Friday, January 18, 2013

Filipino Martyr: DIEGO R. DE LA VIÑA

Affluent Revolutionary in Negros
Born on May 20, 1849 in Binondo, Manila, Diego de la Viña was known as a powerful
cacique, a disciplinarian, and “Tamer” of the Bukidnons of Negros. Both his parents belonged to
affluent families. His father, Diego de la Viña y Balbin, was an engineer from Oviedo, Asturias,
Spain, while his mother Damiana de la Rosa was a Chinese mestiza. On many occasions, he signed
his name as Diego de la Viña y de la Rosa to distinguish himself from his father.
He was reared in the wealthy district of Binondo. After his studies in the Escuela Superior
in Manila, he was sent to Spain. He entered his father’s alma mater, the University of Oviedo in
the Basque province of Asturias, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Upon his return to the Philippines, he married Apolonia de la Cruz, a pretty Tagala, and
worked in his father’s coalmines at Alpako, in Naga, Cebu. He later went to Binalbagan, Negros
Occidental and purchases a tract of land, which he planted to sugarcane. After his wife died,
leaving four children in his care, and a strong typhoon causing heavy floods destroyed his
plantation, he decided to leave the place and settle in Guingulhan, Negros Oriental. There he
acquired a wide farmland, which he named Hacienda Vallehermoso.
He hired the mountain-dwelling Bukidnons as helpers who gradually assimilated
themselves with the lowlanders. De la Viña ruled his territory with an iron hand and a penchant for
horrible punishments for law offenders. It was here where he married his second wife, Narcisa
Geopano of Iloilo, who gave him three daughters.
De la Viña played an active part in the Philippine Revolution with the rank “General de
Brigada Comandante del Ejercito Filipino Provincia de Negros Oriental.” He led the revolutionists
in Negros Oriental and recruited men of Hacienda Vallehermoso and of the nearby sitios to his
revolutionary army. Armed with assorted, self-supplied bolos, pinute, talibong, bahi, spears and
lances, he and his men were able to liberate Dumaguete on November 24, 1898. The next day, in
compliance with the order from Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo of the Malolos Republic through Gen. Juan
Araneta, he organized a new revolutionary government for Negros Oriental and was elected
delegate of war. General de la Viña never wavered in championing the cause of national freedom
and independence. When officials of the Negros Oriental revolutionary government headed by
Demetrio Larena recognized American rule in the province, however, he was disgusted. He left the
revolutionary government and returned to Hacienda Vallehermoso, to engage in his old occupation
as a farmer.
He was instrumental in the creation of Vallehermoso as a regular town. He donated the
site for the school building, municipal hall, market and plaza.
He died of heart attack on March 27, 1920.

Aldecoa-Roriguez, Caridad . “Negros Oriental- From American Rule to the Present: A History.”
Dumaguete City, 1989.
______________. Negros Oriental and the Philippine Revolution, Cebu, 1983.
Quirino, Carlos. Who’s Who in Philippine History. Manila: Tahanan Books, 1995.

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