M – Leon Kilat Monument


Leon Kilat

(Pantaleon Villegas)

erected 1959
sculptor: Roman Sarmiento


Gen. Pantaleon Villegas (Leon Kilat), a native of Bacong, Negros Oriental, headed the Katipunan in Cebu. After the initial success of the 3 de Abril (1898) uprising, the Spaniards regrouped and the Katipuneros retreated. On the 7th, Kilat and some of his men arrived in Carcar to make their last stand in the town. He was feted by the most powerful set of the town principalia but for the purpose of persuading him to move his resistance elsewhere. Kilat refused, giving the reason that plans and people had long been coordinated.

The general was assassinated in Carcar that very night by the same people who wined and dined him, and who either feared Spanish reprisal if they did not themselves stop Kilat, or simply sided with Spain, or both. As closely held to our hearts, one way or the other, this history is to us in Carcar, but what happened actually had no real bearing on the movement except as it affected  Kilat, Carcar, an episode of the revolution and–maybe this–the future realignment of Cebu leaders. We never overthrew Spain and were no match for the arriving Americans either (see Carcaranons – Troadio Galicano).

Leon Kilat was buried in an unmarked grave in Carcar on 8 April 1898, his burial recorded in the parish Burials book (photo below), which record gave as cause of his death “asesinado por insurrecto” (assassinated by rebel[s]), which had some truth in it, one of the assassins having been his own Carcar bodyguard assigned to him, but did hide that the actual head conspirators were local government officials, perhaps with the knowledge of Spanish church leaders and, thus, hardly rebels.

In the Cebu Daily News (Mar 19, Apr 2, 2005), historian Trizer Mansueto, presumably researched from news articles of the period, wrote about the search for the hero’s bones in Carcar in August 1926, initiated by Bacong and Carcar town officials themselves.

In the same article, Mansueto wrote that the Carcar council that same month in 1926 passed a resolution naming the town plaza as the Plaza General Leon Kilat. Townspeople don’t know anymore if the name still stands, or if it had been changed, and how many times, the ordinary Carcaranon does not know. The town has an unenviable record in remembering its records–so much so that the current council called for the demolition of a fountain covered by a heritage ordinance passed by the council, and just because it seemed to them the best area to park their vehicles. If our memory blurs after just a handful of resolutions, why even pretend we have a heritage at all. Heritage is memory.

Kilat dedication quote right DSC00221

(Photo Aug 2009 by Wowie Madrio)

Another thing. Author of the dedication quote above etched on the right side of the Kilat monument was Caroline Atherton Mason, to honor Abraham Lincoln. The quote here substituted Nation for People which was her original. The town officials should move either to unequivocally cite the author of the quote or erase the whole thing or risk being called pompous plagiarists, they or he who had this sophomoric inspiration to substitute a word in a quotation and play innocent about its authorship.

The left side of the monument has another quotation: “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” This is no Horatian ode, this was the man’s himself. So why’s Horace’s name not here? Were not crediting quotations this early portents of things to come from our townfolks in facebook?

And a third. The National Historical Institute made this plaque this year of the hero’s biography.  So, I think our town should acknowledge the sculptor Sarmiento (see Sarmiento, Roman (II) in Carcaranons page) and the year the monument was created. That’s the least historical we should be treating our so-called historical landmarks. Again, if our memory holds, and History is memory.

At the back of the monument is the date it was erected–1959, plus who voted for (4 councilors plus the vice mayor) and against (4 councilors) the proposal to erect the monument. Disclosure of the officials’ names but not even the elementary courtesy of that of the sculptor underscores the politics of the town. In favor were the old Mariano Mercado faction and against were the Noel faction of the council. The mayor belonged to the Mercado faction and invited then First District Congressman Ramon Durano (with whom their faction was allied provincially) to inaugurate the Mercado monument.

And the whole thing, the entire drama, was played out in just one house.  See The Barcenilla House.

(page under construction)


  1. your account here is a bigger pic of the whole issue. What I really hate is that there is no Bisaya translation. It does not cost much for the town council to attach another plaque

  2. I agree, a cebuano version of this plaque can be well understood by the locals. Our leaders know this, talking about familiarity.

  3. when i was an elementary pupil in upland school, there was a rotunda ground in the Rizal monument…in front of the monument was a concreted letters ‘Plaza Dr. Jose Rizal’ painted black in white background which later carcar officials buldozed it in exchange of a parking space as of now..it was the time of mayor escobido..memories really remained history…

  4. c leon kilat kadugo sa akng apohan gitipi gtabangag puspos ug luba dha sa carcar ky ghudasan ra sab sa tga carcar ug g da sa plaza ky mahadlok cla kanyonon sa mga espanyol,duna gayud mga hudas ky mopabor pa sa d kadugo ug sa mga langyaw.

    • nagtuo ko nga may punto ka. wa nila patya si leon kilat tungod kay kanyonon sa mga kastila, kon dili di lang gyud ning mga tawhana gusto nga naay bag-ong dagsa maoy magbuot nila. mao sad to si bonifacio dili gusto nga malabwan ni aguinaldo ug mao sab si aguinaldo di gustong malabwan ni bonifacio sa iyang kaugalingong lugar. mao tingali gayud na kinaiyang pilipinhon.

      • husto kana ang imng ponto..peru duna gayuy hudas c pantaleon nakig away patay tungod sa atung katungod nga mga pilipino sa pagdaug daug sa atung yutang natawhan.

        • para nako walay judas. ang nagpatay ni kilat dili iyang mga sakop nga judason siya kon dili ang mga dagkong tae mismo sa maong lungsod nga tingali dili gusto si kilat magbuot unsay panghitabo sa ilang lungsod.
          kadtong mga pamilyaha mahibulong ka kay ang ilang mga paryente sa ciudad nanggilabot man unta sa rebolusyon apan kini sila daw walay salig sa liderato ni kilat. ana akong pagtan-aw sa situasyon sa carcar. walay kalihukang rebolusyonaryo ang mahimo kon walay. pagsalig. ang ila mismong mga lider sa luzon nanag-ilog sa gahom.

          • maayo pa ang imong lolo unta to ang nag leader aron mahibaw an nato ang paga bation. Walay salig sa imong pahak….

          • i’m telling it like it was and is. sakto ko o dili?

            On Sun, Oct 13, 2013 at 2:15 PM, CARCAR FAMILIES: A Genealogy Blog for

  5. leon kilat g hudasan jud na cya sa mga kauban nga pilipinhon…. way kalooy tong nipatay niya…..

    • mogamit kog laing termino pero dili judas kay dili man to iyang mga sakop nga matawag ug judas. way seguro para sad aning mga tawhana si kilat nag-apil-apil, nag-buot-buot sa carcar nga dili man siya taga didto. mao na ang akong pagsabot sa drama sa kinabuhi ni leon kilat ug kinabuhi sa carcar. unya to, descendant sa kalabot sa pagpatay niya, naminyo ra sad ug villegas sa negros. maayo noong pagka-judas.

  6. The Negros Oriental hero–Gen. Panatleon Villegas’s birthday is extravagantly celebrated in his hometown of Bacong…Have witnessed so many years of lavish celebration but never had it published…As the saying goes..Baconganons are friendly, fun loving people and most of all..respectful..It would have been so nice if the yearly affair will be published nor be covered by any of the TV channels to show and witness the highlights of the weeklong celebration..hope someone may notice this request…thanks and Happy Birthday to the HERO…and Best Wishes to all Baconganons too…

    • i’m surprised negros tv and press have never gotten to bacong to witness the celebrations.

  7. Ask Lang unta ko kon naa ba kaha sab makuha na mga names sa iya mga tawo or bata bata kaniadto, Kay ingon man gud AKo papa na ag iya amahan usa sa mga bata2x ( my lolo)niini ni Leon Kilat, nag ask ko AKo papa about iya papa usab if naka ask more information bahin iya lolo, but wala Kay Dili sila basta basta maka – ask daw sa ila papa Kay grabe gyod daw ka isog,bisan sa tingog Lang na tawagon silag mareka ( means come here) mangorog sila, so wala gyod siya kapanahon og pangutana bahin sa iya lolo.

  8. […] This is the statue of Pantaleon Villegas (aka Leon Kilat), one of the first significant structure you’ll see when you go up the Carcar Plaza. Many would recognize Leon Kilat as a street in downtown Cebu City, but it’s actually a moniker given to Pantaleon Villegas, a revolutionary at during the Spanish time, who famously led the Tres de Abril revolution. He was called “Leon Kilat” (two Bisaya words that literally translate to “Lion Thunder”) because legend has it that he travels so fast that he is seen to be fighting in one place today, and in another place the next day, at a time when the modes of transportation were scant and slow. Legends also said he had a “sigbin” (a mythical animal popular in the Visayas region) that protects him from enemies (see Fernandez, R. (2013). Venancio’s Leon Kilat. Cebu Daily News.) As for the sculpture, it was made by Roman Sarmiento and erected sometime in the 1950s (see Carcar Families: A Genealogy Blog for Carcar). […]

  9. halanoh mao na ba kaha ni ako gipangita…

  10. unsay address ani?

  11. Tinood ba nga wala traydora si Pantaleon Villegas aka “Leon Kilat” sa Carcar??? Kanang pag abi-abi ug pagdawat nila ni Leot Kilat…kanang pagpaka-on nila, pagpa-inum nila ug pagpakatolog nila ni Kilat didto aron makuha nila ang PAGSALIG ug KOMPYANSA sa tawo, unsa diay na??? dili diay na pa-agi sa pag TRAYDOR??? unsa diay na? Basin tingali dili lang madawat labi na sa mga kaliwatan karon…nga ang usa ka banggi-itan ug maisog nga bayani sa Kabisay-an nga nakig-away alang sa kagawasan sa atong nasud.. gipatay diha sa Carcar adtong
    pipila ka tawo nga imbis modapig ug molaban sa mga Pilipino didto na hinoon milaban sa mga Katsila…

  12. Ang unang tawo nga nag simbolo sa kina-iya nga TRAYDOR mao si “JUDAS ESCARIOTE” nga nakig inum ug nakig panga-on pa gani ni HESUS sa katapusang panihapon…sama niadtong mga tawo nga nag patay ni Leon Kilat sa Carcar, nagkig panihapon ug nakig-inum pa ni Kilat adtong gabhi-ona una siya gipatay “NAA KOY KABAYO KARON NGA IHAWON” maoy nay sulti sa usa sa nagbudhi ni Kilat adtong gabhi-ona, aww… Judas gihapon…

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