MUNICIPALITY OF SAN PEDRO (LAGUNA), Historical Data of - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF SAN PEDRO (LAGUNA), Historical Data of - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of San Pedro, Laguna

About these Historical Data

[p. 1]

Division of Laguna
District of Biñan


For lack of historical sources from which to base this short account as to the origin of the town of San Pedro, efforts have been exerted to inquire from resource persons.

Since time immemorial, this [town] has been known as San Pedro. The barrios herewith mentioned, San Vicente and San Antonio, Sto. Niño, Landayan, and Cuyab are included within its territorial jurisdiction. This time might have been settled at the time fo the discovery of the Philippines by Magellan in 1521. There were settlers when Spanish missionaries came. Amicable arrangements were reached between the settlers and the missionaries. They lived for quite a long time harmoniously. The King of Spain, through his Royal Majesty [?], gave to parcel of land to a certain rich Spaniard named Don Esteban Rodriguez de Figueroa between the years 1575 and 1596. This municipality was given as an hacienda by the king to Don Esteban with others in return for his offer to undertake an expedition for the conquest of Mindanao. This took place in 1596.

An old record in handwriting fortunately preserved states that this town of San Pedro was separated from Cabuyao in 1724. From then, it began to have its own executive by the name of Don Francisco Santiago, who had his one year term of office in 1725.

There were signs of notable progress of the town. The population increased, the church and chapels were built for the religious needs of the people. People from other places came to reside in the town, including the Chinese. The Inovio family is worth mentioning because they are of mixed Chinese and Malayan ancestry. The economic development of the town prospered little by little. The social and economic conditions of the people had been greatly hampered by the ownership of the lands by the hacienda. While the neighboring haciendas were purchased by the government and resold to the inhabitants during the early part of the American [colonial period], this one had been excepted and had been involved in a deal between the government and the Roman Catholic Church, this remaining under the control of the church and under the immediate management of the Colegio de San Jose.

At the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution of 1896, the natives were forced into action in the general

[p. 2]

movement for freedom. Soldiers were recruited from the town and these formed part of the army divisions that fought in the provinces of Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna. The same was true at the time of the Filipino-American War, and a noted junior officer of the town, then known as Lieutenant Jose Olivarez, died in one of the encounters in Sta. Ana, a district of Manila. Sta. Ana was part of the province of Rizal.

During the short-lived Philippine Republic, the president of the town was one called Gregorio Alarez.

After the Filipino-American War, some loathesome sufferings were undergone by the people. The "zona" system maintained let the people be concentrated in the barrios and the town. They were not allowed to transfer from one place to another. Some suffered hunger. Intensive searches of suspected rebels and hidden arms were made. Compulsory confessions of unproven leaders of the uprising were imposed by inflicting brutal punishments. Then, these unwelcomed tortures were followed by the cholera epidemic. All these had adverse effects among the residents. Hostility reigned, but eventually, peace was restored. The government began to function normally under the local chief executives.


[p. 3]


1. The formal separation of this town from Cabuyao in 1724.

2. The establishment of pasturing regions by the hacienda in 1759.

3. The change of title of the local chief executive from teniente to capitan in 1778.

4. The change again of this title into alcalde in 1782.

5. The eruption of a volcano in a nearby province and its falling volcanic ashes in the town in 1814.

6. Father Epifanio Pinpin became parish priest of the town in 1899.

7. A public execution took place in the town plaza in 1846.

8. Robbers in a band entered the town and took firearms in 1850.

9. A big storm took place in 1857 and the local show "Tatlong Hari" was staged for the first time in 1858.

10. A strong earthquake took place on the eve of Corpus Christi in 1856.

11. Muntinglupa (Tunasa, perhaps) was separated from San Pedro in 1874.

12. A strong storm took place during which many people died in Laguna de Bay in 1874.

13. Construction of the hacienda building in 1877.

14. Another storm took place on November 22, 1879.

15. Repeated earthquakes during which the church and hacienda building were destroyed took place in 1880.

16. Reconstruction of the hacienda building in 1881.

17. The Holy Cross of the town was taken to Manila to the archbishop in 1887 and, on its return, a great fiesta was held at the sole expense of the parish priest.

18. Natives joined the rebellion against Spain in 1896.

19. The title of governadorcillo for the local chief executive was changed into president in 1899. In August 1899, the town was bombarded by Americans from the lake, resulting in the destruction of the church steeple.

20. A big storm took place in 1905.

21. Taal volcano erupted and ashes fell in this town in 1911.

22. The water of the lake rose up to the house of Don Jose Guevara in Calle Luna in 1919.

[p. 4]


1899 - 1902

Jose Olivarez
Gregorio Galdoso
Felipe Almenrala
Anastacio Olivarez
Hermogenes Remoquillo
Isidro Castasus
Januario Igonia
Felix Anaya
Benito Berroya
Ambrosio de Borja
Gregorio Remoquillo
Sacarias Mariñas
Eusebio Berroya
Sta. Ana - Manila, Feb. 4, 1899
Balak, Taguig - June 10, 1899
Kalaban, Sn Pedro - Aug 1899
Sn Vicente, Sn Pedro - March 1899

Balak, Taguig - June 10, 1899
Maytubig, Pasay - Feb. 4, 1899
Hagonoy, Taguig - April 1899
Mamankat, Pateros - May 1899
Salitron, Imus - Sept. 1899
Anabo, Imus - Feb. 1900
Salitron, Imus - Sept. 1899
San Antonio, Sn Pedro - Aug. 1899

1941 - 1945

Capt. Abelardo Remoquillo
Lieut. Antonio Almeida
Lieut. Amando Amil
Sgt. Moises Arguelles
Sgt. Candido Alvarez
Sgt. Jose Andreza
Sgt. Teofilo Brigela
Cpl. Pedro Berroya
Cpl. Pedro Alvarez
Cpl. Pedro Inovio
Pvt. Dominador Abaño
Sgt. Domingo Herrera
Pvt. Salvador Yambao
Pvt. Antonio Bergantiños
Pvt. Safronio Endrinal
Pvt. Ricardo Escudero
Pvt. Sergio Lacdan
Pvt. Vicente Lacdan
Pvt. Rodolfo Lacdan
Pvt. Gerardo Ley
Pvt. Antonio Mendoza
Pvt. Manuel Parto
Pvt. Wilfredo Rimerata
Pvt. Mateo Sieteriales


[p. 5]


The general transmission of events or general practices in domestic and social life in Santo Niño almost follows a pattern through successive generations without written memorials. Lying abreast within the proximity of the town proper, one can readily keep in view, the people's simple ways of life. Although the present crop of generations has totally departed from the traditional rituals of the past, it is worth mentioning to enumerate some transcendental facts, with a view to compare them with the present. Some important social phases in life will, therefore, lengthily evaluated for distinction, study, and fair comment.

Marriage customs (past) - The early villagers practiced monogamy. In certain cases, the rich or well-to-do men were allowed by customary laws to have as many wives as they could support, but the first wife was always considered the legitimate spouse.

Before marriage, the lover rendered certain personal services to the girl's family and gave the indispensable dowry. The length of the lover's servitude and the amount of dowry were usually fixed in the marriage contract, drawn up during the infancy of both the groom and bride. Any violation of the contract was penalized with heavy fines. The dowry was called bigaykaya. It consisted of certain amounts of gold, lands, or anything of value, which the groom paid to the bride's parents. Besides this dowry, there were other special forms of dowry which increased the price of the bride, such as panghimuyat, a form of money equivalent to ⅕ of the regular dowry given to the bride's mother as payment for the sleepless nights endured during the rearing of the girl. Bigaysuyo was money paid to the wet nurse who fed the baby with her own milk. Himarao - given to the bride's parents to reimburse the cost of feeding the girl during infancy.

Marriage ties among Filipinos were dissoluble. The grounds for divorce were the following:

1. Adultery on the part of the wife.
2. Desertion on the part of the husband.
3. Loss of affections.
4. Cruelty.
5. Insanity.
6. Childlessness.
All these marriage traditions are, today, a forgotten past, and presently considered naïve and mythical. However, the grounds for separation have been somewhat curved, due to the strong religious pressure — considering marriage as a sacred tie. Wedlock today is so simple and, in most cases, parents have no say or choice in the picking of the bride

[p. 6]

/groom. We can attribute this chance-about of customary action to the advent of the American influence of directness brought by movies, novels, and varied reading materials attendant therewith, and found practical application in our daily living.

Burial and death rites - Because of their belief in a future life, the early Filipinos took great care in burying their dead. They embalmed their dead using certain herbs and perfumes, and placed them in hardwood coffins or bancas with weapons, food, drinks, said to be needed by the dead in the other part of the world.

Sorcery and Magic Charms - Like other peoples in the world, they early villagers had their own superstitions. They believed in witches, who practiced black magic against their victims. Among these were the:

1. Asuang - who assumed the form of a dog, cat, or other animals and ate human flesh.
2. Sigvinan - who could transform himself into a crocodile or snake and kill people.
3. Mangkukulam - who caused people to die or be sick by pricking a toy with the magic pin.
4. Manggagaway - who injured people with his devilish power.
5. Maniysulat - who made people love or hate each other.
6. Tigbalang - who took various forms such as a dog or horse to deceive his victims.
7. Barangan - whose evil eyes could make people die or be sick.

Today, there are still a number of people who subscribe to the devil power of sorcery and other allied charms of magic, but in most cases, they serve to frighten children. In some rare instances, victims of the mangkukulam or manggagaway are helpless, and modern medical science has partly subscribed in its power of distraction or vengeance.

Other magic charms are:

1. Anting-anting - a universal amulet against iron weapons.
2. Uiga - which protects its possessor from being wet while swimming.
3. Gayuma - a love charm to win a girl.
4. Sape - the power of strength.
Divinations - They foretold their good or bad fortunes by interpreting the flights and songs of birds and by examining the entrails of slaughtered pigs and chickens. They [unreadable] in the squealing of the rat, the howling of dogs, the [unreadable] of lizards, the crashing of an old tree in the [unreadable] Philippines.

[p. 7]

night were bad omens, presaging death or misfortunes. Sneezing while staring on a journey was considered an ill omen. The flight of the bird called "salaksak" from right to left across the path of marching soldiers meant victory in war.

Superstitious Beliefs -
1. They believed that when a young girl sang before a stove or fire, she would marry an old widower.
2. When a hen cackled at midnight, an unmarried woman was giving birth to a bastard child.
3. When a cat wiped its face with its paw, a visitor was coming to the house.
4. When a girl had white spots on her fingernails, she was not constant in love.
5. When a married woman ate twin bananas, she would give birth to twin children.
6. When one saw a hunchback, one was bound to meet a white horse.

Music - The greatest musical instrument was the kudyapi, a guitar-like instrument, which had since become a symbol of Filipino poetry and romance. Today, it has become so rare and no longer used, but has served as an ornament of artistry and antique. Other musical instruments are the bansic, the harp of Negritoes, found in some homes who had traded it for native dogs or any kind of food or clothing. Torotot, a rice stalk pipe of the Tagalogs used primarily in calling someone in distant places. Kulating, a bamboo trumpet used in serenading their lady loves.

Songs - We had an extensive collection of songs for every occasion. We had love songs, serenade songs, religious, war, rowing, and many other songs. The greatest song was the kundiman, a tender, lingering song of love, woman, and country. The kundiman has outlived all other arts, as it is as popular as ever despite the onrushing hits of the day, such as rhumba, zamba or mambo, etc. tunes.

Dances - We had picturesque dances for all occasions. Two of the most popular dances were the balitao and kumintang, both love dances. Fandango, tinikling, and other dances were less popular, although today, tinikling has been identified to represent the heritage of the past arts.

Art - The early Filipinos had the beginnings of architecture, painting, and sculpture. Their architectural art was manifested in their houses of nipa. Painting was shown in the early tattoo art. The skilful tattoo artists of the barangays were the painters of the ancient Philippines.

[p. 8]

We had a crude form of sculpture. Tribal sculptors carved fantastic statues of their gods and other images.

Calendars - Filipinos had been using their own calendars long before the arrival of the Spaniards. Commonly found in Filipino homes was the Visayan calendar, containing 7 days a week, 12 months a year, and 356 days a year. The native calendar of the Ifugaos had 13 months, each month having 28 days, except the 13th month, which had 29 days.

Riddles - The riddle is a play of wit, which endeavors to present an object by stating its characteristic features and peculiarities as to adequately call it before the mind without, however, actually naming it. Many of the riddles introduce the names of saints and, to that degree, the evidence of foreign influence. Religious riddles relating to bells, churches, are common enough due to outside influence.


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