History of San Pablo City
When Spanish colonizer Juan de Salcedo went to Rizal to suppress resistance in 1571, he also explored Laguna including the town Bay. Bay included what was then the settlement of San Pablo. In pre-Hispanic times San Pablo was called Sampalok, named so from the tamarind tree.
A church was erected by Christian missionaries belonging to the religious congregation Order of St. Augustine. Its patron was St. Paul of Thebes, also known as St. Paul the First Hermit. It became a parish on July 8, 1586, with Fr. Mateo de Mendoza as its first parish priest.
Sampalok was renamed San Pablo de los Montes, translated to St. Paul of the Mountains, after its patron in 1647. As years passed, it was simply referred to as San Pablo. At the same time it ceded from Bay, which was the capital of Laguna, and was annexed to Pagsanjan. Pagsanjan became the new capital of Laguna beginning in 1688.
In 1734, the Augustinians were replaced by the Franciscans. Afterwards, they in turn were replaced by the secular clergy in 1898.
Starting in 1756, San Pablo became part of the province of Batangas. It was restored back to Laguna in 1883 at a time when Sta. Cruz became the former’s new capital. In 1896, the townspeople joined the revolution against the Spaniards led by General Miguel Malvar.
In 1899, its municipal government was organized with Inocente Martinez as its head. During the American occupation, the provincial government of Laguna was created by virtue of Act No. 424 on July 1, 1902. Likewise, the electorate picked Marcos Paulino for the position of municipal president.
The town flourished in the succeeding decades. Its people had been farming coconut since the Spanish conquista, to a certain extent encouraged by friars to help pay for church needs and improve the tax income of the municipality. The crop became a valuable and profitable commodity during the time of the Americans. The production of coconut expanded significantly and it was exported to the world market, bringing in wealth to its people and making San Pablo prosperous.
Calamity struck on August 8, 1938 however. A great fire razed part of the town. Amidst the devastation, its status was elevated to cityhood two years later. A bill for its conversion from a municipality to a city was introduced by representative Tomas D. Dizon.
San Pablo became a city through Commonwealth Act No. 520 that was signed on May 7, 1940. This is the date that the San Pablo City Charter Anniversary remembers every year.
How to reach San Pablo City, Laguna
Buses are available to Calamba City, Laguna from Metro Manila.
- Holidays–San Pablo City. Senate of the Philippines. Legislative Digital Resources. Retrieved April 30, 2023
- History of City of San Pablo. City Government of San Pablo. Retrieved April 30, 2023
- Rediscovering San Pablo City at 75. Philippine Daily Inquirer. May 7, 2015. Retrieved April 30, 2023
- Lungsod ng San Pablo. National Historical Commission of the Philippines. July 2021. Retrieved April 30, 2023
- Katedral ng San Pablo. National Historical Commission of the Philippines. October 2011. Retrieved May 1, 2023
- Census of the Philippine Islands taken under the direction of the Philippine Legislature in the year 1918. University of Connecticut Libraries. Archive.org. Retrieved May 1, 2023
- Act No. 424. Legislative Digital Resources. Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved May 1, 2023