Sunday, May 25, 2008


This is an old article frankly examining the Negros Revolution. It was only last year's Cinco De Noviembre celebrations I heard of Papa Isio - most history books don't include the poor babaylan. Thanks to Bombo Radyo I learned of the unsung hero of the revolution as the celebrations and records tend to focus on the hacienderos - he deserves much more than he is given right now. On the other aspects of the article, I'll comment later. Here's the commentary courtesy of Sunstar:

November 4, 2006
Severino: Cinco de Noviembre: Revolution or Hacienda?

By Gil Alfredo Severino
Think Economics

LET it be known that the "Movimiento de Cinco de Noviembre, 1898" (November 5, 1898 Movement) is not about Generals Juan Araneta and Aniceto Lacson. In the Actas Del Gobierno Revolucionario de Negros Occidental (The Revolutionary Government of Negros Act), a Severino was there, Don Melecio Severino who proposed the election of officials, they were:

President -- Aniceto Lacson
Delegate of War -- Juan Araneta
Delegate of Hacienda -- Eusebio Luzuriaga
Delegate of Government -- Simon Lizares
Delegate of Development -- Nicolas Golez
Delegate of Justice -- Antonio Jayme
Delegate of Agriculture and Commerce -- Agustin Amonabar
Secretary -- Melecio Severino
Sub-Secretary -- Fortunato Hugo
Military Commander -- Rafael Ramos

These officials have the means to be formally educated, thus the enlightened class who can afford to construct monuments and the political networks to name streets in their honor.

We must never forget, however, that without the countless participation of hacienda (sugar farm) workers, it is impossible to launch an attack leading to the surrender of the Spanish Casadores Colonel Isidro de Castro on November 6, 1898 (Bacolod Public Plaza was named, thus) and the last Spanish flag was folded on November 8, 1898, never to fly again in Negros.

It is unfortunate, that not a single monument was ever dedicated to their memories, not a single street or purok down south was named after the sunburned "terrorista" Dionisio "Papa Isio" Magbuelas.

At least, Lapu-Lapu has a fish and a Cebuano City. Perhaps, this humble essay can be an eulogy of some sort, these "little people" deserved.

A revolution is to overthrow existing social order, violent or otherwise. Where do we place the Negros Revolution of November 5, 1898? In the first place, the first act of President Aniceto Lacson was to telegram the Malolos-based Emilio Aguinaldo government about the victory and proclamation, but never asked for instructions.

The Agoncillo-Constantino interpretation is that the hacienderos never trusted the "radical" Aguinaldo ever since.

His revolutionary feats are destructive to their properties. Besides, Ilonggo scholar, Dr. Cecile Locsin-Nava further concluded that the Aguinaldo Government cannot guarantee a market for sugar anyway.

So, on November 12, 1898, a week after the proclamation, aware that the American Cruiser Charlston was docked in Iloilo, the movement eventually hoisted the American flag at the Bacolod City Hall, perhaps among the first in the country to express public display of American affection.

The Babaylanes led by Papa Isio who was to contend with hunger, poverty, criminal consequences and their longing for the "kaginhawaan" (salvation) had the bravery to burn haciendas with foreign conspiracy. Hoisting an American flag is an abomination!

What came out of this Cinco de Noviembre Revolution? The Malolos Government pressured loyalty, the Babaylanes were a hostile threat, Spanish revenge is still a possibility (Lacson, Araneta, et al, got amakan canons) and the Americans are shrewd enough to recognize the Philippines depending on the signing of the December 18, 1898 Treaty of Paris, US$ 20 Million for Spain and the Filipinos were not even invited to attend the signing.

This needs re-thinking. Cinco de Noviembre is an ideological vacuum and a market dependency.

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