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Pila, Laguna


Pila, Laguna

Aerial view of Pila with Sta Cruz in background
Aerial view of Pila with Sta Cruz in background
Official seal of Pila
Nickname(s): La Noble Villa de Pila
Pila is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Region CALABARZON (Region IV-A)
Province Laguna
District 4th district of Laguna
Founded 1940
Barangays 17
 • Total 31.20 km2 (12.05 sq mi)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 46,534
 • Density 1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
Income class 3rd

Pila is a third class municipality in the province of Laguna, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 46,534 people.[2] Pila has a total land area of 31.2 km².

The town of Pila is site for some well-preserved houses dating back to the Spanish period as well as the old Saint Anthony of Padua Parish Church, the first Antonine church in the Philippines.

Don Felizardo Rivera, who donated his lands to the church and municipal government, is the recognized founder of Pila. He is the ancestor of prominent families in Pila surnamed Rivera, Relova, Agra and Álava.

This also served as a location for the reality show, The Amazing Race Asia 2 and the ABS-CBN daytime drama hit series Be Careful With My Heart.


  • Barangays 1
  • History 2
    • Pre-Hispanic Pila 2.1
    • Coming of the Franciscans 2.2
  • Historic Town of Pila 3
  • Demographics 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Pila is politically subdivided into 17 barangays.[1] In 1957, the sitio of Pinagbayanan was converted into a barrio.[3]

  • Aplaya
  • Bagong Pook
  • Bukal
  • Bulilan Norte (Pob.)
  • Bulilan Sur (Pob.)
  • Concepcion
  • Labuin
  • Linga
  • Masico
  • Mojon
  • Pansol
  • Pinagbayanan
  • San Antonio
  • San Miguel
  • Santa Clara Norte (Pob.)
  • Santa Clara Sur (Pob.)
  • Tubuan


Pre-Hispanic Pila

Pila and adjacent towns along the shores of Laguna de Bay are considered by archaeologists as one of the oldest settlements in the Philippines. The community is one of three such concentrations of population known archaeologically to have been in place before A.D. 1000. Archaeologists recovered in Pinagbayanan potteries and artifacts that indicate considerable settlement in the area during the Late Tang Dynasty (900 A.D.). Archaeologists also recovered ancient horse bones ending the debate on whether the Spaniards brought them or not. The scientists were able to uncover Philippines’ oldest crematorium in the same area. It is worthwhile to note that the oldest Philippine document, the 900 A.D. Laguna Copperplate Inscription, mentioned Pila (as Pailah) twice and its ruler Jayadewa.[4]

Pre-hispanic Pila was one of the biggest barangay domains in Southern Luzon. Its leader was not only the local chief but also the regional datu. The bards of the shore towns of the Morong Peninsula across the lake from Pila sang of the exploits of Gat Salyan Maguinto, the “gold-rich” datu of Pila who extended his kingdom far and wide into their settlements. In fact, the greater territory was also called Pila. Wary of concentrating power on a noble Indio, the conquistadors later dismantled his realm and to avoid confusion, they changed the name of the Pila dependencies to Pililla, which means “minor Pila.” The original territory had encompassed the present towns of Morong (from which the town of Pililla or Pilang Morong separated in 1583); Baras (separated from Morong in 1588); Tanay (separated from Pililla in 1606); Jala-jala whose old name was also Pila (separated from Pililla in 1786) and Talim Island, which until now, has a sitio Pila. The descendants of Gat Salyan were also regarded as the founders of the other towns of the present province of Rizal.

Around 1375, due to some calamity of weather most probably flooding, the original seat of Pila had to be abandoned and the barangay transferred to Pagalangan, which signifies “the place of Reverence”. The Franciscan chronicler, Fray Juan Plasencia gathered that the datu of Pila, “ with his own gold” purchased the new site from another chief who had owned it and who thus moved to another place. The datu then farmed out the arable land among the nobles and the freemen who, in return, paid him an annual rent of a hundred ganta of rice

Even before the coming of the Spaniards, Pila was already noted for its spiritual ambience. The center of the town was known as Pagalangan, which means “The Place of Reverence.”

Coming of the Franciscans

In 1571, the Spanish conquistadors, led by Don Juan de Salcedo, “discovered” Pila in Pagalangan after the “pacification” of Manila. On 14 November of the same year Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the first Spanish governor-general, awarded the encomienda (tributes) of Pagalangan and other Laguna villages to Don Francisco de Herrera, a regidor (councilman) of Manila. With the reorganization of the encomiendas in 1575, the tributes of Pila were granted to Don Hernando Ramirez on 29 July.

The Franciscans arrived in 1578 to evangelize the people of Pila and soon afterwards built a church dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, the first Antonine house of worship in the Philippines. Due to the nobleness and mildness of the character of its inhabitants, the Spanish leadership honored the town with an exceptional title La Noble Villa de Pila, one of five villas named by the Spaniards in the 16th and 17th century in the Philippines. During this period, the demesne of Pila includes Victoria, Laguna, and Jala-Jala, Rizal.

Church of Pila, built in 1849.

The Franciscans established in Pila the second printing press in the Philippines in 1611 under the auspices of Tomas Pinpin and Domingo Loag. The press printed in 1613, Philippines’ oldest dictionary and the first book printed using the movable type, the Vocabulario de Lengua Tagala. The book was written and compiled by Fray Pedro de San Buenaventura and printed by Tomas Pinpin, the Prince of Filipino printers. The book is twenty seven years older than the Bay Psalm Book, the first book printed in the United States in 1640.

At the beginning of the 19th century the town was transferred from Pagalangan to the present site of Santa Clara because of perennial flooding.

Historic Town of Pila

The National Historical Institute of the Philippines (now National Historical Commission of the Philippines) declared the town plaza and surrounding ancestral houses a National Historical Landmark on May 17, 2000 by NHI Resolution no. 2, series of 2002.[5] It cited Pila as an early pre-Hispanic center of culture and trade in Laguna known as La Noble Villa de Pila and has been recognized as one of the country's more important archeological sites where clay potteries were discovered in excavations made in Pinagbayanan ni 1967. The historic town of Pila is bounded by General Luna Street in the north, M. H. del Pilar Street in the east, Mabini Street in the south, and Bonifacio Street in the west, and including the Pila Elementary School, and the Juan Fuentes and Santiago Fernandez house.[5]

Two years later, on July 9, 2002, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Pablo proclaimed the parish church of San Antonio de Padua de Pila as the Diocesan Shrine of St. Anthony. According to Philippine historian, Dr. Luciano Santiago, it is the only town in the Philippines that is formally recognized as a historical site by both the church and the state.



  1. ^ a b "Province: LAGUNA". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "An Act Converting the Sitio of Pinagbayanan, Municipality of Pila, Province of Laguna, into a Barrio of Said Municipality". Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  4. ^ "History of Pila - A Glorious Past". Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Resolution No. 2, s. 2000 Declaring the Town Center of Pila in Laguna as a National Historical Landmark" (PDF). National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 

External links

  • History of Pila: A Secular and Spiritual History of the Town 900 A.D. to Present
  • Pila:Bayang Pinagpala
  • Philippine Standard Geographic Code
  • Philippine Census Information
  • Local Governance Performance Management System
  • Pila a historical landmark that withstood war, time
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