MUNICIPALITY OF LOS BAÑOS (LAGUNA), Historical Data of - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF LOS BAÑOS (LAGUNA), Historical Data of - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of Los Baños, Laguna

About these Historical Data



The central teachers of Los Baños present the historical data of this town in a simple volume and at the same time making it attractive to readers. This is a small town, but full of historic interest. You will be glad to know the developments undertaken before it grew to what it is really now. Only a general sweep and the salient features of the history of this famous town are included. In preparing this history, valuable information had been gathered from the old, old book of this town which is under the custody of the present parish priest, Rev. Father Roman Baes, with the help of our latest cabezas, Elino Aquino, who is still living, a complete history was made.

Old ruins like the hospital, the palace, and the residential home of the Spanish captain generals can still be seen today. Although dilapidated due to the many terrific blows incurred, because of the changing times, still it had history to say, history to sing its praises for generations to know. Documents or records may be lost but the standing ruins and learned men of this town speak for its history.

The central teachers wish to express their profound gratitude to Rev. Father Roman Baes, latest cabezas, Elino Aquino, Antonio Tamisin, and Maria Malihan de Hodreyda, who by their advice and source material contributions, have helped to make possible this collection.

Acknowledgement is made of the following teachers who exerted efforts in gathering information.


1. Mrs. Mamerta A. San Pedro
Mr. Manuel Salva Cruz
Intermediate Building
1. Mrs. Benigno A. Umali
2. Mrs. Julian P. Garcia
3. Mr. Vicente Paelmo
4. Miss Susana Manoto
5. Miss Esperanza Pantas
6. Miss Conchita Clemente
7. Mrs. Asuncion A. Manza

Primary Building

8. Mrs. Carmen A. Manacop
9. Mrs. Mercedes T. Vasques
10. Miss Milagros Estrada
11. Mrs. Natividad A. Quioque

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12. Mrs. Gorgonia Castillo
13. Miss Corazon Lantican
14. Miss Felicidad Ragusa
15. Miss Teodora Padua
16. Mrs. Anita L. Valdomar
Compiled by:
Mrs. M. A. San Pedro
Mrs. Juliana P. Garcia

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Part One: History

I. Present official name of the town.

The early discovery of Los Baños can be traced way back to the early sixteenth century, when a Franciscan missionary by the name of Pablo Bautista first made a survey along the coast of Laguna de Bay. It was in this place that he discovered many hot springs. He was impressed with his discovery that he gave the name Los Baños, which means plenty of water or many baths.

II. Popular name of the town, present and past; derivation and meanings of the names. Names of sitios included within the territory of the town.

Los Baños is the present popular name of the town. From 1592 to 1670, this town was called Mainit. It derived its name from the many hot springs located near the sea. There were very few inhabitants living in this place, for it was a wilderness. Tall bamboo trees were growing wild along the sea, and thick cogon grasses were found on the wayside. The roads were like trails, because one or two people could walk there only, due to the many thick bushes found on all sides. Later on, around 1867, people from nearby towns came to settle permanently because of the famous Los Baños Hot Springs. They said water was good to cure the sick, so many Filipino patients flocked to seek relief from their ailments. These thermal waters attracted the attention of many people.

III. Date of establishment.

Formerly, Los Baños was a barrio of the town of Bay which, during that time, was under the administration of the Augustinian Fathers and had for their patron saint, St. Nicolas Tolentino. On September 17, 1613, through the written authorization of the clerk, Luis Vella, the administration of this place, together with its inhabitants, passed into the hands of the Franciscans. The town proper then began to exist under the leadership of Don Juan Castañeda. It was only then that the image of La Immaculada Concepcion was brought to this place as its patron saint.

IV. Original families.

From the sixteenth century up to the present, remnants of the original families still exist. They are Palis Tamisin, de los Reyes, Lantican, Malabayabas, Gibas, Tamban,

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Tandang, Pelegrina, Palacpac, Lapis, Panga, and Gibe. Now, prominent families which were the seeds of the original families are Ponciano Palis, Dionisia Lapis Capinpin, Lorenzo Lantican, Antonio Tamisin, and Melencio Salva Cruz. Mr. Salva Cruz was the elected Municipal Councilor.

V. List of Capitanes from the earliest time to date.

The Spaniards did not find the people of Los Baños united under one government. This town was divided into ten barangays. Each barangay was under the jurisdiction of a headman and, in the course of time, they became known as cabezas de barangay and were usually entrusted with the collection of tributes. Each barangay consisted of from thirty to fifty families. They were often located near each other for protection and mutual help. All these barangays were under a capitan. The capitan acted like our mayor today. The priest of the town helped him in administration.

List of capitans from the earliest time to date:

Capitan Basilio Culling
Capitan Pedro del Rosario
Capitan Eustaquio Gibas
Capitan Isip Culling
Capitan Pedro Tamisin
Capitan Valeriano Tamisin
Capitan Gabriel Palis
Capitan Gregorio Malabayabas
Capitan Francisco Manzanilla
Capitan Gabriel Palis

Prominent among the cabezas were the following:

Cabeza Mateo Manzanilla
Cabeza Sabalbario Ramos
Cabeza Fernando Palis
Cabeza Ignacio Revilleza
Cabeza Teodoro Aquino
Cabeza Filomeno Napalang
Cabeza Matias Aquino
Cabeza Guillermo de los Reyes
Cabeza Gregorio Malabayabas
Cabeza Elino Aquino

VI. Story of the old sitios within the jurisdiction that are now depopulated or extinct.

The people of the town obeyed and respected the capitanes, cabezas, and the parish priests. Since this place was a wilderness, the Augustinian order sent a Filipino priest as curate of the town. As soon as he

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reached his destination, his big job awaiting him was the planning of the streets. There were only four which are now popularly known as Calle Doloroza, San Jose, Real, and San Pedro. Many paths could be seen, so Capitan Gabriel Palis, through forced labor, asked the people to widen the streets and clear the sidewalks. People from the remote barrios were asked to live in pueblos so as to lessen the danger of losing their lives and properties. There were many robberies committed during that time and robbery was an act punishable by law. These robbers generally hid in the mountains and often made raids on defenseless barrios, committing outrages and barbarities on these inhabitants. So much misery was committed by these brigands, so Capitan Gabriel, through the help of the people, cleared the town and added many streets which we now have. The names of the streets were given during the early American occupation.

VII. Date on historical sites, structures, buildings, and old ruins.

1. Camp Eldridge - the place where Yamashita was executed.

2. Los Baños Convent - Dr. Jose Rizal's mother was held captive for sometime by the Spanish civil authorities.

3. Palce - It had been the residence of the Captain General of the Philippines.

4. American military hospital site - as early as 1900, the military authorities made the evacuated Spanish hospital into a military hospital. Sick soldiers from Camp Eldridge were brought there for treatment and hospitalization.

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The destructions and atrocities were brought about by the Japanese as a result of the war in the Philippines were so great that they can never be erased from the minds of every Filipino. These were felt throughout the length and breadth of our native land, the memory of which would ever remain alive for generations to come. Such was the case in the little town of Los Baños, Province of Laguna. It didn't escape the devastating claws of the tyrant Nippons.

A few days after the infamous Pearl Harbor advent, Japanese planes came hovering above the peaceful and picturesque town of Los Baños. The American Naval Reservations, just a short distance from the poblacion, was the first to be attacked. American planes, which were decked at the Laguna de Bay, were strafed. Bombs and shells were dropped here and there, inflicting heavy damage on private homes and crops, and even killing innocent civilians. As early as December 10, 1941, barely a week after the town fiesta honoring its beloved patron saint, the Immaculate Conception, many inhabitants were forced to move to nearby barrios for refuge. Much against their will, they had no other way but to abandon their dear homes and personal belongings, only to save their loved ones from the inhuman acts of the Jap soldiers. Sometime after Christmas Day, the railroad station, the Catholic church, and the old Primary Building were damaged badly by machinegunning enemy planes.

The Japanese were able to gain ground and the American soldiers stationed at Los Baños were ordered to retreat. Before they did so, they decided to take along with them whatever important military equipment they could carry. They knew it would be better to give some of their foodstuffs to the Filipinos rather than leave them to the conquering Japs. Hence, they began distributing flour sack after sack stored at a big warehouse situated at the former Camp Eldridge. Many townspeople were benefitted. Then, they started burning the bodega because they preferred to see it turn to ashes than be occupied by the cruel enemies. This happened in the early part of January 1942.

With the fall of Bataan, followed by the fall of Corregidor, the Japanese flag menacingly flew over our poor native soil. In our hearts, however, reigned the hopes that someday, we would be redeemed. This was even made firm by the unforgettable promise of MacArthur tha the would return. Japanese soldiers then began their mission of maltreating the Filipinos. In Los Baños, many houses were unjustly confiscated from the owners without much ado. These and other public buildings were made army headquarters and barracks. The historical house of Paciano Rizal, the brother of Jose Rizal, located along the shore, was the first among those which were occupied. One of the schoolhouses at present was also grabbed by the Japanese. Worst of all was the Military Reservation

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near barrio Bambang, which was immediately repaired and additional buildings were constructed for the devasting army of the Rising Sun.

Now came the Liberation, after more than three, long years of sorrow and hardships. The dark days were, at last, ended. The Amerians were back. For the sake of saving men, woman, and children from the massacre of the Japs, the active guerrilla units set fire to thetown. This was done so that during the conflagration, the civilian population could evacuate to Calamba, a neighboring town. The first house to be burned was the house of Mr. Hernandez, a Spaniard. It was located at the main street of the town. The fire raged for hours, from about 8:30 p.m. up to 4:00 the following day. Almost 62 houses, big and small, were gone with the flames. Damage was estimated to have reached several thousand pesos.

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This hospital named Agua Santos in the town of Los Baños, in the province of Laguna de Bay, recognized as its founder San Pedro Bautista, martyr of Japan. He discovered the utility of the springs. He had it analyzed by Fray Francisco de Gota, the successor of Pedro Bautista in the provincial government. Fray Pablo de Jesus gave the beginning of its foundation in the year 1592, making Fray Diego de Santa Maria as its head, a religious brother, who was experienced in medicine and surgery. He built a small hut of nipa and bamboo in the vicinity of sitio Mainit, where Filipino patients flocked to seek relief from their ailments, and because of the many who had come for treatment and other needed special care. On July 21, 1602 obtained a decree from an ecclesiastical chapter which was confirmed on October 23 of the same year by the governor of the archipelago, authorizing the construction of a hospital in the same place. With this license, it was constructed. A building of nipa and bamboo, with many departments, was constructed to take the place of a small hut. It was named the Hospital of Agua Santos de Mainit. Until the year 1671, the Franciscans were not able to build a building of stone, however, they tried their best to make other improvements that could be obtained in these kinds of bath.

In the same spot where the hospital stood, a church was built of the best materials that could be obtained in Mt. Makiling, and it was placed under the patronage of Nuestra Señora de la Concepcion de la Aguas Calientes. In 1727, the church as well as the hospital were burned. In 1877, having experimented with the holy waters of Mainit, Governor Moriones proposed to the Father Provincial, Fray Superior Serapion Leynares, the reconstruction of the baths. When Fray Serapion Leynares was given full authorization, he passed a circular on the 26th of May of the same year to all parish priests and persons of means throughout the archipelago for the love of God and neighbor a contribution to meet the necessary expenses. The country responded, and a hospital was built with modern improvements under the direction of Fray Gavino Perez. It was formally turned over to Governor Moriones, who disposed that it be administered by the Franciscans who really had it constructed, but Father Leynares, after having studied the matter and consulting his superiors, declined the offer with gratitude.

An epitaph engraved in marble can still be seen today. The inscription reads thus:

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"Philippine Historical Committee

"Hospital de Aguas Santos

"In 1590, these thermal waters attracted the attention of the Rev. Father Pedro Bautista, D.F.M., who sent to Los Baños a lay Franciscan brother to establish a hospital for the Filipinos on July 21, 1602. The Rev. Father Diego de Santa Maria, D.F.M., was authorized to build the Hospital de Aguas Santa de Mainit. A layman was appointed its administrator in 1603. With the revenue derived from a farm in Jalajala, a modern hospital was built by the Franciscans and turned over to Patronato Real (Crown) in 1671. The hospital and its dependencies were destroyed by fire in 1727. A new building was constructed in 1867 under the supervision of the Franciscans, with funds raised by popular subscriptions headed by Governor General Domingo Moriones y Murillo, who was an enthusiastic promoter of the project. Under the American regime, the hospital, together with the surrounding area, became Camp Eldridge, by authority of an executive order issued by the President of the United States September 1, 1903. The Government of the Philippines was permitted to occupy a portion of the Camp Eldridge Military Reservation, including the hospital buildings and medicinal spring under a revocable license granted by the Secretary of War June 12, 1931."

Transcribed from:
Historical Data of the Municipality of Los Baños, Province of Laguna, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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