Hero to Hero: A Telling Tale of Two shrines.

History have dealt Andres Bonifacio a poor hand when in the height of the uprising he instigated he was tragically put to death by those very people who responded to his call to arms. Now more than a hundred years hence, his memory in the place where he lost his life seem to be still being trampled upon like the very trail that leads to his shrine at the foot of Mt. Nagpatong in Maragondon, Cavite. I may have spoken too harshly, but upon my visit at Bonifacio Shrine, which had me trekking at 2.75 kilometers of perhaps muddy during rainy and dusty at dry season off-road path going to the shrine and circling the thicket thick picnic area inside the shrine, my impression may not be too far off.

Bonifacio Shrine in Maragondon served as the finish area for the Run Mania Philippines Promotion, Inc. event, Aguinaldo to Bonifacio: Hero To Hero 50k Ultramarathon held June 21, 2015. The race began at Kawit, Cavite where the well taken care of and often visited Aguinaldo Shrine sits. Upon gun start at 1:00 pm 233 runners bolted out and ran along the race route that saw the towns of Novaleta, Rosario, Tanza, Naic, Ternante. Unbeknown to the runners they were taking a rolling path that would culminate to an epic 7.5 kilometers uphill crawl in Ternate heading to Mt. Palay Palay National Park. Runners inhaled and exhaled awe with being close to nature and curses for the seemingly unending uphill slope. The U-turn was situated in one of the area that might have serve as the National Park’s jump off point for Pico De Loro climb. An Aid Station was likewise set up to serve refreshments and brief respite to help runners gather themselves before hurling themselves once more on the road now turned downhill to make up for the time eaten away at the uphill. Along the highway at Ternate, runners then took an initially asphalt paved road heading right direction from the highway and seemingly into the bosoms of the mountain. This road eventually led to a rough road that ushered runners to the final stretch going to the Bonifacio Shrine. I wondered whether those who were settling this dismal portion of Maragondon were equally being punished for their forebear’s part in revealing the location of the tragedy that had struck Andres Bonifacio?

My visit to the Bonifacio Shrine brought about by my participation to A2B was actually my second visit. Earlier this year I came to Bonifacio Shrine via my participation to Pico De Loro 42k event. In that previous event we came to the place via trail that went through quarry, hilly terrain and farm. Once inside the shrine, runners ran around the premises and even went up the mountain of Mt. Nagpatong where Bonifacio might have met his end. In the current run event the final 2.75 km of the race was off road, which for the first timer to the place may cause him or her to wonder how could a proper shrine be situated amidst the jungle, unless it is Angkor Wat. One couldn’t shook the feeling that the faction of the Katipunan that saw Bonifacio’s coming to Cavite as a threat to those who held sway in Cavite still maintain up to the present the same aversion to the memory of Bonifacio and expressed it on how his Shrine was maintained in Cavite. It is as if people were deliberately being put off to visit the shrine so that the aspect of the history that saw betrayal of one personality against another would not be highlighted. I could not help my suspicion due to some account by historian Ambeth Ocampo who related the story about how in the 1920’s in an attempt to desecrate Bonifacio, his alleged bones were stolen at the National Museum and then were later found scattered among the garbage near the office of Aguinaldo’s cohorts. But with the previous ordeal one went through along the 53.7 kilometers stretch of the route especially at the uphill between the 37th and the 44th kilometers, maybe the above concern could just simply dissipate into the air and instead wonder, upon reaching the finish line, whether to rest as how Bonifacio had been put to rest wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.

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