He was born in Tuburan, Cebu to Roberto Maxilom, the town gobernadorcillo, and Gregoria Molero. His family were members of the local gentry, or principalía. He worked as a teacher in the local school before joining the Katipunan, whose activities in Cebu were led by a young Negrense, León Kilat.
After Kilat's betrayal and assassination, Maxilom continued the revolution in Cebu. Under his command, the Katipunan was able to regroup in the central highlands, which Spanish forces found impenetrable. On December 16, 1898, Maxilom wrote a letter to the Spanish authorities in Cebu, demanding that the latter surrender. Weary after incessant fighting, the Spaniards quickly responded, asking Maxilom for two to three days to leave the province. By Christmas Eve, the Spaniards had left, leaving behind only three Catholic clerics.Template:Sfn However, in the Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish–American War, signed that month, December 1898, Spain ceased its sovereignty over the Philippine Islands to the United States for twenty million dollars, although American acceptance of this treaty would still be subject to the decision of the US Congress.
Maxilom is best remembered for stubbornly refusing to surrender to the American forces even as his fellow revolutionaries in Manila and Cebu were starting to capitulate or collaborate with the new invaders.Template:Sfn He surrendered on October 27, 1901.Template:Sfn
Maxilom died in his hometown of Tuburan, after a long bout with paralysis,Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn on August 10, 1924. His funeral cortège, joined in by leading revolutionary figures including Emilio Aguinaldo, stretched some four kilometers, in what remains to this day the longest in Cebu's history.Template:Sfn
Mango Avenue, one of main thoroughfares Cebu City, was renamed Gen. Maxilom Avenue in honor of the general.
- "Where is Gen. Arcadio Maxilom?", Philippine Daily Inquirer, Template:Date.
- "Finding Maxilom’s cannon", Philippine Daily Inquirer, Template:Date.
- (1906) The Philippine Islands: A Political, Geographical, Ethnographical, Social And Commercial History Of The Philippine Archipelago, Embracing The Whole ... The Succeeding American Insular Government..., 3rd, Fisher Unwin. ISBN 978-1173730451.