Cinco de Noviembre, also known as Negros Day, is cultural and historical commemoration observed in Negros Occidental, Philippines every November 5th in remembrance of the local revolt that ousted Spanish rulers from power in 1898.
It is a special nonworking public holiday in the province of Negros Occidental pursuant to Republic Act No. 6709 that was approved on February 10, 1989.
Bago City also has a simultaneous celebration called Al Cinco de Noviembre in Bago City, famous for the “Sigabong sang mga Kanyon.”
What is Cinco de Noviembre
Cinco de Noviembre, translated to the Fifth of November, is a commemoration of the revolution by the people of Negros Occidental against the Spanish colonial government in 1898.
It led to the surrender and expulsion of the Spaniards, ending over three centuries of their rule in the province, and paved the way to the establishment of the Republica of Negros.
Background. Grievances against abuses and the desire for freedom from the Spaniards resulted in various local uprisings in the 19th century.
Most notable were those led by chief Manyabog of the Carolan tribe in Kabankalan in 1855, Ponciano Elofre (Dios Buhawi) between 1880 and 1889, and Dionisio Magbuelas (Papas Islo).
Meanwhile, the elite sugar barons or hacenderos were less willing to join to oppose foreign rule at the outset of the Philippine Revolution in 1896. They benefited from Castillan authority.
Firstly, they acquired through the legal system vast tracts of land for the cultivation of sugarcane. Secondly, their financial interest was afforded protection by the Guardia Civil and the state that ensured farms had workers and remained productive.
Thus, they threw their support with the Spanish force by sending men to fight in Luzon against the Katupineros.
The hold of the Spaniards over the colony, however, was proving to be vulnerable with the fervor of the revolution spreading in many areas.
The authorities were also perceived to be failing in passing policies to aid the sugar industry. The rise of the Americans as a global superpower likewise also posed a challenge.
The hacenderos began an alliance to repel the Spaniards in August 1898. Its prominent members were Aniceto Lacson, Juan Araneta, Rafael Ramos, and Carlos Gemora.
Aniceto Lacson from Talisay was the head of north of Bacolod, assisted by Nicolas Golez from Silay as deputy commander. Juan Araneta from Bago was the head of south of Bacolod, and his deputy commander was Rafael Ramos from Himamaylan.
The movement had chapters in many towns, and they were bound to an oath of secrecy that the Spanish authorities were unaware of their existence.
The network was funded by contributions that were gathered at the drugstore owned by Leandro Locsin (Farmacia Locsin) in Silay.
Locsin tracked the collection by logging a code corresponding to the donor and the amount of the donation.
For instance, the five hundred pesos of donation by Jose Ledesma was written down as 500 grams of Jarabe de limon (lemon syrup).
A meeting was called on November 1, 1898 to agree on the date for the revolution and they settled for November 5, which would also be simultaneous to a similar uprising in Iloilo.
The message to take up arms was spread throughout the network on November 3.
The day after, the telegram lines were disconnected to prevent communication with the Spaniards in Bacolod. And perhaps a little more enthusiastic in the effort, Custudio Duyungan and Luis Mosquera captured the garrison in Manapla on the same day.
The secret plot to overthrow the colonizers was nearly leaked. A woman in Kabankalan told the priest, Fr. Tomas Cornago, about the conspiracy. Fr. Cornago tried to verify the information from the cabeza, Doroteo Quillama.
Quillama, however, concealed what he knew.
The fifth of November. On November 5, the revolt began in different parts of the province.
Revolutionaries launched an assault against the Spanish stronghold in Silay that was guarded by Lieutenant Maximiano Correa, ten Spanish cazadores and seven Filipino guardia civil.
The structure was about to be burned down, but a negotiation was brokered by parish priest Fr. Eulogio Saez, businessman Juan Viaplana, and Jose Ledesma.
The Spaniards surrendered and gave up their weapons on the condition that written account of the event would state that they surrendered after a well-fought battle.
On the other hand, the advancing force of Aniceto Lacson stopped at the Matab-ang River where the defense was put up by Governor Isidro de Castro. De Castro sent 25 cazadores and 16 guardia civil.
The bloody encounter left two dead and a number wounded. The Spaniards retreated to the convent in Bacolod.
In the morning of November 6, Lacson and Golez moved towards Bacolod by passing through Mandalagan River. Araneta and Ramos approached from the south, starting in Ma-ao and crossing the town of Bago, then finally to Lupit Bridge.
A popular story in history was that the Filipino revolutionaries created props & made them look like weapons to inflate the appearance of their firepower. Amakan (also known as sawali; a sheet made of interwoven strips of bamboo) were rolled to resemble canons. Pieces of wood were also made into the likeness of firearms.
De Castro and leaders of the revolt (Araneta, Julio Diaz, Golez, Lacson, Simeón Lizares, Locsin, and Jose Montilla) met through the mediation of Jose Ruiz de Luzurriaga.
In the end, De Castro agreed to sign “Acta de Capitulacion” that signified the surrender of Spanish authorities and the removal of their troops.
According to some accounts, the Spanish presence in Bacolod was lessened because a number of soldiers were sent to crack down on the uprisings elsewhere in the island. Hence, the revolutionaries were able to capture the capital of the province with less resistance.
Aftermath. With the signing of the capitulation, the revolt ended and Negros Occidental was freed from Spanish control. Its success foreshadowed the liberation of Negros Oriental in the succeeding weeks.
Eventually, revolutionary leaders declared the establishment of the short-lived Republic of Negros (Republica Cantonal de Negros). The new republic continued on until it ended during the American occupation.
The Luzurriaga residence is no longer in existence. In its place where it once stood is the Fountain of Justice, now a landmark. A historical marker that briefly describes the events of Cinco de Noviembre was installed by the National Historical Institute in 2007.
Additionally, a replica of the Farmacia Locsin is constructed and has become a historical landmark in Silay City.
How to reach Negros Occidental
Bacolod City is accessible through its airport. One can also arrange inter-island transport from neighboring islands and land trips to and from Negros Oriental.
- Republic Act No. 6709. Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved October 28, 2023
- Ver F. Pacete. Pacete: Cinco de Noviembre 1898–Silay. Sunstar. November 3, 2022. Retrieved October 3, 2023
- Roque P. Holifeña. Hofileña: Cinco de Noviembre and The Republic of Negros. Sunstar. July 19, 2022. Retrieved October 3, 2023
- Pippo Carmona. Diagnosing the “Bloodless” Myth of Cinco de Noviembre. Bibliotikal. November 4, 2021. Retrieved October 3, 2023
- Jojo La Maria. Pacete: Col. Papa Isio: Last revolutionary leader standing. Sunstar. November 18, 2017. Retrieved October 30, 2023
- Leslie E. Bauzon. MODERN MILLENARIANISM IN THE PHILIPPINES AND THE STATE: FOCUS ON NEGROS, 1857 – 1927. Philippine Social Sciences Review. April 1998. Retrieved October 30, 2023
- Pook ng Pagsuko ng mga Puwersang Espanyol sa Negros Occidental. National Historical Commission of the Philippines. November 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2023