Ronda used to be a barangay of Barili. 

From 1815 to 1849, the barrio had proven its potential to acquire a municipal status.

So it was practically just a matter of time before the desired shift could take place. And this was something everyone in Ronda got so excited about.

Yet while so many people thought that it already possessed what was needed to fully attain its goal, Ronda's quest for sovereignty became a virtual "eye of the needle" impasse. The road to total independence became one rocky ride as the people did not immediately get what they had been wishing for so long a time. Somehow the limelight was stolen away from them by the powers-that-be and there was nothing anybody in Ronda could do but to bow down to the will of those in command.

The years that followed gave the inhabitants only a glimpse of what they were expecting, albeit with some regrets, as the town was granted what many were only reluctant to accept: a pseudo-municipal status. Though its authority was already waning, the Spanish authorities were still in control of the situation. They made sure the people understood this despite rumors of an impending rebellion in the north. And if there was anything they wanted the people of Ronda to experience first, it had to be that they must undergo a probationary period as a municipality.

While the rest of the town was preoccupied with the insatiable desire to acquire a municipal status, there were other significant changes occurring in the locality. For instance, a Royal Decree was issued in 1815, upon the recommendation of the Spanish governor of Cebu, declaring the specific boundaries of Ronda.63 This was intended, obviously, to prepare the town in the event it would truly become a municipality.

Following is a description of such boundaries: on the north, by an imaginary straight line drawn through the summit of Camboang Hill up to the spring called "Panglasahan" near Tubod-Bitoon; on the east, by an imaginary straight line from "Panglasahan" spring to the "Pangpang-puti" to the islet of "Agad-agad" in the Tarion Strait; and on the west, by the conventional three mile limit from the general coastline of Ronda toward the middle of Tanon strait.

Between 1834 and 1869, Ronda's famous son Jose Villagonzalo married Crisanta Faciol. Together, the couple exerted efforts in building a unique southern town, which started in the construction of a house that would soon become the seat of future leaders. Jose himself became the first barrio captain of Holoyaw, Ronda's former name. As early as his administration began, plans were already in place to convert the barrio into a separate municipality. Indeed Jose Villagonzalo can be considered a man of vision in his own right.

Nevertheless, Jose was preoccupied with some other thing that was of a religious nature: the spread of evangelization in his community. His religious passion was somehow stronger than his vision for a transition to a new town. Such zeal for the spiritual affairs, nevertheless, was not exclusive to the barrio capitan. As was usually the case in many towns, the blessings of Christianity came to the people's consciousness first before the mundane processes of political organization could take root. Thus, owing to his close ties with three Spanish missionaries—Fathers Melgar, Biundo, and Villa—Jose Villagonzalo became a zealous missionary himself, although in a secular sense of the word. His political ambitions had to play second fiddle. After him came other barrio captains namely, Ceferino Fundales, Bonifacio Faciol, Fernando Paglinawan, Teodoro Villalon, Victor Villagonzalo, Daniel Villagonzalo, Simeon Villagonzalo, Pedro Gimarino and Santiago Villegas.

As soon as Ceferino Fundales became Holoyaw's barrio captain in the late nineteenth century, the thought of acquiring a municipal status was revived and given serious consideration by the local officials. But just as all of them were ready to launch their bid for the much-coveted dream, a major phenomenon was brewing in Cavite: the birth of the Katipunan Movement. Led by its charismatic leader, Andres Bonifacio, this particular movement aimed to defend the rights of every Filipino and attempted to thwart whatever was left of the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. Such development only made matters worse for the Rondahanons as the Spaniards were now focusing their attention on how to quench the rebellion. All other concerns had to be set aside first for they were of lesser importance to the Spanish crown. With that in mind, the people understood where the fate of their town was heading. The inevitable conflict between the Spaniards and the Filipinos meant trouble for the entire archipelago, Ronda included. Thus, Fundales and the rest of Barrio Holoyaw had to wait till the revolution was over.

The long wait would have to end when in 1900 the town got the nod of the American governor in the Philippines to obtain a permanent status as a municipality. Once the new government was in place, a new presidente or local leader had to be chosen. The choice went to Pacifico Gonzaga, a native of Baybay, Leyte. He was appointed, not elected as commonly practiced today, as the first and last president of the town from 1900 to 1903. But this status of the town was shortlived.

Months after the celebration of its newfound status, Mr. Gonzaga, the town president, was involved in bitter rivalry and internal conflicts with the assigned parish priest.113 According to church records, the priest assigned during this period of conflict was none other than Rev. Fr. Cecilio Sanchez, whose term of office began in 1900 and ended in 1905.

Pride took its toll on both the civil and religious governments with no sign of let up. The struggle for supremacy became more pronounced until it reached the ears of the Civil Governor of the Philippines. Obviously disgusted, the American governor was prompted to take drastic measures to put a stop at the quarrel. As a result, Ronda was stripped of its municipal status and relegated to being just a barrio in 1904 under a more stable neighboring town: Dumanjug.

The barrio status lasted for eight years (1904-1912), just enough for both warring parties to settle their differences. By the year 1913, Ronda was already under a new administration both in the civil and religious sides: Mayor Aquilino Lucero and Rev. Fr. Basilio Navares. A year after the differences between the parish priest and the municipal president were resolved, Ronda once more acquired its erstwhile status: that of being an independent municipality. This was made possible through the authority of an enabling law passed by the Philippine Assembly in the year 1913.

With its permanent status as a municipality finally restored, an election was immediately made to determine the new town executive. When the votes were all counted, the name Aquilino Lucero emerged as the town's Municipal President. He served the town for three short years (1913-1916). He was succeeded by Luis Lumagsao, who served the town also for three years from 1916 to 1919. Succeeding generations of able leaders came with their own brand of leadership, all willing to put a lasting legacy of their administration.

Since then Ronda's status as a municipality remained unchanged. Thus, the fate of Ronda as an independent municipality was finally sealed.

© 2018 Municipality of Ronda, Cebu. All rights reserved.