Metro Manila · Emilio Aguinaldo (* 22 March 1869, † 6 February 1964)

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Philippine General Emilio Aguinaldo served as the first president of the islands at the age of 28 when the country gained a short-lived independence in 1898.

Born in Kawit, Cavite known then as Cavite Viejo to a mestizo couple, the little Emilio had seven siblings with him being the seventh. The Aguinaldo family lived a comfortable life since Emilio’s father Carlos served as Cavite Viejo’s municipal governor. At the age of 17, Emilio followed his father’s footsteps and served as the chief of Binakayan –a barrio in his hometown.

It was in 1894 when the 20-something Emilio joined Andres Bonifacio’s Katipunan two years after Rizal was deported to the southern part of the country. In honor of Mary Magdalene, the religious young man’s nom de guerre was Magdalo –an assumed name he shared with his cousin Baldomero.

When the revolt started in August of 1896 in the town of San Juan del Monte, Emilio and other men from Cavite refused to fight. Emilio Aguinaldo reasoned that they did not have enough arms. Their absence caused Bonifacio’s defeat.

Amidst the controversies of him being in power, Emilio Aguinaldo’s presidency started with an education initiative. Elementary education, Emilio Aguinaldo believed, is a right. This basic foundation was made compulsory by the Aguinaldo administration.