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Excerpts from Cordova’s History written by Mayor Adelino B. Sitoy


CORDOVA is NOT the original name of the territory it represents.  NOT even the Spanish name: CORDOBA.  Its territory comprises the original barrios (“balangays” in Cebuano) of Gabi, Day-as, and Pilipul (actually, Pilipog) – all of which are located in the southeastern tip of Mactan Island.


When Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu on April 17, 1521, Mactan Island did not have a singular and unitary government.  It was   divided into barrios called BALANGAYS like Mactan, Pusok, Pajo, Agus, Pajac, Maribago, Gun-ob, Basak, Magondong, Suba-Basbas, Kalawisan, Babag, Pilipog, Day-as, and Gabi.


Lapu-lapu was NOT the over-all ruler of the entire Mactan Island.  He established alliances with the various chieftains in the different balangays like Bali-Alho, Bugto Pasan, Sampong Baha, and Magtawnas.  He was lucky to have gained their support.  Collectively, they fought Magellan who invaded Lapu-lapu’s MACTAN (a balangay headed by him).


Lapu-lapu’s victory in his balangay was not his alone.  It was the triumph of all the chiefs of all the balangays in the Island of Mactan who helped him.


Thus, when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived in Cebu on April 27, 1565, he was not resisted by Lapu-lapu in Mactan who was no longer around.  He was defied by KING DAGAMI of Gabi (now part of CORDOVA) who conducted a guerilla warfare against him.


It was not until Spain successfully dominated the entire Philippine Archipelago that Mactan Island obtained a unitary government with OPON as its seat.  Since then, all the balangays in the Island were ruled by Spain through OPON.


CORDOBA (the name given before 1913) did not exist until May 22, 1863 when Governor-General Rafael Echague decreed that the balangays of Gabi, Day-as, and Pilipul (actually, Pilipog) would be joined into one town named CORDOBA – to be separated from Opon.


What was requested by the residents then, as the town’s name,   was DAY-AS which means “to adventure or dare”.   Among the reasons for secession from the Municipality of Opon was that the residents of Day-as found it difficult to comply with their duties and obligations to the Church and the Municipality due to distance and the absence of accessible roads.


It was  the parish priest of the Municipality of Opon, Padre Simon Aguirre, who encouraged the residents of Day-as headed by Claudio Dico to pass a Resolution requesting  the conversion of balangay Day-as and Pilipog and Gabi into a Municipality.  But the Spanish Governor-General in Manila consulted the Recollect priests (who took charge of the Visayan areas).  The latter opposed the move because the Chapel in Day-as then was made of bamboo and nipa only which the Recollects found to be unfit for a town Church.  At that time, the place where the Church stood had no drinking water, no farm and no plants.


Nevertheless, the people of the three barrios persisted and aired their request to the Bishop of Cebu who eventually acceded and who also agreed to put the new town under the charge of the secular priests.  Hence, after a third petition, the request was granted.


On May 22, 1863, Governor General Rafael Echague created a new town comprised by the barrios of Gabi, Day-as and Pilipul (Map “A”).    He chose the name CORDOBA which means “stark nakedness and bare”.  (Spain, Mexico and Argentina have cities named CORDOBA too).  Notwithstanding the ugly reference, the new town thrived on Gabi plants and Pilipog (a kind of coconut tree) and its foreshore area (now measured to be almost 4,000 hectares) and the adventurous character of the people especially those from Day-as (the name retained for its original “balangay”).


In 1864, the townspeople of Cordoba constructed a new Catholic Church in honor of its patron saint, St. Roque of Montpeller, France.  (At that time, leprosy in Cordoba was prevalent).  Its construction was supervised by Rev. Fr. Jose Salazar, OAR.  The new independent parish of Cordoba was finally established on October 8, 1864. 


But the parochial convent was started only in 1891-1893 during the time of Father Jose Medina.  It was completed in 1898 under Father Jose Bastan.


In 1898 when Andres Bonifacio revolted against Spain, Cordoba’s Directorcillo, Juan Nuñez (aided by Pablo Biongcog), was the distributor of Bonifacio’s cedulas to Cordova residents.  He was caught.  Nuñez and Biongcog admitted full responsibility for their activities and saved no less than 40 Cordoba residents from execution.  Only they got executed on October 15, 1898.


Juan Nuñez was Cordoba’s hero in the 1898 Philippine Revolution together with Biongcog.


Cordoba’s independence starting 1864 was short-lived.  When the Americans took over  in 1898, they re-annexed Cordoba to Opon thinking that Cordoba could not survive on its own.


The last set of Cordoba officials in 1898, prior to the loss of Cordoba’s personality, was headed by Cecilio Alvares as the Capitan Municipal, Florentino Tiro as the Jues de Pas, Benita Jumao-as as the Maestra de Niñas, and Magdaleno Francisco as the Maestro de Niños.


After the Philippine-American War when the Philippines was finally subdued by the Americans, elections for officials took place again.  On August 3, 1901, per Order of Governor Julio Llorente of Cebu, an election for Municipal President was held in Cordoba.  Carlos Sumalinog won the election by viva voce.  His term did not last long, however.  He was killed by the Americans. He possessed fake cedulas and was suspected of being the key man to the underground movement against the Americans.


The sad incident made Cordoba lose its representation in the Provincial Assembly.  It made Cordoba operate like a barrio since it had no more voice in the Provincial Assembly.


Despite the absence of Cordoba’s representation in the Provincial Assembly, the Provincial Board passed an Ordinance in 1901 dividing Cordoba into the barrios of Poblacion, Buagsong, Day-as, Gabi, Ibabao, Catarman and Cogon.


On April 21, 1902, Martin Jumao-as was chosen and admitted as representative of Cordoba to the Provincial Assembly and on January 18, 1903, Bernardo Nuñez represented Cordoba.


Efforts to regain independence were thereupon exerted by Cordoba leaders  led by those who were designated as Cabeza de Barangays, one after another: Capitan Benedicto Wahing, Capitan Claudio Dico, Capitan Rufino Bentulan, Capitan Hilario Potot, Capitan Carlos Sanchez, Capitan Carlos Sumalinog, Capitan Juan Jumao-as and Capitan Martin Jumao-as.


The efforts bore fruits thanks to the exemplary performance of Bernardo Nuñez (son of 1898 hero Juan Nuñez) who petitioned the Philippine Assembly for CORDOBA’s independence.  The Assembly Speaker then was SERGIO OSMEÑA, SR.


On December 17, 1912 Interim US Governor-General Newton W. Gilbert issued an ORDEN EJECUTIVA NUMERO 96 recreating the new town but changing letter “B” to letter “V” to spell CORDOVA, effective January 1, 1913.  Thus, CORDOVA became a separate municipality again with Bernardo Nuñez as its first Municipal President and Lucas Jumao-as as its Vice-President.


In 1913-1936, CORDOVA’s highest executive was designated as President.  Starting 1937, it was changed to Mayor.  Thus:



1913-1918 President Bernardo Nuñez
1919-1921 President Lucas Jumao-as
1922-1928 President Lope Baguio
1929-1931 President Victorio Pacaldo
1932-1936 President Juan Baguio



1937-1940 Mayor Victor Wahing
1941-1944 Mayor Martin Francisco
1956-1959 Mayor Victor Wahing
1960-1967 Mayor Sergio Baguio
1968-1971 Mayor Sergio Baguio
1972-1974 Mayor Sergio Baguio
1975-1980 Mayor Celedonio B. Sitoy
1981-1986 Mayor Celedonio B. Sitoy
1986-1987 OIC- Mayor Deogracias Jumao-as
1988-1997 Mayor Celedonio B. Sitoy
1998-2001 Mayor Arleigh Jay C. Sitoy
2001-2004 Mayor Arleigh Jay C. Sitoy
2004-2007 Mayor Arleigh Jay C. Sitoy
2007-2016 Mayor Adelino B. Sitoy
2016-Present Mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho