Apolinario Mabini: The life and legacy of a hero

Apolinario Mabini: The life and legacy of a hero

Remember the collective outrage that ensued online when Epy Quizon, who played Apolinario Mabini in the movie 'Heneral Luna', recounted how college students asked him why his character “never stood up” during the film? 

Outraged tweets flooded in from netizens questioning how teenagers these days don’t seem to know who Apolinario Mabini is anymore.

Well, Heneral Luna has been released almost a year ago, but for those who still don’t know who Apolinario Mabini is, here are eight things you should know about one of the most brilliant heroes of our country:

1. His full name is Apolinario Marana Mabini and was nicknamed ‘Poly'.

Mabini was born on July 23, 1864, in Tanauan, Batangas He was the second of eight children of Dionisia Maranan and Inocencio Mabini.2. He’s a lawyer.

Apolinario Mabini: The life and legacy of a hero

Apolinario Mabini (credit: Philippine Embassy)

2. He’s a lawyer. 

A year after graduating as a Professor of Latin from Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Mabini took up law at the University of Santo Tomas, completing his degree in 1894.3. But his mother wanted him to be a priest.

3. But his mother wanted him to be a priest. 

In La Revolucion Filipina, his memoir, Mabini wrote that his mother had wanted him to enter the priesthood. However, his great desire to help and defend the poor made him choose to take up law instead.READ MORE: Intriguing controversies you don’t know about Philippine heroes

READ MORE: Intriguing controversies you don’t know about Philippine heroes

4. He was Emilio Aguinaldo’s right-hand man.

Apolinario Mabini: The life and legacy of a hero

Mabini and Aguinaldo (Photo credit: Google images)

Mabini acted as President Aguinaldo’s adviser and was referred to as the “Dark Chamber of the President” by his detractors in the government. He was also the target of petty rumors that claimed that his paralysis was due to syphilis. His remains were later autopsied and the results concluded that it was indeed polio that caused his paralysis.Being the president’s adviser, he was entrusted to write presidential decrees. The decrees he wrote played significant roles in the creation of the new Philippine Republic. Among which were the changing of the type of government from dictatorial to revolutionary and the creation of Congress. He also edited the constitution for the First Philippine Revolution.

Being the president’s adviser, he was entrusted to write presidential decrees. The decrees he wrote played significant roles in the creation of the new Philippine Republic. Among which were the changing of the type of government from dictatorial to revolutionary and the creation of Congress. He also edited the constitution for the First Philippine Revolution.READ MORE: #RP612fic: Funniest tweets about Philippine history

READ MORE: #RP612fic: Funniest tweets about Philippine history

5. He was supposed to be executed.

Mabini was part of the reformist group, La Liga Filipina. Later on, La Liga Filipina split into two factions: radical and conservative. The radical group wanted an armed-revolution against Spain and formed what we now know as the Katipunan. Mabini, however, stayed with the conservative group. When the first phases of the revolution broke out, the Katipunan was found out. Members of the conservative group were also taken and jailed, Mabini among them. Eventually, they were all executed by the Spanish, earning them the title of “Thirteen Martyrs of Cavite”. Mabini was the only one spared; because the Spanish saw that he was paralyzed, thus saving him from being executed.

6. He was the Prime Minister of the First Republic of the Philippines. 

Mabini was appointed prime minister and also foreign minister of the newly independent republic on January 2, 1899. Mabini resigned from government on May 7, 1899 and joined the war against the Americans after his peace negotiation efforts failed.READ MORE: Former Chief Justice Puno explains federalism, says Jose Rizal wanted it too

READ MORE: Former Chief Justice Puno explains federalism, says Jose Rizal wanted it too

7. He died instead of cholera.

During the Philippine-American war, Mabini was exiled to Guam by the Americans because he refused to swear fealty to the U.S. During his exile, he wrote his memoir La Revolution Filipina. At this point, his health began to deteriorate and fearing that he would die on foreign soil, he pledged allegiance to America in order to return to his motherland to die, saying: “After two long years I am returning, so to speak completely disoriented and, what is worse, almost overcome by disease and suffering. Nevertheless, I hope, after some time of rest and study, still to be of some use, unless I have returned to the Islands for the sole purpose of dying."

Shortly after, he contracted cholera and passed away on May 13, 1903. He was only 38 years old.

Apolinario Mabini: The life and legacy of a hero

Mabini's tomb in Tanauan, Batangas. (credit: batangas-philippines.com)

8. He is currently buried in his hometown, Tanauan, Batangas.

Mabini’s remains were transferred twice before finally being put to rest in Mabini Shrine in Tanauan, Batangas on 1965.

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