(By: dinggol araneta divinagracia -INM Global Network)
The Sparkplug of the 1896 Revolution Against Spain:
On December 18, 1856, Graciano Lopez-Jaena was born in Jaro, Iloilo City. History recognized him as the first reformist and the acknowledged "Trailblazer" of the First Propaganda Movement. At age 18, he wrote “Fray Butod” that exposed the abuses and unholy alliance between Spanish authorities, abusive encomienderos and the immoral friars under the pseudonym “Jose Butete.”
He went to Spain in 1880 where together with Dr. Jose P. Rizal who arrived in 1882 and, later, Marcelo H. del Pilar, they constituted the triumvirate that became the core of propagandists and pamphleteers advocating reforms in the Philippine Archipelago. In February 1889, Lopez Jaena founded the "La Solidaridad" that became the mouthpiece of the propaganda movement that advocated reforms and with the novels of Rizal, “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterisimo” and the execution of the three Filipino priests, Gomez, Burgos and Zamora became the sparkplugs that ignited the Philippine Revolution of 1896.
Andres Bonifacio, on the other hand, disillusioned by the failure of the La Liga Filipina to gain reforms by peaceful means was convinced that the only way that reforms can be instituted in the Philippines was through a violent revolution. Bonifacio founded the KKK or the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalanggang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan on July 7, 1892 in Calle Azcarraga, Tondo, Manila.
The KKK exposed:
Manila was replete of rumors for so many years of the existence of a secret revolutionary society intensified by the return of Dr. Jose P. Rizal from Europe and his eventual exile to Dapitan in Zamboanga. Rumors were also strong about the members of this secret revolutionary society who were tearing their cedulas as an act of defiance against Spanish authorities and the control of the friars.
In August 19, 1896, Teodoro Patiño of Dao, Capiz, revealed to his sister, Honoria, that he is a member of the KKK. Honoria was horrified by the revelation and had confided to the Mother Superior of the orphanage where she was working and living about the matter. Sor Teresa sought the advice of the parish priest of Tondo, Father Mariano Gil, who, accompanied by several Guardia Civil, searched the premises of the Diario de Manila where Teodoro worked and where they found literatures confirming the existence of the Katipunan. The Governor General was informed and, thereafter, massive arrest of suspected members were conducted that forced KKK leaders to immediately order the start of the planned armed revolution which occurred in August 26, 1896 known as the “Cry of Balintawak.” Bonifacio then declared the “Katagalogan Republic.”
The 19 Martyrs of Aklan:
After the “Cry of Balintawak,” Katipunan Supremo Andres Bonifacio immediately commissioned Francisco del Castillo and Candido Iban to start the uprising in Aklan (still part of Capiz). Gen. del Castillo, who led 82 Aklanon recruits was killed in battle on March 17, 1897. Two days later, the Spanish authorities conniving with local collaborators, enticed the men of Castillo to surrender with promise of amnesty; but those who gave up were deceived, tortured and imprisoned.
Nineteen leaders were executed, their dead bodies were displayed and paraded around the Kalibo town plaza to demoralize the populace. The 19 were Roman Aguirre, Tomas Briones, Domingo de la Cruz, Valeriano Dalida, Claro Delgado, Angelo Fernandez, Benito Iban, Candido Iban, Simon Inocencio, Isidro Jimenez, Catalino Maupat, Lamberto Mangat, Valeriano Masinda, Maximo Mationg, Simplicio Reyes, Canuto Segovia, Gabino Sugcang, Francisco Villorente and Gabino Yonsal. Thus, the short-lived Katipunan-led revolution in that part of Capiz ended in defeat.
Few years later, the patriotic fervor was rekindled and the armed revolution resurrected in the whole Province of Capiz under the able leadership of Gen. Esteban Contreras of Pontevedra, Capiz assisted by Don Antonio Bello and Don Jose Altavas.
The “Comite de Conspiradores” of Parian:
The "Comite de Conspiradores" initiated by Don Francisco Felipe Villanueva and headed by Don Raymundo Angulo Melliza was formed in Parian, now Molo in Iloilo, on March 18, 1898. The members were "Parianons" that included; Pablo Araneta, Fernando Salas, Francisco Soriano, Jovito Yusay and from Jaro; Roque Lopez and Simon Ledesma. This became the nucleus that started the highly disciplined and well organized covert revolutionary movement in the Island of Panay. Five months later, together with the revolutionary leaders outside the City led by Capitan Martin Delgado of Santa Barbara, they formed a revolutionary government and thus,the "Estado Federal de Bisayas" was conceived.
Thereafter, Gen. Roque Lopez, the elected President of the Assembly and Gen. Pablo Araneta, Panay Island Commanding General and Chief Expeditionary Forces for the Visayas and other leaders of the Movement secretly maintained liaison with their relatives and friends in Negros and nearby provinces to start the armed uprising in their areas. More notably, the brothers Col. Emilio and Col. Eduardo Esteban as commissioned by the Chief of Staff, Gen. Pablo Araneta of the Visayas Expeditionary Forces.
Dr. Vicente Armada Locsin, of Janiuay, Iloilo acted as Confidential Intelligence Emissary Officer of the Central Revolutionary Committe based in Molo, Iloilo and coordinated with the Panay and Negros revolutionary councils.
Earlier, Capitan Martin Delgado together with Pedro Monteclaro, Adriano Hernandez, Quintin Salas and others led the volunteer battalion of Ilonggo contingents under the Spaniards who fought against Gen. Aguinaldos forces in Cavite and Pampanga. These military expeditions were mostly financed by Iloilo’s elite; more notably, Gobernadorcillo of Salog (Jaro) Don Eugenio Jalandoni Lopez and Don Felix de la Rama of Parian.
Later, however, Capitan Martin, with others, conspired for the Visayans instead of supporting the Spanish cause and organized an armed and open rebellion against the Spanish authorites in Panay. Several Visayan Generals including Gen. Raymundo Melliza and Gen. Pablo Araneta chose Delgado as "General en Jefe de los Tropas del Ejercito Libertador de Visayas y Governador Politico-Militar” based in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo.
The Aguinaldo Dictatorship and the Malolos Republic:
The Visayan leaders recognized Aguinaldo's revolutionary government, since it was for a Federal Republic of the Philippines, with a Federal State each for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Later, however, on May 24th of 1898 upon the advice of Ambrosio Rianzares Bautista, an autocratic regime was established with Emilio Aguinaldo as dictator.
This move was oppossed by Aguinaldos adviser, Apolinario Mabini of Batangas, considered as the "Brain of the Revolution" and he was supported by all the Visayan leaders. However, on the 12th of June, 1898, under this dictatorship Philippine Independence was proclaimed in Kawit, Cavite. This proclamation was not recognized by Spain, the United States nor by any other foreign nation.
Consequently, on January 21,1899 Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the Malolos Republic with a Constitution drafted by Ilonggo Don Gregorio S. Araneta- Secretary General and other illustrados of the congress held in Malolos, Bulacan. Two days later, on the 23rd, the First Philippine Republic with Emilio Aguinaldo as President was formally inaugurated and the Constitution ratified in Malolos, Bulacan.
The Cebu Revolutionaries:
Gen. Pantaleon “Leon Kilat” Villegas, of Bacong, Negros Oriental as directed by the Negros Island revolutionary leaders organized the Revolucionarios in Cebu and on the 3rd of April, 1898 led the armed uprising against Spanish authorities together with Luis Flores, Florencio Gonzales, Candido Padilla, Andres Abellana, and others.
Conflict between Aguinaldo and the Visayan Leaders:
On September 21, 1898 Gen. Leandro Locsin Fullon arrived in Pandan, Antique as Head of the Expeditionary Forces to Panay sent by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.
However, the Luzon force under his command and Gen. Ananias Diokno's attempt to assert their presence was regarded by the Visayan revolutionary leaders, led by the Visayan Supremo General-en-Gefe Martin Delgado, as an ''invasion'' force and was met with hostility since the Visayans did not want to recognize the supremacy of Aguinaldo's government over theirs; although, they fought side by side for the same cause and under one flag with the star emblem representing Panay, later symbolizing the Visayas after a Federal Visayan government was formally established. When the Americans invaded Iloilo, Gen. Fullon joined his cousin Gen. Pablo Araneta and helped in the resistance with other leaders of the Federal Republic of the Visayas.
The Elements of the Federal Republic of the Visayas:
On November 5, 1898, the Independent Negros Republic was declared in Bago Plaza, Negros Occidental by Gen. Juan "Tan Juan" Araneta when Spanish authorities under Col. Isidro de Castro, Politico-Military Governor of Negros Island capitulated.
Earlier, Negros revolutionaries over-powered the Spanish forces in the northern towns of Manapla, Cadiz, and Silay led by Gen. Leandro dela Rama Locsin. In the south, Gen. Marciano S. Araneta led the rebels to capture the Spanish Cuartel General in "Mangkas" now La Carlota; while Don Diego de la Viña defeated the Spanish authorities in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental.
Acta de Capitulacion of 1898:
Next day, the 6th of November, Negros Island Politico-Military Governor - Col. Isidro de Castro, on behalf of Don Diego de los Rios, last Governor-General of Spain in the Philippines signed the Formal Surrender Documents "Acta de Capitulacion" in Bacolod, duly acknowledged by Gen. Aniceto Ledesma Lacson, Presidente and other officials of the Independent Negros Republic. Don Rosendo Ledesma Lacson, erstwhile "Juez de Paz", Gobernadorcillo and elder brother of Gen. Lacson was his confidante and close adviser during the Negros revolution.
On Nov. 26, 1898, in a meeting of the Negros island cantonal government, Gen. Juan "Tan Juan" Araneta sponsored a resolution which was uninamously approved to set up a Federal Republic. "I proposed, that this island, after having attained its liberty and independence by means of a brilliant feat of arms, thus winning an honorable place in the concert of civilized nations, be governed by prestigious men in our country who knows its needs and understand its glorious ideals. For this reason I believe that the best government to realize the beautiful aspiration of our island, which is also that of the entire Filipino people, is that of a Federal Republic." This approved resolution was documented by Don Melecio Severino -Secretary General.
The Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Visayas and Mindanao proclaimed by General-en-Gefe Martin Delgado during the November 17th “Cry of Sta. Barbara” in Iloilo, was replaced on November 23, 1898 by a politico-military government restricted only to the provinces in the Visayas after the Spanish garrison in Salog (Jaro) capitulated comparable to the "Siege of Baler" in Tayabas a year later.
The leaders preferred instead an arrangement of a National Federacy composed of the separate States Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao because of the many separate islands of the archipelagic Visayas and Mindanao.
The Rise of the Federal Republic of the Visayas:
After series of serious and legitimate deliberations on nation-building it was decided to consolidate the cantonal governments in both Central and Western Visayas into the Panay government based in Iloilo and, thus, was conceived the Federal Republic of the Visayas, on December 2, 1898.
By the middle of December, the revolutionaries led by Gen. Esteban Contreras and his adjutants, Col. Pascual Barza and Col. Juan Arce and aided by Captain Alejandro Balgos, the Capizeños defeated and drove the Spanish forces out of Capiz, a few days before Spanish authorities totally capitulated to the authority of the "Gobierno de Canton de Visayas" or Federal Government of the Visayas in Iloilo City. In Romblon island, Col. Diego de Diaz commanded the revolutionary forces based in this part of Capiz. During the revolution the Province of Bohol was part of the Visayan Republic with headquarters at Santa Barbara, Iloilo.
Formal Surrender of Spanish Authority:
On December 23, 1898, Governor-General Don Diego de los Rios, in order to avoid further bloodshed, relinquished Spain’s banner and official saber - symbol of Spanish authority for formal surrender to the leaders of the approaching victorious revolutionary forces, thru Iloilo "Alcalde-Mayor" Jose Ma. Gay y Soriano.
Alcalde Jose Ma. Gay was the last Spanish Alcalde Mayor of Iloilo and the son of Vicente Gay and Trinidad Ditching Soriano, daughter of Don Anselmo Soriano y Flores (Molo Gobernadorcillo-1860) and Maria Dy Ching of Binondo, Manila. The "Plazoleta Gay" in downtown Iloilo City was named after him.
The symbolic formal surrender was negotiated by a committee composed of members of the Revolutionary Council; namely: Jovito Servando Yusay, Ramon Avanceña, Francisco Felipe Villanueva and with Francisco Guzman Soriano and Gen. Pablo Soriano Araneta as requested by the Alcalde-Mayor being his first cousins. Also present was Don Juan de Leon, who was later appointed first Presidente- Ciudad de Iloilo under the Estado Federal de Bisayas that replaced Señor Gay.
The Revolutionary Forces led by Gen. Martin Delgado (General-en-Gefe), Gen. Pablo Araneta, Gen. Leandro Fullon of Antique and Gen. Esteban Contreras of Capiz, after several fierced battles had already taken all the towns in Panay. While the revolucionarios under Gen. Roque Lopez of Jaro, Gen. Quintin Salas of Dumangas, Gen. Teresa Magbanua of Pototan, Gen. Adriano Hernandez of Dingle, Gen. Angel Corteza of Molo and others had already encircled the whole City of Iloilo.
By December 24, 1898 Gov. General Don Diego de los Rios, evacuated for Zamboanga on his way home to Spain together with Spanish Politico-Military Governor of Negros, Isidro de Castro, and Cebu Politico-Military Governor Adolfo Montero, who hastily created a Cebuano caretaker committee before he left.
Independence of the Federal Republic of the Visayas:
Following the departure of the Spaniards with the last vestige of their colonial authority formally surrendered through Iloilo Alcalde-Mayor Jose Ma. Gay, Gen. Martin T. Delgado made a triumphal entry into the City of Iloilo followed by a victorious parade of revolutionaries to Plaza Alfonso XII, which was immediately renamed “Plaza Libertad.” and there, after the unfurling of a "Tri-Starred" Philippine Flag, he declared the Independence of the Federal Republic of the Visayas, on Christmas Day in the year of our Lord, 1898.
The American Invasion of Iloilo, a "Diplomatic Faux Pas":
Two days later, on December 27, 1898, without formal Declaration of War, American Military Forces led by Gen. Marcus Miller arrived in four US warships to Iloilo harbor to demand the surrender of the City. Several negotiations were made but leaders of the newly established sovereign Visayan Nation based in Iloilo vehemently refused to surrender their battle-scarred freedom and legitimate independence..
February 2, 1899 -An American naval force appeared along the coastline of Negros ready for war. Gen. Aniceto Lacson, Negros President, seeing no chance of winning against the new invaders opted not to fight and ceded control after guarantees of property rights were made. Moreover, the elite Negros leaders were more interested in peace with America for commercial consideration as a fertile market for their booming sugar industry.
February 7, 1899 -Without expecting surrender and peaceful take-over, the Americans began the continuous naval bombardment of Iloilo City for about a week that brought irreparable damage and totally demolished the historic “Fort San Pedro“ citadel.
February 14, 1899 -American troops led by Gen. Robert Hughes landed at Fort San Pedro, near Santo Rosario and forced their way into the City. Villages were razed to the ground and hundreds of civilians were brutally killed, including defenseless women and small children, referred to by the ferocious invaders as uncivilized Chinese half-breeds.
February 22, 1899 -A sad chapter in our history as Iloilo City fell to the American invaders. But still, Ilonggo troops fought the Americans in pitched battles in towns around the City. The resistance continued even after the surrender of the Visayan Supremo Gen. Martin T. Delgado.
The Fall of the Federal Republic of the Visayas:
On April 27, 1899, Gen. Aguinaldo issued a decree abolishing the Federal Republic of the Visayas, which the Visayan leaders openly ignored since they were not under his authority. The embattled Republic continued to function, moving its capital from Sta. Barbara to Cabatuan in Iloilo.
The civilian government of the "Estado Federal de Bisayas" or the Federal Republic of the Visayas, finally ceased to exist on September 23, 1899, when the last Presidente Jovito Servando Yusay signed it's dissolution and the Estado were replaced by Gen. Martin Delgado and his Politico-Military Government in a bloodless military coup-de-etat in Cabatuan, Iloilo.
The resistance in Cebu were led by Gen. Juan Climaco and Gen. Arcadio Maxilom. In Bohol, by Gen. Pedro Samson. While in Panay, by Gen. Quintin D. Salas of Dumangas, Iloilo --the acknowledged last leader of the Visayan Republic to surrender on October, 1901.
February 2, 1901 -The Ilonggos resisted but, against insurmountable odds, they were soon overwhelmed by the new and well-armed enemy. Finally, many Ilonggo fighters, among them Gen. Pablo Araneta, realizing the futility of fighting men with vastly superior arms, gave up and accepted American Rule. "We conclude, that the fight in the future is completely useless, we understand the need to fight when there is a probability of success but when there is none, to persist in maintaining the fight becomes a useless sacrifice of lives and a crime against humanity" he wrote.
July 4, 1902 -President Theodore Roosevelt officially ended the Philippine-American War earlier known as the “Philippine Insurrection“ by issuing the Peace Proclamation and Granting of Pardon/Amnesty to the "Insurrectionists" who in reality were patriots, fighting for freedom and defending the sovereignty of an independent Nation; the FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF THE VISAYAS.
After the surrender of Gen. Aniceto Lacson to the Americans, Dionisio "Papa Isio" Sigobeyla of Cauayan in Negros --a babaylan declared himself the head of the Revolutionary Government in Negros Island. He fought the American troops for about eight more years until his capture in 1907.
In 1925 --Florencio Entrencherado, of Central Iloilo in Panay, continued the fight against foreign interference and heavy taxation by U.S. authorities until he was captured and imprisoned in Manila on May 1927, where he died two years later.
Lesser known ilonggo freedom fighters with nom-de-guerre: Montor, Sano, Berdin, Oto and Toribio in Iloilo; Ompong and Pitoc in Antique; Vertoza in Capiz and Ayos and Awit in Negros who continued guerilla warfare against Uncle Sam's invading forces were branded as crazy ignoramus, cultists, bandits and outlaws by the "Tuta" or lackeys of the Ilonggo Civilian government established by U.S authorities.
The United States of America invaded the territories of the Federal Republic of the Visayas; a sovereign independent Nation State recognized by at least one foreign country (Spain) --without a Formal Declaration of War. This is a blatant violation of the "International Rules of War" --an agreement by civilized nations of the world even at that time.
INM Co-Founder Benjie Estuche had earlier stated: “It is rather speculative as it is without basis of history if we mean of "history" is that which had been written for us by the “tutas” or lackeys of our colonial and imperial masters.."
Inquirer "Ilonggo" Columnist Amando Doronila writes about Philippine History:
Inquirer 6/13/1999- "View of revolt in provinces spurs revision" by Amando Doronila):
As pointed out by Dr. Ma. Luisa T. Camagay, professor of history at UP, ''for a long time, the history of the Philippines has been written and narrated in a manner whereby events transpiring in the provinces, towns and barrios were but ripples created by Manila, the political, economic, social and cultural center of the country...(The) history of the country has been told and retold with the Philippines being one monolithic homogenous structure with Manilas as the gauge of the national pulse. This kind of historiograpy has persisted for a long time until an awareness of local units exhibited a dynamism of its own.''
On December 25, 2005, the Ilonggo Nation Movement (INM) Global Network was formed with the main objective of pursuing aggressively the revival of our great national heritage. With the advent of cyberspace technology, we have come to realized that distorted historical facts pertinent to the Visayan Nation were ingrained in our minds as school children and continuously being cited by present-day historians and writers unaware of the facts of history from the Visayan point-of-view.
A great Chinese leader once said, that “the people and the people alone can make their own history” but the paid lackeys of the colonial masters will distort that and write history from the point-of-view of their masters.
Incidentally, some data and informations as contained in above-article were secured personally directly from documents and/or testimonies of immediate family members of the following persons who had played important roles during these glorious chapters in our history, to wit:
Gen. Raymundo A. Melliza, Gen. Pablo S. Araneta, Colonels Emilio and Eduardo Esteban, Gen. Leandro L. Fullon, Gen. Leandro D. Locsin, Dr. Vicente A. Locsin, Gen. Juan T. Araneta, Gen. Aniceto L. Lacson, Gob. Rosendo L. Lacson, Gen. Marciano S. Araneta, Don Gregorio S. Araneta, Iloilo "Alcalde" Jose Ma. Gay and Gen. Quintin D. Salas.
It would also be fair to add, that the author is closely related by consanguinity to all of the afore-mentioned..
Moreover, during the 95th Anniversary of the “Cry of Sta. Barbara” in Iloilo on November 17, 1993 --I had the opportunity to interact with descendants of other 1898 'Revolucionarios' of Panay and Negros during the reunion of members. The celebration was chaired by then Vice Governor of Iloilo, Hon. Demy Sonza -Chairman: Iloilo Provincial Historical Committee and famed Ilonggo historian.
We welcome vignettes of our history from descendants of the people herein named who were responsible for the establishment of the Federal Republic of the Visayas and we would appreciate it very much if they could submit to us photographs of memorabilias that may enhance our effort to relive our glorious years as a nation and as a people.