With the signing of the Treaty of Paris on the 10th of December 1898, the American government “purchases” the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam from the Spanish government for 20 million dollars, and starts forty-eight years of American colonial rule of the Philippines. This did not sit well with the Katipunan revolutionaries, who were close to winning the war against the Spanish colonial government, as many towns and cities had already surrendered to the rebels. Yet, the Filipino troops were not so eager to wage war with the Americans, as they were still battle weary after three years of conflict, and they were not familiar with the capabilities of these new invaders. However this all came to an end, when Private William W. Grayson (1876-1941) fired and killed two Filipino soldiers who were attempting to reach the San Juan Bridge, on the 4th of February 1899. This triggered Philippine-American War (1899-1902), as the old Katipuneros once again took up arms.
After the Battle of Manila of the February 4-5 1899, most of the fighting moved to the outskirts of the city and in the provinces. In what is now Barangay Bagong Silangan (New Horizon) at the border of San Mateo and Quezon City, the Battle of San Mateo (a.k.a. The Battle of Payne) was waged between the American 11th Volunteer Cavalry and 29th Battalion under the command of Major General Henry Ware Lawton (1843-1899) and the Morong Command battalion and the Tiradores de la Muerte (a.k.a The Luna Sharpshooters) of Gen. Licerio Gerónimo (1855-1924). In the middle of the rain and bullets, Bonifacio Mariano was able kill Gen. Lawton with a bullet to the chest, making him the highest ranking officer killed during the Philippine-American War.
Although the Philippine-American War was “officially” declared over with the 1901 arrest of President Emilio Famy Aguinaldo (1869-1964) and the 1902 surrender of General Miguel Malvar y Carpio (1865-1911); General Macario Sakay y de León (1870-1907) continued to wage guerilla tactics against the Americans, declaring himself the head of the Repúbliká ng̃ Katagalugan (Tagalog Republic) with a large support from the provinces Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Morong. The new revolutionary government continued their attacks on American camps throughout these provinces, until they were pushed to move their “government” the Morong side of the Sierra Madre Mountains. It was possible that Sakay and his men would raid American patrols in the future-Quezon City side of the Barranca hills (now Barangka and the Katipunan Area) in Mariquina and in San Mateo, and escaping across the Mariquina River to avoid detection of the bloodhounds of the Americans.
In 1906, Sakay and his party are convinced under false premises by the former propagandist Dr. Dominador Gómez (1868-1929), to surrender and participate in future plans for Philippine independence. So on 14th of July 1906, Sakay and his companions attended a party hosted by Philippine Constabulary Commander Colonel Harry Hill Bandholtz (1864-1925) and acting Cavite Governor Captain Louis Joseph Van Schaick (1875-1945), and they were arrested after their guards was lowered by a night of revelry and dancing. The revolutionaries were transferred to the Bilibid Prison in Santa Cruz in Manila and a military garrison in Mariquina, and then tried for Bandolerismo (banditry) under the Brigand Act: Philippine Bill of July 1, 1902, with Sakay and Lucio de Vega hanged in the Bilibid Jail on the 3rd of July 1907.
At the second year of the war, the American government started to promoted the propagandist, Dr. José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (1861-1896), as the “National Hero of the Philippines”, even without officially enacting the designation into law. Dr. Rizal’s pacifist approach towards the previous Spanish regime and his emphasis on education as the means of upliftment of the people made him a perfect propaganda piece for the masses not to join the ongoing revolution. This emphasized with the renaming of the Morong District to the Province of Rizal, on the 11th of June 1901. This continued with the installation of statues of Dr. Rizal at the municipal halls and public schools all around the country. And the oldest monument to Dr. Rizal in Quezon City was installed in front of the Novaliches barrio hall in 1903, which was being reconstructed after the whole town was razed during 1896 Battle of Novaliches. This is the first of the two outdoor monuments of Dr. Rizal in Quezon City, with the second installed in front the Quezon City Hall in 2009.
Despite the ongoing war, the American government strove to improve the infrastructure and other facilities of the Philippines, such as building more rail systems, roads, and other government services. In the Diliman Estate, the 4.3 kilometer Carretera de Santolan (now Bonny Serrano Avenue) was built in 1901, and was named after the many Santol Trees (Cotton Fruit Tree, Sandoricum koetjape) that grew along the road. The road was built to allow employees of the Carriedo Water System (now the Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System) to travel quickly between the pumping station at the eastern Mariquina River to the El Deposito Water Reservoir in San Juan del Monte. The water services of Manila and the neighboring municipalities was further improved with the 1929 construction of the La Mesa Dam and Water Reservation in Novaliches, and the Balara Filtration System in 1938.
The need to expand the Philippines water and sewerage systems was part of the American thrust of reorganizing city sanitation systems after the 1816-1826 Cholera (Vibrio cholera) pandemic that left at least 100,000 dead around the world, and with more than 3000 killed in New York City because they have no proper waste disposal system. So when the 1899-1923 Cholera outbreak arrived in the Philippines in 1902, the disease toll a heavy toll on the Philippine population with 109,461 recorded deaths nationwide, and severely affecting the combatants on both sides of the Philippine-American War.
This American period building of facilities also tapped into the wealthy businessmen and politicians, who were tired of war. And part of that development plan was the reconstruction of Novaliches, which was still part of the municipality of Caloocan, and this was capped off with the rebuilding of the Paróquia Nuestra Senora de la Merced (Our Lady of Mercy Parish) in 1928. The oldest standing institutions from the reconstruction of Novaliches are the Plácido Del Mundo Elementary School, the Rosa L. Susano Novaliches Elementary School, and the Doña Rosario L. Susano Senior High School. Hailing from a prominent family in Tayabas, Don Plácido C. Del Mundo raised the funds to erect the Talipapa Elementary School in 1922, which would be renamed after him years after his death. Former Caloocan mayor, Don Tomas Susano Sr. (served 1906-1908) donated the land for the construction of the Novaliches Elementary School in 1923, and the Novaliches High School in 1928. Both schools were later renamed after the mayor’s wife, Doña Rosario L. Susano.
From 1906 to 1941, Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company (now MERALCO) had constructed and managed 1,140.5 kilometers of railways. This train network transported people and goods to the future-Quezon City communities, through the Barranca Station in Mariquina, the Santa Mesa Station in San Juan del Monte, and the Balintawak Station in Caloocan. The train system made the trade of goods from the cities of Manila, Caloocan, Marikina, and Pasig, as well as from the provinces of Bulakan, Laguna, and Morong, more accessible for these communities outside Manila, allowing further growth of the future Quezon City.
Among the major road construction projects during the first half of the American occupation was the 1910 Marikina-Infanta Highway (now the Aurora Boulevard), which started as a small dirt road in 1900 passing from Mariquina through San Juan del Monte and ends in Manila. In 1926, the then-Senator Manuel Luis M. Molina Quezón (1878-1944) purchased a parcel of land on the hills of Barranca (now Barangka) beside the highway, overlooking the Mariquina Valley and the Sierra Madres mountain range, as to build a vacation home as a gift to his wife Aurora Antonia Molina Aragón Quezón (1888-1949). After Adolf Pölzl Hitler (1889-1945) and his Nazi party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) took control of Germany in 1933 and started persecuting the Jewish people, the now-President Quezón declared that the Philippines would welcome the refugees with the Proclamation No. 173 of 1937, and taking in 60 to 70 thousand people. Years later, Quezón opened part of his Mariquina estate with large house and a farm for several Jewish refugee families. The Mariquina Hall was opened on the 23rd of April 1940, and its location is the 1950-1990 site of the old Monasterio de Santa Clara.
Before Quezon purchased his Mariquina estate, much of the surrounding lands were friar lands of the Jesuits during the Spanish Occupation (1565-1898); specifically the Hacienda de San Isidro de Mariquina (Marikina City), the Hacienda de Maysilo (Caloocan City), the Santa Mesa de la Misericordia (Holy Table of Mercy) between San Jose del Monte and Manila, the Hacienda de Piedad in between Caloocan and Mariquina, and the Dilimán Estate. And as part of the provisions of the 1898 Treaty of Paris, it was agreed that the American government allow the Catholic orders to keep these land. However, with the Public Act No. 1120, or the Friar Lands Act of 1904, the American government purchased 166,000 hectares of friar lands, and later sold it off to private businesses and wealthy individuals. One of the buyers was Doña Magdalena Hashim Ysmael-Hemady (1877-1955), a Lebanese refugee escaping the persecution and force military drafts of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. In the 1930s, Doña Magdalena and her husband, Kemal “Dodo” H. Hemady (1884-1952), purchased 75 hectares of former friar lands in San Juan del Monte between the Mariqina-Infanta Highway and the new constructed España Boulevard Extension (now Senator Eulogio Adona Rodríguez Sr. Boulevard), and converted it into a posh residential subdivision for the wealthy families who wanted to escape the traffic and pollution of Manila. The Magdalena Estate was often referred to as New Manila, as the residents would see each other in the area, as well as their places of employment in Manila.
New Manila also drew in the Philippine entertainment moguls to build their film studios and their homes in the area, leading to the many of their stable of celebrities also moving into the neighborhood. Among these were Don José “Pepe” Roura Santiago de León (died 1934) and Doña Narcisa “Sisang” Buencamino-de León (1877-1966) who build their home in New Manila and their LVN Studio (De Leon, Villonco & Navoa) in Cubao, in 1936. Judge Jose Olfinas Vera (1888-1956) and Doña Dolores Morato Honrado Vera (1896-1980) opened their Sampaguita Studios 1937, and build their home within the studio compound in 1940. The film studios and celebrities in the neighborhood, New Manila was also called the Hollywood of the Philippines.
Aside from celebrities and businessmen residents of New Manila, many noted politicians moved into New Manila to enjoy the cool breeze of San Juan del Monte. Among these government officials was Pres. Quezon, whose new home would keep him closer to the Philippine Tuberculosis Society’s Santol Sanitarium (now the Quezon Institute), which was established in 1918. Through the efforts of then-Senator Quezon, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes law was created to raise funds for the hospital and organization’s work all around the country, as tuberculosis was a prevalent health risk in the country. With the influx of new funds, a new hospital was built in 1938 and named after the president.
After Hacienda Magdaena was completed in 1932, the next residential “subdivision” for foreiigners to be developed was the Brixton Hills in Santa Mesa. Completed in 1935, the Brixton Hills most noted residents were the Frieder Brothers of Philip Seymour (1884-1960), Alexander Alexis (1893-1968), Morris (1900-1958) and Herbert (1906-1974). The brother moved to the Philippines in 1918, relocating their cigar manufacturing business from New York City, to reduce their production costs. The brothers were active with the local Jewish community at that time, and were instrumental in Pres. Quezón’s acceptance of Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution.
With the exit of the Catholic Spanish colonial government and the sale of friar lands, this signified the waning of the dominance of the Spanish Catholic orders of the Augustinians (arrived in 1565), the Franciscans (arrived in 1578), the Jesuits (arrived in 1581), the Dominicans (arrived in 1587), and the Augustinian Recollects (arrived in 1606) in the propagation of Christianity throughout he archipelago. This allowed smaller Catholic orders and other Christian groups to send their own missionaries and set up churches and convents. While New Manila was being constructed, these new arrivals started establishing their provincial houses in the future-Quezon City area. These were Discalced Carmelites’s Convent of the Carmel of Thérèse of Lisieux in 1926, the Societas Santi Columbani pro Missionibus ad Exteros’ Saint Columban’s House of Studies in 1929, the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres Novitiate and Provincial House in 1931, the Sororum Franscicalium Immaculada Conceptione De Mater Dei’s St. Joseph’s Academy and Convent (Est. 1932) in 1932, and the Societas Verbi Divini’s Divine Word Mission Seminary in 1935.
Despite the new missions arriving from American and Europe, the first five Catholic orders still had a strong influence in Philippine society. However, the Jesuits had already lost their vast friar lands after they were expelled from the Philippines in 1767, which were either taken and sold by the Spanish government or redistributed among the four other orders. So when the seminary in Padre Federico Faura Street in Manila was getting too congested, the Jesuits had to find a new home. Son in 1932 the Jesuits built the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches, and this was followed the 1936 Seminario de San José (San José Seminary) in Balintawak.
Aside from New Manila, many small farming communities were already long established barrios, with their own elected officials. Without parishes, the barrios were often named after the natural formations and plants that could be found in the vicinity. These barrios named after plants were Culiat (Gnetum gnemon), Dilimán (Stenochlaena palustris), Kamias (Cucumber Tree / Averrhoa bilimbi), Kamuning (Orange Jasmine / Murraya paniculata), Kangkong (Watercress / Ipomoea aquatic), Krus na Ligas (Semecarpus Cuneiformis), Masambong (Sambong or Ngai camphor / Blumea balsamifera), Matalahib (Saccharum spontaneum), Pasong Tamo (Tano-tamo / Languas haenkei), and Santol and Santolan (Cotton Fruit / Sandoricum koetjape). The barrios named after the distinct features of the land were Balingasa (Balong na Gasang or well of stone), Galás (rugged terrain), Gulod (hilltop), Kaingin (slash-and-burn farm), La Loma (the hill), Libis (water pools), Longos (from a local fish called balbalongos), Malamig (cool breezes), Paltok (highland), Pansól (cold spring), Payatas (Payat sa Taas or Bald Hilltop), Sauyo (sa Uyo or at the well), Tatalon (waterfalls), and Ugong Norte (loud crashing rocks). With all these established barrios, the different Christian groups raced to establish their own churches in the areas.
In the 1930s the Barrio of Pinyahan was informally established, as the area was recognized for its many pineapple fields. The pineapple was introduced to the Philippines by the Spaniards in the 1700s, but this variety was the Red Spanish (Ananas comosus var. ananassoides), which was used for food and the production of the Piña fabric for the traditional clothes of the Barong Tagalog and the Terno. By 1911, the Americans introduce the smooth Cayenne pineapple (Ananas comosus var. comosus) from Hawaii, through the Bureau of Agriculture. By the 1930s Barrio of Pinyahan develops into one of the model pineapple farming communities in Luzon, before the multinational companies of Dole and Del Monte move all their operations to the island of Mindanao. Other future-Quezon City communities were also named after the agricultural produce in the area; such as Barrio Mangga that was named after mango (Mangifera carabao) plantation in the now-Homesite Project 4 and Barrio Bahay Toro in the Homesite Project 8 after the herds of cattle and carabao (Bubalus bubalis) grazing in the area.
Aside from missionaries from America and Europe, local Christian sects were being formed by disgruntle Catholics, such as Fr. Gregorio Aglipay Cruz y Labayán (1860-1940) who established the Iglesia Filipina Independiente in 1902. A former member of the independent church, Félix Ysagun Manalo (1886-1963) founds his Iglesia ni Cristo in Manila, on the 27th of July 1914. In 1925, Manalo moved into New Manila, where he would also transfer the Iglesia’s central temple and offices. However, Manalo and the rest of the Iglesia’s congregation abandoned the home and temple when the Japanese army took control of the area in World War II (1941-1945).
By 1930, the Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company (Meralco) builds electrical transmission station in the future-Homesite Project 2 and paving the path of the future Kamias Road. The transmission station was meant to relay to Manila the electricity generated by the 23MW Botocan Hydroelectric Plant in Majayjay, Laguna Province. The station was managed by a Spanish-American War veteran, William Charles Clark (1878-1945), who died at the Santo Tomas internment camp at the end of World War II. The transmission station was destroyed during the war, and the site for the Botocan station was later purchased by the National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority (NWSA), before the Meralco turned it into a stockyard in Barangay Botocan.
With the 1903 end of the Philippine-American War and the radical US developments in infrastructure, utilities, trade and education brought a relative peace in the Philippines. Among these advancements were the expanding of water and sewerage services of the Carriedo System (est. 1878) to the Manila Water Supply System (est. 1908), the sift from the telegraph services of the Eastern Extension Australasia and China Telegraph Company to the telephones of the Philippine Islands Telephone and Telegraph Company (est. 1905), the electrical services of the La Electricista (est. 1892) to the Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company (MERALCO, est. 1903), the introduction of radio broadcasting with Radio Corporation of the Philippines’ KZKZ (now RadioCorp) in 1922, the birth of Philippine cinema with the 1919 Malayan Movies of José Zialcita Nepomuceno (1893-1959), start of Philippine aviation in 1909 and the launch of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) in 1941, and the extension of the 195-kilometer railway system Ferrocarril de Manila–Dagupan (1892) to the 792.5 kilometers of the Manila Railroad Company (est. 1909-1916) and provincial railways of the Panay Railways (est. 1907) and Cebu’s Philippine Railway Company system. With all this growth, several notable personalities started investing in land outside Manila and Hacienda Magdalena, and started building their homes in Cubao. Among these were the educational pioneers and civic leaders Conrado Francia Benitez (1889-1971) and Francisca Tirona-Benitez(1886-1974) with Justice Secretary José Abad Basco Santos (1886-1942), who built their homes in 1929.
1911 Monumento sa mga Bayani ng 1896 by Ramon Lazaro Martinez (1869-1950)
Despite the relative peace and growth during this period, the Filipinos still pined for their independence, with issues of American corruption and abuse fanning the flames; such as the atrocities of the Philippine-American War and the 1904 Saint Louis World’s Fair, where 1,102 Filipinos of various ethnic groups were placed in “human zoos” in display from the 30th of April 30 to the 1st of December 1. In 1911, a statue of the revolutionary leader, Andrés de Castro Bonifacio (1863-1897), was erected in Balintawak in the site where Bonifacio and the Katipunan (short for Kataas-taasang, Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or Supreme and Venerable Union of the Children of the Nation) declared independence from Spain. Entitled “Monumento sa mga Bayani ng 1896” (Monument to the Heroes of 1896), this sculpture was a subtle counteraction against the propaganda of peace of the Americans, by promoting Dr. Rizal as the National Hero. In 1968, the monument has been moved University of the Philippines, to make way for the construction of the EDSA-Balintawak Cloverleaf Interchange. The Saint Joseph the Worker Parish currently stands in its place.
With the demands for liberation never waning, the road to independence were set in motion with the signing of the 1934 Tydings-McDuffie Act, which would establish the Philippine Commonwealth government in 1935 and its transition to independence in 1946. The next article will relate the development of Quezon City during the Commonwealth era and World War II.