OF VALENZUELA CITY
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
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
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.
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
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