Showing posts with label Cinco De Noviembre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cinco De Noviembre. Show all posts

Friday, October 28, 2011

Silay, Cinco de Noviembre and the Republic of Negros

There have been many stories written about the Negros Revolution of 1898 now popularly known as El Cinco de Noviembre. This was the day that informally ended Spanish control of the Island. It is commonly known that from November 3 to November 6, 1898, the revolutionaries led by Aniceto Lacson in the north and Juan Araneta in the south rose in revolt against the Spanish authorities headed by politico-military governor Colonel Isidro de Castro. The planning began in Silay when a committee headed by Lacson which included Nicolás Gólez, Leandro Locsin and Melecio Severino assembled and decided to begin the revolt on November 5. They then advised Juan Araneta of their decision. Cinco de Noviembre played a significant role in the history of Silay. On that day at about 2:00 in the afternoon, Silaynons gathered in the street corner now known as Cinco de Noviembre Street and from there they proceeded to the Spanish garrison near the Catholic Church. It was a bloodless revolution. At first the Spanish civil guards refused to surrender. They were entrenched inside the municipal building, but surrendered without a fight when they realized that the townspeople were determined to burn the building to the ground should there be resistance. The Silay parish priest, Eulogio Saez, a businessman named Juan Viaplana, and José Ledesma persuaded the Spanish forces to lay down their arms, but in order to save face, the lieutenant had it appear in the official records that the capitulation was the result of a bloody battle with "dead and wounded littered all over the field of battle".

A Little Known Fact

What is not commonly known however is the fact that Negros was once a republic albeit short-lived. What is the story behind the República Cantonal de Negros, established on November 27, 1898?

The history of the struggle against foreign domination in Panay and Negros showed that, after being victorious against the Spaniards, two Ilonggo groups across the Guimaras Strait manifested opposing reactions to the coming of the Americans. Whereas those in Panay resisted with utmost determination against the new invaders, the elite of Negros decided to organize the cantonal goverrnment of Negros, declaring it as a protectorate of the United States and recognized American sovereignty. It must be recalled that the Ilonggo revolutionaries in Panay under Gen. Martin Delgado who desperately resisted the Americans as early as December 1898, had always looked down on the pacifist and apathetic attitude of the Negros leaders. To understand why, one must see who the leaders of the Negros Republic were. Most were landed hacenderos with two clear motives: one was the search for a market for sugar. Another was the search for a reliable security cover. Annexation to the U.S. would facilitate the entry of sugar into the American market. The Americans were also in the best position to provide security for the Philippines, compared to either the Spaniards or the Filipino revolutionaries. It was also recognized that a war with the US would be devastating economically. Not only would the sugar fields be destroyed, the American market would also be lost. The choice then became clear. The Republic of Negros surrendered to the Americans, without any resistance, thereby saving the island from a devastating war.

However, there were revolutionaries who kept up the fight. When General Araneta and General Lacson deserted the cause "without the expressed consent of the people" and agreed for accommodation with the Americans, the Negros revolucionarios enthusiastically put themselves at the command of General Delgado. This breakaway group (majority of whom were from Silay) who earlier participated in putting to an end Spanish sovereignty in Negros formed a new outfit, a regiment of sharp-shooters and machete wielders and took to the field. According to Francisco Varona (Negros-It's History and People, 1938), among the prominent leaders of this revolutionary group were Colonels Vicente Gamboa Benedicto, Juan Ledesma Hiponia, Buenaventura Ayalin Lopez, Remigio Montilla, and Ramon Valencia; Majors Marciano Lopez Ayalin, Anacleto Santillan, Gil Severino, and Miguel Severino; Captains Romualdo Gestoso, Fausto Javelona, Antonio Valeria and Segundo Yorac; and Lieutenants Porfirio Lopez Ayalin, Ramon Gamboa, Maximino Lopez, Arsenio Rafael, Benito Sanchez, Felix Severino, Tomas Severino, and Felix Yorac. With the presence of the revolutionary group in Negros, the Iloilo command under General Roque Lopez sent a contingent of officers and picked soldiers to reinforce Negros. The Iloilo expedition was led by Col. Luis Ginete, accompanied by Captains Elias Magbanua, Fausto Jalandoni and Lieutenant Legaspi. From their stronghold in Gintabuan, a mountain peak of difficult access in one of the mountain ranges of the municipality of Saravia, the revolutionaries waged a guerilla warfare against the Americans for several months. It was not until the Americans organized the Filipino scouts that a company of these led by Capt. Nicolas Bariles, together with some American officers, captured Gintabuan, resulting to the death of many Filipinos, including the young Captain Magbanua.

Retrieved from
The República Cantonal de Negros came under U.S. protection on April 30, 1899. On July 22, 1899, it was renamed the Republic of Negros, but on April 30, 1901, this was dissolved by the United States.

Cinco De Noviembre was declared by President Corazon Aquino as a special non-working holiday in the province through Republic Act No. 6709 signed on February 10, 1989.

Silay Marker

Silay City Cinco de Noviembre Commemoration
Schedule of activities

A bit of family trivia:

Buenaventura Ayalin Lopez was my great grandfather :) He was the son of Don Eustaquio Lopez, half brother of Gen. Roque Lopez and nephew of the national hero, Graciano Lopez y Jaena.

Henry F. Funtecha, Ph.D, (2008) The Opposition to the Americans and the Canton Republic of Negros Retrieved from The News Today