Bonifacio was born to Santiago Bonifacio and Catalina de Castro in Tondo, Manila and was the eldest of six children. His father was a tailor who served as a teniente mayor (municipal official) of Tondo while his mother (a mestiza of Spanish descent) worked in a cigarette factory. He was orphaned in his late teens - his mother died of tuberculosis in 1881 and his father followed a year after. Bonifacio was forced to drop out of school and work to support his family.[ He worked as a mandatorio (clerk/messenger) for the English trading firm Fleming and Company, where he rose to become a corredor (agent) of tar and other goods. He later transferred to Fressell and Company, a German trading firm, where he worked as a bodeguero (warehouseman/agent). He also set up a family business of selling canes and paper fans. Bonifacio was married twice. His first wife was a certain Monica who died of leprosy. His second wife was Gregoria de Jesus of Caloocan, whom he married in 1893. They had one son who died in infancy.
Despite not finishing formal education, Bonifacio was self-educated. He read books about the French Revolution, biographies of the Presidents of the United States, the Philippine penal and civil codes, and novels such as Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, Eugène Sue's Le Juif errant and José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.
Bonifacio was a Freemason and a member of the Gran Oriente Español (Spanish Grand Lodge). In 1892 he joined Rizal's La Liga Filipina (The Philippine League), an organization which called for political reforms in the Spanish government of the Philippines. However, La Liga Filipina disbanded after one meeting as Rizal was arrested and deported to the town of Dapitan in Mindanao. Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini and others revived La Liga Filipina in Rizal's absence. Bonifacio was active at organizing local chapters in Manila. La Liga Filipina contributed moral and financial support to Filipino reformists in Spain.
Link: Andres Bonifacio