The historical marker in Tres de Abril Street, Cebu City. Photo by Carlo Joseph Moskito

Three in the afternoon of April 3, 1898 became the most crucial moment of Cebu’s history for this laid the fate of the island. At the intersection of V. Rama and Tres de Abril, Leon Kilat deployed his men and prepared for battle. Upon seeing the Spanish loyalists getting ready to fire, he ordered his men to lie flat on the ground. Given that such rifles can only take five shots, he immediately led his men to a hand-to-hand skirmish while they were reloading. Using his kris, Kilat ended up beheading Lt. Cueto and slicing the shoulders of another cazador. Meanwhile, upon seeing that the Spaniards were already on the run, Captain Monfort was left with no choice but to order his men to retreat to the fort. This signaled the premature celebration of Katipuneros as they began outcrying Viva Katipunan! Viva Filipinas!

This is the story left untold to many. Today, this intersection is nothing but a place where people ramble about the heavy traffic and stress caused by the rush hour. No one remembers the hero from Bacong, Negros Oriental and the people who came together to fight for freedom.

On the 115th anniversary of the Battle of Tres de Abril, the Former Mayor Michael Rama and other department heads led the Ceremonial Floral Offering at the Tres de Abril marker in honor of the great heroes and heroines who fought to make the dream of freedom and independence a reality. Through the efforts of the Cebu City government together with the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission, a commemorative event has been held every year to remember this significant happening in the province.

As beneficiaries of the Battle of Tres de Abril, people should become more grateful that amidst the current issues faced by the people these days, it is of no comparison to the oppression felt by most locals during the Spanish colonization. We have to learn from the past in order to face the present with a silver lining for a better tomorrow.

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