MamDadingSadness crept into the hearts of people who have known her but upon recovering from the initial shock brought by the news of her passing, these were the words that reverberated throughout the peaceful town of Dalaguete that fateful Thursday morning of July 30, 2015: “Daghang Salamat Ma’m Dading!”

            Born on February 19, 1916, Conrada O. Almagro, affectionately called “Mam Dading” has been an educator, a town councilor, vice mayor and town mayor.  Over forty years of public service and practically a lifetime dedicated to the service God, country and fellowmen has earned her the unofficial title of “Matriarch and Benefactress” to the people of Dalaguete. In gratitude, people from all walks of life flocked to pay homage and demonstrate their deep gratitude to this most remarkable woman Dalaguete has ever produced. During the wake, this gratitude was expressed in diverse ways ranging from the prayers and condolences of the most lofty dignitaries down to the most humble and the lowly. Archbishop Emeritus, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, despite his feeble health also honored Ma’m Dading with a mass celebrated in her ancestral home. At one point, an elderly woman on board a tricycle was seen asking the driver to pause for a moment in front of the house to say her prayers and mumble her thanks for whatever favor she may have received from Mam Dading.

            On the day of the interment, August 5, 2015, Mayor Ronald Allan G. Cesante declared a special non-working holiday within the territorial limits of the municipality. This was to provide a chance for everybody to pay their homage and last respects to this remarkable Public Servant. Despite the intermittent rains brought about by super typhoon “Hanna”, the municipal hall looked like an anthill of activities as people were seen coming in and going out. Early that day, accompanied by the nostalgic strain of the local band, her body was solemnly transferred to the town hall for public viewing. A mass, officiated by Fr. Joey Belciña, was offered, followed by the necrological service. Various personalities extolled and shared about Ma’m Dading’s outstanding virtues of simplicity and generosity. In the meanwhile, municipal employees went about their assigned tasks: welcoming guests, directing traffic, guiding people to the wake, distributing food and all other minor tasks meant to ensure a smooth flow of activities but most of all, making each and everyone feel that the municipal hall is truly a house of the people.

            A little past 2:00 pm, the multitude started to move as Ma’m Dading’s coffin was again moved in a solemn procession to the town’s almost two-centuries-old Roman Catholic Church. A concelebrated mass by 10 priests presided by no less than Archbishop Palma himself was attended by a crowd of people that overflowed to the front and sides of the church making it appear like a gigantic statue surrounded by a garden of umbrellas. This did not escape from the watchful eyes of the Archbishop who, visibly impressed, echoed the people’s gratitude and extolled the virtue of good and honest public service anchored in the firm belief in God’s love. Miracle or mere coincidence, the sky cleared and the rain abated just as the coffin was brought outside for the momentous procession to Ma’m Dading’s final resting place on earth. This procession would be one of the longest and most attended in the history of Dalaguete.

            Reaching the “Crispin Almagro Mausoleum”, pictures were taken, the Philipine Flag folded, three sets of volley shots been fired, the mournful taps of the trumpet sounded, it was time for Ma’m Dading to be entrusted back to God’s loving hand and everlasting PEACE..”Daghang Salamat Ma’m Dading”…  

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