Father Fernando Lopez, Minglanilla’s first parish priest, is credited as the founder of the town in 1858. Nicolas Lopez, Miguel de Burgo and Jose Alonso worked together in the construction of the church and the cemetery. It roads and bridges were built by the same Fr. Lopez together with Fr. Magaz.
There were a number of capitanes whi headed the town during the Spanish era. The first capitan was Hilario Castañares. During the American regime when the town headsman was called president, the first to serve as such was Canuto Larrobis. The first to be elected municipal mayor was Gregorio de la Calzada.
But was the former name of Minglanilla. It was probably due to the fact that it was the place where early settlers dried (buad/buat) their sea catches. But in 1858, it was renamed Minglanilla by Fr. Lopez, after a place in Spain.
The town suffered setbacks, among them during the Philppine Revolution and World War II. In January 18, 1905, insurrectos burned down its municipal building and looted many houses. This unforgettable and lamentable event is commemorated by a street named 18 de Julio (18th of July). In 1942, its poblacion was razed to the ground by the Japanese in retaliation of the presence of the guerrillas in the town.
A popular legend explains the name of a barangay in Minglanilla. It is puzzling that Barrio Linao is so-called when there is no body of water in this locality. Linao in Cebuano means lake/bay. The legend goes:
It is told that Linao before was a bay, favorite place for Chinese traders to anchor their frigates. At first the natives were afraid of the slit-eyed, fair-complexioned foreigners that they fled inland.
To attract the inhabitants to trade with them, the Chinese left their merchandise on the shore and sailed away. Soon enough, the natives got the wares and exchanged them with precious stones. The barter went on with honest natives always repaying the goods with valuables.
On days, because there was no wind at all, the boats could not set sail. To raise wind, the boat’s captain decided to make his dog dance. This was an act of sacrilege on the part of the anitos or native gods, who sent strong winds, lightning, thunder and heavy rains which inundated the place. The frigates sunk and all the Chinese drowned.
The following day, the bay was no more. Instead, there was a wide plain where Linao stands today.
A big socio-religious event in Minglanilla which attracts not only people from adjacent towns but also from Cebu City and farther, is the Sugat. Sugat in Cebuano means meeting. On Black Saturday night, a public dance is held at the Church Plaza to witness the re-enactment of the “meeting” of the risen Christ and his mother. Their images, borne on richly-decorated carrozas, meet amidst joyous songs and the presence of child angels suspended by wires.