Maragondon: Wandering Around the Historic Town
When you hear Maragondon and Bonifacio, most certainly only one thought comes to your mind: it is the site of the ruthless murder of the Supremo of the Katipunan and his brother Procopio, which itself is a result of an unfair trial and dirty politics.
After the morning trek in Pico de Loro we decided to go to this historical site in the town of Maragondon. From the highway, we ask the locals about the Bonifacio shrine (where the locals know only as Bonifacio). From here, we took the road towards Barangay Pinagsanhan. At the junction there is a small marker leading to the shrine, from there we followed the marker and went through some dirt and steep roads. The road is so rough that we have to take it by foot. We also learned that there is a quarry operation going on here, so it’s not a surprise that roads are getting damaged due to heavy equipment (take note: QUARRY within an eco-park and historical shrine). We passed by a bridge, as well as a field where cows can freely graze.
After a walk which took about 1.4 kilometers, we finally reached the shrine. For fifteen minutes, we tried to call the attention of anyone (and we even tried shouting) to let us in. When no one responded, we just rolled our way under the gate to enter.
The eco-park and historical shrine measures three hectares of land area and here a marker and tombstone of the hero can be seen. It was constructed in 2004 by the Maragondon local government. A large wall mural honoring the Supremo of Katipunan can be seen, adorned with the letters KKK and the hero himself.
The installed NHI marker can be read:
Bundok Nagpatong, Maragondon, Cabite
Noong Mayo 10, 1897, sa pook na ito na tinatawag na Nagpatong, malapit sa Bundok Buntis, Maragondon, ang Supremo Andres Bonifacio at ang kanyang kapatid na si Procopi ay binaril alinsunod sa pasiya ng hukumang militar ng Pamamahalang Mapanghimagsik.
Mount Nagpatong, Maragondon, Cavite
On May 10, 1897, at this site called Nagpatong, near Mount Buntis, Maragondon, the Supremo Andres Bonifacio and his brother Procopio was shot in accordance to the decision of the military court of the Revolutionary Government.
It is one proof that it is in Mount Magpatong (and not in Mount Buntis as what I first believed) where Gat Andres was murdered. It is probably due to historical accounts that in this place, the brothers were forced to read aloud the letter ordering the soldiers for them to be executed. And the next scene, well, is one bitter chapter of the Philippine history.
We also noticed one marker, written in Spanish, emblazoned with a Freemason symbol, where he became a member. Here is the inscription translated into English:
The Legionnaires of Labor has erected this monument to last up to the future generations on the 26th day of April 1897. On this site lies the remains of Andres Bonifacio.
I tried Googling about this organization and learned that it is a Masonic group which originated in the Philippines and established in the United States in 1924. More information about them can be found here.
Some buildings such as pavilions and souvenir and tourism offices were constructed, as well as some pools that were, unfortunately, being covered with molds (probably due to lack of maintenance). Because it is far from town, the atmosphere is gloomy. Since we still have to go somewhere we packed up fast and left the sober place of history. We don’t need to roll under the gate instead we open the windows where we did make an exit.
HISTORIC CHURCH OF MARAGONDON
From the Shrine we walked on our way to Maragondon via Barangay Pinagsanhan. Because we just asked about the way we don’t expect the distance we need to walk. Even though we are already exhausted we still went through especially what we are seeing along the way are very rewarding – typical barrio, crossing the streams, large fields until we reached the hanging bridge that connects to the town proper. After almost an hour and 2.5-kilometer walk, we finally reached the town.
Upon arrival to the town, we first went to the historic Church of Maragondon. According to the NHI marker inscribed on it, translated from Filipino:
Erected by the Jesuit Priests through the Patroness of the Our Lady of the Ascension, 1618. Became a parochial church in 1927. Constructed and enlarged on 1630-33. Demolished to prevent being turned into a Dutch fortress 1646-49. Reconstructed using wood in 1650. Renovated the convent 1666-1672. Reconstructed by stone 1714. Transferred to the secular priests in 1768 and to the Recoletos 1860. Used as a defense of the revolutionaries when made as headquarters by the forces of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo May 1897. Serves as an example of colonial architecture and design. Declared as National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum July 31, 2001.
BONIFACIO TRIAL HOUSE
Only several blocks from the church are the historic Trial House. And because it is almost five in the afternoon, the Museum is already closed, but thanks to the kindness of Elma, the museum’s custodian, we were allowed entry even for just several minutes.
This house was built by Teodorico Reyes in 1889. It is at this place where the Bonifacio brothers were court-martialled, led by Brig-General Mariano Noriel on May 1897. The historians called this as a Sham Trial because of the unusually quick trial, sentencing and assignment of those handling the brother’s defense. Even with insufficient evidence, the brothers were sentenced.
Also seen inside are the stories, poetry, some paintings and sculpture about the life of the Supremo and the revolution. A part of the museum was dedicated to Gregoria de Jesus, with poetry, stories and some interesting facts about her life, especially of the sufferings and her search for her husband who was already dead for a month.
The museum has an interactive part which is the lights and sound presentation about the trial. There are statues which represent the persons present in the trial. Visitors can decide the desired language (English or Tagalog) and the part of the trial: (1) Alleged plot to assassinate Aguinaldo (2) Purported overthrow of the Aguinaldo government (3) Accusation of perpetrating the hostilities in Limbon. The voices were clear and the lights highlighted the one who is speaking. While observing the presentation you feel like you’re immersed in the very trial.
The house was made into a museum and historical marker in 2007.
- The road leading to the shrine is littered with cow and carabao manures
- The road has cracks with grasses growing from it, implying that this might have been neglected
- Avoid traveling at night because there are no light posts (electrical wiring here are always being stolen)
- And Manong said: You have to go to Nagpatong before going to Buntis! (Manong ha!)
Bonifacio Shrine – PhP20 (according to the signage, said to be for maintenance)
Trial House – free, open from 8 am – 4 pm
DASH OF HISTORY
Four days after the trial, the soldiers led by Lazaro Macapagal, brought brothers Andres and Procopio from the prison to Mt. Tala, where the letter was written by Gen. Mariano Noriel will be read, instructing what to do with the prisoners. Because the brothers are getting certain about their fate they asked that the letter is read, which was done by Macapagal, saying that the brothers will be killed as instructed in the letter. First, to be shot was Procopio, while the wounded Andres flee to the woods where he is hacked.
Historians consider Bonifacio’s death as a Tragedy of the Revolution.