Our Town

Maria Cacao : The Legend told by Dalaguetnon migrants
By: Koki Seki

The two versions of the Maria Cacao legend told in the Barangay Coro of Dalaguete, have as narrators Mr. Roque Entia and Mrs. Clumbia Fajardo, whose lives are framed by various experiences of migration.

While the Entia version presented in this issue focuses on the boat motif, the Fajardo version focuses mainly on the lending motif.

The interesting motif added in the Entia version, which cannot be found in the other versions, is a story about the father of Maria Cacao, which inevitably adds new color to the character of Maria Cacao herself. Mr. Entia explains the father of Maria Cacao thus:

Maria Cacao was a daughter of Tata Cero, who is the father of my great-grandfather (apohan sa akong apohan). He got an engkantada, who used to live near the cave of Dingayop pregnant (gipa-angkan ni Tata Cero). He could have a relationship with a supernatural being (dili ingon nato) because he possessed supernatural power ( maayong laki). His power (kalaki) enabled him to be invisible, walk on water, jump to the top of  coconut tree, and he was also able to dwarf himself and stand on a cogon leaf.

During the time of Tata Cero, there were many savage people (loog) just wearing the G-strings (ikugan) in the cave of Dingayop. Those uncivilized people, who have not been baptized (tawo nga walay bunyag), were quite abusive (abusado) and often hurt the people. One day, the people living in the vicinity of the cave asked Tata Cero to protect them from those pagan people. Tata Cero admonished those loog not to harm the people (ayaw’g hilabti), and further eliminated them (nakapuo sa mga tawong loog). When Tata Cero become sold that he needed two canes to walk, he was killed by the lunatic giant (higanting buang), who used to sit on a huge rock (dakong bato) at Barangay Coro, and smoke a big tobacco (inunay). At that time, Tata Cero was on the way home from Church, and he was without the amulet (anting-anting) which he left at home.
Maria Cacao, the daughter of Tata Cero, lived near the cave of Dingayop. In the mountain of Dingayop, there is a spring (tubod) from which the water for the people of whole Dalaguete originated. In the past, especially when the rain was very strong, people sometimes heard at midnight a roaring sound (daguuk) from the river of Dingayop. In those occasions, the people used to say “Maria Cacao’s boat is passing”. Then the people saw the glaring light from the direction of the river, which was emanating from the golden boat (barko nga bulawan) of Maria Cacao. The people even heard the whistle (pito) of the ship. The boat was huge, and, every time it passed, the turbid like tuba (fermented toddy from coconut palms).

The boat of Maria Cacao carried cacao, which she used to sell in Manila and even in other countries. The people in Manila, who saw the golden boat which carries the name of “Dalaguete, Cebu”, thought among themselves that the people of Dalaguete must be very rich. Every time the boat went out to the sea, the bridge at the mouth of the river in poblacion was destroyed. This was because of the mast of the boat hit the bridge.

One day, an American car dealer came to Dalaguete, and asked the people “Where is the house of Maria Cacao, the very rich woman (dakong datu) of Dalaguete, Cebu?” That American came to Dalaguete to collect the payment for two dozens of cars which Maria Cacao had bought in America by credit.

There is a huge rock called dakong bato in Barangay Coro. Long before, when it rained strong the people saw that the surrounding of dakong bato became so bright. This is because Maria Cacao’s golden ship used to dock at this place. The cave of dakong bato was, and still is, an adobe of so many engkanto. In the past, the people used to borrow kitchen utensils from the engkanto in the dakong bato. At fiesta time, the people brought their containers in front of the cave, and they came back the next morning. They could find complete utensils inside the container.

Nowadays, the people do not borrow the utensils anymore from dakong bato. It has also been a long time since Maria Cacao has died.

As an interesting element of the Entia version presented above, the role and identity of Maria Cacao’s father, Tata Cero are worth mentioning. Tata Cero is projected as a sort of protector of the village people. He is said to have supernatural power (maayong laki). This gives him an identity which is intermediate between ordinary mortals (ingon nato) and supernatural beings (dili ingon nato). This ambivalent character of Tata Cero is also indicated in the story that he was stronger than lo-og, but weaker than, and killed by, higanteng buang. Lo-og are ordinary mortals (isig katawo, parehas nato), but as they are not baptized people, they are somehow different from the local Christians. On the other hand, higante, which is quite common in the folklore in the Philippines, is a supernatural being (dili ingon nato).
Hiyas sa Dalaguete Awardees, (The Dalaguete Hall of Fame)
Conrada Osorio Almagro
Venerable Matriarch, Multi-termed LGU Executive

Vice Mayor Conrada "Dading" Almagro is the only living recipient who is 84 years old and has been popularly known as Manang Dading to all and the living Matriarch of the Dalaguitnons. She has devoted almost all of her life in public and community service and has been known of her philanthropy and charities – the latest is a more than four hectare of prime lands for the socialized housing of the municipality. She also donated the land of the Parish Church of Mantalongon, Dalaguete. According to the President of Dalaguete’s Federation of Senior Citizens, Mr. Invicto Alcantara, Manang Dading is a true model of a religious lay woman who practices a very simple lifestyle in both her public and private life, despite the stature of her position and her economic affluence. The people of Dalaguete are quite lucky for having Manang Dading who in her younger years has always wanted to be a contemplative nun.

Ildefonso Quilala Alcantara
Specialist Obstetrician, Poet, Writer (in Spanish)

Dr. Alcantara was a migrant to Dalaguete who has served as the Government Physician from 1938 to 1955, lived and served Dalaguete for almost four decades until his demise at the age of 87 last 1976, a model father whose children are now successful in their undertakings while most of them are serving Dalaguete; established with his daughter, Dr. Ensoñacion Alcantara, the Alcantara Clinic converted later to Dr. Ildefonso Alcantara Memorial Hospital.

Don Crispin and Doña Paula Almagro

They were recognized leaders and philanthropists of Dalaguete, model parents whose children have all been successful in their lives who have mostly served Dalaguete, known for their charities and concern to the Dalaguitnons, the donors of the land used as the site for the Dalaguete National High School.

Guillermo Sandalo Legaspi
Statesman, Guerilla Fighter

Manong Memong was the first Dalaguitnon to be elected Member of the Cebu Provincial Board 1971-76, Mayor of Dalaguete for 3 Terms from 1960-69. Responsible for the construction of the Dalaguete Provincial High School, now the Dalaguete National High School and several Infra-structures in Dalaguete, a statesman, a guerilla fighter and a hero.

Eriberto “Berting Buta” Montenegro
Blind Guitarist, Composer

Berting Buta – the blind composer and guitarist of Dalaguete. One of his nationally known compositions “Lagkaw” is a recipient of National Awards. The story goes that “love-struck” swains never failed to cajole Berting Buta into joining them when serenading their beloved.

Manuel Sandalo Salvador
Archbishop of Cebu, Dalaguete’s Pride

Msgr. Maning was the first Dalaguitnon who has reached this position and honor in the Catholic Hierarchy, has served the Church in a number of key positions; instrumental in establishing the Cardinal Julio Rosales Memorial Hospital in Dalaguete.

Ruperto “Padre Pintong” Sarmiento
Dalaguete’s First Filipino Parish Priest

The First Filipino Parish Priest in Dalaguete who served for a successive 49 years, established the Annunciation Academy and opened the Poblacion-Mantalongon Road; responsible in establishing various historical landmarks and infra-structures which Dalaguete still enjoys and/or appreciates today, i.e. Sta. Cruz, etc.

Amando N. Osorio
Former Mayor, Writer, Poet

The former Mayor of Dalaguete who has placed Dalaguete in fame in the field of Cebuano Literature with his skill and talent in writing. He has written plays, zarzuela, novels and balak using his pen name, Gerundio Amar.

Urbano Osorio
Educator, Journalist

Public servant, educator, journalist, author, Urbano Osorio was responsible for Cebuano publication, Ang Lungsoranon from 1963-1971. He served the Japanese Government to protect his fellow Dalaguitnons within the enemy camp.

Inocentes “Inus” B. Vergara
Music Genius

He was popularly known as the Musical Genius from Dalaguete who performed with signature artists and musical groups in the Philippines and abroad. He was the musical arranger for the renowned Pilita Corrales and was the musical director of Matt Monroe when he performed in a concert at the Cebu Coliseum.

How Barangay Manangal Got Its Name
Long before the coming of the Spaniards, there lived a childless couple named Manang and Galo in the northern part of our town. Manang was a weaver and Galo was a fisherman.

 The couple was well-known in the vicinity because of their benevolence, honesty, friendliness and humility. One day, a storm came while Galo and his men were out in the sea. When the storm was over, the people waited for Galo and his men to arrive. They waited to no avail until next day when they saw Galo drifting slowly ashore, dead. Manang decided her husband to be buried on a hilltop overlooking the cool Calibot Spring, which is the Sesante Beach area today. She believed Galo would be watching fishermen come and go to the sea. A big cross was laid near the grave where Galo was etched. Not long after, Manang got sick. No herbolarios were capable of healing her. She died and the people decided to bury her next to the husband. Another cross was laid where Manang was printed on. Many years passed, when a foreigner happened to pass  by the place of burial. This time, Galo's cross was almost torn down. The letter "O" was deformed, and when the foreigner read it, it sounded lakie "Manang Gal". From then on, people who used to bathe in the cool Calibot Spring called the place Mananggal.  Lately, the spelling was changed to Manangal.

Parish Priests of St. William Church (1798-present)

Rev. Fr. Manuel Cordero   1798-1799         Rev. Fr. Urbano Alvarez   1889-1895
Rev. Fr. Domingo Hemojal   1799-1802         Rev. Fr. Mateo Diez   1895-1898
Rev. Fr. Juan Chacel   1802-1816         Rev. Fr. Ruperto Sarmiento   1898-1947
Rev. Fr. Juan Crysostomo   1816-1818         Rev. Fr. Zacarias Suñer   1947-1948
Rev. Fr. Juan Chacel   1818-1825         Rev. Fr. Esteban Montecillo   1948-1952
Rev. Fr. Julian Bermejo   1825-1829         Rev. Fr. Pedro Montibon   1952-1953
Rev. Fr. Bernando Giganto   1829-1833         Rev. Fr. Jose Alojipan   1953-1958
Rev. Fr. Lucas de Soledad   1833-1834         Rev. Fr. Demetrio Gonzales   1958-1966
Rev. Fr. Manuel Galllo   1834-1837         Rev. Fr. Roman Jamili   1966-1976
Rev. Fr. Pedro Hernandez   1837-1839         Rev. Fr. Tomas Villamor   1976-1981
Rev. Fr. Juan Alonzo   1839-1860         Rev. Fr. Cayetano Gelbolingo   1981-1988
Rev. Fr. Leon Mendoza   1860-1861         Rev. Fr. Vicente Dayao   1988-1994
Rev. Fr. Juan Alonzo   1861-1868         Rev. Fr. Antonio Quintana   1994-2001
Rev. Fr. Mariano Braza   1868-1869         Rev. Fr. Maximino Villamor   2001-2008
Rev. Fr. Mateo Diez   1869-1889         Msgr. Phil Tumulak   2008-present



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