MUNICIPALITY OF CALAUAN (LAGUNA), Historical Data of - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF CALAUAN (LAGUNA), Historical Data of - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of Calauan

About these Historical Data

[Cover page]


[Committee Members]

Bureau of Public Schools
Division of Laguna
District of Pila




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The history of Calauan is a rich account of its people in their struggle for political, social, and economic existence as an integral part of the country. Significant events are attached and closely associated with the history of her neighboring towns Bay, Pila, San Pablo, and of the Province of Laguna.

At the foothills of Maukay and Wakat in the northeastern part of the province nestles the town of Calauan, which is distinctly rural in atmosphere. The entire municipality covers an area of a little more than 8,000 hectares. The once big hacienda is now subdivided into small parcels owned by townfolks. The territory is wholly productive where rice, coconut, vegetables, and fruits are raised in abundance. The present population is about 10,000 inhabitants.

Prior to the occupation of Manila by Martin de Goite in 1570, there was no available historical account of Kalawang. The whole area was a dense forest inhabited by roving bands of natives that came from Bonbon province, now Batangas.

It was in the year 1572 when the history of Calauan was chronicled. Captain Juan de Salcedo made his expedition of conquest in the provinces of Laguna and Tayabas on his way to the Bicol provinces. This eventually brought the region under Spanish authority. Salcedo was much impressed with the vicinity now Calauan because of the vast plain of fertile lowlands facing north of Laguna de Bay. The old town of Kalawang, which is situated approximately two kilometers west of the present town, was officially created in 1580. Simultaneously founded were the towns of Old Kalawang, old Bay, now sitio Kanluran, Barrio San Antonio of that town, and of Pagalanan, the old site of the town of Pila. The town was named Kalawang which is derived from the word "rust" in English, which could be found in abundance in a spring near the old ruined church. The town did not show progress from the start, so Old Kalawang was absorbed by Bay as a sitio when the latter became the capital of the province in the early period of the seventeenth century. Commerce flourished and Bay became a prosperous town. Merchants and traders from San Pablo and Tayabas passed via Calauan, and heard about the spring and its medicinal effects to convalescent persons. Attracted by the place, the people once more resettled in the once deserted town.

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In 1694, an epidemic exacted a heavy toll among the populace and the people were forced to find a new site where it is now located. The present town was founded in 1703. Simultaneous with the founding of the town was the construction of a temporary church. After a period of more than half a century, Doña Eleuteria Punzalan in 1787 financed the erection of a new concrete church. The inhabitants took turns in improving the locality. Cabezas de Barangay were entrusted to collect tributes from the inhabitants. A Casa Tribunal (Municipal Building) was also constructed at a latter period and was the nerve center of the town and its local administration. The vicinity outside the poblacion was fast cleared and made productive, though the area was quite negligible. A fitting reward to the poor farmers was the fact that they became permanent owners of the lands they had improved and occupied.

About the year 1812, a rich Spaniard named Iñigo established a dyeing industry at the present site of sitio Tangke. He bought from small landowners the land surrounding his industrial enterprise. After his death, his son Jose Roxas took over the administration, but it did not prosper, so he withdrew his venture of expanding the business which he inherited from his father. Instead, he concentrated on the management of his landholdings. The property finally was divided between his two heirs, Pepito and Pedro Roxas. In 1842, by virtue of a royal decree, Queen Isabella II donated to the heirs of Don Jose Roxas the adjacent areas not owned by private individuals. Since then, Calauan became an hacienda. The Roxas brothers got their own shares of the inherited property, but in the years that followed, the heirs of Don Pepito sold their properties to Doña Margarita, who was a daughter of Don Pedro. Simultaneously, when the hacienda became a property of Don Pedro, he appointed an encargado or administrator. Felix Marfori was the first to be appointed, succeeded by Ignacio Marfori, Jose Marfori, and Simeon Marfori. The last to serve in this capacity was Don Juan Schultz in 1911, until the property was sold to the townspeople in 1939.

Numerous agricultural improvements were introduced, by means of which farmers were able to raise two crops a year. The erection of the huge dam in the San Isidro River southeast of the poblacion and the digging of ditches made possible the irrigation of the bigger area of the ricefields. This was accomplished by Felix Marfori in 1882.

Another industrial venture established at Calauan in 1817 was a thread factory. It was water harnessed; Moro and native hands furnished the labor for its operation.

The local government was guided in its civil administration by many and capable men appointed as capitanes of the town and prominent among them were Emerito Malijan, Mariano

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Gavino Oliva, Marci Taningco, Iligo Medel, and the last was Antonio Roxas, who took over the position up to the end of the nineteenth century.

The torch of local education was lighted for the young people of that time. Caton, Arithmetic, Writing, and Religion were important subjects taught in school. Maestrong Leon was the first known teacher during the Spanish sovereignty, but he was a disciplinarian of the first degree. Memory work in the daily lesson was only ordinary for children, but failure to do so often ended in lashing or beating. Maestrong Ambrosio and Balbino were duplicates of their predecessor. There was only a handful of young boys that took advantage of learning the 3 R's. But it served quite advantageous for those who took pains of going to school, because they later became the leaders of the town in the years that followed.

Calauan lulled in comparative peace before the revolution. The people were peace-loving, energetic, and hard-working. They were deeply concentrated in their work on the farms. No untoward incidents about tenancy was recorded. Contentment was part of the life among the people. Almost all family heads were tenants or sub-tenants of the hacienda.

When the Philippine Revolution broke out in 1896, the people of Calauan were not caught unaware. The local members of the Katipunan, like Irineo Miranda, Cabesang Basilio Geirosa, Domingo Pajadan, and others were secretly fed with information of the developments. As the situation in this period became tense and sporadic outbreaks of armed rebellion in the towns of Calamba and Santa Cruz became evident, Cabesang Basilio Geirosa stimulated the sense of patriotism, mustered an armed band composed of the malefactors in the town. Despite the absence of firearms, the resident Katipunero contented themselves with bolos and joined the tide of events.

In the afternoon of December 16, 1897, acting upon information relayed a day earlier, Cabesang Basilio and his 67 men abushed a battalion of about 400 Spanish guardia civil with a mission of burning Los Baños, Bay, and Calauan at Cupangan, now Lamot. It was a short, decisive, hand-to-hand fight that lasted for almost five hours. When the smoke of battle settled down at dusk of that fateful day, the entire Spanish contingent was annihilated. A score who was able escape was later captured by the insurgents at Pila when they were about to ford Bangkabangka River.

In the short existence of the Revolutionary Government in 1898, a strong and striking character in the person of Simeon Marfori was appointed head of the local government.

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It did not take long when the Filipino-American hostilities flared up. Cabesang Basilio once more gathered his comrades upon the order of Gen. Juan Cailles, who was in command of the revolutionary insurgents in this part of Laguna. Once more, the men of Calauan responded to the call of their country. They participated in the short battle in Barrio San Diego of San Pablo on January 20, 1899; and in Taguig, Rizal, when the forces of Gen. Juan Cailles were recalled to that town to reinforce in a battle against the elements of the forces under General Otis. At some other minor skirmishes that prevailed outside Calauan, the stubborn resistance of the local insurrectos became conspicuous.

The townsfolk of Calauan were guided in the Catholic religion by the Recollect fathers. This was a manifestation of the Christian influence in their moral and spiritual beliefs. Father Mariano Pena was instrumental in the improvements of the church, and Father Jose Inocencia Marivellosa, in 1894, added minor improvements. When the people of Calauan evacuated to Bay during the Filipino-American War, Father Juan Asilo served the people in their religion.

The town was totally deserted of its inhabitants in 1899-1901 when they were herded to Pila, Bay, and San Pablo. Other families took refuge in more distant towns of Batangas and Laguna. American troops stationed at Los Baños occasionally sent patrols to Calauan and its outlying countryside. The insurrectos resisted with determination. Finally, the American occupation forces were able to quell the resistance when the remnants of the insurgents under Felizardo Manguiat submitted.

When the military government was implemented in many towns of the province, Calauan became an exception. The reins of the local government were offered to the leading men of the town, but they repeatedly refused the bid. This enraged the American authorities, so that on January 7, 1901, they set the town afire. It was only the Catholic church and the convent that were saved from the burning.

In the eve of 1902, the people of Calauan were allowed to return and Mariano Marfori was appointed presidente of the locality. There was utter social and economic dislocation when he assumed the position in the local government. People began to rebuild their homes and the fields were once more tilled. The new town executive served his townspeople until 1909, after being re-elected for three consecutive terms, aside from the first year of his incumency, when he got it by appointment from the American military authorities. He was beset with the grave problems of reconstruction and peace and order, but he capably surmounted them all. He improved the streets and remedied the sanitation and took the pains of fetching the former inhabitants from their places of evacuation. With his deep-seated concern

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among his townmates, he was able to earn their love and respect. Mariano Medel took turn to continue the administration. He attended to the education of the young generation and carried on the program of administration relinquished to him by Marfori.

The first four decades of this century (1900-1941) were a period of progress and construction. Schools, markets, waterworks, and municipal halls were constructed; and the streets of the town were repaired. Sanitation was instituted and the health of the people was protected. With this progress of the municipality, laurels are due to those men who took hold in the stewardship of the local government. They were Mariano Marfori, Mariano Medel, Gaspar Fajardo, Felix Limchoco, Ramon Limdiko, Mariano Taningco, Leoncio Geirosa, Alfredo Marfori, and Dominador Alvela.

The Hacienda at this period had exerted much influence in the political life of Calauan. A candidate who sought a foothold in the municipal administration always emerged successful and triumphant when backed up by the Hacienda.

In 1916, a hospital was constructed and financed by the owner of the Calauan Estate. It has devotedly served the people to a great extent. Dr. Mariano O. Marfori was the first physician from this town who became the Director and, at the same time, resident physician of that institution.

Sometime in the early thirties, the provincial government purchased a big parcel of land in Barrio Lamot from Wenceslao Roxas, and converted it into an Agricultural Experimental Station.

In 1935, Mr. Juan R. Schultz opened for cultivation a 16-hectare area of his land in the same barrio for a flower garden on which he started his flower business.

Acceding to a request of Pres. Manuel L. Quezon, Don Andres Soriano, son of Doña Margarita Roxas, in 1939 subdivided the estate and sold the property to the townsfolks. The limited period allowed by the Hacienda to the native lessees of the rice farms to pay the initial installment forced them to sell their rights to the land to people of other towns.

The period of December 8, 1941 to April 21, 1942 was quite memorable, for Calauan received her share of the war in a baptism of fire from the invasion forces of the Japanese. As an inland town, she was spared from bombing, but the Calauan Garden, owned and managed by John Schultz, was strafed by enemy planes. There were no lives and properties lost during this period caused by the war.

During the military occupation (April 22, 1942 to

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September 22, 1944), distant farms were neglected due to guerrilla operations. Japanese soldiers arrested persons on mere suspicion of being members of the resistance movement or assisting such activities. Many prominent residents of Calauan were victims of these circumstances. Destruction of properties was negligible.

The Calauan Hospital, an institution for the poor, was occupied by the invaders. The two mansions inside the compound of the hacienda were made headquarters of the Japanese officials, and the elementary school served as the confinement place for persons who were suspected of guerrilla affiliations.

The Japanese soldiers garrisoned in Calauan, like in some other towns of the country, became more cruel and savage. Death among civilian folks became more frequent not only due to Japanese atrocities but also to sickness and lack of food.

From September 15, 1944 to the actual liberation of the town in April 1945 by the American forces from the Japanese soldiers came as a great blessing not only to the Calauan folks but also to all Filipinos whose areas were liberated. Destruction in this period was caused by two factors:

1. Guerrilla Operations
2. Scorched Earth Policy of the Japanese Imperial Army

The guerrillas destroyed four bridges — the Lamot Bridge, the Hangan Bridge, and two bridges within the poblacion. They killed the Makapilis (Pro-Japanese Filipinos) and burned their houses when they attacked the town in their operations.

The retreating Japanese forces burned the hospital, the schools, the municipal hall, and practically all the houses except the buildings inside the compound of the hacienda, which they had occupied before they retreated. The Japanese, in desperation, burned the showhouse and two other big houses in the town proper, with people they were able to apprehend in that dark hour of Calauan. The town sustained about 180 people killed and 1500 houses went up in smoke when the accounting was made after the chaos had subsided.

In May 1945, the townspeople went back to Calauan from the evacuation towns of Pila, Biñan, Cabuyao, and Santa Rosa, only to find their homes in ashes. With the spirit they had inherited from their forefathers, the Calauaños resettled in the town and barrios and built temporary homes and once more attended to their chores in the farms.

The local government pursued its usual course of operation when Mayor Alvela assumed to his office and the local con-

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dition went back to its normal process. The rehabilitation program was carried on by him. Important among those projects were the water system and the school buildings in the town.

With the aid from the people of the United States, through the US-Phil. War Damage Commission, the town was fast rehabilitated in 1948-1949.

The year 1952 saw the evidence of cooperation between the local administration under the mayorship of Juan Brion and the townspeople, when a monument of Dr. Jose Rizal was constructed at the plaza from the popular contributions of the people.

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In every town, there is a patron saint; and when the saints' day come, they celebrate it with merrymaking or "fiesta." In Calauan, our patron saint is San Isidro Labrador, farmers' saint. On May 15, we have our town fiesta. Every house, even how poor or how rich, prepares food for everybody. They celebrate the fiesta with lavishness. The day before fiesta, there are bands already parading in the town. Early in the morning, Mass is held and people begin preparing foods. In the afternoon, visitors come to attend the ball at night or attend the town fiesta the next day. The great day arrives. All the people, rich or poor alike, are dressed in their very best to attend the Mass in honor of their patron saint. There are three consecutive Masses held wherein different priests from neighboring towns officiate. After the Mass, there are different games for which valuable prizes are at stake. People come to see this. In the afternoon after lunch, people to to the town plaza to hear the band concert or to watch the display of beautiful fireworks. In the evening after supper, people go to the plaza to see a "zarzuela" from noted producers in Manila. After the town fiesta, people are so tired but very happy and contented, for they had celebrated it with merrymaking, luxury, and enjoyment. Everybody is satisfied.


Of all the months of the year, May is the most celebrated. It is a month when flowers are abundant. It is a month of so many festivities. In May, we have "Santa Cruz de Mayo." For nine consecutive nights, there are processions around the town. Groups are assigned by the "Hermana Mayor" or owner of the cross to prepare the improvised chapel and to give candles. After the procession, there is mass-praying before the cross in the chapel. After this, food is served. At the last night, the "Hermana Mayor" takes charge of the affairs. A band is hired to assist the procession. Before this, she assigns ladies to participate in the religious pageant. An Elena queen is selected to reign that night. Different queens are selected. All of them are dressed in beautiful clothes. There is a colorful procession on the last night. The chapel is well lighted and decorated. The house of the "Hermana Mayor" prepares food for the visitors. After the procession, there is merrymaking and food is served. There may be a ball after the procession to make it happier. A "tuklong," a bamboo improvised to hold gifts for children, is the source of laughter for young and old alike. It is attached to a string and pulled like a pulley and, from time to time, it is lowered and hoisted for the children to reach for the gifts. There is always fun for everybody.

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It is the common belief of the old folks in this town and handed down from generation to generation that when comets appear, it is a sure sign of coming epidemics, war, death, draught, hunger, and pestilence. They call it a sign of misfortune. They curse the days when this appears. It is similar to a star but it has rays or a tail like that of a broomstick. In 1940, there appeared a comet and the next year, there was war. People heightened their belief of this phenomenon.


It is believed that a very strong man by the name of Bernardo Carpio was enchanted by Maria Makiling in Mt. Makiling. At one time, when he was wandering in that mountain, he came upon two big stones that were touching each other. He could hardly pass, so he extended his arms and pushed the two stones with his hands. Until at present, he is still pushing the two stones and everytime he moves the stones, those near them will move, too, causing a great movement of the earth called an earthquake.


Filipinos are very fond of roasted pig or "lechon." At one time, they roasted a pig. They were so much in a hurry that they thought the pig was already killed. At the time it was being roasted, the pig howled so loud that it caused a great rumbling noise. First, there was a flash of light from the burning coal where the pig was being roasted, and it was followed by a great noise. The light was called lightning and the noise was thunder. Everytime there is lightning and thunder, people attribute them to the roasting of a pig.


One will wonder at the darkening of the sky during an eclipse. It is a time when the sun is hidden away from us or the time when the moon is hidden away from us. Old folks say that there is a war between the moon and the sun. The conquered one is covered by the other. In their struggle, they cover each other, blocking the light produced by each.

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It is the belief that the rainbow is a huge animal that appears when thirsty. You will find out that one end always seeks water or bodies of water to drink. That is the mouth.


It is a common belief that when a mother gives birth to twins, the mother was very fond of eating twin bananas during her time of conceiving.


Even among educated people, some even believe that sicknesses are not only due to or caused by disease germs but by sorcery or witchcraft. Some say that it is in the form of "kulam." An evil old woman, a witch who has a doll. Once she gets angry with anyone, she pricks with a needle any part of the doll and that part which she wants to be affected. If she pricks the stomach, you will have severe stomach ache, etc. There are many "herbularios" or quack doctors who can cure persons with this malady caused by witches. Another form is the "gaway," where in a person called "manggagaway," when she notices you, she will cause you severe stomach ache. A cure for this is to call the person and let him touch your stomach with fingers wet with his saliva. It is said that unless the proper remedy is applied, the sickness becomes uncurable. Some do the "loop" system, that is, get burning coa and put lead. The lead will take the shape of anything or the object that caused your ailment, or else beat the sick person and will cause pain to the witch or "kulam" and will remove or do away with her sorcery.

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a. When the cock crows in the evening, the old folks say that it is 10 o'clock.
b. When the cock crows in the morning, the old folks say that it is 3 o'clock.


a. When one can hardly see his shadow, they say it is 12 o'clock.
b. When one's shadow is shaped like a triangular object in the morning, they say it is 10 o'clock; and if in the afternoon, it is 2 o'clock.


a. When in the mountain and one hears the hooting of a calao (bird), they say it is 3 o'clock in the afternoon.


a. You see the Big Dipper at 8 o'clock.
b. The Morning Star appears at 3 o'clock.

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1. Kulukalug kalumbibit
Lulutang-lutang sa tubig
Napalao't mapaligid
Walang maawang sumasagip.
2. Matulog ka na bunso
Ang ina mo ay malayo
At hindi ka masundo
May putik, may bulaho.
3. Meme, meme na, ang bata
Ang nanay mo ay buntis
Ang tatay mo ay wala
Kung ikaw ay matulog
Para kang mantika
At kung magising
Pa a kang guya.
4. Ako'y ibigin mo't lalaking mabait
Hindi mamamalo, hindi nagagalit,
Maghanda ka lamang ng bigas at tubig
San taon mang araw huwag ka nang kagbalik.
5. Ayokong-ayoko sa lalaking tamad,
Susugal, sasabong, iinom ng alak
Pagdating sa bahay babalibaliktad
Ang pobreng asawa siyang binababag.
Transcribed from:
Historical Data of the Municipality of Calauan, Province of Laguna, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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