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San Juan, Metro Manila

San Juan
Highly-Urbanized City
Dakilang Lungsód ng San Juan
Skyscrapers along Annapolis Street in Greenhills
Skyscrapers along Annapolis Street in Greenhills
Official seal of San Juan
Nickname(s): Heart of Metro Manila; Home of Philippine Presidents; Tiangge Capital of the Philippines
Motto: Todo Asenso, San Juan!
("Progress, San Juan!")
Region National Capital Region
Districts Lone District of San Juan
Incorporated 1623 (town)
Incorporated 17 June 2007 (cityhood)[1]
Barangays 21
 • Mayor Guia Gomez (Partido Magdiwang-UNA)
 • Vice Mayor Francisco Javier M. Zamora (Nacionalista Party)
 • Representative Ronaldo Zamora (Nacionalista Party)
 • Sangguniang Panlungsod
 • Total 5.95 km2 (2.30 sq mi)
Elevation 17.0 m (55.8 ft)
Demonym(s) San Juaneño (m), San Juaneña (f)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)

San Juan is a city in the Philippines. It is one of the cities that comprises Metro Manila, the National Capital Region of the Philippines. It is the smallest city in the country in terms of land area. According to the ? , it has a population of .[5]

San Juan was the site of the first battle of the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish Empire.


  • Name 1
  • Geography 2
    • Barangays 2.1
  • History 3
    • Presidential ties 3.1
  • Demographics 4
  • Places of interest 5
  • Transportation 6
  • Education 7
    • Public schools 7.1
      • Primary 7.1.1
      • Secondary 7.1.2
      • Tertiary 7.1.3
    • Private schools 7.2
  • Culture 8
    • Saint John's Day (Wattah-Wattah Festival) 8.1
    • Government Center 8.2
  • Notable people 9
  • Sister cities 10
    • Local 10.1
    • International 10.2
  • References 11
  • External links 12


"San Juan City" is a contraction of the city's longer, ceremonial name of San Juan del Monte (English: "Saint John of the Mountain"). As with numerous other places in the Philippines, the city's name combines a patron saint and a toponym; in this case, the place is named for Saint John the Baptist and its hilly, relatively high elevation compared to surrounding areas.

The city's official name is Dakilang Lungsód ng San Juan (Tagalog, "Great City of San Juan").


San Juan is bounded by Quezon City on the north and east, Mandaluyong on the south, and the City of Manila in the west.

The territory of San Juan was once much larger than it is now, extending all the way to what is now Caloocan City. Parts of the present-day Districts 1, 2 and 4 of Quezon City as well as areas of Mandaluyong were originally within the town's colonial-era territorial boundaries. This also explains why San Juan Reservoir is in nearby Horseshoe Village, a subdivision now part of Quezon City.


San Juan is politically subdivided into 21 barangays:

  • Addition Hills
  • Balong-Bato
  • Batis
  • Corazon de Jesús
  • Ermitaño
  • Greenhills
  • St. Joseph (Halo-halo)
  • Isabelita
  • Kabayanan
  • Little Baguio
  • Maytunas
  • Onse
  • Pasadena
  • Pedro Cruz
  • Progreso
  • Rivera
  • Salapán
  • San Perfecto
  • Santa Lucia
  • Tibagan
  • West Crame


During the pre-Hispanic period, the area of what is now San Juan was a part of the Kingdom of Namayan, whose last recorded rulers were King Lacantagean and his consort, Bouan. When the kingdom and other nearby polities were absorbed by the Spanish East Indies in the late 16th century, the realm of Namayan was re-christened Sta. Ana de Sapa. The present area of San Juan was meanwhile re-classified as a barrio, later becoming a small encomienda by 1590.

In 1602, the Dominicans built a retreat house in the vicinity for their immediate use, where ageing or convalescing friars stayed. Later, the Order constructed a convent and stone church dedicated to the Holy Cross. To this day, the thrice-rebuilt Santuario del Santo Cristo stands on the same site, adjacent to Aquinas School and Dominican College.

In 1783, San Juan was partitioned from Santa Ana but was still a barrio within the Province of Manila. The opening salvo of the Philippine Revolution against Spain took place in San Juan in 1897 when the Katipunan attacked the alamacén (armoury) or polvorín (gunpowder magazine) of the Spanish East Indies colonial government. The town was later incorporated into the Province of Rizal in 1901 under American Occupation.

On 7 November 1975, President Ferdinand Marcos signed Presidential Decree № 824 that established the National Capital Region, and San Juan was among the towns excised from Rizal Province. Residents ratified the conversion of the municipality into a highly urbanised city on 16 June 2008, pursuant to Republic Act № 9388 ("An Act Converting the Municipality of San Juan into a Highly Urbanized City to be known as the City of San Juan"). Then Congressman Ronaldo B. Zamora sponsored the Cityhood Bill in the House of Representatives and worked for its approval.[6]

Presidential ties

Although not officially designated as such, San Juan is noted to be the "Town of Philippine Presidents." Four presidents since the Third Republic were official residents of San Juan when they assumed office. They were the Macapagal père et fille, Diosdado Sr. (1961–1965) and Gloria Arroyo (2001–2010); Ferdinand Marcos (1965–1986); and Joseph Estrada (1998–2001), who also served as Mayor when San Juan was still a municipality.


Places of interest

Among the many interesting places in San Juan are the Pinaglabanan Shrine, which marks the 1897 battle of the Philippine Revolution, and the Greenhills Shopping Center, a popular bargain mall for consumer electronics, clothing and other merchandise.

The city also has several notable places of worship. Saint John the Baptist Parish, more commonly known as "Pinaglabanan Church", is where the city's patron saint, John the Baptist, is enshrined. The Santuario del Santo Cristo Church is the settlement's oldest existing church, while Mary the Queen Parish in West Greenhills serves the local Filipino-Chinese community, and is a popular venue for weddings.

From 1925-1971, the Iglesia ni Cristo once headquartered in the town at its former Central Office Complex, now known as the Locale of F. Manalo. It features Art-Deco designed ensembles, crafted by National Artist for Architecture Juan Nakpil. The Chapel is the centerpiece of the Complex, which also contains the old Central Office and Pastoral House which was the home of the church's first Executive Minister, Ka Felix Manalo, along with other Ministers and Evangelical Workers. When Manalo died in 1963, a mausoleum was constructed on the grounds of the Complex by architect Carlos Santos-Viola.


The J. Ruiz Station is the only rail and rapid transit station serving San Juan.

Modes of public transportation in San Juan include jeepneys and buses. Jeepney routes ply the Aurora Boulevard (R-6). The city is serviced by the LRT-2. The only LRT station in San Juan is the J. Ruiz Station. The C-3 (Araneta Avenue) also passes through San Juan. Secondary routes include Nicanor Domingo (abbreviated N. Domingo), which heads towards Cubao in Quezon City, and Pinaglabanan/Santolan Avenue, which leads towards Ortigas Avenue and eventually the southern reaches of Quezon City near Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police.


Public schools


  • Kabayanan Elementary School
  • Pedro Cruz Elementary School
  • Pinaglabanan Elementary School
  • Progreso Elementary School
  • San Juan Central Elementary School
  • San Perfecto Elementary School
  • Santa Lucia Elementary School
  • Tibagan Elementary School


  • San Juan National High School


Private schools


Given their city's role in the 1896 Revolution, San Juaneños are known for their fierce patriotism and localism. They for the most part choose to stay within city limits for work, education, and residence. Popular perception is that locals prefer to introduce new businesses and franchises to San Juan instead of patronising similar establishments located just outside the city boundaries. An effect of this is that San Juan is known for its increasing number of small- to medium-sized restaurants that are often independent of larger, more established chains. These restaurants vary in their offerings, ranging from non-mainstream international cuisine to vegetarian food, as well as several cake shops and dessert cafés.

Saint John's Day (Wattah-Wattah Festival)

San Juan is renowned for its celebration of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist every 24 June. In a nod to the saint's characteristic act, San Juaneños engage in Basaan ("wetting"), where revellers splash people with water. Devotees and residents believe that getting wet during the Basaan brings blessings, and that it is antisocial to be irate when doused. Pedestrians and vehicles with open windows are favourite targets, and in recent years an ordinance curtailing the Basaan at noon was enacted after complaints from non-residents and commuters.

Basaan is also practised in other Filipino towns that honour John the Baptist as patron, such as San Juan, Batangas, and Calumpit, Bulacan. The festival was officially named Wattah-Wattah Festival (a corruption of "water-water") by former Mayor (now Senator) JV Ejército. The revelry is similar in form yet unrelated to the merrymaking done during the Thai festival of Songkran and the Hindu feast of Holi.

Government Center

The old government center of San Juan is located at Nicanor Domingo street corner Antonio Luna street.[8] The Commonwealth-era structure, which stands in front of San Juan Medical Center, is preserved for historical reasons. Its new government center is at Pinaglabanan Street corner Doctor P.A. Narciso Street, fronting the Pinaglabanan Shrine and a few metres from Saint John the Baptist Parish. It began operation in February 2013.

Notable people

Sister cities




  1. ^ Date of changing San Juan from a municipality to a city.
  2. ^ "Cities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Councilors of San Juan, Metro Manila.
  4. ^ "List of Cities". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ Republic Act No. 9388 - Charter of the City of San Juan
  7. ^
  8. ^ The old government center of San Juan.
  9. ^, Davao, San Juan cities ink sisterhood pact

External links

  • Official Website of the City of San Juan, Metro Manila
  • Geographic data related to San Juan, Metro Manila at OpenStreetMap
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