Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CRY OF JELICUON: A Special Day to Discover New Lucena’s History

You are never far from history when in Iloilo, one of the Philippines’ most historic neighborhoods. However, it is on full display during the celebration of revolutionary festivals that celebrates the rich history of the Ilonggos and features annual reenactments.

The people of New Lucena will celebrate freedom as they reenact through a highly-choreographed drama the First Cry of Revolution that took place 113 years ago in Barrio Hilicuon, New Lucena through the Cry of Jelicuon Festival on October 25, 2011 at 9 a.m.

Considered to be one of the more promising festivals in the province of Iloilo, the Cry of Jelicuon commemorates the historic undertaking of our Ilonggo revolucionarios, led by General Martin Delgado and his company of voluntaries who swore the price of their lives to revolt against the Spanish government.

Spanish rule in the Philippines brought drastic changes in the political, economic and cultural life of Filipinos. With cruelties and injustices brought about by colonizers, series of revolts took place in different parts of the country.

The history of the Philippines under the Spanish regime is rich with local heroes who, against all odds fought to secure freedom and independence.

In Iloilo, unknown to Spanish authorities, a secret group of voluntaries coming from the different towns was preparing to revolt. Tan Martin, popularly known as Martin Teofilo Delgado, a native of Sta. Barbara, was the leader of this Revolutionary Movement.

Months after General Emilio Aguinaldo, leader of the Philippine Revolutionary Movement, declared war against Spain, General Martin Delgado along with his voluntaries headed to Barrio Hilicuon situated at the boundary of the towns of Santa Barbara, Cabatuan and Lucena, where they gathered in an open field and with intense emotion, thundered, “Long live independence!” (Sonza, Philippine Free Press, 1953).

Anually, the Cry of Jelicuon takes a dramatic character and qualities. The spectacle of the re-enactment depicted on an open field through this festival with artistic renderings from local choreographers is celebrated and debated. But one of the functions of this dramatic activity is to capture the spectators' imagination in order to bring to life that historic event. The reenactment, considered spectacle is worthy of theatrical consideration in their own right.

This once little barrio, an arrabal of Sta. Barbara will take you back in time as it commemorates a very momentous event for every Ilonggos. The Cry of Jelicuon is New Lucena’s way of giving recognition and honor to this historic undertaking led people who have shaped the history of this community and our country as a whole by giving up their lives for our independence.

New Lucena is an agricultural town has been producing rice, vegetables, root crops and more. It is approximately 28 km from the city. It boasts a land area of 4, 412 hectares. It is a 45-minuter jeepney ride from Ungka Iloilo Central Line Jeepney terminal in Jaro District of Iloilo City. Jeepneys leave as they fill up the vehicle or it depends on the schedule, usually 15-30 minute intervals for the whole day.

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