(Silay City's Cinco de Noviembre monument)
A few years ago, I walked the streets of Madrid in Spain carrying a bag made of 'katsa' (muslin cloth) that I bought from the Negros Showroom in Bacolod City in the Philippines. It had an embroidered Philippine Flag with "1898" on it, and the words "Republica Cantonal de Negros".
I wasn't surprised then that a few locals there were staring at it, especially when I took the subway en route to visit the Islas Filipinas Subway Station (yes, a subway station was named after the Philippine Islands!) in the Chamberi District of Madrid. I proudly slung it over my shoulder; it contained my Madrid map, iPad, camera, water, and my bocadillo de jamon.
I wondered whether some Spaniards recognized the Philippine flag and probably thought that this Asian-looking guy riding the subway was from one of their former colonies. Ja-ja-ja!
If they thought so, they were right! ¡Es verdad!
(An old canon guards the monument)
Today, November 5, the Negros Province in the Philippines commemorates the successful revolution against Spain 120 years ago.
The revolt started on November 5, 1898, and peacefully ended the next day with the Spanish authorities surrendering to the revolutionary forces led by General Aniceto Lacson (from Talisay), General Juan Araneta (from Bago), Leandro Locsin, Simeon Lizares, Jose Montilla, and Julio Diaz.
That day, the ingenious generals led their soldiers carrying, take note, rifles carved from nipa and dragging canons that were actually bamboo mats colored black. They tried to trick the Spaniards held out at the San Diego Cathedral, making the enemies think that they were fully armed and ready for battle.
Their creativity paid off! The Spanish soldiers led by Col. Isidro Castro surrendered!
This day in Philippine history was more like theatrical than military! 😁
In the city of Silay, Negros Occidental, the memorial for Cinco de Noviembre was constructed to remind everyone of one of the most important dates in the Province's history. The spot was the location of an old pharmacy where the local revolutionaries secretly met to plot the uprising. Immortalized are the names of the brave local leaders who led the revolt.
After the successful revolution, the Negrenses set up its own government. But the independence was short-lived though, as the GI Joes took over the island unopposed just three months after.
(This elegant white house across the Cinco de Noviembre monument is the Teodoro Morada ancestral home.)
So, if you're passing by Silay City in Negros Occidental, aside from dropping by my favorite El Ideal restaurant, also swing by Balay Negrense for their Silay food fair today, along the Cinco de Noviembre Street.
Walk a few meters south of the Balay Negrense you'll find the monument...and our history lesson for today.
(My all-purpose, revolutionary 'katsa' bag that roamed with me around Spain. Luckily, I wasn't arrested by any guardia civil. Ja-ja-ja!)