(1865 - 1915)
Aurelio Tolentino was born on
He returned to his hometown and took a teaching job in the Colegio de Latinidad directed by Tomas Gamboa. An altercation with a Spanish pharmacist whom he struck on the face for calling him barbaro, forced him to leave town immediately and hide in Tondo.
A few years later, he secured the position of oficial de mesa in the Court of First Instance of Tondo. He became acquainted with Andres Bonifacio and other patriots who engaged his help in the printing and distribution of the censored La Solidaridad and other propaganda literature. Inevitably, he joined the Katipunan.
He affiliated with
Freemansonry, becoming an orador in
the Monditia Lodge presided by
Vicente Lukban. He explored with Supremo Bonifacio the mountainous terrai of
With torches, the party visited Makarok and Pamitinan on Good Friday, April 12. Inside the caves supposedly fo Bernardo Carpio, They deliberated on their plans about the revolt, the gathering of arms and funds. On the walls, Bonifacio wrote, “Viva la Independencia Filipina!
He was escribano in the provincial court of Morong, at the outbreak of the revolution of 1896. He failed to escape the mass arrest and was incarcerated for nine months. After his release he took part in the Bicol campaigns of Gen. Vicente Lukban.
It was with justifiable
pride that he affixed his signature to the list of those who witnessed and
signed the Declaration of Philippine Independence in Kawit,
Tolentino gathered his
former Katipunan comrades residing in
When Artemio Ricarte attempted to organize a new revolutionary army in 1903, he was among the first to join him.
He wrote to unsigned editorials for La Independencia, both of which were openly critical of the Unite States. Two newspapaers which he edited, La Patria nad El Liberal were suppressed by the government. His newspaper, Filipinas, was forcibly closed down. Still, his journalistic career, was not stymied. He edited the Spanish newspapers, El Pueblo and El Imperial, and their Pampango counterparts, Ing Belen and Ing Emangabiran.
Aware of the effectivity of
the theater as a public forum, he turned his talents to the writing of dramas.
The most justly of these is the Tagalog
verse drama, Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas, played to a packed audience at Teatro
Liberad in manila on
He continued to engage in
nationalistic activities. One of his principal concerns was the plight of
Filipino activities. His admiration for the work of Dr. Dominador Gomez, a
contemporary crusader for working men’s rights inspired him to write Bagong Cristo, a Tagalog prose play,
which dealt with the polemical relations between capital and labor. He founded
the Katimawan, identified as a “samahang hanapbuhay ng mahihirap.” It
was in effect a working men’s co-operative, among the first of its kind in the
Tolentino’ belief that a common language would help ensure national unity made him an early advocate of the adoption of Tagalog as the national language. To this end he founded El Parnaso Filipino, a school for the promotion of Tagalog literature.