Metro Manila

Caloocan City Founding Anniversary

Caloocan City Founding Anniversary is the annual celebration of the establishment of the city of Caloocan, Metro Manila, Philippines. It is held every February 16 yearly, a date that is a special non-working holiday in the city by virtue of Republic Act 7550 that was approved on May 22, 1992.

History of Caloocan City

In the beginning, Caloocan was called Aromahan. When the Spaniards arrived, it came to be known as Libis Espina that was part of Tondo starting in 1762. It may have acquired its current name from its proximity to the Manila Bay (from looc, meaning bay) or it was derived from sulok (meaning corner) which points to its location in between Tondo and Malabon.

In 1815, it ceded from Tondo after it had gained the status of a municipality. When the Spanish colonization ended, it witnessed the beginning of the Philippine-American war in 1899. Filipino forces under the leadership of General Antonio Luna fought against the occupying American military. Their defeat by the enemy’s superior arms however opened up a historical chapter in what would become a three-year bloody struggle against the invasion of the Americans.

Starting from 1901, Caloocan was part of the historical province of Rizal. It became a city when Republic Act No 3278 was signed by President Diosdado Macapagal on June 17, 1961. The law was enacted through a plebiscite on February 16, 1962, and this is the date that the founding anniversary commemorates every year.

Then on November 7, 1975, it was annexed to Metropolitan Manila through Presidential Decree No. 824.

Pamaypay ng Caloocan Festival

In the past, the city government organized Pamaypay ng Caloocan Festival in time for its foundation day. The fest was meant to recognize the craftsmanship, tradition, cultural value, and historical significance of pamaypay, a traditional hand-held fan that is used to cool oneself and beat the heat from living in a tropical place. Its use as an article of fashion was .

The pamaypay can be made of fronds of buri or anahaw trees. Their dried leaves are woven into a shape of a heart that is gathered into its base formed into a hole. The hole serves a practical purpose so the fan can hang from a hook when not in use.

This variety is ubiquitous as it can be cheap and it is made from readily available and natural materials. It also comes in colorful designs with the use of creative weaving of colored strips of the leaves; for example, it can be seen as decorative household pieces in Pahiyas Festival of Lucban, Quezon.

Another pamaypay is the fancy abaniko introduced by the Spaniards. It is a folding fan that is semicircular in shape when fully opened and made from fine fabric such as pineapple silk, exquisitely polished and carved hardwood, gilded brass, and tassel. Because of its cost, it was a highly valued fashion item among the elite in the colonial period and an accessory of Filipino maidens who wore dresses of matching colors.

It also had another purpose as a kind of semaphore that could indicate coded messages. During the Spanish era, the romance between young lovers were subject to strict guidance, social norms, and Catholic-influenced expectations.

So they used the pamaypay or abaniko to send a message without being detected by the watchful eyes of parents and guardians. Depending on how the pamaypay is held and its position relative to the body, these messages could mean the woman was single, interested with the courtship, disappointed, or giving instructions secretly to a suitor.

In Mindanao, fans are likewise used by performers of the pre-colonial Islamic dance called Singkil. In the performance called Sayaw ng Maharlika (Royal Dance), Princess Gandingan holds one fan in each of her hands that she waves in the air as she dances around bamboo poles striking the ground under her feet; she dances as she waits for the arrival of her lover, Prince Bantugan.

Caloocan City Founding Anniversary Activities

Activities for the founding anniversary can stretch for weeks in February and in 2023, a job fair was scheduled in the last day of February. Some of the events include grand bazaar, thanksgiving mass, a mass wedding, beauty pageant (Miss Caloocan), family day, and Outstanding Citizen Awards.

How to reach Caloocan City

Caloocan City is about 2 hours away from Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which is a distance of about 50 kilometers.


Caloocan City Founding Anniversary Summary

NameCaloocan City Founding Anniversary
CelebrationFounding anniversary
DateFebruary 16
Historical eventConversion of Caloocan from municipality to a city
LocationCaloocan City, Metro Manila
OrganizerCity Government of Caloocan