Within the Quezon City Hall’s mayor’s office reception hall, there are several artworks that celebrate the history of Quezon City and the Philippines. Within the hall, there are portraits of the mayors of Quezon City starting with its founding and Pres. Manuel Quezón holding the position for a few months until Mayor Tomás Morató was able to take the helm. This was followed by the former Chief of Police Capt. Sabino De León taking the temporary position after World War II, until the former vice-mayor, Ponciano Bernardo, was formally appointed to the position. After Mayor Bernardo was murdered by Communist rebels, two temporary mayors were appointed Nicanor Roxas and Ignacio Diaz, until Norberto Amoranto was officially appointed. Mayor Amoranto was the longest serving mayor and first elected mayor, who resigned from his post after he realized that he had completed Pres. Quezón’s vision of a capitol city. He was replaced by Mayor Adelina Rodriguez, the city’s first mayor. After the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, Mayor Rodriguez was replaced by Brigido Simon. Next was Mayor Ismael Mathay Jr., who commissioned Luisito “Chito” Katindig Villanueva to create the portraits of the mayors in 2000.
1939 President Manuel Luis Molina Quezón (1878-1944) acted as the first mayor of the city, which he had first envisioned as “Balintawak City.” Engineer Vicente Fragante served as Pres. Quezón’s temporary vice-mayor for one month, until a permanent city government was appointed.
1939-1942 Captain Tomás Eduardo Bernabéu Morató (1887-1965) was the mayor of Caluag, Tayabas Province, before he was appointed by Pres. Quezón. Morató was arrested and incarcerated by the Japanese, and never retook his position as mayor after his release. However, Morató would serve as a congressman of Quezon City in the 1950s.
1942-1943 Gregorio V. Felipe (killed 1944) was a councilor of the Municipality of San Juan del Monte, before he was appointed as the district chief of San Francisco del Monte, after the Japanese government dissolved Quezon City. Felipe’s counterparts, former Quezon City Health Officer Dr. Florencio Z. Cruz (1910-1983) and Atty. Oscar Castelo (1903-1982) were appointed as the district officers of Diliman and Balintawak. Felipe was later assassinated by Filipino guerillas.
1945-1946 Captain Sabino De León Sr. (born 1889) was the City Health Officer & Chief of Police during the term of Mayor Morató, then was appointed as assistant mayor of Greater Manila for Quezon City during the Reconstruction of the Philippines. De León would later serve as the governor the Province of Bataan.
1946-1949 Engineer Ponciano A. Bernardo (1905-1949) was the former City Engineer of Manila, when he was appointed as the vice-mayor of Morató. He was killed while accompanying Pres. Quezón’s widow, Doña Aurora Antonia Molina Aragón Quezón (1888-1949). Mayor Bernardo’s vice-mayors were Matias Defensor Sr. (1946-1947) and Gregorio B. Roxas (1948-1949).
1949-50 Nicanor A. Roxas was the Assistant Executive Secretary to President Manuel Acuña Roxas (1892-1948), and was later appointed as mayor of Quezon City by Roxas’ successor, Pres. Elpidio Rivera Quirino (1890-1956). Roxas would later serve as the ambassador to the United States of America from 1954 to 1959, and ambassador to The Hague from 1959 to 1962. Mayor Roxas’s vice-mayor was Francisco P. Batacan.
1950-1953 Ignacio de la Cruz Santos-Diaz (born 1906) took over Roxas after a few months. After his term as mayor of Quezon City, Diaz would serve as a congressman of the Province of Rizal. Luis Sianghio would serve as the vice-mayor of Mayor Diaz.
1954-1976 Attorney Norberto Salandanan Amoranto (1907-1979) was appointed by President Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay (1907-1957), and was still retained as mayor by President Carlos Polestico Garcia (1896-1971) after Magsaysay’s untimely death. Mayor Amoranto would later run and win the first local elections, and would serve until his resignation in 1976. It was under Mayor Amoranto’s term that the Quezon City Hall and Diliman Quadrangle were completed. Mayor Amoranto’s vice-mayors were Ysidro Guevarra (1954-1959), Colonel Vicente Ochoa Novales (served 1960-1963, born 1923), future Nueva Ecija governor Mariano Santa Romana (1964-1967), future-mayor Ismael “Mel” Austria Mathay Jr. (served 1968-1971), and former AFP Chief of Intelligence and Chief of Naval Operations Commodore Carlos L. Albert (served 1972-1975).
1976-1986 Adelina Santos Rodriguez (1915-2008) was married to the clan of Senator Eulogio “Amang” Adona Rodríguez Sr. (1883-1964), and distinguished herself in charity work, such as her programs for the Philippine Red Cross. In the 1960s, Rodriguez was active in the Quezon City the post-war relocation projects of the People’s Homesite and Housing Corporation. Rodriguez was appointed by President Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos Sr. (1917-1989), after Mayor Amoranto’s resignation. Mayor Rodriguez’s vic-mayors were former actor and director Ronald Remy (served 1976-1980, born Ronald Kookooritchkin) and Stephen Sarino (served 1981-1986)
1986-1992 Brigido “Jun” R. Simón Jr. worked as the executive assistant in the Mindanao Development Authority and as a consultant to the National Housing Authority, before his appointment by President María Corazón “Cory” Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino (1933-2009) after the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution. Mayor Simón is still active in politics as a consultant and campaign manager. Mayor Simon’s vice-mayors were Elmer Pormento (served 1986-1987), Amado Zabala (served 1987-1988), comedian and future senator Vicente “Tito” Castelo Sotto III (served 1988-1992, born 1948), and Alicia Herrera (served 1992).
1992-2001 Ismael “Mel” Austria Mathay Jr. (1932-2013) was exposed to the political arena by his father, who had served as the Commissioner of Budget and Finance for the War Cabinet and Secretary of the Budget under President Sergio Osmeña Sr. (1878-1961). Mathay has served as the vice-mayor under Mayor Amoranto and then the vice-governor of the MMC (Metro Manila Commission), before running as mayor of Quezon City. Mayor Mathay’s vice-mayors were Attorney Rosario “Charito” Lim Planas (served 1992-1995, born 1931-2017), comedian and future mayor Herbert Constantine “Bistek” Maclang Bautista (served 1995-1998, born 1968), and former actress Fe Consuelo “Connie” S. Angeles (served 1998-2001, born 1954).
Quezon City mayors without portraits are:
2001-2010 Fernando Feliciano “Sonny” Racimo Belmonte Jr. (born October 2, 1936)
2010-2019 Herbert Constantine “Bistek” Maclang Bautista (born May 12, 1968)
2019 Maria Josefina Tanya “Joy” Belmonte Alimurung (born Maria Josefina Tanya Go Belmonte; 1970)
Aside from portraits of the mayors of Quezon City, there are also fours busts of some key figures in Philippines history. The sculptures were created by Jose “Al” Rabino Giroy, and were commissioned by Mayor Mathay in 1998. Giroy present shapers of Philippines history with the reform propagandist Dr. José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (1861-1896), the revolutionary leader Andrés de Castro Bonifacio (1863-1897), the revolutionary diplomat Apolinario Mabini y Maranan (1864-1903), and President Corazón “Cory” Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino (1933-2009). Although these sculptures present the great people of history, these do not truly tell the events that they were a part of. However, at the lobby of the Quezon City Hall Administration Building, there are ten murals by the EREHWON Art Collective that present key events in the city’s history, which will be the subject of the next article.
Jose “Al” Rabino Giroy (1962) is a noted sculptor, who started his career by participating in art competitions as a teen, in the 1970s. Eventually entering the University of the Philippines (U.P.) College of Fine Arts, Giroy would first delve into painting, before finally deciding to take sculpture and train under noted artists such as Froilan T. Madriñan Jr. (1941-2008) and National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleón Isabelo “Billy” Veloso Abueva (born 1930). After graduating, Giroy had participated group exhibitions, but soon focused on commissions for public art. A master of the classical sculptural created many noted monuments for government and private institutions, including churches; which are found all over the country.
Luisito “Chito” Katindig Villanueva (born 1938) is a classicisist painter, known for his portraits of noted businessmen and government officials. Born in the coastal town of Navotas, Villanueva started his art career by drawing the seascapes and fish markets of his hometown, after World War II. Villanueva would later enroll at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) College of Architecture and Fine Arts, but had to drop out due to financial constraints. Leaving school, he continued to hone his skills and produce art, and even joined several art organizations, such as the Dimasalang Group of Romulo Galicano and Sining Tambobong of Angel Cacnio. Villanueva even opened a studio at the Grand Central Mall, in Caloocan, where he exhibited his works and gave art workshops to the next generation of artists in the towns of Navotas, Caloocan, Malabon, and Valenzuela. He is currently active in promoting the arts in his hometown, and is an active member of the Navotas Historical Commission. Villanueva career as a portrait artist has had him busy with many public art pieces, including the portraits of many city mayors throughout the country; and being in such demand, he was only able to conduct his first solo exhibition in 2008.