The Negros Museum has just put together its Cinco de Noviembre exhibit – an intimate portrayal of this piece of history that is now celebrated around the province as Negros Day. The museum would not be completely a museum reflective of Negrense history and culture without a dedication to the November 5, 1898 event. Here, we offer a space and pay tribute to the heroes of the revolution.
In November 5, 1898, Filipino forces from the south led by General Juan Araneta, and from the north led by General Aniceto Lacson, worked to overthrow Spanish authorities from the province. This was probably the only time in Negrense history when all social classes in the province were of one mind in the fight for independence. The Filipino troops from Bago City fashioned fake rifles from nipa palm fronds, rolled bamboo mats to make into fake cannons, and gathered ripe coconut fruits to simulate cannonballs. When painted black, and viewed through a telescope by a Spanish lookout from one of the belltowers of the San Sebastian Cathedral, these could have passed for genuine weapons of war. Genuine enough to result to the surrender of the Spanish forces, and the signing of the act of capitulation.
The bluff that freed Negros is the stuff of legends, and is retold countless times around the province to both the locals and to the tourists. The storyteller tells the tale of bravery and cunning with pride in his heart for it was a rare event for the Negrenses to get their acts together to overthrow what was perceived to be a superior power.
On November 30, 2021, the Negros Museum formally opened the Al Cinco de Noviembre exhibit and present were direct descendants of General Aniceto Lacson i.e. Alfonso Balcells, and Carmen Rosello, and of General Juan Araneta i.e. Clemente del Castillo. The Provincial Governor of Negros Occidental Eugenio Jose Lacson and the Provincial Administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz were also present to witness the opening of this significant exhibition space. (The provincial government is a staunch supporter of the museum in terms of activities and funding.)
The Cinco de Noviembre exhibit is focused more on the human side of the important personalities involved. There is Aniceto Lacson as the owner of the Casa Grande, an architectural gem in the realm of Philippine ancestral houses. Imagine him as the host with the most.
Before he was a hero, Tan Juan Araneta was a world-class farmer who brought Negros products to the 1904 St. Louis World Fair. And won mucho medals for those. A black-and-white photograph of Leandro Locsin shows him not as the serious pharmacist whose Farmacia Locsin played a vital role in being the repository of funds for the underground movement, but as a relaxed, regular lolo (grandfather) surrounded by his impish apos (grandchildren).
One will discover that the Al Cinco de Noviembre exhibit is two exhibits in one. The ancestral houses of our November 5, 1898 heroes inspired the furnishing of the next room into a showcase of the Negrense lifestyle.
As one enters the Al Cinco de Noviembre exhibit gallery, a double door to one side opens into another world. It is another era of gracious living, and unharried human interactions, and elegant existence in Negros mansions.
In her welcome address to the descendants of Aniceto Lacson and Juan Araneta, Mrs. Gamboa said, “The dwelling places of your ancestors are represented at La Casa de Negros. Their spirits live perpetually in the culture of our province through the grand houses that they once called home, and these grand houses have defined the Negrense lifestyle through the decades after that prideful moment in November 5, 1898.”
The Negros Museum is open everyday except weekends from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for self-guided tours, events, and photo shoots. Call 4334764 and 7037339 for inquiries and reservations.
Visit the Negros Museum at Gatuslao Street, between the Hall of Justice and the Commission on Elections office.