CEBU CITY, Philippines - Swash of clashing swords can be heard from the battlefield and men armed with bladed weapons let out holler and wail. At the end of the fight, a group knocks their enemies’ weapons from their grasp, stabbing them to death.
These were some of the scenes depicted by students of the Cebu Technological University in their artistic interpretation of the battle between Cebuano Katipuneros and Spaniards in what is now called Tres de Abril.
The performance was part of the 119th commemoration of the historical uprising which was staged last April 3 at the Sinulog Hall, Rizal Library and Museum in Cebu City.
The commemoration was supposed to be held at the Tres de Abril marker in Barangay San Nicolas Proper but was transferred due to heavy rain.
In his speech, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, who chairs the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission, narrated how the revolutionaries against foreign subjugation.
He then called on the youth to preserve the history and vowed to continue raising awareness about the significance of the Battle of Tres de Abril.
In fact, he added, he will be pushing for the declaration of April 3 as holiday.
The commemoration started with a Holy Mass at around 9 a.m. and was highlighted with the floral offering spearheaded by Labella.
Cebu City North District representative Raul del Mar and representatives from different government agencies also graced the event.
The Battle of Tres de Abril was the first major clash between the Katipuneros and Spanish oppressors.
The uprising by the Cebuano Katipuneros which took place on April 3, 1898 was led by Pantaleon “Leon Kilat” Villegas, who hailed from Negros Oriental.
The battle site stretches from where Taboan Public Market is now located up to Barangay Labangon.
According to history posted on the website of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc., the Cebuano revolutionaries originally plotted their attack against the Spanish on April 8, 1898.
But Kilat ordered to carry out the attack on April 3 as he was concerned that Spanish authorities might find out the exact date of the revolution after receiving reports about it.
The bloody battle erupted after the two forces met at the crossroads between V. Rama and Tres de Abril Street
Following the defeat of the Spanish army, General Adolfo Montero, the Spanish governor of Cebu, ordered his troops to retreat to Kota San Pedro or Fort San Pedro for their security.
A Spanish reinforcement, however, arrived three days later.
Kilat along with other Katipuneros fled to the town of Carcar not knowing that some of the residents of the town were supporters of the Spaniards.
Clodoveo Nacorda, CHAC commissioner and historian, said Kilat was betrayed and killed while sleeping by his aide-de-camp Apolinario Alcuitas in Carcar early morning of April 8. (By: Michael Vencynth Braga/PIO Correspondent Network from CHAO)