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The Bow & Arrow of Lapu-Lapu

From 1929 to 1933, the chief executive of Opon1 was Rito de la Serna. During his incumbency, the Municipal Council of Opon passed a resolution sometime in 1933 appropriating an amount   for the construction of a monument in honor of Chief Lapulapu2. The resolution was then immediately implemented. The statue of Lapulapu was then holding a bow and arrow and the arrow was pointing at the municipal hall. Whether it was by coincidence or for some other reason, Rito de la Serna died not long after the completion of the Lapulapu Monument. At first, the residents did not connect his death with the statue of Lapulapu. However, when de la  Serna's successors died while in office, superstitious people began to talk about the statue.

Gregorio de la Serna, a nephew of the late Rito de la Serna, was elected to serve from 1934 to 1937 but he was not able to complete his term because he died in office sometime in 1937. Hon. Simeon Amodia was installed to serve the unexpired term of Gregorio de la Serna. But, again, tragedy struck as the newly-installed Simeon Amodia died even before the year 1937 came to an end. It was Pascual Patalinghug who broke the cycle when he completed the unexpired term up to the end of 1937.

In 1938, Mariano S. Dimataga was sworn in as the new chief executive of Opon. Whether he  believed in the bow and arrow jinx or not is uncertain but he immediately undertook the  renovation of the statue of Lapulapu. The bow and arrow was replaced by a pestle. Mariano  Dimataga remained as the chief executive of Opon for the next thirty years2 until he retired in


  1. Opon was the name of Lapu-Lapu City before it became a chartered city in 1961. It was a municipality of the province of Cebu then.
  2. Lapulapu is the Philippines' first national hero. Factual information regarding Lapulapu can be found in Bantayog ng mga Bayani.
  3. Mariano Dimataga was the Municipal Mayor of Opon from 1938 up to 1942 when World War II started. After the war, Dimataga served again as the Municipal Mayor from 1945 up to 1961 when Opon became the chartered city of Lapu-Lapu. He continued to serve as the chief executive (as City Mayor) until his retirement in 1968.

courtesy of: Mga Awit ng Nakaraan (Songs of the Past) [ link ]