Historic Documents From the Federal State of the Visayas Resurface

The documents prove the quest for independence was on a national scale.
IMAGE Leon Gallery

When people think about the colonial history of the Philippines, a lot of the discussion focuses on the Tagalog-based struggles, leaving in the peripheries the equally significant fight for independence of the people of the Visayas. 

The formation of the Federal State of the Visayas was part of the Philippine Revolution against Spain. It was a short-lived political entity that traces its roots to the Panay Revolt of 1898. At the time, Spain designated Iloilo as the seat of government of the Visayas, owing to its loyalty to the Spanish Crown. It was much later in the Revolution when Iloilo joined. 

Although the Federal State of the Visayas lasted for only four months (Emilio Aguinaldo abolished it), historic documents from this revolutionary government proved it was an independent state. Iloilo was among the cities that saw action. After 120 years, exceedingly rare documents from the Revolutionary Government of Iloilo resurfaced. 

The Iloilo revolutionary documents from 1898 to 1900 consist of 24 artifacts from the Revolutionary Government of Iloilo. These include communications to the council of the provincial board, along with appointment papers signed by Francisco Jalandoni, and copies of election results of 1898 from the town of Macato, Capiz.

Aguinaldo Bonds and War Contribution Receipts 

Among the documents are receipts issued to donors of the Emprestito Nacional, known as Aguinaldo bonds, which were used to fund the Revolution. There are also receipts for war donations signed by two men, Julio Fernandez and Jovito Yusay. One document is a license granting a certain person to use a pistol. 


License for the Use of a Two-Shot Pistol

Photo by Leon Gallery.

The license reads, “Se concede licencia para el uso de un pistola de canza de dos canonzo marcado con el numero 70-M al ciudadano Sr. Benedicto Caba y Basil natural de pueblo Janiuay provincnia de Iloilo.” (A license is granted for the use of a two-shot pistol marked with the number 70-M to citizen Mr. Benedicto Caba y Basil, a native of the town of Janiuay, Province of Iloilo.)

Below is a receipt for Contribucion de Guerra or War Contribution. 

Receipt for Contribucion de Guerra

Photo by Leon Gallery.
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Communications to the Council of the Provincial Board

Photo by Leon Gallery.

The 24 documents are part of the Asian Cultural Council Auction 2021 happening at Leon Gallery on February 27.  

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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