Gregoria de Jesus
|Gregoria de Jesus|
Portrait of Gregoria de Jesus
|Born|| 15 May, 1875|
Caloocan, Rizal, Philippines
|Died|| 15 March, 1943|
|Spouse|| Andrés Bonifacio (1893 – 1897)|
Julio Nakpil (1898 – 1943)
Gregoria de Jesus (b. May 15, 1875 - d. March 15, 1943), dubbed as “Lakambini”, is the Mother of the Philippine Revolution, and the wife of Andres Bonifacio, the founder of the Katipunan. She, together with several other brave Filipina women, risked their lives fighting for independence from the Spaniards during the Revolution.
Family Background and Early Life
Gregoria, also known as “Aling Oriang”, was born and raised in 13 Baltazar Street (currently Zamora), Kalookan, a town in Rizal Province on May 9, 1875. Her father, Nicolas de Jesus, also born and raised in that town, worked as a carpenter and master mason, and later as a government official during the Spanish era (as second lieutenant, chief lieutenant and gobernadorcillo). Her mother is Baltazara Alvarez Francisco, from Noveleta, Cavite. She is General Mariano Alvarez’s niece, from the Magdiwang party, who raised the revolt standard in that province.
De Jesus studied in public schools and was able to finish the equivalent of intermediate levels of education today. She won several awards during those times: some of which include an exam given by the curate and the Governor-General. She also received a silver medal with blue ribbon for being a good student.
Meanwhile, she had to stop studying afterwards to give way to her two brothers as they study in Manila. She helped her sister look after their family ventures. She oftentimes goes out into the fields to supervise work in their farm. She supervised their workers as they plant and harvest, as well as their laborers and tenants, then pay their wages on Sunday mornings. She also sewed and weaved as much as she assisted her mother in household chores.
Life with Andres Bonifacio
At 18, Gregoria began receiving calls from different men; one of them was Andres Bonifacio, accompanying Ladislao Diwa and her cousin Teodoro Plata. Unknown to her, Bonifacio already began letting her parents know of his love for her a year ago, but her father objected.
Since Bonifacio was a freemason, Nicolas de Jesus clearly opposed him. At that time, the elders considered masons as bad because of they counter the friars’ teachings. However, after six months, her father soon gave his consent since she admitted her love for Bonifacio.
Then, to adhere to her parents’ wish, Gregoria and Andres were married in Binondo Church on March 1893, with Benita de Javier and Restituto Javier as sponsors. After a week, though, they remarried on the request of the Katipuneros (since they do not consider the Catholic wedding as valid). This was held at the then-called Oroquieta Street. A small gathering followed, attended by Ramon Basa, Pio Valenzuela, Marina Dizon, Santiago Turano, Trinidad and Josefa Rizal. Almost all of Katipunan’s dignitaries were there too. From then on, Gregoria joined the Katipunan and was dubbed as “Lakambini”.
Taking Care of Katipunan Documents
Because of the burning desire to attain freedom, Gregoria, along with her husband and other katipuneros gathered every night to plan for their revolt. They usually stayed up until dawn, proclaiming the Katipunan oath. Leaders of the propaganda also meet once or twice each month.
Meanwhile, whenever they would hear that the Veterana police would search the place where katipuneros gather, Gregoria would assemble all their documents, the seal, arms then ordered a quiles and would even leave her meals (as this usually occurred at noon or at eight in the evening). She would then drive to Tondo’s bay front and along Binondo’s streets to save her countrymen from being caught. There would even be times when her friends would not accommodate her at their homes for fear that they might be involved in the perilous challenges of being in the Katipunan. However, to remain safe, she would still rely on word-of-mouth to determine if it’s already safe to go back home.
Losing Her Son
After more than a year of being married to Andres Bonifacio, Gregorio was about to be a mother soon. Because of that, she moved to her parents’ house and bore her son there. He was named Andres Bonifacio too, just like his father, and had Pio Valenzuela as his grandfather. Two months after, she went back to Manila and just before the year ended, on Maundy Thursday, 1896, at three in the afternoon, they became fire victims in Dulongbayan. They moved from one house to another to escape, but when they reached Pio Valenzuela’s house, on Calle Lavezares, in Binondo, their child died. They lived for some time at that house but then decided to move to Calle Magdalena, Trozo. From then on, the government became more watchful of Katipunan’s movements.
Escaping the Tyrants
Since the activities of Katipunan were already discovered by the Spanish government, the revolutionaries went back to Kalookan. Likewise, because of this, several of the men members, including Andres Bonifacio, left their town. That stirred the revolt and they soon cried for liberty on August 26, 1896. With this, Gregoria fled to La Loma to escape from the oppressors since she learned that she was targeted for being involved in the Katipunan. However, upon arrival there, she also learned that the inhabitants of the house were terrorized severely and one was even pushed to exile (her uncle). Her two brothers and father were likewise arrested that time.
She then fled to Lico/street, now known as Soler, to escape. She went to the house of her Simplicio de Jesus, her uncle. However, since it was near the police station, she soon left and went to Calle Clavel and stayed with Espiridiona Bonifacio, her sister-in-law. She stayed there for one month and assumed the name Manuela Gonzaga. Still, being a katipunera, she left for the mountains on November 1, 1896 and met Andres at San Francisco del Monte. They then went to Balara, Katipunan’s headquarters, which was between Kalookan and Marikina.
- de Guzman,Jovita V.,Vicente A. Santiago,Remedios T. de Leon and Teresita E. Erestain. Women Of Distinction; Biographical Essays on Outstanding Filipino Women of the Past and the Present. Philippines: Bukang Liwayway, 1967
- “Filipino Women Revolutionaries.” The Philippine History Site.  (Accessed on September 18, 2011).
- “Hero of the Philippine Revolution: Gregoria de Jesus.” MSC Institute of Technology.  (Accessed on September 18, 2011).
- “Notes: The Philippine Revolution.” The Philippine History Site.  (Accessed on September 18, 2011).