Lipa City in Batangas relives historic 125-year old siege  


As part of the 125th Philippine Independence Day, the City Government of Lipa recently held a historical commemorative program dubbed the “El Asedio de la Villa de Lipa” to relive the 1898 Siege of Lipa, one of the forgotten decisive Filipino victories during the Philippine Revolution.

On June 7, 1898, revolutionary troops waylaid Spanish troops commanded by Col. Juan Rodriguez Navas, who were en route to the provincial capital town of Batangas. The troops sought cover at the San Sebastian Cathedral in Lipa where they held out for a 12-day gunfight with Filipinos led by generals Paciano Rizal, the national hero’s elder brother, and Eleuterio Marasigan.

The siege ended on June 18 with the surrender of the Spanish soldiers under negotiated honorable terms. As it happened at the same time with the declaration of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite, this momentous event has been relegated to the dustbins of history.

Scholastic studies describe the siege as the event “that sealed the fate of the Spanish colonial government in Batangas.”

Eyewitness accounts were based on the memoirs of Dr. Santos Rubiano, a military doctor with the Spanish cazadores, who also negotiated the peaceful surrender to the freedom fighters.

The highlight of the observance is the reenactment of the battle performed by the Manila-based Republica Filipina Reenactment Group (RFRG) who played both the Spanish and Filipino troops, and students of the Lipa Integrated Performing Arts, Theia Performing Arts, and La Salle Theater.

The commemoration, the first of its kind in the city, also featured a symposium on the Siege of Lipa with resource persons Eufemio Agbayani III of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), and heritage advocate Renz Marion Katigbak and multi-awarded journalist Howie Severino, who were both instrumental in bringing the event to the attention of the local government officials.

According to Lipa Mayor Eric Africa, the people of the city should take pride in this glorious occasion and immortalize this lesser-known historic detail through regular annual observances and continuing education. 

The event was capped with the unveiling of a silver plaque marker on the side of the San Sebastian Metropolitan Cathedral led by Mayor Africa, City Council Committee on Culture and Arts chairperson Councilor Riofer Nicole Ronquillo, and Cathedral parish priest Monsignor Ruben Dimaculangan.

In photo are members of the Republica Filipina Reenactment Group (RFRG) recreating a scene at the Siege’s actual site at the Metropolitan Cathedral’s Plaza Independencia.