By Ed Aurelio C. Reyes

Kamalaysayan Writers and Speakers

(July 1996)

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XACTLY WHEN? Which precise day in August? These are questions asked regarding the observance of the centennial of the Philippine Revolution of 1896. They are asked by some who want the date pointed out before saying they would be too busy with their regular affairs that day, whatever date you say. They are also asked by some others who are ready to dismiss the invitation for them to join the celebration, upon the observation that historians are not quite in agreement about certain dates and sites. These are also asked by still others who want to celebrate but are attached to the idea of a single dramatic date, much as they are fixated on the concept of a single national hero.

Actually, we have been marking sets of dates in our history. Like the EDSA Uprising of 1986, which spanned four whole days, unless you want to remember only either one of Enrile's action and Cory Aquino's being sworn-in as the new President. There was also what we called "World Youth Day" with the last word obviously in the singular form, but which spanned an entire week early in 1995 and did not highlight any specific date.

It was in August 23-24, 1896, with due regard for some of the controversies, that the Katipuneros did three things: the "Cry," the tearing of the cedulas, and the establishment of the first native government for the archipelago, complete with a President, Cabinet and armed forces. In the evening of August 27,  the combined Uliran and Apoy chapters of the Katipunan, led by Isidoro Dayao Torres assaulted and captured the quarters of the guardia civil in Bulacan, Buacan, then the provincial capital; and in the evening of August 29, about two thousand Pasigueňos, led by Gen. Valentin Cruz, stormed and overran the Spanish garrison in Ugong, Pasig, in a people-power assault called "Nag-Sabado," the first major battle of the Katipunan with the Spanish forces.  It was from August 29 to 30, 1896 that the Katipunan forces simultaneously attacked from their various bases in and around the province of Manila in a brilliant military strategy that failed only because the Cavite contingents did not come as assigned to rout the grossly-weakened Spanish forces in Intramuros and capture that seat of power.

So we have all those days as highlights. But surely, the days leading up to them were also very important, right? It was for this reason that Kamalaysayan decided to treat the entire month of August as centennial celebration month.

Anyway, if we are to have what would amount to a commensurate magnitude of commemoration, that is, commensurate to the historical significance of no less than the birth of our nation, our commemoration cannot possibly be over in just one day. If we celebrate fiestas of towns or barrios with weeklong festivities, there is no reason to mark only one big day for Sentenaryo '96, the centennial of the 1896 Philippine Revolution.

So why ask for only one day to celebrate it?

(Kamalaysayan Media Service)



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