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VALENZUELA CITY, USA

Celebrating 25 Years Of Service

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HISTORY OF VALENZUELA CITY

(Formerly Town of Polo)

 



Valenzuela means “little valencia” in Spanish, and is also the surname Dr. Pio Valenzuela, a Filipino physician and patriot who was among the leaders of the Katipunan that started the Philippine Revolution against Spain after which the city was named.

 

The historic City of Valenzuela was originally known as Polo, and established as an independent town of the province of bulacan in 1623. Polo was once just a part of the town of Meycauayan called "Catangalan". The territory of the new town encompassed the vast lands that stretched from the town of Obando, to the forests of Novaliches. The Franciscans, in the person of Fr. Juan Taranco, administered the newly created town.

                                                              

It was in the year 1627 when the construction of the Parochial church dedicated to San Diego de Alcala started. Finally, in 1629, the church was fully constructed. Its fabrication was supervised by Fr. Jose Valencia aided by Capitan Juan Tibay. The church was fully repaired and remodeled under the direction of Fr. Vicente in 1852. A great change took place in the appearance of the church, that according to the missionaries it was one of the best ever built in the archipelago, and became an object of envy among other towns. Again, the church after its repair was dedicated to another patron, the "Nuestra Senora de la Inmaculada Concepcion". Still, another dedication was made and that was to San Roque. The convent was well built and comfortable. The pride of its artistry lies on the fact that the people of the town had done so much to its perfection. Besides the convent, a descent "casa tribunal" with a rectangular prison cell was built, and a school house also fabricated of stones was erected.

 

The town was abundant in the production of rice, corn and sugarcane. Cacawate, pomelo and various fruit trees abound in great quantities. Vegetables were cultivated also in its excellent soil and agriculture was the main industry.  During 1635, the Sangleys at Parian in Manila and in the neighboring towns staged an insurrection against the Spanish government. It was during one of these rebellions that the church bells brought by the Spanish Missionaries to the town which was made of bronze, and whose intonations were second only to that of the bell of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, was stolen by the Chinese. Since it was so huge, the looters had to break it into small pieces in order to remove it from the belfry.  In 1719, a notice was given to the Mestizos residing at Pariancillo at the back of the church, to vacate the place and return to Sta. Cruz, but through the efforts of Fr. Guardiano and Don Manuel Fernandez, they promised to pay half of the tribute monthly if they would be spared from the orders. The mestizos were allowed to continue their stay at Pariancillo.

In 1723, a stone bridge arching underneath was constructed across the estero.

Two distinguished seats were sculpted and varnished in 1737, to be used as seat for the gobernadorcillo, the other one by the Fiscal Mayor. In 1754, the people of Obando, then a barrio of Polo established their own parish church, and so it was separated from Polo.  The year 1762 was the arrival of the British in Manila. The city was captured by the English and occupied the neighboring towns. The illustrious Archbishop of Manila died within this year. In 1763, General Busto resided in Polo and made it a royal camp as the starting point for attack in order to recapture Manila from the English.


                                                                          

The administration of Manila was turned over to the Spaniards in 1764. The British also left Polo. And because of great joy of the town people, they took the image of their patron San Roque on their shoulders and carrying him along the streets, dancing. Since that time then, dancing during the procession along the streets after the high mass during the feast of the saint became a religious traditional practice of his devotees. This practice became popular. It continued to be so up to the present.

 

It was in 1783 when the Casa Real was transferred from the Barrio Pulo to a street near the Bridge. An order placing marks on the carabaos was promulgated. In 1784, the Casa Real was completed, and it was here that General Busto took his Vacation.

In 1856, Novaliches was separated from the town of Polo.

 

On June 3, 1865, at about 7 to 8 o'clock in the evening, a very strong earthquake was felt, which destroyed the tower of the church, and damaged the choir loft. Many people, both Spanish and Filipinos died. Soon, an epidemic followed, which caused the death of many Filipinos.

 

The Americans established the military rule and Dr. Pio Valenzuela was appointed first president of the town on Sept. 6, 1899. He resigned on February 1902. Rufino Valenzuela became the first elected president of the Town in 1904. The entrance of the Japanese in Polo was without any resistance. The people during the Japanese time enjoyed prosperity for Polo became a market town. There were more signs of cooperation and social contact among the inhabitants but on the contrary, fear of reprisals from the Japanese predominated. The town also became a place of terror. There were too many murders committed. The place became a habitat of Makapilis, and spies who troubled the peaceful civilians. The sudden appearance of the Japanese added terror to the place.

 

The reign of terror climaxed on Dec. 10, 1944. It was a day of mourning for the people of Polo and Obando for it was the day when the Japanese massacred more than a hundred males in both towns. At about 1:00am on this day up to the setting of the sun, cries could be heard from the municipal building when males who were screeded by the "Magic Eye" inside the church were being tortured to death. (This could be the reason why the old church was not anymore restored, and be neglected to ruins, thus building a new edifice beside the old one.) Mayor Ponciano met the same fate. He died a cruel death on this day with the municipal officials.

 

When liberation came, the town was partly burned by the approaching the military forces of the Filipinos and Americans who threw flame throwers and shelled the big houses in the town, not exempting the more than 300 years old church of San Diego.

 

The historical old bridge was destroyed by the Japanese, thus separating Polo in two parts, the Northern and the Southern Parts. The northern part was at once liberated by the American and Filipino troops while the southern part, which includes the Poblacion was still under the Japanese banner. The Japanese abandoned the town on Feb. 11, 1945 when the American and Filipino troops were able to cross the river and took the town.

 

On July 21, 1960, President Diosdado Macapagal signed Executive Order No. 401, which led to the creation of the Municipality of Valenzuela, in honor of Dr. Pio Valenzuela, a significant personality in Philippine history who was born here. In September 11, 1963, another order signed by President Macapagal which unites the municipalities of Polo and Valenzuela under a one united government, called Municipality of Valenzuela. Because of the rapid growth of the Greater Manila Area in terms of population, as well as social and economic requirements in the early seventies, and the municipality's proximity to the area, Presidential Decree Number 824 was issued on November 7, 1975, creating the Metropolitan Manila Commission and separating the Municipality of Valenzuela from the Province of Bulacan.

 

As part of the Greater Manila Area, The social and political upheavals of the seventies and early eighties did not dampen the pulsating economy of the municipality. It was, in fact, a golden age in the history and culture of Valenzuela when businesses and industries in the municipality grew rapidly. In 1986, a new socio-political order swept the country. The four days of the People Power Revolution were marked by an outpouring of love, anger, hysteria and courage by a people fighting for change and renewal. The restoration of democracy in the country also brought about a paradigm shift in national and local government relations. The passage of the Local Government Code in 1991 unlocked and marshalled the repressed energies of local communities. The Local Government Code provides genuine and meaningful autonomy to enable local governments to attain their fullest development as self-reliant communities. It was during this time that Valenzuela began charting its own destiny and moved the local economy in the direction it chose. From then on, Valenzuela had to cope with rapid urbanization as part of the Greater Manila Area. It is considered as a vital link between the National Capital Region and Northern Luzon. And 23 years after its separation from Bulacan and 375 years after its founding, On February 14, 1998, then President Fidel Ramos signed Republic Act No. 8526, converting the Municipality of Valenzuela under the administration of Mayor Bobbit L. Carlos into a highly urbanized city, making Valenzuela the 12th city in Metro Manila and the 83rd in the Philippines.

 

The City of Valenzuela is one of the cities and municipalities in the Philippines that make up Metro Manila. The city has approximately 500,000 residents and is primarily an industrial and residential suburb of Manila. The North Luzon Expressway passes through the city and out of Metro Manila into the province of Bulacan. Valenzuela has a land area of approximately 45 square kilometers. It is bordered by Quezon City and northern Caloocan City to the east, by Malabon City and southern Caloocan City to the south, by Obando in Bulacan to the west, and Meycauayan City, also in Bulacan, to the north. Since becoming a city in 1998, Valenzuela’s economy has flourished and its population has swelled significantly.