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Andres Bonifacio v2
November 29, 2015

Andres Bonifacio

Ibigin mo ang iyong Bayan nang sunod kay Bathala, sa iyong kapurihan, at higit sa lahat sa iyong sarili. (Love your Country next to God, your honour, and most of all yourself.)

Andres Bonifacio

The father of the first Philippine revolution, Andres Bonifacio, is one of the greatest Philippine national heroes. As an orphaned young man in Tondo, Manila he was inspired by the writings of Jose Rizal and Victor Hugo. His favorite of the latter was the novel Les Miserables of which the crux was the French Revolution. He was deemed to be the first Philippine President being the founder or the Supreme Leader of KKK (Kataas-taasang Kagalang-galangang Katipunan), the first Philippine organization, with members sprawling across the island of Luzon. KKK then stood as the first government of the Filipinos, aimed to oppose the brutal Spanish rule.

Andres Bonifacio Photo
Only surviving photograph of Andres Bonifacio, founder of the Philippine revolutionary society Katipunan. (Photo by:

Andres Bonifacio convinced the members for an election to finally establish the needed structure of governance. Sadly, he was denied of any position because he wasn’t a lawyer or didn’t earn any degree. He was compared with Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo who became their elected President. Affected by this insult, he asserted his power being the founder of the group to cancel the election. However, the people worked behind him and proceeded with the election. Soon after, President Aguinaldo and his board consequently found  him to be difficult and ordered for his capture being a traitor.

Andres Bonifacio just completed 6th grade because he was compelled to work for his siblings, when both of his parents died. I am a strong believer of achieving high education or earning a degree being a vital primordial step into a successful career in the future. However, I couldn’t deny the fact that experience could supersede education. Some of us do have careers quite far from our degree but we can say that we are doing pretty much okay. Education can only go so far and if not followed through with practical application all the years and money will go down the drain. The most auspicious ingredient of success, in any endeavor, is love for the work or great belief in the cause. This love will fuel your determination to overcome all adversities and will energize you to run around like an excited dog to muster everything you need to succeed. Love, like said in that battery commercial, will get you going and going.

To become a successful leader, one need not to earn a master or doctorate degree. If you have the money  and the time then get yourself one, go for it! Theory can always galvanize great insights which could help you lead your people well. Just make sure, you put your investments and years to good use because not everyone is as privileged as you are. However, the most important and pragmatic way is first to look inside you, introspect and know what your ultimate reason is in deciding to lead people. If it is for pride and money then I think you can just go ahead achieve as many doctorate degrees as you can and get a consultancy job that won’t hold you down the long term accountability (I know not all consulting firms are like what I just described and for as long as you go around the entire training cycle and beyond then you are doing great!). It has to be about a life-long impact or about a greater cause, because leadership is about leading  great lives who will eventually lead another set of great people in the future and to endure the great sacrifices that this career brings, one must be in love. Education does not mean spending time in a refutable institution and leave with a diploma but education is about learning in any way (self-study is one: if you like Psychology then research about it, read as much, apply insights and share!!!) and putting every key learning into great use and can put great cause into fruition.

Attributes: Committed, Confident, Great Communicator, Passionate


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Learning and Culture Director at Stellar Philippines
Fran Saguindang Riego de Dios, MS has been in training and leadership development for more than a decade now. In earning her Master of Science in Biology degree, she joined the College of Science and Mathematics faculty of MSU-IIT and published her studies in Asia Life and Philippine Scientists Journals. For her, moving into the corporate world felt odd at first but with the scientific method and discipline in her backpack, it has become a fulfilling experience. You may also visit her personal Science Blog Site at Live Well. She also enjoys music (sings and plays the piano) and art (portrait sketch).
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  • Avatar
    November 30, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    Not everyone is meant to lead. Not everyone is meant to lead all the time. There are those whose presence is enough to initiate change for the better or inspire others to do great things. There will be those whose brilliance is only fleeting yet profound in its impact to the lives of people. Very few people are born to lead. Moreso those who chose and succeed.There will be great leaders but cursed with a pitiful team. A leaders success is highly dependent on the mettle by which those whom he leads will bear.

    Andres Bonifacio is a revolutionary leader whose education has no bearing on his success yet played a critical role towards the end of his life. If you read everything about him, it was not about his finishing college or the lack of education. How could one organize the likes of the Kataas-taasang Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan the way he did if you barely made it out of elementary? He came from the middle class therefore had the resources to read and learn what other privileged individual had at that time. He did not start the revolution that led to our independence from Spain. He merely continued what others have started but this time, learned from their mistakes and simply elevated it to a different level. Let’s not fool ourselves. we broke free from Spain not completely by our own doing but as an effect of Spain being at war with the US. Spain was at its decline and the US the opposite. It was the new age of expansion by a new power. Our being under Spain was no different from us being under the US, we were and still are a nation fragmented. This is why Andres Bonifacio died. This is the reason why the change of leadership took place the way it did. Not because of lack of a title or degree. More than an ambitious political aspiration compounded by the thought of being led by someone who “does not have degree”.

    Andres Bonifacio for me embodies the struggling Pinoy’s; Intelligent, hard working, God fearing patriots. And just like Andres Bonifacio, any Pinoy who starts creating a buzz for true freedom, he gets killed. Independence and Freedom are two different words if applied to the Philippines. Sure we are independent. Unfortunately for me, we are never truly free. For as long as Pinoy’s are still blinded by ignorance, we will never be free. And with this ignorance, there will always be someone who will be gleefully willing to hack and shoot and kill another Andres Bonifacio.

    How do you think history would be written if Andres Bonifacio had a degree? If he was a lawyer or a doctor? If he had come from the upper class or at least mingled with and was accepted by the elite at that time. if he was able to travel and study over seas just like Rizal and Luna? Will we know him as the Supremo or by something else? Would he be a Supremo with the eloquence of Rizal and fire of Luna? He would be one force to reckon. We need a new Andres Bonifacio!

    • Avatar
      November 30, 2015 at 3:28 PM

      Wow! I couldn’t agree more. Thanks so much for sharing your POWERFUL insights!!!


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