Revolution as Fiesta-A A +A
By Ver Pacete
As I See It
Thursday, October 24, 2013
I AM writing this early because I want to encourage our educators (public and private schools, especially Social Studies teachers) to give focus to our Cinco de Noviembre Commemoration. This is Negros Day (just like our Philippine Inpependence Day). This day calls for a celebration, a dramatization on what happened in our island 115 years ago. This is not only a memorialization for Silay, Talisay, Bacolod and Bago.
If Cinco de Noviembre is our main fiesta, then this calls for a festive occasion. The towns and cities together with our provincial government should come up with a common plan to plant the seed of heroism, nationalism and patriotism to the hearts and minds of the Negrosanon youth. The Negros Historical Commission should be in front of a cultural revolution to fire the first cannon ball to awaken Negrosanons that our ancestors established the Federal Republic of Negros (Occidental and Oriental) with its own Congress (December 19, 1898 according to Philippine Almanac).
This could be for the record. This did not last long also. Our leaders (not all) wanted an advocated collaboration with the Americans to save the island (and also to sweeten the sugar deal with Uncle Sam). The Cinco de Noviembre event could be like a zarzuela script but somehow it achieved the independence we want for Negros Island. The ‘hacendados’ became captains of the troops with their gala uniform on and the ‘jornaleros’ became foot soldiers equipped with their ‘espading, tagad, bangkaw, and pana’. That simply goes to show that the semi-feudal set-up in Negros haciendas worked effectively when the ‘jornaleros’ with their canine devotion marched with their hacienda lords to a battle for survival (of the sugar industry) and a test of fortitude and manliness.
We dare all executives to look (research) for their own Cinco de Noviembre heroes. A whole-day program could start with a Thanksgiving Mass to express gratitude to the Lord for not favoring the Spaniards on that day (November 5, 1898). The sermon of the priest could be centered on strong leadership, unity and common valor. Of course, he could ignite a little on pork barrel, over political spending, and barangay election. After the mass, there could be program at the plaza or any historical site. It’s an opportune time for the mayor to renew his commitment to be a hero for his people based on his flagship program.
Descendants of local heroes related to the 5 de Noviembre could be given recognition on what their ancestors did. A dramatization on what the local heroes did could be presented by DepEd with the superintendent or the district supervisor giving the message. This could be followed by cooking contest on the food of the revolution. Your local visual artists may have installation art or mural painting in the unpainted wall of your public cemetery. That area will become a tourist attraction. The boy or girl scouts could present a fancy drill at the plaza. A big crowd will attract ice cream vendors and that would mean economic growth.
Folk heroes could be remembered… Elias Magbanua, Manang Pula, Bugrong Manyabog, Papa Isio and others. Attention should not only be with the big guns of Silay and Bago. Our ‘jornaleros’ deserve a day for their greatness. Probably, the owners of the farms could give them free lunch… probably only but it could be done. Here in Silay, Punong Barangay Efren Dequilla is providing free lunch for his revolutionaries. They will have some kind of a boodle fight under the acacia tree. The local theater group is coming up with a dance drama to put the audience’s hearts in their mouths. After all, Silay is the heart of arts and culture. That’s part of our ‘Fiesta Kultura sa Nobyembre’.
The memorable 5 de Noviembre event happened because our ancestors let it happen. They were excited to redeem themselves from the Spanish rule. That was just a coincidence that Aniceto Lacson and Juan Araneta, and the Silay think tanks were there. They were just on the lead roles but the hundreds of extras who were sugarcane workers created the climactic scenes. They made the action scenes undeniably riveting.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 24, 2013.