Wednesday, June 12

The Magnanimous Santa Rosa, Laguna: A Glimpse To Her Colorful Past

Sta. Rosa City of Laguna province is popular because of the famous Enchanted Kingdom and the influx of businesses from big corporations.  Her amiable location from the National Capital Region (NCR) also makes it a top choice for starting families who wish to escape the crowded and polluted life in the big metro.

It may not boast of rushing falls, cascading landscapes nor is it inhabited by wide, steaming rivers.  What Sta. Rosa City lacks in nature wonders, her cultural and historical heritage more than makes up for it.


Photo credits: Sta. Rosa City website
The old Sta. Rosa Arch or Bantayang Bato

The Sta. Rosa Arch is one of the local landmarks which served as a watchtower for marauding pirates in the early days.  Watchmen blow their horns either for signs of danger, during festivities or for mourning a deceased native.

In 1925, then municipal president Jose Zavalla hired David Dia to renovate the Arch which was said to be modeled after Paris’ Arc de Triomphe.  The Arch was built near the market area in 1931. David Dia , a native of Santa Rosa, was a famous sculptor during his time. He was responsible for the present Santa Rosa Arch as well as Dr. Rizal's monument in the town plaza.  He passed away during the late sixties.
Not known to many, Sta. Rosa City also boasts of a wonderful past.  Well-preserved heritage structures beautifully dot the town center. Standing tall and proud as mute witnesses to her history.

Sta. Rosa Arch as seen in the present day


Erected in 1828, this served as the town's municipal center before being converted to the city museum.
Like most poblacions or towns established during the Spanish colonial times, the main area of the city is centered on the parish church, surrounded by the public school, local market, small-scale business establishments and finally, what I love the most  - heritage houses.


Santa Rosa de Lima Parish Church. Erected in 1792.  The churh was built with intricate Baroque-style architecture

Casa Arambulo

Town plaza

Zavalla Home
How I wish I could see what's inside! 
I so love antique houses just like this one! :-)
I hope the families would continue to preserve them.


Casa Perlas
Lacerna House
Former Gomez Residence

Lijauco - Zavalla Ancestral House
Nonia Tiongco Ancestral House
Casa GonzaleS
This old chapel which was built in the late 1700s now houses the local COMELEC office

Sta. Rosa City was once called Barrio Bocol, once a part of the nearby town of Binyang or Biñan (where the young Rizal started his schooling).  From the word Bocol, meaning bukal or spring, flows its sweet, cool, underground water.  It has been said this is the main reason why big corporations like Coca-Cola and Monde Nissin established their factories here.


Col. Basilio B. Gonzalez
Sta. Rosa's very own. A true hero, Basilio Gonzales was a Katipunero who led Sta. Rosa locals in the Spanish revolution.  In remembrance of him, his statue is erected outside the city's Gusaling Batasan which also houses the city library and post office.


The Batasan building also houses the post office and the city library
Established in January 18, 1792, the town of Sta. Rosa was named after the first patron saint of South America who is Santa Rosa de Lima.  The town fiesta is celebrated every 18th of the January with month-long festivities. 

Another historical landmark of Santa Rosa is the Cuartel de Santo Domingo, a mini-Spanish bastion located at the boundaries of Silang, Cavite and Brgy. Sto. Domingo in Sta. Rosa.  Served as an advance post of the Spaniards to hinder revolutionaries coming from Cavite.  Reinforcements against Philippine revolutionaries were stationed here.  

The cuartel area covers more than eight hectares and is now being utilized by the Philippine National Police for training. Former president Joseph Estrada was briefly detained here after his conviction.


photo credits: konsehosantarosa.com.ph
Kwartel de Santo Domingo was declared as a Historical Landmark on 2005. Pretty late for the role she played in our history.

Sta. Rosa was once a town relying heavily on agriculture as a source of livelihood.  She also proudly produced local artists namely the Tiongco Brothers, a trio of singing siblings. The Tiongco brothers hail from the prominent Tiongco clan of Sta. Rosa.  They have been performing for more than 50 years, here and abroad. One of their most notable performances was for the late King Hussein of Jordan.


credits:  smcitysantorsa.blogspot.com
She is also home to our country’s first ever recording artist, Maria Carpena, also known as the Nightingale of the Zarzuela.  No one virtually knows Maria nowadays.  But the City of Manila has named one of her streets after her.  Born on Oct 22, 1886, she is first and foremost a singer.  As a child, she performed in school and town activities and was a member in the church choir as a soloist. She spent a chunk of her life and career in the Americas.  Upon her discovery, she sang in stage and performed in Zarzuelas.  

Maria Carpena
Source: Google MapS

According to local stories, Maria often times make 'paramdams' specially when her birth date is nearing.  One time as our museum curator was telling her life story to a group of young students, one of them claimed she/he was hearing Maria sing. Ma'am Virgie, knowing who that was, politely explained to the child that Maria is already dead and it is impossible for him/her to hear her singing, continued on with her story so as not to scare the other children.  Upon introducing her to me, Ma'am Virgie had goosebumps, the hairs on her arms were tingling and literally standing up. Smiling strangely at me, she said that Maria was glad someone came to visit her. Well, I sure was glad too.


The Rosenios are sure proud to have been able to preserve her magnanimous past.  Definitely, there is more to Santa Rosa than meets the eye. 

26 comments:

  1. Beautiful post! It's great to see the Arch, a replica of Arc de Triumphe in your place, it's like Laos' Patuxai Monument. Your place is so full of historic spots!! :)

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    1. And I am so proud to be a Rosenion now! :-)

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  2. pwede mo ba kami i tour sa hometown mo :) napaka interesting ito makita.. I'm sure proud sau mga kababayan mo...

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    1. Ay oo pwede! madali lang ito maikot magkakatabi lang silang lahat! :-)

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  3. :) my father's hometown! There are more to discover! Let's do wakeboarding some other time!

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  4. yes! i tour mo ulit ako dyan haha!

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    1. We'll explore the modern side of Santa Rosa next time!

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  5. great post! I didn't know these about Santa Rosa and pass/go here a lot! :) Thanks!

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    1. Hello jovial wanderer! Thanks! It's a great part of our history to know right! :-)

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  6. Great post! :) Thanks for sharing these. I often go here either passing through to Tagaytay or visiting Nuvali, I didn't know Santa Rosa had all these! :)

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    1. This is the real Santa Rosa, she is more than Enchanted Kingdom and Nuvali. :-)

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  7. detailed post PaulaO. OMG mas maganda yung orig na Sta Rosa Arch!. I was assigned in Sta Rosa City in 2008 (indi pa masyadong active si lolo mo sa blogging), and all i know ay basta arch lang yan. We need to set the date at kwentuhan tayo about kay Sta. Rosa Paula :) will bookmark your post!

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    1. OMG talaga yung original Arch na yun noh! Thanks! Yep it is. Ganda di ba di mo akalain na yun pala ang istorya niya! :-)

      Ok sige looking forward to that date! :-)

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  8. i love old houses din feeling ko mas magugustuhan mo talaga ang taal,i went there in january and iba talaga ,may old town feel talaga ang place.

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    1. Yes Melvin been to Taal din, sarap balik balikan din. :-)

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  9. wow rich in historic place pala tong sta rosa. thanx for sharing. kung ako me project about this place, eto nah ang website na reference ko. alam na alam na eh.

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    1. Hello Phioxee! Thanks for droppin' by! :-)

      Very historic talaga rin and I'm proud to share it. Not many knows her past.

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  10. I never knew there are many ancestral homes in Sta. Rosa. You are right, Sta. Rosa to me, and perhaps to many others, is only synonymous to Enchanted Kingdom. Bisitahin ko yan uli minsan. And next time, iba na ang titingnan kong anggulo. It's her historical past naman.

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    1. Hi Nortehanon! Yes, Sta. Rosa is more than those new attractions. Before when I was younger I thought the same. But then, every place I believe has its own magnanimous past, we should just learn how to discover and properly appreciate it.

      Thanks!

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    2. The "Zavalla Home" you featured in this blog is the ancestral house of my grandfather Domingo Tiongco Zavalla (deceased) and my grandmother Salud Tiongco Carteciano Zavalla (deceased). As a young kid, I visited Lolo Inggo & Lola Salud after Sunday masses. We still celebrate Christmas Day in Casa Zavalla. That house was actually known as the Andres B. Zavalla House. I have pictures of the interior of that house as it was featured in a magazine ("Cocoon") some years back.
      And the house across it, now called the "Nonia Tiongco Ancestral House", was known as the Angel Anonuevo/Tiongco Zavalla House. These two houses, together with the other ancestral houses of Sta. Rosa was recently featured in a photo exhibit at the SM City Sta. Rosa. However, i wasn't able to catch it. Fortunately, a relative of ours, posted pictures of the exhibit, plus interesting facts & stories about the old houses on FB. According to the exhibit, there seems to be a family connection between Jose Rizal's mother Teodora Alonso & the Zavallas thru the "Ochoa" lineage. In fact Dona Teodora & her siblings often visited the Angel Zavalla House. There are many other interesting facts about the Zavallas & the Tiongcos. You can probably get in touch with my Uncle Mario Zavalla.
      (Angel Anonuevo/Tiongco Zavalla & Andres B. Zavalla were first cousins.)

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  11. The "Zavalla Home" you featured is the ancestral house of my (deceased) grandfather (Atty.) Domingo Tiongco Zavalla & (deceased) grandmother Salud Carteciano Zavalla. My Lolo's house was actually known as the Andres B. Zavalla House.
    As a young kid, I often visited Lolo Inggo & Lola Salud after attending mass. We also celebrate Christmas Day in that house. Unfortunately, both Uncle Boy (Domingo III) & Auntie Sonia, who used to live in that house, passed away in 2012 & 2013 respectively. Only Uncle Boy's family lives there now. I have pictures (featured in a magazine, "Cocoon") of the interior of that house.
    Incidentally, that house, together with other "old houses" in Sta. Rosa, were featured in an exhibit in SM Sta. Rosa recently. However, i wasn't able to catch it. Fortunately, a relative posted pictures of the exhibit on Facebook, including interesting facts & stories about Rizal's mother & aunties visiting the Nonia Tiongco Ancestral House (which was actually the Angel Anonuevo/Tiongco Zavalla House). There seems to be a family connection between Jose Rizal's mother & the Zavallas thru the "Ochoa" lineage.
    (Angel A. Zavalla & Andres B. Zavalla were first cousins.)

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  12. The "Zavalla Home" you featured is the ancestral house of my (deceased) grandfather (Atty.) Domingo Tiongco Zavalla & (deceased) grandmother Salud Carteciano Zavalla. My Lolo's house was actually known as the Andres B. Zavalla House.
    As a young kid, I often visited Lolo Inggo & Lola Salud after attending mass. We also celebrate Christmas Day in that house. Unfortunately, both Uncle Boy (Domingo III) & Auntie Sonia, who used to live in that house, passed away in 2012 & 2013 respectively. Only Uncle Boy's family lives there now. I have pictures (featured in a magazine, "Cocoon") of the interior of that house.
    Incidentally, that house, together with other "old houses" in Sta. Rosa, were featured in an exhibit in SM Sta. Rosa recently. However, i wasn't able to catch it. Fortunately, a relative posted pictures of the exhibit on Facebook, including interesting facts & stories about Rizal's mother & aunties visiting the Nonia Tiongco Ancestral House (which was actually the Angel Anonuevo/Tiongco Zavalla House). There seems to be a family connection between Jose Rizal's mother & the Zavallas thru the "Ochoa" lineage.
    (Angel A. Zavalla & Andres B. Zavalla were first cousins.)

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    1. Hi Mr. Arnold! Thank you for visiting and commenting! I hope that one day I could get to see what's inside of the house. :-). It's lovely I hope the next generation of Zavallas would take good care of them.

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  13. I've lived in sta. rosa all my life so i am very much familiar with the places/houses you featured here. We used to even hold our school practices for dances, school plays, etc. at casa arambulo which is the ancestral house of my classmate in canossa. unfortunately, would you believe, i haven't gone inside the museum yet. so this is one of those i need to see with my hubby and children especially as we live very near the town plaza.

    I also love the photos. I somehow remember the arch before it was remodeled/painted. and i didn't know that the building that houses the comelec office was once a chapel! I thought the only chapel near the sta. rosa de lima parish is the lolo uweng chapel just a few meters away from it.

    What about making a blog post about the old families of sta. rosa? someone also wrote about the old families of biñan, which is actually the reason I found your site. I was searching for blog posts about the old families of sta. rosa. :)

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    1. Hello Kaye thank you so much for this comment! I haven't dig yet in our hometown's deep past. But soon I hope and maybe we could meet too! :-)

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