Dagami is a Municipality in the Province of Leyte, Philippines.
According to the 2000 census, the town has
a population of 29,240 people with 25,644 rural population and
3,596 urban population in 5,776 households.
The Municipality is relatively a fifth class municipality, which
merely depends its development on Agriculture. It is lying along
the ranges of the famous mountain “Amandewing” which is bounded in
the north by the Municipality of Pastrana, on the northwest by
Albuera, on the south by Burauen, and on the east by the towns of
Tabon - Tabon and Tanauan.
The employment rate is 63% of the total population workforce in the
It has a total land area of 20,125.8 hectares whose location is
thirty – two kilometers (32) South of the City of Tacloban and
fourteen kilometers (14 km) directly from the Leyte Gulf otherwise
known as the seashore of the Municipality of Tanauan, Leyte.
Dagami is mostly famous for its local delicacy, the "Binagol",
"Moron" and "Sagmani".
Dagami is politically subdivided into 65 barangays
and two non-legislative districts. For
purposes of education administration, the municipality is divided
into Dagami North District and Dagami South District.
- Barangay Buntay
- Cansamada East
- Barangay Hilabago
- Los Martires
- Sampao West Pob. (Dist. 8)
- Lapu-lapu Pob. (Dist. 2)
- Lusad Pob. (Dist. 6)
- Sampao East Pob. (Dist. 9)
- San Antonio Pob. (Dist. 5)
- San Jose Pob. (Dist. 1)
- Sta. Mesa Pob. (Dist. 7)
- Tunga Pob. (Dist. 4)
- San Roque Pob. (Dist. 3)
- San Benito
- Santo Domingo
- Cansamada West
- Lobe-lobe East
The Legend of Dagami's Name
The newly refurbished Municipal Hall
of Dagami, Leyte.
St. Joseph Parish Church, the main
church in Dagami where the statue of the town's patron saint, St.
Joseph, is enshrined.
Long before the Spaniards set foot on Philippine soil, the islands
of Leyte were divided into Kingdoms or Sultanates. The most
respected and powerful in the whole island was Dagaran, the
sultanate ruled by Diwaranda Mohammed. He had a daughter named
Sayajamburan who was so beautiful many asked for her hand but, all
in vain. The nearby kingdoms were Bumbaran and Kahagna – sultanates
of King Mapandara and King Mabanig, respectively. King Mapandara
had a son named Bantugan who was the commander of his father’s army
and sought after by many women because of his strength and good
looks. Sayajamaburan was secretly enamored by Bantugan’s physical
and intellectual prowess. Bantugan has asked of her hand but was
refused although he knew he had hopes of winning her in the end.
The ruler of Kahagna King Mabanig, was also a close rival of
Bantugan. He was wealthy and got along well with everyone. When
Sayajamaburan’s father was dying, he chose Bantugan for his
daughter’s husband. Two days before the scheduled wedding, there
was rejoicing everywhere except for King Mabanig who declared war
against Bantugan’s kingdom. Bantugan came out victorious and the
wedding took place. Bumbaran, Dagaran and Kahagna then became one
by affinity and conquest. The fusion of the three kingdom made
Dagara – a more powerful and respected.
In 1478, two hundred years after the fusion of the three substances
into one kingdom, changes took place. Dagilan, the capital of the
whole kingdom, increased in population. The culture and social life
of the place was further changed by the entry of the Chinese,
Hindus and other Asian people. The people engaged in trade both wit
h Asia and Europe.
When the Spaniard arrived in Leyte in 1521, they found out that the
trade were in the villages bordering the sea. Dagilan was a
community of a few houses. When the missionary friars introduced
the Christian faith, the people were not difficult to convert for
they practiced the respect for private property and worshipped one
One harvest season, a group of Spanish soldiers happened to pass by
a group of men and women harvesting rice. They asked for the name
of the community that was a few meters away. The natives thought
that they were asking for a definite term for the field after rice
had been harvested, a woman answered, “Dinagami – a Senior”. The
Spaniards had difficulty in pronouncing Dinagami – that several
times the natives laughed at them. Having felt insulted, one of the
civil guards shouted angrily in Spanish, “Dagami or Dawian makes no
difference!”. This place is Dagami, Dagami, Dagami! You Indios!
What a queer language you speak." From that time, "Dagilan" was
changed to "Dagami" by the village folks thinking that the name was
most suited for the place.
The people of Dagami speak Waray
, the native dialect of some parts of
Leyte and Samar. The origin of the dialect can be traced to Maranao
migrants from Mindanao in what is considered to be the modern day
Western and Northern Mindanao.
Some words similar to Maranao dialect:
Direction:SouthWaray - IlawodMaranao - Si Ilud (meaning lower
NorthWaray - IrayaMaranao - Si Raya (meaning upper valley)
There are plenty of Waray words that has similar meaning to the
Maranao dialect. This confirms the legend's probability of being
is a Barangay in Dagami.
barangay used to be a sitio
of Barangay Patoc
in the said municipality. The name Hilabago comes from the words
which means long and Bag-o
meaning new. A
river which traverses the barangay is also called
. In the 2000 census, Hilabago had a population of
444 individuals in 91 households.
Production of copra - a by-product of coconut tree fruit is the
main industry of the townfolks. The growth of local economy is
highly dependent on copra production due to price fluctuation in
the market of its by-products such as oil, dissicated coconuts, and
other raw materials made from leaves, bark, and the coconut fruit
Rice farming is the second source of livelihood for the people of
Dagami. Almost half of the land area is planted with different
variety of rice stocks. It is likewise the second most traded
product in the town next to copra.
The town of Dagami is known for its local delicacy, the "Binagol" -
a sweet, glutinous mixture of cassava, legume crop and other
ingredients cooked with filling made of sugar, coconut and milk
placed in a coconut shell or "bagul" and wrapped with banana
leaves. Dagami also has other local delicacies such as "Sagmani",
"Moron" and "Baduya".
"binagol" is sold in the city market primarily in Tacloban City while some reach the international markets around
"Tuba", is a well-known drink to Leyteños. Aside from copra
production, the gathering of this product from coconut sap is
another source of livelihood for Dagami-ons. The "tuba product
gathered is then traded in the market by local entrepreneurs but
oftentimes sold directly by the gatherers.
townfolks recognize the importance of education, hence local
leaders are working very hard to provide the people access to
education as most prominent higher educational institutions in
Leyte are in the provincial capital, Tacloban City, Tabontabon, and Tanauan.
Almost all barangays in the town have primary and intermediate
schools. The two major elementary schools are Dagami North Central
School and Dagami South Central School situated just a few meters
apart in the town proper. Other major elementary schools are Patoc
Elementary School in the north, Guinarona Elementary School in the
West and Balilit Elementary School in the south.
The town has three public high schools and one private school run
by the local parish. The local public secondary schools are Santa
Mesa National High School located in the town proper, Patoc
National High School in the north, Guinarona National High School
in the west and the private-run Saint Joseph High School in the
Recently, a tertiary school was opened in Barangay Patoc, some
seven kilometers north of the town center. The Huron Institute was
initiated by the Archdiocese of Palo through the Parish of San
Roque and administered by a Board of Trustee chaired by the local
Parish Priest and board members who are mostly residents of the
The town of Dagami is traversed by many rivers and streams upland.
The biggest river is Panda River which cuts across the town's
northeast section. Sawahon River is among its tributaries which is
also joined up stream by its major tributaries such as Hilabago
River, Kababatuan Dako (Greater Stones) River and Kababatuan Guti
(Smaller Stones) River.
During the rainy season, when these rivers rise, the downtown or
is flooded causing damages to
property. A river dike which is also a diversion road was built to
protect the town center. But as the river rises higher than the
dike, it overflows causing more water to flood the town
The majestic Mount Amandiwing located near Dagami is the highest
peak in Leyte
. The imposing mountain is a
protected natural park where wildlife such as pigs, deers and
monkeys are hunted by local hunters despite by a local ban. During
the 1960's, a logging concession was permitted to cut its virgin
forests but the concessionaire never replanted trees. Locals
exploited the situation by farming the logged area and creating
The mountain is best viewed from the town proper. On approach to
the town proper, the mountain is an imposing majestic hill where
smokes bellow from different parts like chimneys. Up in the mountain
near its peak, one could see the vast Pacific Ocean.
Municipal Mayors of Dagami
1900 - Present
The Millennium Arc, which is the main
entrance to the Municipal Plaza.
The Municipal Hall is also in the said Plaza.
The Official Seal of the Municipality of
- 1900 - 1906 --- Capitan Fabian Perido (First
appointed Municipal President by the Americans who established
camps near Dagami.)
- 1907 - 1910 --- Capitan Cecilio Limchaypo
- 1911 - 1914 --- Capitan Simeon Cañete
- 1915 - 1921 --- Capitan Ciriaco Bayona
- 1922 - 1924 --- Capitan Antonio Ubaldo
- 1925 - 1937 --- Hon. Atilano
Cinco (Cinco was one of Leyte's ten official delegates to
the 1935 Philippine Constitutional Convention, representing the 5th
District of Leyte)
- 1938 - 1941 --- Hon. Homobono
- 1941 - 1944 --- Dr. Cesario Sudario, Sr.
- 1945 --- Hon. Meliton Iroy,
- January, 1946 - June, 1947 --- Hon.
Pablo Ontimare, Sr.
- June - December 1947 --- Hon. Fermin
- 1948 - 1951 --- Dr. Cesario Sudario, Sr.
- 1952 - 1955 --- Atty. Fernando
- 1956 - 1959 --- Hon. Pablo
- 1960 - 1963 --- Hon. Felipe
- 1964 - 1967 --- Hon. Serafin Nicolas,
- 1968 - 1980 --- Dr. Juan C. Vertulfo,
- 1980 - April 1986 --- Hon. Necitas
- April - November 1986 --- Dr. Pablo M.
Ontimare, Jr. (Post-EDSA People Power Revolution
- December, 1986 - January, 1987 --- Mr. Olimpio
O. Salvatierra (Took over as caretaker
after the EDSA People Power
Revolution of February 1986)
- 1987 - 1991 --- Hon. Adolfo
- 1992 - 1995 --- Atty. Benedicto
- 1995 - October, 2001 --- Hon. Adolfo
- October 20, 2001 - June 30, 2004 --- Hon.
Gavino Dario O. Berino III
- July 1, 2004 - Present --- Hon.
Esmeralda "Nene" Bardillon-Ortega
The Dagami Municipal Seal represents the town's humble
achievements. The center of the seal shows the town's Municipal
Hall, the seat of Dagami's local government. Its upper left side
features the St. Joseph Parish of Dagami and the other side shows a
faucet that represents Dagami as the source of fresh water of the
Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD), the local distributor of
fresh water in the 1st District of Leyte, namely where the capital
of the Province is, Tacloban
The lower part of the Seal on the left side
symbolizes the Municipality's dependency on agriculture, and the
other side features the local delicaicies of the town, especially
the "Binagol" or sometimes known as "Lidguid". The major colors of
the seal are green and yellow, the colours of the St. Joseph
Parish, where the statue of the town's Patron Saint, St. Joseph is
enshrined and beautifully presented in a wooden and hand-decorated
The Municipal Mayor
The current Municipal Mayor of Dagami is Hon. Esmeralda
, popularly known to the
Dagamin-ons as "Nene". Mrs. Ortega won the Mayorship against the
incumbent Mayor at that time, Gavino Berino III. Berino was running
for re-election against her in 2004, but lost. She is the very
first lady Municipal Mayor of Dagami.
- Leyte: Towns' Historical Legends By Francisco
- Souvenir Programme -
Dagami Town Fiesta By the St. Joseph Parish of Dagami
- National Statistics Office, Republic of the
Philippines - Total Population, Household Population and Number of
Households by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May
1, 2000 (total population includes institutional