Cebu streets keep revolution alive
CEBU CITY—Call them memory lanes or revolution streets. Many streets here keep the memory of Andres Bonifacio and his underground group Kataas-taasan, Kagalang-galangan, Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK) alive 115 years since the revolutionary hero and his group of insurgents fought armed battles to remove Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines in 1896.
Bonifacio is famous. But who is Leon Kilat? Or Bonifacio Aranas? Or Arcadio Maxilom? Or Florencio Gonzales? Or Florencio Llamas? Or Candido and Tiburcio Padilla? Juan Climaco? Alejo Minoza? Jacinto Pacana? Justo Cabajar? Enrique Lorega? Solomon Manalili? Or Pantaleon del Rosario?
They are streets here named after the revolution’s leader and his followers.
Bonifacio Street in the city’s north forms part of Parian, a historic district home to Chinese mestizos in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Bonifacio Street connects to others named after individuals who played key roles in shaping Philippine history—Sikatuna, a tribal chieftain who fought bloody skirmishes to reject Spanish subjugation. Apolinario Mabini, appointed prime minister of the revolutionary government. Dionisio Jakosalem, commerce and communications secretary. Mariano Jesus Cuenco, public works and communications secretary.
The road named after the “great plebeian” is a short walk to cultural sites like the Heritage of Cebu Monument, Museo Sugbo, Casa Gorordo, Yap-Sandiego House, Plaza Independencia, Plaza Hamabar and the Cathedral Museum.
Katipunan Street in Barangay Labangon in the city’s south district is named after the KKK.
On March 11, 1898, in Pacaña’s sugarcane field in Barangay Labangon, Leon Kilat and the Cebuano Katipuneros agreed to take up arms against the Spaniards.
The KKK Cebu scuttled a plot to revolt on Easter Sunday,
April 10, 1898, after the Spaniards discovered it. The Katipuneros, numbering 6,000 and armed with bolos and a few guns, fought them instead on Palm Sunday, April 3, 1898, in what is now known as the Battle of Tres de Abril.
A marker on Tres de Abril Street commemorates this battle when Leon Kilat and the Katipuneros drove back the Spaniards to Fort San Pedro and took control of Cebu City for three days.
Leon Kilat, whose real name was Pantaleon Villegas, hailed from Bacong town, Negros Oriental. At one point in his life, he joined a circus run by Katipuneros from Luzon and got recruited into the KKK.
He arrived in Cebu City in early 1898, carrying a letter from Katipuneros in Luzon who designated him as leader of the revolt in Cebu.
Five days after the Battle of Tres de Abril, on April 8, 1898, Good Friday, Leon Kilat was stabbed to death by his aide-de-camp, Apolinario Alcuitas.
Today, Cebu City’s Leon Kilat Street is the site of the University of San Jose-Recoletos, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, two malls and the building of the Government Service Insurance System office.
Bonifacio Aranas was brigadier general under Leon Kilat. Born in Mambajao town on Camiguin Island, Aranas left for Cebu after the Spaniards in his hometown got jealous of him for his shooting skills.
Aranas led Katipuneros in taking back Cebu’s northwestern towns including Toledo City and Balamban town from the colonizers.
In Bohol, en route to Camiguin to lead a battle there, Aranas was captured by the Spaniards. An old friend and former classmate allegedly tipped them off.
His captors brought Aranas back to Cebu and jailed him in Fort San Pedro. The Spaniards executed him in Barangay Carreta on April 18, 1898, after he made his final confession to his brother who was a priest,
Fr. Teodoro Aranas.
B. Aranas Street is near Cebu City’s Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino, where Aranas’ brother served.
Gen. Arcadio Maxilom was a native of Tuburan town, Cebu. On April 14, 1898, he and Aranas led the Katipuneros in the capture of Tuburan town.
Maxilom assumed leadership of the revolution in Cebu after Leon Kilat was murdered, regrouping the Katipuneros in the mountains of Cebu.
He wrote the Spanish authorities a letter demanding their surrender on Dec. 16 that year.
The battle-weary Spaniards left Cebu on Christmas Eve, two weeks after the United States and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris of 1898, in which the US paid Spain $20 million for ownership of the Philippines.
The general refused to surrender to the US although revolutionary leaders elsewhere in the country had given up. Maxilom yielded on Oct. 27, 1901.
He died in Tuburan after suffering paralysis on Aug. 10, 1924. His 4-kilometer funeral procession was attended by dignitaries including Emilio Aguinaldo.
In uptown Cebu City, an avenue bears Gen. Maxilom’s name. Structures along the avenue include a mall, youth hangouts, a bookstore, Saint Theresa’s College, the Iglesia ni Cristo church and the old Sacred Heart School-Jesuits campus.
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