If you have a basic knowledge of Philippine history, you've probably heard of Dr. Jose P. Rizal and Andres Bonifacio. Both have so many shrines, monuments, streets and even corporations between them, that you'd be hard-pressed to go anywhere in the Philippines without running into something named after these two.
Of course, the Philippine bid for independence wasn't a two-man job. Aside from Rizal and Bonifacio, there have been countless men and women who risked their lives to overthrow their colonial oppressors and return freedom into the hands of Filipinos. Many of them have been memorialized, like the following.
Ang Dambana ni Melchora Aquino (The Shrine of Melchora Aquino)
Located in Banlat, Quezon City, the shrine commemorates Melchora "Tandang Sora" Aquino, who played an important role in the late 19th century revolution against the Spaniards. She provided refuge, medicine, prayers and even motherly advice to Katipuneros (Filipino revolutionaries who were members of the Katipunan), causing her to be nicknamed the "Mother of the Philippine Revolution."
Eventually, the Spaniards found out about her activities, took her in for questioning, and exiled her to Guam when she refused to give them any information. Aquino returned to the Philippines in 1896, when the country fell under American control, and stayed there until her death in 1919 at the ripe old age of 107. As a token of gratitude, the Quezon City government named a local district in her honor, and transferred her remains to her shrine where they've stayed ever since.
Birthplace of Antonio Luna
If the 2015 biopic starring John Arcilla piqued your interest, you might want to pay a visit to 457 Urbiztondo St., San Nicolas, Binondo in Manila. That's because it's where the fierce, hot-blooded general of the Philippine-American War was born. You can see the plaque near the entrance, translated into English as follows:
Birthplace of General Antonio Luna
In this house, 843 Urbiztondo, Antonio Luna was born on October 29, 1866, the son of Joaquin Luna de San Pedro and Laureana Novicio, and brother of Juan Luna, the painter, pharmacist and chemist. A prominent writer for La Solidaridad, a Filipino newspaper. Was suspected by the Spaniards as a member of the (organization) Katipunan, so he was exiled to Madrid in 1897. Upon his return to the Philippines in 1898, he was made the Assistant Secretary of War; was made the Supreme Chief of the Army of the Republic of the Philippines on February 1899. Was killed in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija on June 5, 1899.
Juan Luna Monument
Like his younger brother Antonio, Juan Luna played a role in the Philippine Revolution — albeit a more peaceful one. Along with Rizal and other Filipino ilustrados, Luna was a member of the Propaganda Movement, which sought reforms from the Spanish government. He's considered one of the first recognized Filipino artists, and was especially notable for painting Spoliarium, which depicts a Roman circus where the corpses of defeated gladiators are stripped of their clothes and weapons.
Because of his contributions to art and the Philippine Revolution, he was given a monument located in front of Intramuros, in Ermita, Manila. It's not known why his statue was located there specifically, though the fact that he learned painting from Lorenzo Guerrero, a resident of Ermita, might have something to do with it.
Birthplace of Father Jacinto Zamora
As mentioned in a previous post, Father Jacinto Zamora y del Rosario was one of three priests executed for alleged sedition against the Spanish government. Apparently, Zamora received a letter from a friend called "Powder and Munitions," which the Spaniards took as evidence of his crime. (In fact, "Power and Munitions" was gambler speak for having much money to gamble.) Since he was born in Pandacan on August 14, 1835, his monument is located there.
At the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila, there's a house where Apolinario Mabini spent his last days. As the so-called "Brains of the Revolution," Mabini advised the Philippine Revolutionary Government on legal and constitutional matters, and eventually became the first Prime Minister of the First Philippine Republic. Today, you can still see his face engraved on the 10-peso coin along with Andres Bonifacio, and he also has several streets around the Metro named after him.
In Zapote, located at the border of Bacoor and Las Piñas, Filipino revolutionary forces fought two important battles. One was against the Spanish army on February 17, 1897, where General Edilberto Evangelista was killed. The other was against American forces on June 13, 1899, where the defenders were eventually driven towards Imus and Bacoor in Cavite. To honor the soldiers who fought and gave their lives in these battles, two monuments were erected on both ends of the Zapote Bridge.
Heroes are reflections of their culture, and the men and women above are no different. If you want to dig deeper into what makes the Filipino psyche tick, visiting these memorials is a good first step.