Our national hero is Jose Rizal. From high school to college we were taught to read and discuss about the life and works of Rizal who lived during the 19th century. Rizal wrote the historically famous novels “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo” that spoke against the tyranny of the Spanish regime in our country. After his death, a lot of books from different parts of the world have been written about him. But there have been constant debates from generation to generation that Andres Bonifacio is more deserving to be called our national hero than Rizal. Others are firm that it is only rightful that Rizal was chosen as our national hero. Before, I like Andres Bonifacio more because he was an activist, a revolutionary, he expressed his rage through action by fighting against the Spaniards who were violating the human rights of Filipinos. Bonifacio wanted freedom unlike Rizal who only wanted reform. However, it must be mentioned here that it was Jose Rizal and his works that inspired Andres Bonifacio to establish Katipunan, a movement that was composed of Filipinos willing to go on war, risking their lives to release our country from the chains of the Spanish tyrannical rule.
Regardless of whether who is more better, Rizal or Bonifacio, one thing is clear. We owe so much of our freedom to them although sad to say, human rights violations are still happening everyday. And worse, it is Filipinos against Filipinos. There is a story that I like to share. This was taken from the 1996 published book, “Scent of a Filipino, Anecdotes & Aphorisms” by Andrew Maria, MMHC. I discovered this while cleaning our bookshelves at home. Read on.
In one province, the governor organized a debate. The theme was ‘Who is the real National Hero–Rizal or Bonifacio?
On the day of the debate, many people gathered to hear the most intelligent minds of the province to debate on the issue. However, since the two debating groups were so brilliant, the judges found it difficult to decide who won.
At this, Arbularyo Ambo, the town quack doctor, proposed that he conjure the spirit of Apolinario Mabini to decide the case for them. Everyone agreed. And so, after his rituals, Arbularyo Ambo conjured the spirit of Apolinario Mabini. A strong wind blew inside the hall where the debate was held. The eyes of everyone were focused on the quack doctor who was convulsing and shrieking strange words. Arbularyo Ambo rushed at the center stage and with a deep peculiar voice spoke.
“You came here to argue who is the national hero, whether it is Rizal or Bonifacio. But I tell you, there is something more important which you must first resolve,” the voice of Apolinario Mabini spoke through the quack doctor.
“What?” the crowd questioned the conjured spirit of Apolinario Mabini.
“How you can be heroes like them! This is a more important issue than the latter.”