HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 58 no. 1 (2012)

From Meaningful Change to Pointless Chaos: The Reinvention of Cebuano-Filipino Historical Memory of the Katipunan Revolution in the Early Twentieth Century

Florencio Segundo A. Moreño

Discipline: History



In the 1920s, the Katipunan Revolution that took place towards the end of the previous century became alternatively referred to by Cebuano-Filipinos as the kagubut. The term is not a direct, in fact, an inaccurate, translation of the word “revolucion.” In the Cebuano-Bisaya vernacular, kagubut means “chaos” or “trouble,” and the revolucionarios, therefore, were the manggugubut or “trouble-makers.” Dissemination of this (mis)translation of the Katipunan Revolution throughout popular consciousness is indicated in its consistent usage in some Cebuano newspapers widely-circulated during that period, such as Bag-ong Kusog. It is noteworthy that this view of the revolution as kagubut was practically absent in local newspapers in the first two decades of the twentieth century. This paper examines this shift in Cebuano popular historical memory and argues that the progressive imposition of American hegemony in Cebu was accompanied by the “perversion” of historical knowledge embedded in Cebuano popular imagination. The appropriation of the term kagubut as popular reference to the Katipunan revolution also reveals the phenomenon of “social amnesia.”