Things You Should Know About 10 Of Our National Heroes


You know their names, but do you know these details? 



Our grade school and high school classes did well in ingraining our national heroes into our brains. We spent weeks in classrooms learning about their stories, their battles and their whole names. But beyond the textbook know-how, here are some interesting and little-known facts about some of the biggest names in our country’s history.


Jose Rizal

On the day of his execution (December 30, 1896), Jose Rizal stuffed papers into his pockets and his shoes. He did so believing that his body would be given to his family and he could give them one last word. But as we know, his body was dumped in an unmarked grave in Paco cemetery. The papers deteriorated and its contents were never deciphered. 



Andres Bonifacio

While we know him as a revolutionary that had a way with the revolver, there was once a time when Andres Bonifacio had a soft spot for theater. He once was a part-time actor who appeared in several moro-moro plays. 


Image via the book "Mga Dakilang Pilipino" by Jose N. Sevilla


Ninoy Aquino

From a young age, Ninoy Aquino knew he wanted to do big things. He was the youngest journalist to cover the Korean War (from which he received a Philippine Legion of Honor) and used to be the youngest mayor (age 27). At the time he was elected, he was also once the youngest senator (age 34).



Emilio Aguinaldo

Though his reign in power was controversial, Emilio Aguinaldo will always be known as the first president of the Philippines—but his life was almost cut short at childhood. When he was two, he contracted and almost died of smallpox. The following year at age three, he was left in a bamboo brush and almost died from hundreds of ant bites. 



Apolinario Mabini

Also known as the brains of the revolution, Apolinario Mabini is one of the few Filipino historical figures known for his intellect but was locally educated. And while he earned his law degree at the University of Santo Tomas in 1894 (and admitted to the bar the following year), his mother once wanted him to be a priest. 


Image via "Mga Dakilang Pilipino" by Jose N. Sevilla


Marcelo H. del Pilar

With his gift of words and language, Marcelo H. Del Pilar is hailed as one of the leaders of the Propaganda Movement. He moved an entire nation with his words and made everything understandable to the masses because he could communicate so well in both Spanish and Filipino.


Image via “The Great Propagandist”


Sultan Kudarat

Known as one of the best Muslim leaders of Mindanao (then Maguindanao), Sultan Kudarat ruled for more than 50 decades and died at the age of 91. But despite the years of his efforts against the Spaniards and protecting his countrymen, he wasn’t officially a national hero until President Ferdinand Marcos inducted him into the National Hall of Fame with the other great heroes.


Image via Judge Florentino Floro


Juan Luna

While widely known for his artistic masterpieces, Juan Luna was once behind a bloody murder in Paris. The victims were his wife, Maria dela Paz Pardo de Tavera and his mother-in-law. The following year, the courts acquitted him of charges as the action was categorized a “crime of passion.”


Image via"Mga Dakilang Pilipino" by Jose N. Sevilla


Melchora Aquino (aka Tandang Sora)

Most of us probably haven’t seen it, but there was once a time when Tandang Sora was on the 100 peso bill. She was the first Filipina ever to appear on a Philippine banknote, but the series only ran from 1951 to 1966. She also has a street in San Francisco named after her!



Gabriela Silang

While her husband, Diego Silang, is probably more well-known, we can’t discount the fact that Gabriela Silang fought right alongside him. But before she married Diego, Gabriela was married to Don Tomas Millan, a wealthy businessman from Ilocos. Shortly after that marriage, Tomas died of old age. 


Image via



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