History of Sta.Cruz Davao Del Sur

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  • Topic: Ferdinand Marcos, Mindanao, Davao City
  • Pages : 6 (2121 words )
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  • Published : March 5, 2012
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The municipality of Sta. Cruz was an active participant in the making of Mindanao's and Philippines' histories. From the Spanish rule, to American regime, to Japanese occupation, to independence, to Martial Law, to EDSA\Revolution, Sta. Cruz' story was intricately interwoven into the country's saga. This gulf town was originally called "Labo" a Bagobo word meaning "marshland". Labo is situated "between a confluence of two mountain streams where waters were as clear as crystal and was but a short distance from the coast". According to pioneering residents, this place was later called Balalan (this covers the area from Lubo up to Digos River). Long before the Spaniards came, the "Lumads" or the natives Tagabawa Bagobo inhabited Sta Cruz that was mostly forested then except in the Darong coast where the Davao Muslim Calagans settled. Their respective leaders called "datu" ruled them. Foremost among them were Datus Ali, Malado and Bukina Samal. When the Spaniard established the Davao Settlement in 1848 that was under Provincia Moro, Datu Bago, a Muslim from Maguindanao tribe in Cotabato ruled the area. The priests and missionaries belonging to the Recollect Order started the evangelization but the Lumads resisted Christianity and it was documented that in 1852 only two lumads in Sta Cruz were baptized. They were Petra Pamansag and Basilisa Agustin of Sibulan. In 1870 the Bagobos had their first chapel in Tuban through the effort of Fr. Marcelino Vivero, a missionary from the east coast town of Caraga, who according to story, was drifted by strong wind to Caburan while sailing during his apostolic work. On his way back to Caraga via the cabecera of Davao, he passed by the coastal villages where banners were staked on the shore to signify "welcome". One of these was Tuban where he stayed long enough to exhort the natives to embrace Christianity. In 1873, Fr. Quirico More arrived in Davao and resumed missionary works down to Darong and as far as Balut Island. In 1882, Fr. Matthew Gisbert, a Society of Jesuits missionary, began a "reduccion" (a resettlement and subjugation area for the natives) in Labo where some 9 Bagobo Datus settled with their families and sacopes. Records and testimonials are vague on how Sta. Cruz derived its name. According to stories of pioneers, in 1880 the Spaniards planted a cross under a shelter upon their failure to convert the settlers who continued to resist them. They left the place with cursing words "forever the people in this area shall sacrifice in the name of the cross". It was said that several years later, another group of migrants settled adjacent to the cross that is near the present Municipal Hall site and the place came to be known as "SA CRUZ" which means "at the cross". On the other hand, official records from Manila Archives disclosed how the town got its official name during the Spanish Civil Administration. It was documented that on October 4, 1884, Angel Rodriguez, the Spanish Governor General of Mindanao Province arrived on board the warship "Gardoqui" escorted by a sergeant, a corporal and 12 persons from the capital's detachment. Christian and non-Christians greeted them with banners where the word "Sta. Cruz" was embroidered. The next day, October 5, 1884, Rodriguez blessed the town and thus created "Sta. Cruz of Mindanao". Darong then became the biggest Spanish Community in Southern Philippines if not in Mindanao. Spaniards who ventured to Davao eventually acquired vast fertile lands, became prosperous and settled in Sta Cruz. Antonio Matute, whose parents owned the Agencia de Empenos in Manila arrived in 1890 in Davao and set up a trading company. He married Sul-len, the B'laan daughter of Datu Cagnap of Saranggani in a small chapel in Darong in 1895 solemnized by Fr. Saturnino Urios, S.J. with Don Damaso Palacios and Don Benito Saavedra as sponsors. He established his ranch and farm in the neighboring Sibulan. His success served as inspiration for other Spaniards to follow...
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