Bonifacio Plan

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The only extant photo of Andrés Bonifacio, Supremo of the Katipunan.

The Bonifacio Plan was the general attack plan of the Katipunan to take over Intramuros, which was then the seat of the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines.


The take over of Intramuros had been a logical move for any uprising trying to overthrow the Spanish colonial regime in the Philippines. The mutiny of King's regiment captain Andres Novales in 1823 was only one instance showing the importance of the Walled City to Spanish control.[1] Entrenched in this area were the Ayuntamiento (City Hall), Intendencia, and Palacio Arzobispal (Archbishop's Palace). The seat of the Governor-General moved to Malacañang Palace, which was 300 paces from Intramuros, after the 1863 earthquake in Manila.[2]

The plan to take over Intramuros was formulated by Andrés Bonifacio, who was the Katipunan's Supremo or Supreme President.[3]

The Plan[edit]

Bonifacio envisioned a three-pronged attack of Intramuros, which was believed to be able to bring the Walled City to the revolutionaries.[4]:36 According to the plan, three forces were to attack from three strategic points outside Intramuros. The force of General Aguedo del Rosario will come from Tondo, that of General Vicente Fernandez via San Marcelino, and the force of General Ramon Bernardo through the Rotonda in Sampaloc.[3]

General Fernandez was to take over La Electricista de Manila (Manila electric plant) in Quiapo and put out the electric light it supplied for Manila. The turning off of lights in Manila will act as the signal for the attack. Once Manila was thrown to darkness, the main idea was to lure the Spanish troops out from Intramuros towards vital water installations in Rotonda in Sampaloc, El Deposito in San Juan del Monte, the Balara filter station and the Marikina main water supply. These water installations were threatened to be sabotaged by the Katipunan revolutionaries (better known as Katipuneros).[3]

The Spanish troops would then be busy engaging the Katipuneros under General Bernardo in these areas. While the Spanish attempt to secure these installations, forces in Cavite, under Emilio Aguinaldo, together with those under General del Rosario, would attack Intramuros, which would be, by this time, lacking troops for defense. These forces attacking Intramuros will be helped by revolutionaries that infiltrated in the Regiment 70 (Regimiento de Magallanes numero 70), the only regiment concentrated for the defense of Manila as well as the rest of Luzon. The regiment numbered around 2,300 troops in Manila, of which more than 85% were composed of native integrees.[3]

Also according to plan, the Katipuneros would be spreading false news to create confusion among the Manila population. Rumors included a Japanese take over of Manila, or the Japanese ordering the native revolutionaries to occupy Manila for them.[3]

Operation and failure[edit]

The plan went into operation by the beginning of the Philippine Revolution with the following battles:

Overall, however, the attack did not take place as planned. General Fernandez failed to launch the signal from the electric plant. Actually, the Katipuneros did not even reach the plant. Without the signal to coordinate the attack, the revolutionaries in Manila and Cavite went on their own battles. Despite this lack of coordination and contact among forces, Bonifacio, commanding some 800 (according to the Spanish, 300), still led the attack on Manila. His force was repulsed after the Battle of San Juan del Monte.[3]

Later, Aguinaldo would recreate this plan when his forces had surrounded Manila from four fronts in June 1898. This planned attack also did not take place, due to the takeover of Manila by the Americans during the Spanish-American War.[1]


  1. ^ a b Joaquin, Nick (1990). Manila, My Manila. Vera-Reyes, Inc. 
  2. ^ "Residents of Malacañan Palace and their respective periods of residence". Presidential Museum & Library (Philippines). Retrieved on 2013-06-06.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Bascara, Cornelio (2002). Stories from the Margins. UST Publishing House. pp. 143–147. 
  4. ^ Alvarez, S.V., 1992, Recalling the Revolution, Madison: Center for Southeast Asia Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, ISBN 1-881261-05-0