Vicente Gella y Rendon

He was the Counselor for Antique of the Estado Federal de Bisayas, and was one of four commissioners sent to Malolos in late January 1899. The commission was composed of Ramon Avanceņa, Venancio Concepcion, Adriano Hernandez and Vicente Gella.   Raymundo Melliza, then the presidente of the Estado, requested and was able to get a safe conduct pass for them from Gen. Miller.   They departed Iloilo on January 28, 1899 aboard the ship St. Paul (or San Pablo)
- Demy Sonza's book on Adriano Hernandez, Page 104

When Jaro fell on Feb. 12 1899, the Estado Federal de Bisayas transferred its capital to Cabatuan, Iloilo.

The report of their trip to Malolos was then presented by Ramon Avanceņa and Adriano Hernandez to the Estado Federal de Bisayas in Cabatuan on February 17, 1899.
1229 - Estado Federal de Bisayas Meeting, Feb 17, 1899
Sonza - Estado Federal de Bisayas Meeting, Feb 17 1899

Around probably April 30, 1899, Vicente Gella was elected presidente of the Estado Federal de Bisayas in Cabatuan, but he declined the position.

by Demy P. Sonza (Illustrious Ilonggos)

IF FR. VALERIO Malabanan gained fame as the teacher of Mabini, Malvar, and other great men from Batangas, and Manuel Locsin and Fernando Salas are now remembered as the teacher of several illustrious men from Iloilo, Vicente Gella deserves the distinction of being the intellectual father of the most prominent sons of Antique. His students had become the first pillars of the province of Antique during the American regime and belonged to the roll of.Filipino stalwarts. Among these were General Leandro Fullon, the first governor of Antique; Assemblyman Ramon Maza, and Colonel Ruperto Abellon.

Vicente Gella was the fourth of fifteen children of Capitan Bonifacio Gella and Capitana Juana Rendon of Pandan, Antique. He was born in Pandan on June 24, 1856. Capitan Pacio was highly respected in the community not only because he was the town executive but also because he owned wide tracts of land and extensive fishing grounds. In addition, he was an accomplished.musician with the flute as his favorite musical instrument.

The local school of Juan Serpenos was where Vicente got his first formal education. Then he was sent to Manila where he obtained the Bachiler en Artes from the Colegio de San Juan de Letran, and in 1885, the Licenciado de Jurisprudencia from the Tomas.

After getting his license to practice, thereby becoming the first lawyer from Antque, he came home to engage in the legal profession.. At this time, he also noticed the dire need to educate the young people in his province. He decided to establish the Colegio de San Vicente Ferrer in San Jose de Buenavista, the capital of Antique. The school offered classes from the primary grades up to high school. Among his colleagues on the faculty were his younger brothers Pedro and Ariston Gella, and Perfecto Garbanzos.

The Spanish authorities, in recognition of his educational qualifications, appointed him to various public positions. In 1885 he was named justice of the peace of San Jose and later was promoted to judge of the Court of First Instance of the province.

When the Philippine Revolution spread to Antique in 1898, most of Gella's former students joined the revolt. Although he had served the Spanish government well, Don Vicente did not hesitate to throw his lot with the revolucionarios. And when the Federal State of the Visayas was organized in December 1898 in Iloilo, he was elected as councilor for Antique. His brother, Ariston, was earlier chosen, together with Anselmo Alicante, to represent Antique in the Malolos Congress.

In 1901, when the U.S. Philippine Commission established the civil government in the province, Vicente Gella was appointed provincial fiscal. He stayed in this office from 1901 to 1913 when he left to practice law. Later, he was persuaded to go into politics and ran for governor in 1919. He was opposed by his former student, Antonio Lagazca. The election results showed the teacher defeating the student.

Governor Gella's administration was highly successful. Within three years that he was in office, he was able to open the road that crossed over the Antique-Iloilo and Antique-Capiz boundaries, thus opening two important trade routes. He built.more.roads, installed artesian wells in the barrios, and put up the first water system in the provincial capital. Impressive though his record was, he refused to run for reelection in 1922. He was succeeded by Governor Enrique Salvani.

At the age of sixty-six, and after a fruitful career that he could be proud of, he retired from public life. Four years later, on April 24, 1926, he died, sxactly two months before his 70th birthday.

The mentor of Antique's many great men was twice married. His first wife was a Spanish woman, Dolores Rodriguez Berres. She bore him no child. His second wife, Matilde Abiera y Palacios, gave him five children. These are Consolacion (Mrs. Raymundo Azurin); Ernesto, married to Julieta Janairo; Antoniettta, married to Jose Locsin; Leopoldo, married to Pacita Vargas; and Eliza, married to Jacinto Reyes.

Vicente Gella was among the first college educated Antiquenos during the Spanish era. As such, he enjoyed privileges and favors, and was in the good graces of the powers that be. He could have basked in his newly found power in 1896. But he was a man with a social conscience. He realized that his was the noble mission of educating his people as a prerequisite to their fighting for their freedom from foreign subjugation. So, he founded the school that bred the young men who who were to lead the revolution against the Spaniards.

Even if Vicente Gella had not done anything else but just taught young Antiquenos in those crucial years in Philippine history, instilling in their minds the love of knowledge and freedom, he would still deserve the remembrance and love of his people of this generation and the generations yet to come.

Long live the memory of Vicente Gella! A Dios toda gloria.