The Magnanimous Santa Rosa, Laguna: A Glimpse To Her Colorful Past
June 12, 2013
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
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 church was built with intricate Baroque-style architecture
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.
Former Gomez Residence
Lijauco – Zavalla Ancestral House
Nonia Tiongco Ancestral House
an old chapel
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. he 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.
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.
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.