Revolt of the Negrens against the Spanish colonizers – Manila Bulletin
A glimpse into Negrense’s fight for freedom through the Houses of the Generals
It might not be so far-fetched to say that one of the most important moments in Philippine history occurred on June 12, 1898, when the Filipinos’ quest for freedom was finally fulfilled. What many may not know much about is the revolt that continued months after the declaration of independence that took place in Negros, cementing Filipino love and ownership for the country. .
On November 5, 1898, the Negrens took to the streets to claim their inalienable right to self-determination. No other story in the Negros archives exerts a greater influence on the evolution of Negros’ heritage than this historic struggle for independence from Spanish rule and the consequent establishment of the Cantonal Republic of Negros. Today this moment is immortalized with the celebration of Cinco de Noviembre.
An annual event, the provincial feast of Cinco de Noviembre which aims to commemorate the courageous spirit of Negrenses and not to forget it. Created on the same day in 2020, Negros Season of Culture (NSC) honored this year’s momentous event through the life of General Aniceto Lacson de Talisay, who led the katipuneros of the north, and General Juan Araneta de Bago, who organized the farm workers from the south. The two converged at Bacolod to secure the surrender of the Spanish governor. The Negros Season of Culture production team spoke at length with the descendants of the two generals to get a glimpse of them back in the days they lived, straight from inside their homes.
The NSC team visited the actual set of planning for the revolt. General Aniceto Lacson’s Casa Grande, as it is called, is a bahay-na-bato structure that sits in the middle of his sugar cane plantation in Talisay City. In this hacienda, katipuneros, or members of the Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK), were disguised as farm workers waiting for the appointed day to start the revolution.
When the smoke subsided, Spanish forces from Negros surrendered and General Lacson was elected President of the Cantonal Republic of Negros. Casa Grande was the country’s first presidential palace. By this time, Malacañang was passed down from the Spanish rulers to the Americans who, under the Treaty of Paris at the end of the Spanish-American War, subjugated the Spanish territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines.
In 2002, the ancestral home of General Aniceto Lacson was declared a National Historic Monument by the National Historical Institute.
For General Araneta, the crew of the NSC was hosted at the residence of General Juan Araneta and the Landmark Museum in Bago City. The house was given to the general by a relative shortly after the revolution. He is affectionately referred to by locals as Balay ni Tan Juan, as the general was previously a Municipal Capitan, hence the nickname Tan Juan.
The museum celebrates General Araneta’s role as commander of the southern forces. Here, we discover the general’s ingenuity through tales of makeshift cannons, made of rolled bamboo mats and painted black, and improvised rifles made from nipa slingshots. The silhouette of farm workers marching with artillery was enough to convince the Spanish authorities to surrender.
The museum also includes testimonies of illustrious children from the city of Bago, including a senator and a chief justice, who have provided outstanding service in all branches of the national government over the years.
In 1978, the descendants of General Juan Araneta donated the property to Bago City. It was quickly declared a national historic monument by the National Historical Commission.
“On the eve of another election year, NSC urges you to think about what makes Filipinos hope and come out of crises year after year,” he says. “The Negrens have been spared the moments of integrity, industry and innovation that punctuate the lives of their brave ancestors. Their stories, archaic if not forgotten, have the unenviable task of asking today’s young minds to pause, listen and learn.
Learn more at negrosseasonofculture.com.
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