Quezon City: Exploring Novaliches

1864 El marqués de Novaliches, revestido con el traje ceremonial y el manto de la Real y Militar Orden de San Fernando
1864 El marqués de Novaliches, revestido con el traje ceremonial y el manto de la Real y Militar Orden de San Fernando

The northernmost area of Quezon City is Novaliches. Located at the boundaries of Bulacan and Rizal provinces, Novaliches was named after Manuel Pavía y Lacy, 1st Marquis de Novaliches (1814-1896), who served as the Governor-General of the Philippines from 1852-1854, during the Spanish Colonial Era (1571-1898). Novaliches was established by Governor-general Pavía, in 1854, when he offered liberty and land to prisoners, if they would clear forests in the area. After the land was cleared, people from Polo (now Valenzuela City of Bulacan Province) and Morong town (of La Laguna Province, now Rizal Province) moved in, and called the place Hacienda Tala (Star Estate), as the new land was like a star in heaven to the migrants. Later on, the name would be changed to Parroquia de Novaliches (Parish of Novaliches).

2007 Andres Bonifacio Monument, SB Plaza
2007 Andres Bonifacio Monument, SB Plaza

Parroquia de Novaliches was a thriving agricultural community, until much of the town was razed to the ground during the Katipunan Revolution with the Battle of Novaliches in November 1896; which could be assumed was done the Spanish authorities to teach the people a lesson for supporting the revolutionaries. During this battle, a close aide to Andrés Bonifacio (1863-1897) the Katipunan founder, Gen. Luis Malinis was killed. After the fire, many of the residents moved on to other towns, as Novaliches would remain a small community until the rebuilding of the Our Lady of Mercy Parish, in 1928. During that time, Novaliches was once part of the Rizal Province, until it was annexed to the growing Quezon City in the 1940s.

1856 Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy
1856 Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy

The first church of Novaliches was established by the Augustinians in 1856, and was dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, but was quickly changed to the Nuestra Senora de la Merced (Our Lady of Mercy), with its patron saint brought to the Philippines by the first parish priest of Novaliches, Padre Andres Martin, O.S.A. When the church was reconstructed in 1928, the community began to grow once more. And in 2001, the church was officially renamed as the Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy.

2001 Novaliches General Hospital
2001 Novaliches General Hospital

However after World War II, development in Novaliches moved slowly, as the population grew from 7000 residents in the late 1940s, to 9000 people in 1960. Treated like a far off provincial town, local public buildings and services were slowly being constructed, such as the first rural bank in 1952, the first public library in 1954, the first post office in 1955, the first cinema house (Cinema Lucy) in 1956, and the first health center and fire department in 1957. By 1960, there were only 27 industrial and commercial establishments that catered to the needs of the locals, and while others were processing plants that were built to be far from the main city areas of Manila and Quezon City. However, a steady migration of new residents started in the late 1960s, when Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos ordered the construction of Commonwealth Avenue, which was then called Don Mariano Marcos Avenue, after the president’s father.

1960s Commonwealth Avenue (formerly Don Mariano Marcos Avenue)
1960s Commonwealth Avenue (formerly Don Mariano Marcos Avenue)

With easier access to Novaliches through the new Don Mariano Marcos Avenue (now called Commonwealth Avenue), by the 1970s, new residential subdivisions were being erected. And with the world wide economic boom of the mid-1980s, a larger wave of new migrants came in, and by the 21st century, Novaliches was a bustling urban area. This steady development can be charted with the construction of the many churches under the Diocese of Novaliches:

1975-84 Raoul Sotto - Cathedral-Parish and Diocesan Shrine of the Good Shepherd

1856 Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy

1975 Good Shepherd Cathedral Shrine and Parish

1977 Ascension of Our Lord Parish

1978 Parokya ng Pagkabuhay

1982 Holy Cross Parish, Amparo Village

1980 Holy Spirit Parish

1981 Banal na Sakramento Parish

1982 Holy Trinity Parish

1985 Santa Lucia Parish

1986 Ina ng Buhay Parish

1986 Our Lady of Consolation Parish

1986 San Bartolome Parish

1986 The Our Father Parish

1987 San Isidro Labrador Parish

1987 San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish

1989 Mary the Queen Parish

1990 Ina ng Lupang Pangako Parish

1991 Christ the King Parish

1991 Mother of the Divine Providence Parish

1992 Luis Nicanor Aguirre IV - Our Lady of the Annunciation

1992 Our Lady of Annunciation Parish: Shrine of Incarnation

1992 Saint Francis Xavier Parish

1993 Divine Savior Parish

1993 Jesus, Lord of the Divine Mercy Parish

1993 Mabuting Pastol Parish

1993 Saint Peter Parish: Shrine of Leaders

1997 Immaculate Conception Parish

1994 Jesus, Lord of the Divine Mercy Parish

1997 Kristong Hari Parish

1997 Holy Family Parish

1997 Sagrada Familia Parish

1997 San Jose, ang Tagapagtanggol Parish

1999 San Isidro Labrador Parish

1999 Visitation of Our Lord Parish

2000 Saint Maximillian Kolbe Parish

2004 Christ, King of the Universe Parish

2006 Mary The Queen Parish

2006 Saint Benedict Parish

2007 Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish

2008 Jesus of Nazareth Parish

2008 Saint Michael the Archangel Parish

05 2007 San Bartolome Parish2008 Sagrada Familia Parish

2010 Presentation of Our Lord Parish

2011 San Antonio de Padua Parish

2012 Corpus Christi Parish

2012 Santuario de San Vicente de Paul: Shrine of the Poor

2013 Saint Joseph Parish

2013 Nuestra Señora dela Paz y Buen Viaje Parish

1932-1933 Sacred Heart Novitiate
1932-1933 Sacred Heart Novitiate

Aside from the many churches, many Catholic orders started erecting their own seminaries and convents, as a get away from the fast paced life of the city. The oldest of these institutions is the Jesuit Sacred Heart Novitiate, which was constructed between 1932-1933. Some of the other religious formation houses in Novaliches are the Notre Dame de Vie Retreat House (1954), the Our Lady of Angels Franciscan Seminary of Franciscan friars of the Order of Friars Minor (1962), the Franciscan Sisters of Immaculatine (1982-1994), the Blessed Sacrament Sisters Convent and Chapel, the Immaculate Retreat House (1994), the Servants of the Holy Eucharist Convent, the Mater Salvatoris Convent, the Recoletos Formation Center, the Saint Vincent Seminary, and the Holy Spirit Convent, to name a few.

1952 Far Eastern University Institute of Medicine, renamed in 1971 (FEU NRMF)
1952 Far Eastern University Institute of Medicine, renamed in 1971 FEU NRMF

With the many churches and religious centers in Novaliches, private schools connected to these religious institutions were also being built. Among these are the Mother of Life Center (1967), the Holy Child Academy (1976), the School of the Holy Spirit (1978), the Mercedarian School (1982), the Campus School of Saint Anthony (1982), the Sto. Niño de Novaliches School (1983), the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School (1985), the Mater Carmeli School (1986), the Blessed Sacrament Catholic School (1987), the Divine Grace School (1987), the Sister Maria Carmela Brescia School (1989), the Ina ng Buhay Catholic School (1991), the St. Francis Xavier Catholic School (1994), the Colegio de San Bartolome de Novaliches (1995), the Good Shepherd Cathedral School (1995), the St. Benedict School of Novaliches (1997), the Blessed Scalabrini Institute (1998), the Resurrection Catholic School (1998), the St. Francis de Sales Academy (2000), the Fiore Del Carmelo School (2001), the San Isidro Labrador Catholic School (2001), the Sta. Elena School of Novaliches, the St. Theresa’s School of Novaliches, the Immaculate Mother School, the Mother of Mercy Learning Center, the Our Lady of the Star Nursery, and the Sisters of Mount Carmel Catholic School. With so many Catholic schools in the district, private and public institutions of learning also started developing alongside their religious counterparts. Among these are the Metro Manila College (1947), the Far Eastern University – Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation (1952), the Quezon City Polytechnic University (1994), Our Lady of Fatima University Lagro (1996), the STI College Novaliches, and the National College of Business and Arts.

1952 Fernando Amorsolo - President Elpidio Quirino
1952 Fernando Amorsolo – President Elpidio Quirino

From the center of Quezon City, the main route to get to Novaliches is Commonwealth Avenue, which connects to Novaliches’ second main artery, the President Elpidio Rivera Quirino (1890-1956) Highway, who had died at his retreat house in Novaliches. The highway was once named Don Tomas Susano Road, after the first officially recognized political leader of the district, during the American Occupation (1898-1946). Novaliches was once a mostly agricultural and residential district, but as the population grew and traffic build up severely dampened travel from Novaliches to the central Quezon City and beyond, more and more businesses began developing in the district.

1929 La Mesa Dam and Reservoir (2,700 hectares)
1929 La Mesa Dam and Reservoir (2,700 hectares)

To the eastern side of Novaliches is the La Mesa Dam and Watershed Reservation, a 2,700 hectare (27 square kilometers) area that was built in 1929. The La Mesa Dam supplies most of Metro Manila’s water needs. Within the La Mesa Water Reservation is the La Mesa Eco Park, which is 33-hectare tourism spot for people to enjoy one of the last remaining rain forests within the city. Opened to the public in 2004, the La Mesa Eco Park features swimming pools, hiking trails, zip lines, picnic grounds, horseback riding and other outdoor activities. This was the thrust of the Philippine government and several private organizations to develop and stronger appreciation of nature with the public.

09 2004 La Mesa EcoparkFrom the historical sites to the quite respite of a tropical forest, there is more Novaliches than its present bustling urban hub and traffic.  From a quite agricultural district, Novaliches has grown exponentially, but its residents have somehow kept a steadfast hold on its history and sense of community. And any visitor will find these quite places of heritage, and take a break from the city.

05 Novaliches


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