They Who Lead Us
Juan Dueñas. The only written record about the tenure of Juan Dueñas comes from the book, Ang Dakong Banay ni Kapitan Juancho Osorio, written by former Mayor Urbano Osorio sometime in 1984, where it was mentioned that Dueñas was appointed Municipal President by the occupying American government in the early years of 1900’s.
Placido Villahermoza Osorio. Born October 10, 1870, he was the youngest among the eight children of Mariano Osorio of Poblacion, Dalaguete and Macaria Villahermoza of Cawayan, Dalaguete. He was married to Cenona de la Peña, daughter of Roman de la Peña and Alipia Navarrete. Having served as the first municipal treasurer of Dalaguete in the years 1901 to 1904, he challenged the incumbency of then Municipal President Juan Dueñas in the 1906 local elections to become the first-ever elected municipal chief executive of Dalaguete.
Eusebio Bajarias. The written history is wanting of the information with regards to Municipal President Eusebio Bajarias other than that he was married in May 19, 1896 to Sofronia Osorio, daughter of Ricardo Osorio and Filomena Navarrete. He was toppled to the top of the municipal hierarchy via his victory over Ygnacio Buenconsejo in the 1909 elections and was re-elected in 1913 against an unnamed opponent.
Cristino Osorio Salvador. Born on July 24, 1887, he was the eldest child of the four children of Jose Salvador and Andrea Osorio. He was married twice, first to Maria Batoctoy on January 25, 1904 and then to Veronica Bajarias on July 28, 1908, less than a year after his first wife Maria died. He was municipal secretary to then Municipal President Placido Osorio in 1908 and remained in that capacity until the 1916 election, when he defeated Hilarion Buenconsejo for the municipal top post. He was re-elected three years later against Lino Osorio and afterwards became Deputy Provincial Governor in the years 1929 to 1933. He regained the municipal hall in 1934 versus Santiago Osorio. It was during his re-election in December 14, 1937 against Municipal Councilor Amando Amazona, Sr., that the title of Municipal Mayor is officially used, and thus, he was ipso facto the last of the municipal presidents and the first of the municipal mayors.
The construction of the Poblacion to Mantalongon access road was in full swing during his term, (via Resolution No. 50 s. 1938 dated March 15, 1938 where, among others, the Municipality of Dalaguete requested the Cebu Provincial Board to utilize prisoners from the Provincial Jail to finish the work of above-said access road). At about the same year, his administration was entangled with a legal battle against landowner Remegio Manriquez of Mantalongon over the government’s enforcement of its power of eminent domain when Mr. Manriquez refused to sell his land which would have been part of the proposed Mantalongon Public Market, (Municipal Council Minutes of the Meeting, February 15, 1938).
The 1940’s saw the full swing construction of the municipal wharf, (Resolution 22 s. of 1940 dated January 22, 1940), and Dalaguete’s intention to host the proposed South Provincial High School, (Resolution 36 s. of 1940 dated February 22, 1940), supposedly the third public high school in the province, after Cebu Provincial High School (now Andres Abellana National School) in Cebu City and the North Provincial High School in the town of Tuburan. Dalaguete’s good intention was however turned down as the proposed South Provincial High School was awarded to the neighboring town of Argao.
In 1940, Mayor Salvador ran but lost his bid for a third consecutive term against Felix Zambrano, one of his councilors in 1937. Twelve years later in 1952, both Cristino Salvador and Felix Zambrano were elected in the Municipal Council under Mayor Carlos Montenegro, a political scenario in which two former opposing municipal mayors were to sit together in the Municipal Council.
Filemon Osorio Salvador. Filemon, the third child of Jose Salvador and Andrea Osorio, was born on November 22, 1890. He was married to Ursula Sandalo, daughter of Maestro Pedro Sandalo and Juliana del Mar of Parian, in the present city of Cebu. He succeeded his older brother Mayor Cristino Salvador as the town’s chief executive for a period of six years, defeating his political rival and second-degree cousin Fidel Buenconsejo in two consecutive mayoralty elections, first in 1922 and then in 1925. Having been closely identified with both then Speaker Sergio Osmeña, Sr. and then Congressman Mariano Jesus Cuenco, and thus a readily available access to the national coffers, his landmark project was the construction in 1927 of the Dalaguete Waterworks System with 3 intake tanks at Mantalongon and a reservoir at Sitio Cansaroy, Barangay Tapon, (as being mentioned in passing in the Municipal Resolution No. 31 s. 1970 dated May 6, 1970). He ran but lost for another term in 1931 against his former Municipal Secretary and first-degree cousin, and by then incumbent Mayor Amando Osorio. Three years later on October 29, 1934, he was killed in the line of duty, (in his capacity as Chairman of the Committee of Appointments), of a fatal shooting incident purportedly by a former chief clerk in the Municipal Treasurer’s Office that he booted out of service.
Amando Navarrete Osorio. Born on February 6, 1890, he was the youngest and only boy of the six children of Ricardo Osorio and Filomena Navarrete. At 28, he was married to Honorata Buenconsejo. Having been Municipal Secretary to then Municipal President Cristino Salvador in 1916 until 12 years later under Municipal President Filemon Salvador, he was elected as the next chief executive in 1928 against Alejandro Carin. Under his administration in 1929, another water system was installed at Sitio Bayog, Brgy. Bulak with an intake tank at Brgy. Malones to supply the Cawayan-Casay areas, (Municipal Resolution No. 31 s. 1970 dated May 6, 1970). He was re-elected in 1931 against his first degree cousin and returning former Municipal President Filemon Salvador. During that year, his poem entitled, Bitoon sa Akong Yuta brought him the coveted Ranudo Gold Medal Award via a poem writing contest sponsored by a local magazine BABAYE. Toward the end of his second term in 1933, he resigned and accepted the offer of Gov. Mariano Jesus Cuenco to be Provincial Deputy Governor of Cebu. He was however forced to vacate the said office in 1935 for health reasons. For a short while after the American liberation in 1945, he worked in the Provincial Office of Agriculture at the Cebu Capitol Building as editor of the Farmer’s Bulletin but was again forced to resign because of worsening health. He died in 1946.
Felix Zambrano. There are no immediate surviving records as to the early life of Mayor Felix Zambrano, other than the oral accounts which claimed that he was an illegitimate son of Isidra Zambrano of Barangay Tapon and Francisco Tan who hailed from Amoy, China. He was married to Vicenta Bilara. A public school teacher by profession, he ran and won as Municipal Councilor on December 14, 1937 under the administration of Mayor Cristino Salvador, the very same mayor that he would defeat in the following 1940 mayoralty election. For fear of his life brought upon by the Second World War that ensued in the earlier part of the 1940’s, he was forced to abandon his office and had evacuated to his relatives in Mindanao in 1942. Sometime in 1945 during the American liberation, the Philippine Civil Affairs Unit (PCAU) relegated him back to the post. However, when the Commonwealth Congress convened and Manuel Roxas was elected President of the Philippines in 1946, his appointment was cut short and was given to then Justice of the Peace and former Argao Municipal President Carlos Montenegro. This led to a political if not personal showdown between the two of them in the November 11, 1947 elections of which he eventually lost. Having felt unready yet to face his political nemesis, he chose to run and had won a slate in the Municipal Council in November 13, 1951 of which he had to sit alongside former Mayor Cristino Salvador, who was also elected in the above-said council. However, presumably due to the awkward situation in which he had to deliberate against a father-in-law – son-in-law tandem of someone he had defeated, in a council presided by someone who had defeated him, Felix Zambrano would again vacate his post on November 1, 1952. He regained the top municipal post in the November 8, 1955 elections against his fellow Municipal Councilor Vicente Salvador. Interestingly, he appointed his immediate predecessor former Mayor Carlos Montenegro as the new Municipal Secretary effective January 4, 1956.
Mayor Zambrano’s tenure was marked by Dalaguete split-up attempts. In their regular meeting on April 2, 1958, Congressman Isidro Kintanar personally informed the Municipal Council on a bill he filed in Congress which would create the Municipality of Cawayan. To this regard, and acting on the petition filed by Cawayanons and the affected neighboring barrios concerned, the Municipal Council convened and passed Municipal Resolution No. 35 s. 1958 a week later, lobbying against the bill. Then there was that manifesto dated July 4, 1958 signed by Mantalongon Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Dionisio La Rosa and the leaders of Mantalongon and the neighboring barangays which requested the Municipal Council to draft a resolution supporting a passage of a bill in Congress that would create the Municipality of Mantalongon. While the Municipal Council’s stance was a bit reluctant, Mayor Zambrano was direct to the point – he wrote a letter addressed to Fr. La Rosa that contained, among others, his vehement opposition to split-up Dalaguete. Mayor Zambrano died in his residence at Sitio Solong-on, Brgy. Tapon on June 30, 1962.
The Second World War. As history would have it, the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour, Hawaii on December 8, 1941 consequently dragged the Philippines into the Second World War. By then, Cebu was host to the 81st Division of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE).
On April 10, 1942, a force of three warships and eleven transports landed about 12,000 Japanese Army troops of the Kawaguchi Detachment at seven beachheads across Southern Cebu. By May 17 of that same year, except for the pocket guerrilla forces who continued to fight in the hills, organized resistance in Cebu had practically fallen. But it was not until August 27, 1943 that about a thousand soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army arrived in Dalaguete and stationed themselves in the Poblacion, ransacking among others, important papers and documents at the Municipal Hall. At this dark page of the town’s history, Mayor Felix Zambrano fled to his relatives in Mindanao leaving his Municipal Vice Mayor Urbano Osorio in-charge of the municipal affairs. Osorio however chose to flee in the neighboring island of Bohol. His cousin Jose Almagro, a brother of Conrada Almagro, was then appointed the next Japanese Occupation Municipal Mayor. Having thought that his Japanese-issued appointment papers would provide him immunity, he travelled to Bohol together with some relatives but was apprehended and executed by the Japanese army upon his return, (he was fatally dragged, together with other suspected guerillas, by a boat from the Dalaguete beach front way back to Bohol). It was thus that former Mayor Cristino Salvador assumed the municipal mayoralty, albeit a puppet one, until at the end of the war when the Philippine Civil Affairs Unit (PCAU) relegated back the office to Mayor Felix Zambrano.
Carlos Selerio Montenegro. Carlos Montenegro was born on November 4, 1889 to Cawayanon parents Claudio Montenegro and Monica Selerio. Having been married to an Argaoanon Hilaria Abear, daughter of then Argao Municipal President Mariano Abear, he made residence there as Argao Chief of Police from June 13, 1913 to 1918. In what had been described as a hotly-contested election, he ran and succeeded his father-in-law as Argao Municipal President in the 1919 elections. Presumably because of the death of his wife Hilaria, he returned to Dalaguete, got acquainted with and had married Juanita Salvador on January 21, 1934, the daughter of then Municipal President Cristino Salvador. At that time, he was Justice of the Peace for Dalaguete and Alcoy from January 5, 1927 until after the war in 1945. Before the end of his judicial duty however, Juez Carlos Montenegro became a widower again and got married for a third time in January 31, 1940 to Primitiva Muñoz. In 1946, he was appointed Municipal Mayor of Dalaguete by President Manuel Roxas to replace Acting Municipal Mayor Felix Zambrano.
Barely a year later on March 15, 1947, the Municipal Council passed Municipal Resolution No. 42 s. 1947, requesting the authorities concerned to transfer South Provincial High School in Argao to Dalaguete and be renamed Dalaguete Provincial High School. In his response dated April 1 of the same year, Division Superintendent of Schools Pedro G. Guiang of the Bureau of Education officially turned down the request and instead set out the guidelines of a new and separate high school, and thus, the Dalaguete Provincial High School was established. The November 11 mayoralty race of that same year was host to a clash between two appointees with former Argao Mayor Carlos Montenegro on one side and former Dalaguete Mayor Felix Zambrano on the other, of whom the former had won.
The movement for an independent Cawayan went back in the 1948 political scene. Sixty-six prominent Cawayanons including incumbent Municipal Councilors Ignacio Alonzo and Nazario Villahermosa, former Municipal Councilors Catalino Villahermosa, Santiago Dicdican, Damian Belciña and Fausto Jumamil, and former Municipal Secretary Sulpicio Osorio, signed a petition for the conversion of Cawayan into a new municipality, a resolution for said purpose of which was approved by the Municipal Council, (Municipal Resolution No. 120 s. 1948 dated November 16, 1948). However, in the subsequent demarcation undertaken by the Province of Cebu which drew a line to the proposed territorial boundary in the south parallel to the existing Dalaguete-Argao boundary in Casay up north, and upon the withdrawal of support by some of the principal proponents, (Municipal Resolution No. 25 s. 1949, dated March 16, 1949), the proposal to create said new municipality was eventually shelved out.
Meanwhile, Mayor Montenegro’s final mayoralty term was earned on All Saints’ Day of 1951 against Tomas Dueñas. Exactly eighteen months to the date thereafter, a special committee was formed to clearly define the municipal boundaries with Moalboal, Alcoy, Argao and Badian, (Municipal Resolution No. 61 s. 1953 dated July 1, 1953). For reasons known only to the then Municipal Council, the resolution did not mention about the neighboring town of Alegria.
Mayor Montenegro’s incumbency officially ended on New Year’s Day of 1956, but upon the resignation of Maximo Palapos as Municipal Secretary effective January 3 of that year, his immediate successor and returning Mayor Felix Zambrano appointed him for the vacated position effective a day thereafter. Montenegro remained in the Municipal Secretariat until an apparent clash with the municipal leadership forced him to vacate the office, officially through retirement, on April 1, 1958.
He then intended to return to the mayoralty but was defeated by Guillermo Legaspi in the November 10, 1959 elections. His untimely death in December of 1966, (he was a passenger of a homeward public vehicle when he was hit at the head by a stone purportedly thrown by one of the bickering parties along the road somewhere between the Banhigan and Coro areas), was generally mourned by the public, (Municipal Resolution No. 154 s. 1966, dated December 13, 1966).
Guillermo Sandalo Legaspi. Born on June 25, 1919, he was the son of Floro Legaspi and Godofreda Sandalo. A staff sergeant at the outbreak of World War II, he was deployed to Mindanao, but after Bataan and Corregidor fell, he surreptitiously returned to Cebu … to promptly join the resistance movement, (excerpts from A Tribute to Guillermo S. Legaspi, by Invicto C. Alcantara). He was married to Ma. Milagros Almagro, a younger sister of Conrada Almagro, barely a year after he passed the Bar Examination in 1950. He prevailed against former Mayor and returning Carlos Montenegro in the November 10, 1959 elections. During this time, the issue of dividing the province of Cebu into two provinces one of which would be named “Osmeña Province” cropped up but the Municipal Council made their official strongly-worded stand opposing such a move, (Municipal Resolution No. 73 s. 1962 dated May 10, 1962).
Mayor Legaspi was re-elected in 1964 in a three-cornered fight against Epifanio Llanos, Sr. & Vicente Salvador. It was during this second term that the Provincial Board of Cebu passed in mass motion Provincial Resolution No. 115 dated February 10, 1967 thereby creating the new Barangay Consolacion, formerly Sitio Luyat of Barangay Obong. His term was also host to the legal battle between the neighboring barangays of Cawayan and Casay on the issue of territorial jurisdiction over Sitio Balatic of which the Municipal Council resolved in favor of Cawayan, (Municipal Resolution No. 20 s. 1969 dated March 19, 1969).
Mayor Legaspi’s third term victory against Ananias Lumayag in the 1968 elections was cut short when he ran and lost against Gaudencio Beduya in the 1969 Congressional elections. He was then elected to the Cebu Provincial Board in 1971, a position he held until 1976. It was during this time that, realizing the importance of education and literacy, he used his political influence to accumulate funding for his pet project, the 17-room Dalaguete Provincial High School Complex. During the January 30, 1980 elections, he ran against but lost to Marcos appointee and incumbent Mayor Paz Wong.
Mayor Legaspi died on November 19, 1991.
Conrada Osorio Almagro. Born on February 19, 1916, she is the eighth child of Crispin Almagro and Paula Osorio. She was a History teacher at the Dalaguete Provincial High School when she ran and was elected Municipal Vice Mayor in 1964 under Mayor Guillermo Legaspi, the husband of her youngest sister, Milagros. Having been re-elected to the position in 1968, she rose to become the Municipal Mayor a year later when Mayor Legaspi filed his certificate of candidacy to run for Congress. It was during this term that the Provincial Board of Cebu ratified Provincial Resolution No. 565, which created Barangay Lanao to comprise Sitios Kambarko, Buli, Dao, Upper Magay and Biasong, (Municipal Resolution No. 58 s. 1971 dated June 9, 1971).
The November 8, 1971 mayoralty election pitted her against her second-degree cousin Francisco Salvador, arguably one of the highlights in the consanguinity war between the Almagro and the Salvador clans, both of whom are descendants of the semi-legendary gobernadorcillo of Dalaguete, Capitan Juancho Osorio. Mayor Almagro eventually lost this crucial fight. This political setback, however, did not prevent her yet to be silent in the local political scene. A staunch oppositionist, President Ferdinand Marcos personally traveled all the way to her ancestral house at Poblacion, Dalaguete to personally reprimand her. She ran for Municipal Vice-Mayor in tandem with former Mayor Guillermo Legaspi in the January 30, 1980 election but then again lost, this time against Franklin Salvador.
Circumstantial events indicated that “Ma’am Dading”, as she is fondly called, would had left politics for good as the next six years would see her travelling abroad and had it not for the constant prodding of Emilio “Lito” Osmeña, she could have refused her appointment by then President Corazon Aquino as the OIC Municipal Mayor effective May 1, 1986 – at the ripe, retirable age of 70.
Her term of office was up for a rough start. Exactly a week after on May 8, 1986, her alter ego former Poblacion Brgy Captain and by then OIC Vice-Mayor Christopher Ligan was killed in the line of duty in Barangay Mantalongon. By September 10 of that same year, Rural Bank of Dalaguete, Inc., one of the prominent businesses in town, closed its business doors for good. Undaunted, she firmly held the proverbial rein of governance by the hand and stood by the challenge head on, earning along the way the accolade of being an Outstanding Mayor (OIC) of the Year, given in 1987 by the Reformist Unity Movement for Better Philippines (RUM-Phil). Meanwhile, presumably to establish a municipal identity, the Sangguniang Bayan ratified on July 17, 1987 Municipal Resolution 78-87 which declared, among others, that the dalakit tree shall henceforth be the municipal tree, the mirasol (sunflower) shall be the municipal flower and the galansiyang shall be the municipal bird. The mayoralty election of January 18, 1988 was a three-cornered fight among OIC Almagro, Marcelino Erediano, Jr., and Asuncion Buenconsejo, to which the incumbent handily won. Thirteen months after the elections, a plebiscite to separate Sitio Tabon from Barangay Langkas was being held on February 19, 1989 which eventually paved the way for the creation of Barangay Tabon. Mayor Almagro was re-elected in the May 11, 1992 elections against Dr. Estanisla Almagro and Atty. Roseller Amazona. In 1994, Dalaguete Provincial High School was renamed Dalaguete National High School via RA 6655, nationalizing all existing public secondary schools in the Philippines by then. She ran unopposed in her third and final mayoralty term in the May 8, 1995 elections, a year after of which the Sangguniang Bayan enacted Municipal Ordinance 96-20, creating the Dalaguete Municipal Scholarship Program.
Having completed the maximum three consecutive elective terms for the same office, she slid down and won the Municipal Vice-Mayoralty race against Municipal Councilor Gabriel Entera in the May 11, 1998 elections. During the annual fiesta celebration in 2000, the Sangguniang Bayan unanimously accorded their presiding officer, Vice-Mayor Almagro, her much-deserved Hiyas sa Dalaguete Award (Dalaguete Hall of Fame) for her great contribution to the betterment of the people of the municipality, an honor she shared with ten other Dalaguete personalities, two of whom are Don Crispin Almagro and Doña Paula Osorio-Almagro, her own parents. She was re-elected as Municipal Vice-Mayor in the May 14, 2001 elections against former Provincial Board Member Amando Amazona, Jr. A public servant to the end, old age and frail health did not prevent her to run and earn the top spot of the Municipal Council in the May 10, 2004 elections, her last elective office of a colorful political career that spanned a little over than four decades.
An anecdote was told that in the latter part of her final year in office, she was heard to have complained, after seeing her name among the members of the Municipal Council, why she was only a Municipal Councilor. After being explained that she was indeed only a Municipal Councilor, she was said to have remarked, “Nagkaubos lagi akong ranggo. Inig sunod eleksiyon, barangay tanod na lang siguro ko ani, (My rank keeps getting demoted. I may end up a barangay tanod in the next election.)”
Francisco Sandalo Salvador. Born on January 30, 1911, he was the second child of former Mayor Filemon Salvador and former Municipal Councilor Ursula Sandalo. He was both a civil engineer and a lawyer by profession. Having travelled to the Mindanao area as a young engineer by then, he got acquainted with and married Princess Tarhata Kiram of the powerful sultanate of Sulu. He ran against and won over his second-degree cousin and then incumbent Mayor Conrada Almagro in the November 8, 1971 mayoralty elections. In the early part of his tenure, a bill sponsored by then Congressman Gaudencio Beduya was submitted into Congress which would allow gambling casinos to operate in Barangay Mantalongon, an initiative to which the Municipal Council vehemently opposed, describing said bill as “…inimical, detrimental and dangerous…” and that Congressman Beduya “…has betrayed the good and industrious people of Dalaguete and induce them to become professional gamblers…” (Municipal Resolution No. 32 s. 1972 dated April 15, 1972). Despite the declaration of Martial Law on September 21, 1972, the Salvador family’s close affiliation with President Ferdinand Marcos enabled him to channel public works projects funded by the National government. Three years later on November 14, 1975, President Ferdinand Marcos signed Presidential Decree No. 826, which changed the name of the Municipal Council into the Sangguniang Bayan.
However, one unforgotten feat synonymous with Mayor Francisco Salvador is the story of how the Dinghayop water source at Brgy. Obo was discovered. Until then, numerous were the legends that told of unknown creatures that lured somewhere in the inner confines of the Dinghayop Cave, but none of which Mayor Salvador believed in. Accompanied by then Poblacion Brgy. Captain Christopher Ligan, they crawled into the narrow entrance of the cave on their way to their discovery of the main water source supplying Dalaguete today. Mayor Salvador died on April 5, 1978.
Andrade Hisoler Alcantara. Born on March 29, 1951, he is the son of Dr. Ildefonso Alcantara of Cavite City and Primitiva Hisoler of Samboan, Cebu. He is married to Dr. Clarita Bajarias of Tapon, Dalaguete, a consultant and specialist on obstetrics and gynecology. Having had studied both the Bachelor of Laws and the Master in Business Management, he worked as Assistant General Affairs Manager at the Philippine Mining Service Corporation when then President Corazon Aquino tasked him to be part of the transition Sangguniang Bayan of 1986. He was then regularly elected to the Sangguniang Bayan for three consecutive terms, first in the January 18, 1988 elections, next in the May 11, 1992 elections, and finally in the May 8, 1995 elections. Barred by the three consecutive terms limit for the same elective office, he chose to get out of the political limelight in the next 3 years and instead focused on his real estate brokerage. He returned to the Municipal Council in the May 14, 2001 elections under the ticket of Mayor Ronald Allan Cesante. He then went on to win the Vice Mayoralty race against Judge Epifanio Llanos, Sr. in the May 10, 2004 elections, and finally, he won the mayoralty post in the May 14, 2007 election against a virtually nuisance candidate.
During his first year in office, around 10,000 mangrove seedlings and propagules were planted on December 15, 2007 at Barangay Obong under the “Kalambuan sa Katunggan Year 3” program, which was a joint effort of both the municipal and provincial governments of Cebu and some non-government organizations.
With the end-objective of asserting Dalaguete’s niche as the Vegetable Basket of Cebu, he launched the Utanon Festival in February of 2008 and as such, is considered the Father of the Utanon Festival. In June 26, of the same year, the Municipality of Dalaguete and the City of Makati signed a sister-city pact and a little over a month later on July 29, Dalaguete attained the First Class Municipality status.
The next year, television giant ABS-CBN, through its Mag-TV Viewers Choice Awards program, bestowed on Dalaguete’s Utanon Festival the Viewer’s Choice Festival of the Year Award, given on December 19, 2009.
Mayor Alcantara was also instrumental in the conversion of the second floor of the Old Municipal Hall into the present Museo sa Dalaguete, inaugurated on February 7, 2010, presumably to showcase the municipality’s cultural history and other important aspects of the town’s local life.
He ran but lost his re-election bid on May 10, 2010 against then former Mayor and incumbent Vice Mayor Ronald Allan Cesante.
Ronald Allan Gesalan Cesante. Mayor Cesante (born August 1, 1962) is the youngest child of Juan Cesante, Sr. of Nueva Caceres, Oslob and Trinidad Gesalan of Banhigan, Dalaguete. He is married to Joanna Jadol of Tapon, Dalaguete. Being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) by profession, he was connected with the Land Bank of the Philippines for a couple of years but resigned in 1988 to run and win a slate in the Sangguniang Bayan.
In 1992, he won the Vice-Mayoralty contest against the incumbent Epifanio Llanos, Jr., a position he held in the next six years as he ran unopposed for the same post in the 1995 elections. He was first elected to the highest office of the town against former Mayor Ma. Paz Wong in the May 11, 1998 elections, and got re-elected against Municipal Councilor Pompeyo Davnar Almagro in the May 14, 2001 elections that followed. Exactly six months after, the Dalaguete Solid Waste Management Project was launched, which was presumably instrumental in the municipality’s garnering of the first place in the 2001 Cleanest and Greenest Municipality of the Province of Cebu Category B, (4th, 5th, and 6th class municipalities). The year 2001 was highlighted by the transfer of both the Legislative and Executive Offices at the new Municipal Annex Building on December 22.
About a year after, the town has embarked on the coastal resource and marine protection initiatives starting with the ratification of Municipal Ordinance 70-2002 which paved the way for the 12-hectare Balud-Consolacion Marine Park and Sanctuary followed by Municipal Ordinance 75-2002 which paved the way for the 5-hectare Casay Marine Park and Sanctuary. That same year in June 6, the Dalaguete STAR Center was inaugurated and eight days later in June 14, the ceremonial switch was turned on at Brgy. Salug, the last village to be provided with electricity, thereby making the entire town 100% lighted. Still later that year on September 3, 2002, the Municipality of Dalaguete and the Municipality of Malitbog, Southern Leyte signed a sisterhood and twinning covenant. The year also saw the municipality garnering again the first place in the 2002 Cleanest and Greenest Municipality of the Province of Cebu Category A, (2nd and 3rd class municipalities).
Five days before the Dalaguete Annual Town Fiesta in 2003, the new Mantalongon Public Market was inaugurated. The municipality was also a recipient of the 2003 Kabalikat Award “…in grateful recognition of exemplary contribution and invaluable assistance in technical vocational education and training in the Province of Cebu, [excerpts taken verbatim from the citation].
Meanwhile, Mayor Cesante was re-elected for a third term during the May 10, 2004 elections against incumbent Poblacion Barangay Captain Estanisla Almagro. On April 16 of that year, the National Historical Institute declared the San Guillermo de Aquitania Church as a National Historical Landmark. A little over than four months later on August 25 of that same year, the Municipality of Dalaguete and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) signed a Memorandum of Agreement on the co-management and joint implementation of the Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP). Two more major projects were established in the later part of 2004, namely, the Dalaguete Cold Chain facility (September 30) and the modern Dalaguete Commercial Center at Poblacion (October 28).
In June 24, 2005, the municipality received the Pillar of Agriculture Development Award “…in grateful recognition of its invaluable support and unselfish cooperation extended to DA-7, contributing immensely to the attainment of food security and poverty alleviation; thus carving an indelible mark of agriculture development,[excerpts taken verbatim from the citation].
About a year later in 2006, Municipal Ordinance 145-2006 created the 10-hectare Cawayan Marine Park and Sanctuary, the third marine protected area for the municipality. It was also on this year that Mayor Cesante was recipient of the 2006 Local Government Leadership Award conferred by the National Selection Committee “…for his sustained focus on education, health and social welfare, notable achievements in advancing the quality of life of his town mates and for demonstrating that the local government works for the people, [excerpts taken verbatim from the citation]. In addition, the year 2006 also saw Cebu Province officially declaring Mantalongon as the “Summer Capital of Cebu”, as per Provincial Board Resolution 215-2006 dated January 23, 2006, and the ratification of Municipal Resolution No. 184-2006 dated October 4, 2006 approving the proposed Dalaguete Community College, which was eventually constructed and inaugurated on June 12, 2007 under the name, University of the Visayas – Dalaguete Campus.
It is worthy to note that Mayor Cesante’s administrative function has gone beyond the defines of Dalaguete, he being elected in 2004 for a 3-year term as president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines – Cebu Chapter and concurrently the National Auditor of the said league. Meanwhile, being barred by the Local Government Code to occupy the same office for more than three consecutive terms, Cesante returned to the Office of the Municipal Vice-Mayor sans rival in the May 14, 2007 elections. The May 10, 2010 election put him into a virtually political hot seat as he was pitted against his former Vice-Mayor and by then incumbent Mayor Andrade Alcantara, but in the end, the returning Mayor Ronald Allan Cesante prevailed.
This study focuses on the last 100 years or so of the town’s history, relying heavily from the written municipal accounts taken from the minutes of the meetings, municipal resolutions, and ordinances, and from actual interviews of some local leaders and political observers. The first of these highest leaders of the town are collectively known as the municipal presidents, whose names and terms of office are shown below:
The first four decades of the 20th century which practically spanned the whole era of the municipal presidents were interrupted by two world wars, which would account for the slow economic growth and the almost nil records of what had really happened during those years. Oral sources and physical evidences, though, indicated that there were already significant undertakings by then. These include the Pre-Second World War Dalaguete Elementary School, the Dalaguete Water System and the construction of access roads, among others.
Upon the “retirement” of the term municipal president, the era of the municipal mayors started during the second term of the last Municipal President and consequently the first Municipal Mayor Cristino Salvador, to wit:
The era of the Municipal Mayors fares way much better compared to the era of the Municipal Presidents in as far as economic growth and infrastructures are concerned presumably because the later era is relatively more peaceful. Individual achievements though, of each of the mayors cannot and must never be totally delineated both from that of his/her predecessor and that of his/her successor.
As a case in point, the present Dalaguete Water District is an end product to concerted efforts of town leaders whose terms of office spanned over 75 years. The same thing is true of the Dalaguete National High School – Carlos Montenegro fought his way that it be established, Conrada Almagro is instrumental for the land where it should be established, and Guillermo Legaspi made those necessary and urgent pleadings that the 17-room school complex be finally established. The Poblacion to Mantalongon road is yet another infrastructure initiative of which credit should never be a monopoly. However, if development is measured by the number of infrastructures being built and the annual tax collections being earned, then it can be confidently claimed that the last ten years, spanning from the year 2000 to 2010, is the best decade so far that the municipality has experienced.