The Start of Cinco de Noviembre

Cinco de Noviembre is the foremost two-day revolution that swept the whole Island of Negros to independence from Spain. From this came the birth of the unique though short-lived República Cantonal de Negros, the first legitimately recognized Republic in Asia. Negros became the first bastion of democracy and peace. Celebrate 113 years of Independence in the very place where it started!


When the Spanish civil guards in Silay under Lt. Maximiano Correa signed the Acta de Rendicion or surrender papers on that fateful 5th of November 1898, our revolutionary leaders and the people of Silay who joined the struggle for freedom were not aware that the Spanish garrison in Silay was one of the first to officially surrender to a revolutionary government.

When Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898, there is no existing document recognizing the proclamation. Note that the Spanish Government never signed any terms of surrender with the Tagalog government. There was no representative from the Spanish government present in Kawit. The revolutionaries of Luzon technically haven’t won their independence from Spain.

In fact, Philippine Independence Day in the past was celebrated on the 4th of July, the day the United States of America granted our independence shortly after World War II. It is not until the time of the late Pres. Diosdado Macapagal that Independence Day celebrations were moved to June 12.

Silay was dubbed as the Cradle of Freedom in the history of the Negros revolution. Our town was the first in Negros to break away from Spanish colonial rule that triggered a string of uprisings in the different towns in the island that eventually led to the fall of the capital, Bacolod the next day (November 6).

The signing of Lt. Correa of the surrender papers in Silay on November 5, 1898, officially recognizes the revolutionary government as legitimate. The next day, the governor of Negros, Col. Isidro de Castro, formally surrendered the island to the leaders of the Negros Republic (Negros was already a republic before the Philippines became one at Malolos in January 23, 1899) in Bacolod. A month later, on December 25, 1898, the last Governor-General of Spain in the Philippines, Don Diego de los Rios surrendered to the revolutionaries of Panay in Iloilo.

Yes, Spain only surrendered to two revolutionary governments in the Philippines – Panay and Negros. Silay will figure prominently because it was the first town to officially gain independence, technically in the Philippines.


This blog is a feature contribution from the City Government of Silay. Silay City is monickered as the Paris of Negros for its numerous ancestral houses and gateway to Negros for being host to Bacólod-Silay International Airport.


About John Patrick Mayo - Magallanes

John Patrick, or JP to his friends, is currently a Junior student at the University of the Philippines - Diliman. He was born in Bacolod City and a proud citizen of República Negrénse. View all posts by John Patrick Mayo - Magallanes

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