On November 30th, a date of cultural significance in the Philippines marking both the holiday commemorating Andrés Bonifacio and the feast day of St. Andrew the Apostle (from whom Bonifacio derived his name), it is essential to examine how the younger generation, particularly students, perceive and honor Bonifacio Day.
While Bonifacio’s legacy is intricately woven into Philippine history, the question arises: do students truly comprehend the depth of his contributions?
Andrés Bonifacio, a hero of the Philippine revolution, held a crucial role in the fight for independence against Spanish oppression. Serving as the Supremo of the Katipunan, a clandestine society advocating for independence, he played a pivotal role in catalyzing the revolution in 1986.
Educational encounters in the classroom.
In the Philippines, students are typically exposed to history lessons about Andrés Bonifacio during the elementary level, often in fifth or sixth grade.
The curriculum delves into Bonifacio’s life, his pivotal role in the struggle for independence, and the sacrifices endured by him and his fellow revolutionaries.
However, do these lessons have a lasting influence on students?
To gain deeper insights, SunStar interviewed several students from a private school, who preferred to remain anonymous, regarding their awareness of Bonifacio Day and their knowledge of Andrés Bonifacio.
Responses from students.
“I recall studying about him in grade 6,” one student reflected. “He is considered the father of the Philippine revolution, leading the KKK in the fight against the Spanish,” another added.
However, with the passage of time, much of their understanding about Bonifacio has gradually waned. The broader context of his historical significance appears to have receded into the background of their academic experiences.
It’s evident that for many students, Bonifacio Day is primarily associated with a welcomed break from the usual school and work routine. The historical significance often takes a backseat to the enjoyment of having a day off.
“It’s just another holiday for me,” another student added. “It’s something that I feel like should be brought up more because when we’re kids and we’re learning about those things, it doesn’t really stick with us, and we don’t really see how big of an impact it is…[the Philippines has] so many holidays, and we don’t really know what it’s about.”
Observances and rituals commemorating the event.
Bonifacio Day holds diverse significance for students in the Philippines. While some perceive it primarily as a break from school and work, others actively engage in commemorating the national holiday through participation in school programs and community events, often organized by institutions like the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.
These acts of tribute and service not only pay homage to Bonifacio but also serve as poignant reminders of his sacrifices and unwavering commitment to securing freedom for the nation during a pivotal period in history.
As Bonifacio Day unfolds, it becomes apparent that there exists a spectrum of understanding and engagement among students. For some, it represents a well-deserved respite, an opportunity to enjoy a day off. However, others recognize the profound importance of reflecting on Bonifacio’s legacy and the broader historical context that shaped the nation.
Fostering a deeper appreciation for this historical context and infusing more engaging activities into school curriculums, whether in public or private institutions, can contribute to ensuring that Bonifacio Day transcends being merely a day off. Instead, it has the potential to transform into a meaningful commemoration of Bonifacio’s life—a dedication to paving the way for Philippine independence.
By instilling a sense of historical awareness and civic responsibility, Filipinos can collectively honor Bonifacio’s legacy and reinforce the significance of the struggles and sacrifices that paved the way for the country’s sovereignty.