future.
His selfless devotion for his country’s independence serves as an example of courage and hope that will live on forever, affirming his pen name within the Katipunan–May pag-asa (There is hope).