San Juan, Metro Manila

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"San Juan City" redirects here. For the cities are named San Juan worldwide, see List of city names of San Juan worldwide.
San Juan
Highly-Urbanized City
City of San Juan
Skyscrapers along Annapolis Street, northern San Juan
Skyscrapers along Annapolis Street, northern San Juan
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!
("All Progress, San Juan!")
Location within Metro Manila
Location within Metro Manila
San Juan is located in Philippines
San Juan
San Juan
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 14°38′N 121°02′E / 14.633°N 121.033°E / 14.633; 121.033Coordinates: 14°38′N 121°02′E / 14.633°N 121.033°E / 14.633; 121.033
Country  Philippines
Region National Capital Region
Districts Lone District of San Juan
Incorporated 1623 (town)
Incorporated 17 June 2007 (cityhood)[1]
Barangays 21
 • Mayor Guia G. Gómez (Partido Magdiwang-UNA)
 • Vice Mayor Francisco Javier M. Zamora (Partido Magdiwang-UNA)
 • Representative Ronaldo Zamora (Partido Magdiwang-UNA)
 • Sangguniang Panlungsod
 • Total 5.95 km2 (2.30 sq mi)
Elevation 17.0 m (55.8 ft)
Population (2010)[5]
 • Total 121,430
 • Density 20,000/km2 (53,000/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
Zip code 1500 - 1504
Area code 2

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.

San Juan was the site of the first battle of the Katipunan, the organisation which led the 1896 Philippine Revolution against the Spanish colonial government.


"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.


It is bordered by Quezon City on the north and east, Mandaluyong City 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
  • Halo-halo (St. Joseph)
  • 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 Spanish Empire absorbed the kingdom in the late 16th century, they re-christened it Sta. Ana de Sapa, with the San Juan area re-classified as a barrio and later becoming a small encomienda by 1590.

In 1602, the Dominicans built a retreat house in the vicinity for their immediate use, where aging 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 alamacen (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[edit]

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.


Population census of San Juan
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 126,854 —    
1995 124,187 −0.40%
2000 117,680 −1.15%
2007 125,338 +0.87%
2010 121,430 −1.15%
Source: National Statistics Office[5]

Places of interest[edit]

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, provides transportation within the city.

Radial Road 6 (R-6) passes through San Juan as Aurora Boulevard, as does the C-3 (Araneta Avenue). 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.

The LRT Line 2 of the Manila Light Rail Transit System also briefly passes through the city while running over Aurora Boulevard (R-6), serving the city at V. Mapa and J. Ruiz stations.

Numerous jeepney routes operate throughout the city, towards Cubao, Divisoria, Crame (via Santolan), Taytay and other. A bus route from Quiapo towards Cainta and Taytay passes through San Juan.


Here is a list of some notable scholastic institutions in the city that cater to primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of education.



  • Kabayanan Elementary School
  • Nicanor Ibuna Elementary School
  • Pedro Cruz Elementary School
  • Pinaglabanan Elementary School
  • Salapan Elementary School
  • San Perfecto Elementary School
  • San Juan Elementary School
  • Sta. Lucia Elementary School

Higher learning[edit]



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)[edit]

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.

City Hall[edit]

The old city hall of San Juan is located at Nicanor Domingo corner Antonio Luna streets.[7] The Commonwealth-era structure, which stands in front of San Juan Medical Center, is preserved for historical reasons. The new city hall is at Pinaglabanan Avenue corner Doctor P.A. Narciso Street, fronting the Pinaglabanan Shrine and a few metres from Saint John the Baptist Parish.[8] It began operation in February 2013.

San Juan Hymn[edit]

Awit ng San Juan Literal English translation

Sa dilím ng gabi nitong Bayang Hinirang
Umusbong ang tuwâ, galák at kasiyahan
Ang tala sa langit mandi'y lumilitáw
Tandá ng pag-asa sa kinabukasan.
O Bayan ng San Juan, sagisag ng kalayaan,
Dambana ng magigiting bayani ng Himagsikan!
Sa iyong dibdíb ay aming handóg at iaalay
Ang matimyas na pag-ibig, walang-kupás na pagmamahal! (bis)

In the dark of this Chosen Nation's night
Sprang forth joy, happiness, and delight
The stars in heaven didst show
A sign of hope in tomorrow.
O Town[9] of San Juan, symbol of freedom,
Shrine of valiant heroes of the Revolution!
In thy bosom we give and offer
Devotion[10] true, unfading love! (bis)

Sister cities[edit]




  1. ^ Date of changing San Juan from a municipality to a city.
  2. ^ Councilors of San Juan, Metro Manila.
  3. ^ "Cities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  4. ^ "List of Cities". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities". 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  6. ^ Republic Act No. 9388 - Charter of the City of San Juan
  7. ^ The old city hall of San Juan.
  8. ^ The new city hall of San Juan.
  9. ^ Translation note: "Bayan" in Tagalog originally meant only "town" but may also mean "nation", "city", or "people". "Bansà" is the proper translation for "country".
  10. ^ Both "pag-ibig" and "mahál" translate to love; the former implies continued action and is more poetic (thus "devotion") while the latter carries the notion of "highly valuing" the subject (from a possible Sanskrit root, māha, "great").
  11. ^, Davao, San Juan cities ink sisterhood pact

External links[edit]