History reveals that some roving merchants found a settlement by a riverbank, now called “Hitalon”, of which said roving merchants (believed to be Spaniards) perceived suited for trade and commerce named the settlement: CADIZ, named after a Seaport in Seville, Spain (1861).
It was in the year 1878 when Cadiz became a municipality independent from Saravia (now, E. B. Magalona). Its first appointed gobernadorcillo was Antonio Cabahug who was married to Capitana Francisca Vito. The gobernadorcillo, together with the tribunal, was the governing power of the municipality during that time. Only the Spanish Parish Priest (Cura Fraile) dominated this. The tribunal was composed of the Teniente Mayor, Teniente de Cementeras, Teniente de Ganados, Alquaciles, Cuadrillos, Comisarios, Cabezas de Barangay, Directorcillo and Juez de Paz.
During all these years, improvements made in the different streets and public places were done through the “Dagyao System”. The construction of the road leading to Daga including the bridge that spanned the Talaba-an Diotay River was realized through this system.
The first Cadiz Municipal Tribunal was established in 1894. Elected to this governing body were Gil Lopez Villanueva as Captain Municipal, Mateo Lazaro as Teniente Municipal with Jose Lopez Vito, Fermin Belmonte and eight (8) others as Delegados Municipales.
The breakout of the Spanish-American war in 1878 saw Cadiz taking part in the insurrection. Her sons and daughters headed by Francisco Abelarde took up arms against their Spanish masters. During the short-lived government of the cantonal state of Federal Republic de Negros, Jose Lopez Vito was elected president. Fermin Belmonte was elected Vice-President at the same time holding the office of Juez de Paz.
These two, together with the Delegado de Policia and Delegado Local de Hacienda, comprised the Municipal Council.
At the onset of the American rule, Cadiz was on its way to prosperity with the coming of two lumber companies in the area. Unluckily, one burned down in 1921, while the jurisdiction of the other lumber company was transferred to Sagay.
During the Japanese occupation from 1941 to 1945, Cadiz had been placed lamentably under the heel of the Japanese Imperial Forces, which brought much suffering to the people of Cadiz.
The resistance movement put up a civil government in the mountains to deal with civilian affairs. In the first post-war election in 1952, Hon. Joaquin Ledesma was elected Mayor. He held the reins of the local Government until Hon. Heracleo Villacin took over when he won in the 1955 local election.
On May 5, 1967 an event took place in the shores of Cadiz. Three whales landed in the shores of Barangay Banquerohan. Each, measuring forty feet long and eight feet in height, these mammals were said to have lost its course and found themselves in Cadiz shores. On May 10 of the same year, another group of nine of these creatures was seen on the bay. Due to this incident Cadiz is identified today as the City of Whales.
On July 4, 1967, Cadiz was inaugurated as a City with the approval of Republic Act 4898 in June 17, 1967 in Congress. The said Act was authored by then Congressman Armando C. Gustilo. Honorable Heracleo Villacin continued to serve as City Mayor of Cadiz until his death on May 27, 1975. He was the last Municipal Mayor and the first City Mayor of Cadiz City.
After the death of Mayor Villacin, Hon. Vice-Mayor Pedro E. Ramos, Sr. took over the helm of the City Government until his retirement in September 30, 1984 after which the Hon. Vice-Mayor Prudencio D. Olvido became the new mayor.
The People Power Revolution on February 26, 1986 toppled the government of Ferdinand Marcos and installed Corazon C. Aquino as President. After the said uprising, a local election on January 18, 1988 took place. Rowena V. Guanzon, a young practicing lawyer, was elected mayor of Cadiz until she resigned in March 1992 to run for Congress.
In the joint national/local election on May 11, 1992, Hon. Vicente C. Tabanao, the number one city councilor, was elected Mayor of Cadiz. A development-oriented official, Mayor Tabanao continued to lead this bustling city towards progress and development.
The aspirations and dreams of Mayor Tabanao for the people of Cadiz were not fully realized because of his untimely death on January 9, 1994, with one and a half-year left of his term. After his death the helm of the city government was under the hands of the Vice Mayor Eduardo G. Varela as City Mayor. Mayor Varela continued the visions and goals of the late Mayor Vicente C. Tabanao.
The local elections in May 1995 confirmed the people’s wish for Mayor Varela to remain as Mayor when he was elected to this position. His incumbency paves the way for the implementation of more development programs and establishment of more development projects. One of these is the negotiation with the Local Government Infrastructure Fund Agency and the United States Agency on International Development (USAID), which made possible for the construction of new and modernized public market in 1995, replacing the 1981 old public market. Another project is the construction of the Banquerohan Bridge, which links Barangay Banquerohan to the poblacion. This bridge is expected to spillover the growth of the city proper into the adjacent barangays, thus shall hasten the growth and progress of communities in these areas.
With the helm of the City Government under Mayor Eduardo G. Varela, it is hoped that a pro-people administration can be realized and significant changes that can provide sustained development and progress to Cadiz City can be achieved.
On May 14, 2001 local election, Hon. Salvador G. Escalante, Jr. was elected as the new city mayor. An energetic, tireless and development oriented person who got the nod of his constituents for his second and third terms during the May 2004 and 2007 election respectively. His administration is focused on the people’s hopes and aspirations from, “Vision to Reality”.
Under his helm, on March 2005, a new port, the Cadiz City Commercial Port at Brgy. Banquerohan was constructed and on July 4, 2006 the ground-breaking for the Cadiz City Commercial Center at Brgy. Tinampa-an took place.
In May 2010 election, Doctor Patrick G. Escalante was elected as the new Cadiz City Mayor. He continued significant changes for the progress and development of the city and the people’s hopes and aspirations from: “Vision to Reality”, then, “Bilis Cadiz-Ugyon Cadiznon” saw more Economic, Social, Financial and Infrastructure development: the construction of more roads, establishment of more Socialized Housing Projects, Health, Education Facilities and Power Providers.