STA. CRUZ, DAVAO DEL SUR: Celebrating 127 years
January 07, 2011

The Municipality of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur has successfully celebrated its 127th founding anniversary through series of events and activities which kicked off on September 30, 2011 and culminated on october 5, 2011.

Bearing the theme STA. CRUZ: Hagit Atubangan, Kakugi ug Katarong Padayona, dugang Kalambuan Angkona, the town’s celebration focused on conducting several events that persuaded multi-sectoral participation.    

A soft opening on September 30 was conducted to promote environmental awareness through tree growing activity within the Sibulan River area and simultaneous clean up drive to all eighteen barangays in Sta. Cruz.

On October 1, a fun run for a cause was held as an opening salvo of the 5-day celebration. Dubbed as The South Race, the fun run had gathered around one thousand runners from region XI to raise funds for ANAKK Foundation, an alternative learning institution responsible for catering the disadvantaged children of Sta. Cruz.

The opening of Sta. Cruz Tourism and Agri-Industrial Trade Exhibit (STATE) was also conducted in the morning of October 1 along with the whole day Medical and Dental Mission and basketball goodwill games. In the evening was the Fashion Da Yag, a showcase of performance and fashion show featuring the gay community of Sta. Cruz.

Three major events happened on October 2; The Farmers’ and Fishermen’s Day, Social Welfare Day and Motocross Racing. In the evening was the cultural presentation of the Department of Education elementary level.

On October 3, the Liga ng mga Barangay Day took place. This event had several sub-component presentations such as the inter-barangay cheerdance competition, basketball tournament for barangay officials and volunteers, among others and was handled by the Association of Barangay Councils. Over at the Municipal Plaza, a contest for trisikad drivers was likewise initiated while in the evening, another cultural presentation and cultural fashion show were showcased by the Department of Education secondary school contingents and some guest performers from Davao City.

The culture and traditions of the indigenous peoples in Sta. Cruz were given attention on October 4 during the Tribal Day celebration and was led by the Municipal Tribal Council. In the evening of October 4, ten lovely ladies vied for the Mutya ng Sta. Cruz crown. A lady from Barangay Tagabuli named Mychelle Sosmeña was adjudged Mutya ng Sta. Cruz 2011.  

On October 5, the day was started with a holy mass and was followed by a grand parade, culmination programme, trisikad race finals, drum and lyre competition, sports festival finals, fireworks display and concert performance.

Gracing the event during the culmination program was the national president of Philippine Councilor’s League Hon. Alma Moreno-Salik and Mr. Romulo Parcon of the Department of Agriculture Regional Office XI.

More than a century-old municipality, Sta. Cruz was legally created last October 5, 1884 and it is the third oldest town in Mindanao. This gulf was originally called LABO,  a Bagobo word meaning marshland. The Bagobo Tagabawa tribe ruled by Datu Ali were the early settlers in the area.

According to pioneers, Sta. Cruz originated its name way back in 1880 when Spaniards planted a cross under a shelter upon their failure to Christianize the settlers who continued to resist them. Another group of migrants settled adjacent to the cross which was near to the present municipal building site, the place came to be known as SA CRUZ which means at the cross.

Official records from Manila Archives also described how the town got its name during the Spanish administration. It was documented that on October 4, 1884, Angel Rodriguez, Spanish Governor General of Mindanao Province arrived on board the warship Garduqui escorted by a sergeant, corporal and 12 persons from the capital detachment. They were greeted by both Christian and non-Christian inhabitants bringing with them banners bearing the embroidered word STA. CRUZ.

The next day (October 5), Rodriguez blessed the town STA. CRUZ SA MINDANAO. For the succeeding years, the municipality came to be known as STA. CRUZ.

Today’s town leadership is headed by Mayor Atty. Joel Ray L. Lopez, Vice Mayor Alexis C. Almendras, Councilors Manolito R. Lagrada, Jr., Lolita Legaspi, Alvin Rey Almendras, Philip Rizada, Oliver Enot, Fernando Ugdoracion, Alan Angub, Roel Orpilla, Mila Lim and Mark Lester Casas.

Last Update: January 07, 2011