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Padre Pentong

padre pentongFr. Ruperto Sarmiento was born on March 27, 1856 to the Carcaranon couples, Ciriaco Sarmiento and Martina Picno.  He was co-adjutor priest to Fray Urbano Alvarez and Fray Mateo Diez of the San Guillermo Parish from October 23, 1886 until November 9, 1898, when he became the town’s first Filipino parish priest, a sacerdotal obligation he held on for the next 49 years. Fr. Sarmiento’s relatively long years of stay in the San Guillermo Parish, (12 years as co-adjutor then 49 years as parish priest), enabled him to deliver the church sacraments to an entire generation of Dalaguetnons in a span of more than half a century, 61 years to be exact. He was also instrumental in the establishment of some of the present landmarks in town – the construction of Sta. Cruz Monument in 1921, the re-establishment of Escuela Catolica, (now the Saint Mary’s Academy of Dalaguete) in 1925, and the construction of the Cristo Rey Monument in 1938, among others. God-fearing and a man of peace, Fr. Sarmiento however would not hesitate to tread through the course of war if the lives of his parishioners were at stake. It was said that at the height of the local movement against the Spanish rule on

April 6, 1898, Holy Wednesday, Filipino insurgents attacked and overran the town hall. However, five days later on April 11, the Spanish troops, with fresh augmentation aboard a local Spanish boat San Juan de la Austria, landed in town and crashed the rebellion of which many of the perpetrators were either imprisoned or summarily executed. Angered by the summary killings, Fr. Sarmiento, acting unknowingly and against the wishes of his predecessor and then Parish Priest Fray Mateo Diez, initiated the formation of volunteer-guards of around 500 people, positioning them at a foxhole on the hillside facing the town about a kilometer away, ready to strike back at the Spaniards. However, the group disbanded following the Spanish surrender to the Americans on August 13, 1898, and Padre Pentong succeeded Fray Diez as the parish priest of Dalaguete three months after.
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