NOVEMBER 5 is Negros Day. It is our independence day after the Spaniards surrendered to the "hacendados" of Negros in a make-believe "zarzuela" at the expense of the "jornaleros" (sugarcane workers). Before that day, the Spaniards, the "hacendados," the "hacenderos," and the friars were like fraternity members.
In my hometown, Pueblo de Silay, Fr. Eulogio Saez, ORSA (Order Recoletos de San Agustin), was enjoying huge collection for the church during his masses. His convent was provided with sacks of first class rice as donation from the "hacenderos." The wives from the "buena familias" were sponsoring the best food for the breakfast, lunch, and supper of the priest.
Lt. Maximiano Correa, the commander of the Spanish soldiers stationed at the garrison, was a friend of Luciano Severino, the capitan municipal of Pueblo de Silay. The idea of having a revolution against the Spaniards came to the mind of the Negrosanons when in the moro-moro Battle of Manila Bay, the US Asiatic Squadron of Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet commanded by Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasaron on May 1, 1898.
The "hacendados" of Negros like Aniceto Lacson, Juan Araneta, Leandro Locsin, Jose R. de Luzuriaga and Teodoro Yulo connected to Roque Lopez, the
president of the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Iloilo functioning under Martin Delgado, the general-in-chief of operations.
The friendship of the Negrosanon "hacendados" and the Spaniards under Spanish Governor Isidro de Castro did not prosper much for the advantage of sugar industry. The astute "hacendados" became military captains for the November 5, 1898 Revolution. They put on their military uniforms and enticed the "jornaleros" and the "apaceros" (sharecroppers) who have canine devotion to the landlords to march and fight.
The Cinco de Noviembre Revolution was a done deal because the Silaynons knew that there were only ten Spanish soldiers and seven natives under Lt. Correa. They were just armed with Mauser and Remington rifles. A Spaniard, Juan Viaplana, negotiated for the surrender of Correa.
In Bago, Juan Araneta found this as an opportunity for his "venganza" (vengeance) to Spaniards who humiliated him for his being non-conformist and arrogance. The cunning Juan Araneta ordered his "trabajadores" (workers) to make fake canons and rifles. They marched to Bacolod like professional soldiers of the infantry.
The battle for Negros was won with comic ending. Federal Republic Canton of Negros Island was established ... but that was just the first act in the "zarzuela."