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The judgment of history

/ 08:50 AM January 10, 2013

History is replete with events that are worth reflecting in these times and yet people barely take notice. Perhaps it is because we know little about the past. Take the other day, for example. No one in Cebu probably remembered that it was the 113th anniversary of the Fall of Sudlon. On January 8, 1900, a volunteer regiment of American soldiers led by Lieutenant Col. Andrew Summers Rowan finally overran the headquarters of the Cebuano resistance to American rule.

Not that we should, of course, remember defeats. But the Fall of Sudlon was in itself a watershed event that began when American authorities, having overran Manila after stealing Philippine Independence by gunboat diplomacy, turned their eyes on Iloilo and then on Cebu. On February 22, 1899 the gunboat Petrel entered Cebu harbor after bombing Iloilo and promptly demanded from the provincial authorities, holed up at the old Spanish-era Casa de Gobierno across Plaza Independencia (Plaza Libertad at the time), to suspend the short-lived independence Cebuanos were enjoying. (Then as now, suspensions carried threats of force—which explains why Marcelo Garbo of the Philippine National Police turned gung-ho in evicting the governor. The worse part, of course, is that there was no one to hear any Temporary Restraining Order then! Things had to be settled either by surrender or by going to war!)

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Luis Flores, who had taken his oath on December 29 the year before as acting governor hastily convened all his local Katipunero colleagues including Arcadio Maxilom, Saturnino Echavez, Mateo Luga, Pantaleon del Rosario, Justo Cabajar, Nicolas Godinez, and Troadio Galicano, among others. Absent in this meeting were Juan Climaco and Francisco Rodriguez who had decided to gather guns in Samar for the upcoming war against the Americans. In the turbulent meeting that ensued, it was clear that Maxilom, Echavez, Luga, Del Rosario, Cabajar, Godinez, and Galicano and many of the major players in the revolution against Spain would not countenance such threat from America to bombard Cebu if it did not lower the Philippine flag and raise the Stars and Stripes at Fort San Pedro.

Flores unfortunately decided to cast his lot with men like Julio Lllorente and Leoncio Alburo who agreed to allow the Americans to raise their flag but only if they were given a face-saving measure: that they be allowed to submit a letter of protest.

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Maxilom left the meeting in a huff and vowed never to surrender. Thus ensued three years of brutal war all over Cebu. In the aftermath following the eventual surrender of the brave Cebuano heroes, the opportunists and early American collaborators were soon tossed into the dustbin of history. Luis Flores never recovered the fame he earned when the Spaniards left Cebu on December 24, 1898. In a sad twist of fate, Llorente, who was appointed governor of Cebu by the Americans lost to the resistance general Juan Climcao in the elections of 1903. All those who allowed the Americans to raise their flag at Fort San Pedro were simply erased from historical memory. No streets are apparently named after all of them, except for Llorente and Flores. History indeed is a harsh judge.

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Let me congratulate once again Mayor Aurelio “Rudy” Espinosa and his daughter, Vice Mayor Arlene “Daydee” Zambo and Councilor Ame de Pio for the successful inauguration of Museo Toledo. It was just a dream of then-Mayor Daydee and Gov. Gwen Garcia seven years ago to have a city museum for the burgeoning city of Toledo. That dream finally became reality last Sunday, thanks to people like Marvin Chito Natural, the museum curator, Joshua Honoridez, the museum’s acquisitions officer, and at Carmen Copper Corp. Sofia Picardal and Architect. Andre Bordon who designed the amazing Toledo Copper Mining Gallery.

If you have not been to Museo Toledo yet, then you do not know the history of Toledo and the development of Atlas Mining as well as Carmen Copper Corp. It is also time to see the 14 Cebuano artists whose works are on display at the museum’s art gallery and lecture hall. This is a city museum with its own library and outdoor exhibition complementing four large indoor galleries.

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TAGS: Fall of Sudlon, History, Lieutenant Col. Andrew Summers Rowan
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