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Philippine National Heroes

Lapulapu

He was the King of Mactan Island and was known as the first Filipino hero.  When Ferdinand Magellan, a Spaniard who "discovered" the Philippines, landed in Cebu, he ordered Filipinos to honor the king of Spain. Chief Lapu-Lapu refused his demand.  Magellan, along with 48 soldiers, met Lapu-Lapu in Mactan Island for a battle.  During the battle, Magellan and 15 of his men were killed.  For 54 years thereafter, no Spaniard set foot on the Philippine soil.

 

Jose RizalJose Rizal, our national hero, was born in Calamba, Laguna. His parents were Francisco Mercado Rizal and Teodora Alonso. He was educated in Europe and obtained his license in opthamology and philiosphy in France. He wrote Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Rebel) in Europe, which told about the oppression of Spanish colonial rule. In 1892, when Rizal returned to the Philippines, he formed La Liga Filipina, a forum for Filipinos to express their hopes for reform and freedom from the oppressive Spanish colonial administration. He was arrested as a revolutionary and was exiled in Dapitan, Mindanao. His writings and La Liga Filipina were banned. Later, he was imprisoned in Fort Santiago, Manila after a trial. On December 30, 1896, he was executed by a firing squad at Bagumbayan, now known as Luneta, in Manila for spreading ideals of revolution.

Gregorio del Pilar

He is remembered as the "Hero of Tirad Pass" and to the Americans as an "Officer and a Gentleman."  Pilar, at 24, was the youngest general in the Revolutionary Army, who fought bravely against the Americans, with only 60 men. On December 2, 1899, he was killed in the Tirad Pass while commanding Aguinaldo's rearguard.  Before his death, he wrote, "I am surrounded by fearful odds that will overcome me and my gallant men, but I am pleased to die fighting for my beloved country."  The Tirad Pass has been declared a national shrine.


Marcelo del Pilar
He established the newspaper, Diaryong Tagalog, which published criticisms on the way the Spaniards ran the government and treated its people.  In Spain, he became editor of La Solidaridad founded by Graciano Lopez Jaena.  For six years, he wrote articles on the theme of liberty and equality for the Filipinos.  Copies were smuggled into the Philippines in Tagalog and were read by the revolutionists.  On July 4, 1896, he died of tuberculosis in Barcelona, a pauper, away from his family.



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Andres Bonifacio

He is the founder the Katipunan, a secret organization aimed to overthrow Spanish sovereignty in the Philippines.  Its full name was Kataastaasan Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng Mga Anak ng Bayan (Highest and Most Respected Association of the Sons of the Country), and was known by its intitials K.K.K.  Bonifacio is also known as the "Great Plebian." He and Emilio Jacinto issued stirring literature to arouse people to revolt against the Spaniards.  On August 23, 1896, Bonifacio assembled his men at Balintawak, tore their cedulas (poll tax), and declared the start of rebellion.  However, a conflict of leadership developed between he and Emilio Aguinaldo, who was leading the struggle in his home province of Cavite. After this power struggle, on May 10, 1897, Bonifacio was shot and killed in Cavite.


Tandang Sora
She is a famous heroine in Philippine history.  She was married to Fulgencio Ramos with whom she had six children. 
 In 1896, the Katipuneros of Andres Bonifacio declared war on her land against the Spaniards.  Secret meeting of the Katipuneros were held at her house, and she tended Filipinos who managed to escape by dressing their wounds, feeding them, and hiding them from the Spaniards.  Soon, the Spaniards learned about her cause and the underground meetings, and she was exiled to Marianas along with 171 Filipinos charged with  rebellion.  In 1903, she came back under the American regime.  On March 2, 1919, she died, at the age of 107.  She was called the "Mother of the Philippine Revolution."

 

Francisco BalagtasHe was born in Bigaa, central Bulacan. Balagtas labored under strict friar supervision.  Themes had to fall under the constraints of official religious themes in recommended meter and structure.  He took all obstacles on, settling on allegorical poetry as the medium to carry his message.  With meter and metaphor approval, he ushered Tagalog into the realms of protest against tyranny.  The friars thought that Florante at Laura, his best known work, was about Christians and Moors duelling in mythical kingdoms to the correct ending.  The metre was fine; there was even music to it. In reality, he depicted the injustices Filipinos suffered in the hands of the Spaniards, and the evils that beset them during the Spanish regime.  This poem contained ideals from which people of today can deduce morals.  Thus, it is considered one of the best poems, and Balagtas is known as the "King of Tagalog Poems."


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