GUILLERMO R. MASANGKAY
Friend and Adviser of Andres Bonifacio
A bosom friend of Andres Bonifacio, the founder of the Katipunan, Guillermo Masangkay
– who joined that underground society when he was only 17 – was the Supremo’s personal
He was born on June 25, 1867 in Meisic, Tondo, Manila. His parents were Domingo
Masangkay of Batangas and Victoria Rafael of Tanza, Cavite. He was the youngest of four children.
Masangkay had no formal education. However, he had a strong intellectual drive. He read
assiduously books borrowed from his neighbors. Thus, although he was only a bangkero, or
boatman, he became fluent in Spanish and deeply aware of the political and social conditions of his
He was plying his trade when he heard about a prominent young man in his neighborhood
that he became friends with – Bonifacio. As they got to know each other well, they found that they
had the same patriotic aspirations. When Bonifacio founded the Katipunan on July 7, 1892
together with Ladislao Diwa and Teodoro Plata, he became one of its first members, along with
Restituto Javier, Vicente Molina, Valentin Diaz, Briccio Pantas, Roman Basa, etc.
As his adviser, Bonifacio sought Masangkay for his approval in transforming the
Katipunan into a revolutionary association. It was Masangkay whom he had designated to
organize the Katipunan chapter in Cavite.
In August 1896, after the Katipunan was discovered, Masangkay joined Bonifacio, Emilio
Jacinto, and others in a clandestine meeting held on the 24th of that month at Apolonio Samson’s
house in Caloocan. Initially, the leaders of the movement quarreled over strategy and tactics, and
many of its members questioned the wisdom of an open rebellion due to the lack of arms and
logistical support. However, after Bonifacio’s intense and convincing speech, everyone destroyed
their cedulas to symbolize their defiance of Mother Spain and, together, raised the cry of “Revolt.”
Masangkay was with Bonifacio in April 1896 at the Bernardo Carpio Cave on Mt. Tapusi,
San Mateo, Rizal. It was the site originally chosen for the start of the uprising, not Balintawak.
However, it was abandoned because of its remoteness from the town. Nonetheless, it was in there
that Bonifacio, Masangkay, and Emilio Jacinto planned the attack in Manila. Newly appointed
general, Masangkay was tasked by Bonifacio to lead one of the groups that assaulted the city.
As a revolutionary general, Masangkay figured prominently during the Filipino-American
War. His competence was demonstrated in the memorable battle against the American forces on
Zapote Bridge in Las Piñas Rizal. During the initial day of the 72-hour battle, Masangkay and his
troops were winning. They eventually lost their advantage, however, to the superior arms of the
Gravely injured in that battle, Masangkay was brought to San Juan de Dios Hospital for
treatment. After being confined there for three days, Masangkay, dressed as a woman,
surreptitiously left the hospital and went into hiding.
With the restoration of peace, Masangkay returned home and was reunited with his wife,
Romana Noriel of Cavite, and their 12 children. Since then, he ahs lived a simple life, attending to
the growing family business and his children’s education.
When the government decided to erect Bonifacio’s monument, Masangkay strongly
supported the project and donated P10, 000 from his own funds.
He died on May 30, 1963.
Quirino, Carlos. Who’s Who in Philippine History. Manila : Tahanan Books,1995.