The magic of Cebuano heroism


by Myril Eloise Enolpe

Palm Grass The Heritage Hotel and partners conducted an online celebration of Katipunan General Pantaleon “Leon Kilat” Villegas’ 148th birthday on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 via Facebook Live.

With the theme “Leon@148: Celebrating the Magic of 500 Years of Cebuano Heroism,” the event featured a magic tricks competition in commemoration of Cebuano hero Leon Kilat who was a circus magician himself. The first prize was won by John Rolan Dagani with his Leon Kilat-inspired card tricks. The second prize winner was Wilcris Aguilar.

              To relaunch the books on Leon Kilat, there was a live storytelling session of “Leon Kilat ug ang Sigbin” authored and illustrated by students from Cebu. The book was read in its English translation by Isabella Faith Bautista and Santi Sagayno in Cebuano. Miss A of Palm Grass Hotel read the historical notes.

              Also relaunched during the event were the books, “A Short History of Cebu 1500-1890s and the anti-Spanish Rrevolution in Cebu” by Dionisio Sy and “Leon Kilat: The Untold Story of the 1898 Cebu Revolution” by Emil Justimbaste.

              Dr. Salustiano Jimenez, regional director of the Department of Education Region 7, who served as the speaker of the event, shared about how we can promote our cultural heritage through learners.

              National Historical Commission of the Philippines Chairperson Dr. Renee Escalante conveyed his message on the celebration of Cebuano heroism.

              Leon Kilat’s 4th generation grandson Jeffrey Villegas Cepayo, in a video message, shared his hope that people will know the deeper story of his grandfather Leon. He mentioned that a symposium or theatre play may give life to Leon Kilat’s heroic effort to fight for Cebu.

              Winners of the island-wide essay writing contest on 500 years of Cebuano heroism held last July 14, 2021 were announced during the event as well.

              The judges, editors of Cebu’s online and print media, namely Connie Fernandez-Brojan of the Philippine Daily Inquirer-Visayas Bureau, Max Limpag of MyCebuPH, Lucky Malicay of The Freeman and Michelle So of SunStar Cebu, said they were impressed by the participants’ awareness and knowledge of Cebu’s history and their extensive vocabulary both in English and Cebuano.

              Winning the first prize was Francine Grace Mancelita with her entry “Dasig: Serving and Saving the Cebuano Way.” Mancelita is a grade 11 student from Cebu City National Science High School, Mancelita won a gift certificate and a plaque awarded by Palm Grass The Heritage Hotel.

              Grade 12 John Kyle Enero from the University of Cebu Main Campus with his entry “Cebu for the Cebuanos, Philippines for the Filipinos” won the second prize. He got a plaque and a gift certificate worth P1,500.

              The third prize winner was Jaye Samantha Abrigonda, a grade 11 student from Cebu City National Science High School. Abrigonda’s piece is entitled “Dilaab: Igniting the Dream.” She got a gift certificate worth P1,000 and a plaque.

              The Netizens’ Choice Awardee is a grade 12 student from Cebu City National Science High School. She is Cassandra Marguerit Cruz with her piece “KABAGSIK: The Key to Heroism” which garnered 688 reactions in the online exhibit.

              There was also a Facebook live trivia question of the complete date and year of Leon Kilat’s birthday. Rex Ebarle won and was given an overnight stay at Palm Grass Hotel as the prize.

              The celebration ended with the singing of the Happy Birthday song to Leon Kilat.


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