This is a revised version of a paper presented at the conference, ‘Coexistencia e Interacción entre Comunidades en Las Filipinas del Siglo XIX’, Instituto de Historia, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Históricas (CSIC), Madrid, 4–6 Nov. Many thanks to Lola Elizalde and Xavier Heutz de Lemps for the invitation to participate in this conference.
In contrast, Negros showcased a range of haciendas of varying sizes in a frontier setting involving different ethnicities and supported by capital and technology mediated directly by foreign merchant houses.
In both locations sugar planters opposed the colonial state, but whereas leaseholders in Calamba, led by Rizal's family, became intentionally political in their resistance, in Negros planters engaged in a persistent and calibrated evasion of the state.
When it came to his essay on indolence, to counter the argument that friars were indispensable to economic advancement, Rizal chose to hold up non-friar haciendas in other parts of Batangas, his sights seemingly unable to extend beyond his corner of the Tagalog region.
This article, however, is not so much an explication of the agrarian unrest in Calamba or even of Rizal's argument in his essay on indolence as it is an attempt to stand in the gap in that essay.
Was Rizal unaware of the considerable wealth that was being generated from sugar production on Negros Island, which by the 1860s Spanish colonial officials had dubbed the Emporium of Wealth in the Visayas?