Guillermo Dagohoy: A Biographical Sketch

Nonfiction by | May 4, 2008

Guillermo J. Dagohoy was born on October 23, 1919 in Sogod, Southern Leyte. His parents were Agustin Dagohoy and Macaria Jacobe. He had one brother, Hospicio, and three sisters, Celestina, Rufina, and Dulcesima.

Guillermo grew up in Sogod where he finished his elementary grades at Sogod Elementary School. In 1938, the family settled in Davao, and Guillermo continued his high school studies at Davao City High School. He attended college at the Visayas Institute, now the University of the Visayas where he finished with an Associate in Arts. He eventually became a high school teacher in the Assumption Academy of Peñaplata in Samal Island.

On June 13, 1952 he married Cresencia Gonzales whom he met in Sogod, Leyte. She was an elementary school teacher. Their union produced six children: Dante, Marilyn, Julius, Dennis, Jennifer, and Criselda. He had a previous common-law relationship with with whom he had four children.

Guillermo’s affair with the arts started with Cebuano poetry, the balak. The oldest extant piece of work he wrote is a poem entitled “Pahulay sa Kalinaw,” which was published in Bisaya Magazine in 1946. He also wrote short stories, but he was most prolific in writing plays, eighteen of which have been preserved by the family.

Apparently his father Agustin exerted a strong influence on Guillermo. Agustin was a bandleader who composed songs, some of which are still extant. Guillermo’s brother Hospicio was likewise a composer. Guillermo’s wife Cresencia is also a composer with whom he collaborated in writing songs.

Guillermo wrote pageant scripts, comical skits, morality plays, and linambay (or moro-moro) that served as highlights in fiesta celebrations and other special occasions in Samal. He himself directed his plays. His performers were all amateurs–fellow teachers and close friends who performed without pay, and who made their own costumes.

Guillermo died on March 11, 2003, leaving behind a body of works that spanned six decades. He was a true artist who carried the torch for the great vernacular theater tradition in Davao.

Three of his works were featured in the May 4 issue of Dagmay:
Pahulay sa Kalinaw
Kaanugon Da
Ang Passport Ngadto sa Langit

2 thoughts on “Guillermo Dagohoy: A Biographical Sketch”

  1. Guillermo Dagohoy, true to his last name and the legacy of the great Bol-anon resistance fighter, Francisco, was a rebel in his own right. He grew up in the dominance of North American military, political, and cultural hegemony but stuck to his roots and language — choosing to write in his native tongue — Cebuano. It might sound flippant, but, after reading the email of one of Guillermo’s granddaughters, Charisse Christine Dagohoy,I was inspired to write a poem (Kalinaw Sa Kinilaw; refer to website/blog: right there and then. I mean, if that’s not inspiration “from beyond the grave” (Guillermo died in 2003, right?), I don’t know what is. Long live, Guillermo Dagohoy! Long live, Cebuano poetry. Or I should say, balak nga Sugbuanon.

  2. Truly, I’m very proud of my late grandfather.

    I’m glad his works were recognized before he died. Special thanks to Mr. Macariu Tiu, Mr. Narciso, and the rest of the Humanities Division of ADDU (not forgetting Mr. Don Pagusara).

    My Lolo was one of the Filipino artists who struggled to express their abilities and talents in their own little ways. In his case, he did almost all of the production responsibilities during the presentations in Samal Island’s events–without asking for anything in return. He wrote, directed, acted, and even hand-made the props for those plays. He also composed several poems and songs together with my Lola. He was also an excellent sculptor, carver and painter. And how can I forget to mention here that he used to produce sounds from a leaf, trying to mimic the sound of his harmonica, which he used to play in front of his grandchildren.

    Before he bid farewell, he left all his literary pieces to me. I felt it was a great honor to keep the responsibility of keeping and preserving his masterpieces, and pass it on to our family’s next generations to come.

    Thanks for this section, his works are preserved somehow.

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