A web log for the Pila community.

Huerta's Villa de Pila

R. P. Félix de Huerta, OFM (de su libro, “Estado geográfico, topográfico, estadístico histórico-religioso de la santa y apostólica provincia de S. Gregorio Magno, de los religiosos menores descalzos de la regular y más estricta observancia de N.S.P.S. Francisco, en las islas filipinas, comprende el número de religiosos, conventos, pueblos, situación de estos, años de su fundación, tributos, almas, producciones, industrias, cosas y casos especiales de su administración espiritual, en el Archipiélago Filipino, desde su fundación, en el año 1877 hasta el de 1863, Binondo, 1865”)

Translation: Fr. Emmanuel C. Marfori, 2005


The foundation of this Villa dates back to the year 1578, in which time our apostolic men Fr. Juan de Plasencia and Fray Diego de Oropesa announced the name of the Lord, being this town the principal residence of the latter, without ceasing to evangelize through all the coasts and mountains of the great Laguna de Bay, until their apostolic zeal penetrated into the province of Tayabas. Long ago, it used to be joined to the Laguna de Bay, in a place called Pagalangan, and because of heavy flooding in the rising waters of the said Laguna, it was transferred in the year 1800 to the site it occupies today.    

Its situation is at 14º13´latitude, in an wide plain, to the right of an average river which originates from the mountain of San Cristobal, and, running from S to N, it flows into the lagoon which gives the name to the province. Bordered in the north with the said lagoon, it is half a league away. It is bordered on the NE with the town of Sta. Cruz, five fourths of a league; on the E with the town of Magdalena, a bit less than the same distance; on the SSE with the town of Nagcarlang, two leagues away; on the SSW with that of Calauang, a bit less than the same distance; and on the WSW with that of Bay, same as before.

It enjoys a mild, healthy and very well ventilated climate. The most common sickness are the fevers (tercianas), which usually come from May to September. It provides itself with waters from springs which come from N. of the town, and from wells, all of the very big. It has two main roads towards the towns of Santa Cruz and Bay, with two bridle paths for the towns of Nagcarlang and Magdalena. Mails are received weekly from the headquarters of the province.

The Church, under the advocacy of the marvelous S. Anthony of Padua, was originally made of wood. In the year 1599, permission was given by the Superior Gobierno to make it out of stone, which should have been verified in the following years, because in 1617, the said Church and rectory of stone were already finished. In 1800, the Church and rectory were demolished because of the aforementioned transfer, and the existing edifice was constructed under the direction of the Rev. Frs. Fray Antonio de Argobejo and Fray Domingo de Valencia, the town contributing for it. The said Church is of good material and very spacious (capaz), and in it is venerated, aside from the titular Saint, the other to whom the faithful have a very particular devotion, the glorious S. Roche, of whose image many miracles are found in our files (registros), some of them juridically proven.

The rectory (casa parroquial) is also made of stone, constructed under the direction of the Rev. Fr. Fray Benito del Quintanar, around 1840 until 1849. This villa has six straight streets from N. to S., and five cross streets, all of them wide, with excellent roads covered with a good mixture. There is a court (tribunal), a school of primary education, offered by the banks (cajas) of the Community, with some eight hundred houses, all of them of wood and nipa. It is administered by the Rev. Fr. Fray Antonio Santiago, confessor, 54 years of age, with a Fr. coadjutor.

Tributos      …      4715
Souls           …     5551

The boundary extends league and a half from N. to S., and the same from E. to W. Through it, four medium–sized rivers, all coming from San Cristobal mountain, and whose waters are used in irrigation. The terrain cultivated produces much rice, sugar cane, for whose benefits there are six sugar mills (ingenios), many coconuts from which they extract oil, some indigo, cocoa, coffee, bonga (Tag., bunga?), and many fruit trees and some legumes. The natives dedicate themselves to agriculture, to the benefit of the abovementioned articles, and to fishing, which is produced by the Laguna, the products of which are exported for the market of Santa Cruz and for the Capitol.

The hospital (enfermería) of the male religious was in this villa from the year 1618 until 1673, when it was transferred to the town of Santa Cruz.

Doctrina Christiana

Doctrina Christiana, en lengua española y tagala published in 1593 in Manila is now available in digital form on the Library of Congress website.  This book is part of the Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection at the Library of Congress. Just follow this link to view and download high resolution pictures. The Doctrina Christiana was written by the first Franciscan priest of Pila, Laguna, Fray Juan de Plasencia and is considered the first book printed in the Philippines.  Interested individuals may also download text or HTML format of the book from the Gutenberg website.  The Gutenberg online book includes the introductory essay of Edwin Wolf 2nd. The Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection stands out among the distinguished resources of the Rare book and Special Collections Division of the United States Library of Congress.

The Philippine National Historical Institute published a facsimile copy of the book with a foreword by Carlos Quirino. Copies may be purchased at NHI, T.M. Kalaw St., Ermita, Manila.

Marian Exhibit

Marian ExhibitDiocesan Shrine of San Antonio de Padua, Pila, Laguna in celebration of the Year of Holy Eucharist with Mary invites you to visit the Marian images now on display at the newly renovated Church gallery. The Marian images are on exhibit from September 18, 2005 to October 30, 2005. These icons were on loan from the various Marian devotees of Pila and surrounding communities. The exhibit is a celebration of Pila's love affair with the Blessed Mother Mary. The public is invited to view the exhibit from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. daily.


Last posts



* The Roots Of Pila, Laguna: A Secular And Spiritual History Of The Town (900 AD To The Present) by Dr. Luciano P. R. Santiago
* Pila: A book and a plaza by Bea Zobel Jr.
* Pila In Ancient Times by Cynthia Ongpin Valdes
* Restoration of Pila by Elizabeth S. Timbol