MUNICIPALITY OF CALAMBA (LAGUNA), Historical Data of Part II - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF CALAMBA (LAGUNA), Historical Data of Part II - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of Calamba, Laguna



About these Historical Data

[p. 12]

e. During the Japanese period, the __________ became rich but the poor suffered from __________.
f. The American planes bombed the __________ in the town.


A few days before February 12, 1945, the Takashita Brothers and the Toshide Family left Calamba by automobile for an unknown destination. The people believed that the Japanese left for good because the American liberation forces were very near. The bridges which were blown up by the Americans and the Filipinos and were repaired by the Japanese were blown up for the second time. The people felt more secure for they thought that the Japanese would not be able to come back to the town. But the bridges connecting Calamba with the towns of Batangas were left intact, so there was one way left.

On February 10, 1945, the people were surprised by the arrival of some Japanese soldiers in the barrio of Real. They stationed themselves in a house near the provincial road and held up and searched all people passing. They confiscated bolos, knives, sharp implements, and money.

In the afternoon of February 11, some of those soldiers entered the town and searched the people whom they met. Not contented with this, they entered some houses and confiscated watches, jewels, and other valuables found in the wardrobes. The people feared for their safety, so they

[p. 13]

made plans for their evacuation.

At about six o'clock in the morning of Monday, February 12, several truckloads of Japanese soldiers and a few soldiers on foot entered the town. According to estimates, the soldiers were less than one hundred. They got off their trucks in front of the church and spread fan-like in all directions gathering all the men they could find. They said they needed men to help them work in an airfield in Batangas. Thinking that it was an opportunity to work and that they would be released when the work was finished, some men went readily with the soldiers. In some places, all the men in the houses were taken; in the barrio of Linga, almost all the men were caught. All the men who were rounded up were gathered in the church.

Thousands of people who feared the Japanese and some of those who did not fear them but were warned by a sixth sense of impending danger ran tot he fields to escape from the soldiers. The dikes in the fields were full of running men, women, and children. When the Japanese saw the people in the fields, they followed them, firing some guns and machine guns which were placed in the barrio of Bañadero. The people wondered, "if the men were needed for enforced labor, why did the Japanese fire their guns and machine guns?" Some of them who ran to the fields and did not go far were overtaken by the soldiers and were made to go back to town and taken to the church. Mr. Pablo Ramos, the district supervisor of Calamba, was one of those caught in the fields.

[p. 14]

After passing in front of the school building, he turned and ran toward the market place and hid in a canal. In the evening, he went home dressed like a woman for women were not molested.

The soldiers started gathering the men until noon. Some of those who hid in their houses were captured later when the Japanese made their frequent rounds. At twelve o'clock at noon, the church was full of men. Women and children went back and forth to take food to their men, to find out what was being done, and to find ways and means to help them out. But the church was guarded by soldiers with fixed bayonets and very few were allowed to leave the church.

At two o'clock in the afternoon, the Japanese began taking the men in their trucks to an unknown destination. The men believed they were going to work. Since the truck returned in a short time, the people in the church concluded that they were to be taken to a nearby place. At twilight, the church was almost empty.

Late in the afternoon, rumors spread that the men were being killed. A girl who was washing clothes in the river near Real came to the town. She told the people whom she met on the way that a man with a bayonet wound gave her a ten peso bill and asked her to go to town and tell the people that the men were being bayoneted in Real and to advise the people in the church to try to save themselves. The message reached the men in the church somehow, but when

[p. 15]

someone tired to open the subject, the others were angry and quieted him down. They scolded him for making them nervous and excited.

That night, some houses in the barrio of Real were burned. The people of the town who escaped from the Japanese in the morning crept back that night, to their homes, gathered a few belongings, and left the town. The whole night and the next morning, endless streams of people walked from the town to the nearby towns of Cabuyao, Santa Rosa, Biñan and San Pedro, and even as far as Muntinglupa, seeking refuge and safety.

Eleodoro Habania, an architect by profession and a survivor from the massacre, told the following story: "We were a truckload of men from the church. My father, my two brothers, my brother-in-law, my uncle, and I were together in the church. We decided not to separate, so when the Japanese soldiers came to get us, we went together. It was twilight and the men in the church were already few. We were taken to the barrio of Real in one of the Japanese trucks. It stopped in front of a house, and we got off the truck. We were asked to ascend the stairs in single file. While we stood in line, we were blindfolded and our hands were tied behind us. I felt our lives were in danger. I put my hands as far apart as possible, so when they tied the knot, it was loose. As I was led upstairs, I tried to remove the loose rope. I kept my hands in the same position so as not to attract attention. As soon as I felt I was

[p. 16]

entering a room, I quickly removed my blindfold. I saw three Japanese soldiers with fixed bayonets, and beyond them was a huge pile of dead and wounded bodies covered with blood. I threw my whole weight against the three soldiers, who fell at the impact, ran to the nearest window, jumped out of the window, and ran blindly. I heard some shots in my direction but I did not heed them."

During the week that followed, the Japanese and the Makapilis looted and burned the town. The school building, the puericulture center which was inaugurated just before the outbreak of the war, the church, and the residences in Rizal Street, del Pilar Street, and parts of Burgos Street were razed to the ground.

In the morning of February 18, 1945, the Japanese soldiers and the Makapilis entered Canlubang and massacred the people. The evacuees to Cabuyao and Santa Rosa gathered again their belongings and hiked to Biñan, San Pedro, Muntinglupa, Alabang, and other towns in Rizal. On February 26, Tuesday, at nine o'clock A.M., there was carpet bombing in the town of Calamba by the American planes.

On February 22, 65 amphibian trucks passed Biñan on their way to Los Baños to liberate the American prisoners concentrated in the College of Agriculture. The people thought they would occupy the town as far as Los Baños, and the people of Calamba prepared to return to their homes, but after liberating the prisoners, the American forces returned to Manila.

[p. 17]

A band of guerrillas from Calamba entered the town and caught some of the Makapilis. The Javier brothers from Looc and a woman, the wife of a Japanese spy named Dengo, were among those who were caught. They were taken to the guerrilla headquarters at Santa Rosa and, in the late afternoon of February 25, they were killed in the town plaza in front of the many evacuees from Calamba and the neighboring towns and barrios. The men were killed by bayonet and the woman was burned.

A band of guerrillas from Calamba entered the town on February 27 and attacked the two Japanese patrols. They got the Japanese guns and two bicycles and retreated to the outskirts of the town. In the night, many Japanese soldiers entered the town and burned the houses.

1. Words for study

carpet bombing

2. Questions

a. What did the Japanese soldiers do in the town in the night of February 11, 1945?
b. When was the massacre of Calamba?
c. Where were all the men concentrated?
d. What did the Japanese do with the men?
e. Were there any survivors in the massacre?
f. What did the guerrillas do with the Makapilis they caught in the town?

[p. 18]

CALAMBA FROM 1901 to 1949

Presidents and Mayors
1901 - 1904
1904 - 1907
1907 - 1910
1910 - 1917
1917 - 1919
1919 - 1922
1922 - 1931
1931 - 1934
1934 - 1937
1937 - 1941
1941 - 1942
1942 - 1943
1943 - 1944
1944 - 1945
1945 - 1946
1946 - 1947
1947 - 1951
1952 -
Mateo Elejorde
Isidro Cailles
Ramon Santos
Rafael Pabalan
Anastacio Rubio
Roman Lazaro
Felipe Belarmino
Roman Lazaro
Eduardo Baretto
Roman Lazaro
Felipe Belarmino
Artemio Elepaño
Dr. Sisenando Rizal
Exequiel Geneciran
Roman Lazaro
Severino Arambulo
Dr. Sisenando Rizal
Dr. Sisenando Rizal
Japanese Administration
Japanese Administration
Japanese Administration
Japanese Administration
Post Liberation
Republic of the Phil.
Nationalista under protest

[p. 20]


The first president under the American role was Mateo Elejorde. His rule from 1901 to 1904 was characterized by many difficulties for the town had just emerged from the throes of was and disorder. There were lawless elements, and the great cholera epidemic of 1902 broke out.

The third president, Ramon Santos, was a Spaniard who married the daughter of one of the richest men in the town. He was responsible for the construction of the sidewalks in Rizal and Burgos Streets.

Rafael Pabalan, the president from 1910 to 1917, was responsible for the beginning of the construction of the public market. Two big buildings were erected in the present market site with money loaned by the Insular Government to be paid in installments. Rafael Pabalan died before the end of his term, and he was succeeded by the vice-president, the late Anastacio Rubio, who also died before the end of the term.

Felipe Belarmino was elected for three consecutive terms from 1922 to 1931. Many public improvements were constructed during his administration: the dry goods section, the pig section, the fish section, the stalls in the market, and some improvements in the town plaza. He also improved the irrigation system to supply more water to the ricefields. In 1926, he constructed the water works at a cost

[p. 21]

of ₱75,000. The Insular Government helped the municipality with a loan of ₱50,000 while the town suppled ₱25,000.

Roman Lazaro was president for three terms from 1919 to 1922, 1931 to 1934, and 1937 to 1941. He was the mayor before and after World War II. Many improvements were also constructed during his administration: the fish pond, the big jar on a miniature hill in the plaza, the swimming pool at Pansol Spring, the comfort station in the market, and the Municipal Building. This building was constructed in 1937-1948 at a cost of ₱175,000. Part of the amount was borrowed from the Insular Government to be paid in installments. This building was used as the garrison by the Japanese officials, and after liberation, the rooms below were found smeared with blood. Before the construction of the new municipal building, the municipal offices were housed at first in the old hacienda, and later at the Elepaño Building, which was the residence of the family of Capitan Eusebio Elepaño during the Spanish period, and which was transformed into Cine Rizal.

During the first year after liberation, the municipal government was beset with many difficulties. The bad elements who became used to lawlessness during the Japanese occupation continued their robberies, kidnapping, murder, and theft. In 1946, Severino Arambulo was appointed mayor by President Roxas. During his administration, he constructed Rizal's well on the Rizal

[p. 22]

Park and fence around the park. He built a bridge across the San Juan River to Bañadero worth ₱20,000, but the bridge was soon carried away by floods. He improved the road to Bañadero, Sukol, and Linga. The plans and materials for the concrete road in Burgos Street were completed during his term, but Dr. Sisenando Rizal was elected in the election in 1947, and this road was constructed during Dr. Rizal's administtation.

Dr. Rizal was elected in the election in 1951 but his opponent, Mr. Severino Arambulo, filed an election protest on the grounds of fraud, and the case is still pending in the Court of First Instance at present.

On November 30, 1947, when Eduardo Barretto was mayor, the students in the University of the Philippines made a pilgrimmage to the town to place a marker at the Rizal Park.


Calamba has long dreamed of a national shrine in honor of her illustrious son, Dr. Jose Rizal, but it was only in 1923 when definite steps were taken toward the realization of this ideal. In that year, Mr. Felipe Belarmino, who was then the president of the town, worked for the passage of Act 2963 which gave His Excellency, the Governor General of the Philippines, the power to buy or expropriate the lot which formerly belonged to the family of Dr. Jose Rizal. The lot was situated in the very heart of the

[p. 22]

town, near the church and near the plaza, and the house where Rizal was born stood on this site.

After the passage of Act 2963, the municipal council of Calamba presented a petition in the same year to His Excellency, the Governor General, requesting him to take the necessary steps to put Act 2963 into effect. After a few months, the municipal council again passed Act 54 requesting Hon. Juan Cailles, the provincial governor, to work for the execution of Act 2963 as soon as possible. On Nov. 21, 1923, another petition was sent to his Excellency, the Governor General, requesting that a campaign be launched to raise funds through voluntary contributions for the erection of a monument in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal.

In 1924, the municipal council of Calamba passed Act 29, which provided that a third petition be sent to the Legislature through the representative from the First District of Laguna, Dr. Vicente Ocampo, requesting the appropriation of a sum to be used in the purchase of the land provided for in the Act 2963. The Philippine Legislature appropriated ₱12,000 for the purchase of the lot, but the municipal council of Calamba found that this amount was not enough to pay for the lot and the houses that had been constructed and were already standing on the site. The municipal council again passed Act 77 on Aug. 19, 1928 petitioning the Legislature to appropriate another ₱12,000 in addition to the first ₱12,000 to make a total of ₱24,000. On Dec. 7, 1928, the Legislature passed Act 3483 appropriating

[p. 23]

another ₱12,000.

The municipal council of Calamba passed Act 61, Dec. 7, 1931, requesting the senators and representatives of Laguna to work for the execution of Act 3483 and to release the necessary money for the purchase of the buildings and the lot. The council promised to construct the building in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal.

Mr. Eduardo Barretto, a member of the municipal council, sponsored Act 90 in 1931 appropriating ₱1,000 as the initial amount for the construction of the house of Dr. Rizal, and Act 91 which provided that a prize of ₱100 be given to anyone who could submit the best plan for a monument in honor of Rizal.

In the year 1932, the municipal council passed Act 130 which provided for a committee composed of councilors Enrique Shinyo, Dr. Agapito Alzona, Agaton Lanzador, and Eduardo Barretto to collect voluntary contributions to a fund for the construction of the house of Rizal. In 1936, Act 56 provided for another committee composed of Juan O. Chioco, Artemio Elepaño Felipe Belarmino, and Dr. Leoncio Rubio to make plans for the construction of the building on the site which had been purchased with the ₱24,000 appropriated by the Legislature.

The outbreak of World War II put an end to all these plans and the voluntary contributions disappeared. After liberation, when the people had resumed their normal life activities and the old dreams and ideals came with renewed

[p. 24]

enthusiasm. President Roxas, at a campaign speech before his election, promised to have the house of Rizal constructed under his direct supervision, but he died without fulfilling his promise. It was His Excellency, President Elpidio Quirino, with the help of the schoolchildren all over the Philippines, who put the final touches to the realization of the longed-for dream. His Executive Order No. 145 provided for the collection of voluntary contributions from all public and private schoolchildren and students to the Rizal Fund. The school population willingly met the challenge and, in a short time, the goal set, which was ₱100,000, was raised. Construction of the building was begun in 1949 and it was inaugurated on June 19, 1950 in the presence of His Excellency, President Elpidio Quirino, Ambassador and Mrs. Cowen of the US, and the last surviving sister of Dr. Jose Rizal, Doña Trinidad Rizal.


During the retreat of the Japanese forces in the Philippines in 1945, and the advance of the American forces, lives and properties were destroyed by the Japanese soldiers; and Makapilis burned and looted the town; and American forces added to the destruction by their bombing. All the houses in del Pilar Street, except four houses, the Ochoa, Rillo, Quintero, and Decena residences were razed to the ground. All the houses in Rizal Street

[p. 25]

including the church and the Calamba Elementary School, from the plaza to Tibag, were also reduced to ashes except the two big buildings, the Santos and Clemente residences. In Burgos Street, only a few houses were burned.

When the people returned to their homes after the defeat of the Japanese, they built barong-barongs made of bamboos and of the burned iron roofings they found. They stayed in their barong-barongs for years. The town was rehabilitated little by little. At the time of this writing, eight years after liberation, almost all the houses that were burned have been reconstructed. Stronger, better, and more beautiful houses have risen from the ruins and ashes of the old. Some were reconstructed with the help of the RFC, while a few have been rehabilitated through their own resources. The payments made by the War Damage Commission contributed a little to the reconstruction of the town.

The Rizal Memorial School Building was reconstructed with the help of the people of the United States of America under the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946. Construction was started in 1948 and the building was completed in March 1949.

Reconstruction of the Roman Catholic church was started in 1949 under the direction of Architect Eleodoro Habaña, with ₱25,000 given by the Philippine War Damage Commission. The reconstruction was continued with funds

[p. 26]

from voluntary contributions of the people of Calamba. The church is now being used, although it is not yet completely rehabilitated.


As a people, the Filipinos are not inherently superstitious. It is rather parabolic to believe that these beliefs were introduced and encouraged by certain groups of people who were profited by the ignorance and fanaticism of a colonized race.

The belief that some days bring bad luck and others the opposite is prevalent the world over and has its origin in astrology. Few intelligent people are free from superstitious beliefs.

The town of Calamba is not lacking in beliefs that are unfounded. Progressive though it is, some of its people, especially those belonging to the older generations, still believe in superstitions. Here are some of them.

A. Planting vegetables, crops, and trees:

1. It is believed that when corn is planted, it is best for the planter not to open the mouth or laugh so that the corn cob will have many big even grains.
2. When the vegetables are planted, it should be done early in the morning before breakfast time. People say the vegetables will be healthy and will bear big, broad leaves and seeds.
3. Farmers usually coincide their planting of rice with the coming of a new moon. They believe that the rice plants will be resistant to diseases and will not be easily


Transcribed from:
Historical Data of the Municipality of Calamba, Laguna, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Next Post Previous Post