Santa Mesa

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Santa Mesa
Location of Santa Mesa
Country Philippines
Region National Capital Region
City Manila
Congressional districts Part of the 6th district of Manila
Barangays 51
 • Total 676.0 km2 (261.01 sq mi)
Population (2007[1])
 • Total 98,901

Santa Mesa (also as Sta. Mesa) is one of the sixteen areas of the City of Manila, Philippines. The easternmost area of Manila is surrounded by the rivers of Pasig on the southwestern side, and by the San Juan River on its southern and eastern side. Land borders include the Manila areas of San Miguel to the west and Sampaloc to the north; and to the northeast is Quezon City.

Santa Mesa formerly belonged to the Sampaloc area from which it was partitioned off after it became a separate parish in 1911. The parish created is now known as the Old Sta. Mesa, which extends from Victorino Mapa Street to Santa Mesa Boulevard (now Magsaysay Boulevard).[2] The Santa Mesa area belongs to the 6th District of Manila and has 49 barangays (Barangays 587-636). It has a population of 98,901 as of 2007.[1]


The name is derived from the name Santa Mesa de la Misericordia meaning "Holy Table of Mercy". The landowner of Santa Mesa during the Spanish colonial period offered an obra pía ("pious work"), and provided social services to the people. Another possible derivation is from the Spanish for "Holy Mass".


Wounded soldiers during the Philippine-American War.

The town of Santa Mesa was situated in the alluvial deposits at the confluence of Pasig and San Juan Rivers. It was owned by a religious order during the Spanish Era, and it is in this period that Santa Mesa got its name. Santa Mesa is better known for its role in the Philippine–American War, in which the area became a battlefield during the Philippine-American War. The conflict started when Pvt. William W. Grayson shot a Filipino soldier in San Juan Bridge between Santa Mesa and San Juan. (In late 2003, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines had determined that the conflict did not happen on San Juan Bridge, but at the juncture of Sociego and Silencio Streets.)

Up until the early American period, Sta. Mesa was just one of the barrios that comprised the Sampaloc area of Manila. In 1911, it became a separate religious district, which divided Sampaloc into two parishes. The created parish is now known as the Old Santa Mesa, which extended from V. Mapa to Sta. Mesa Boulevard. The neighborhood was composed of wealthy Spanish and Filipino families who built summer houses attracted to Santa Mesa’s cooler climate and the picturesque streets that were lined with ylang-ylang trees. The abundance of these trees started a perfume industry — flowers were harvested, pressed and the oil were exported in great quantities to perfumeries in France.[2]

The small community became the location of the hospital to treat the wounded during World War II. The town experiences its growth after the war. Santa Mesa was the site of a 1950s suburban development because of its proximity to central Manila. The Santa Mesa Market was constructed around this period. It was a big shopping complex, and became popular for the selling of Post eXchange goods from U.S. bases in the Philippines.[2]

Sampaloc and Santa Mesa became part of Manila as districts. After the creation of the legislative districts of Manila, Santa Mesa was separated from Sampaloc after falling to the jurisdiction of District 6. Although the district itself was still considered to be a part of Sampaloc.

Santa Mesa became the home of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, one of the largest universities in Manila, in the late 1960s. The main headquarters of the National Statistics Office of the Philippines is also located in the area. It was also the former location of the headquarters of the popular AM radio station DZRJ-AM.

The area received flooding damage when Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana) battered the Philippines in 2009 where half of Santa Mesa became submerged, mostly the northeastern part facing the cities of San Juan and Mandaluyong.


Santa Mesa is located in the eastern section of the City of Manila. By street boundaries, it is bounded to the west by Lacson Avenue separating it from San Miguel; by Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard to the north bordering it from Sampaloc. The northeast boundary of Santa Mesa is west of SM City Sta. Mesa mall. Although the name of the mall is titled "Santa Mesa," it is geographically sits in Quezon City just outside of Santa Mesa, Manila.[3]

The southwestern side of Santa Mesa is along Pasig River while the southern and eastern sides are along San Juan River. Across San Juan River are the cities of San Juan to the east and a small portion of Mandaluyong City to the southeast. Across Pasig River, are the Manila areas of Santa Ana to the south and Pandacan to the southeast.

The topography of the area is relatively flat as some of the natural variations in elevations have been evened out due to urbanization.

Sites of interest[edit]

Entrance to the main campus of PUP, with the Obelisk and Luntiang Pilipinas in the background.
( Our Lady of Salvation / Ina ng Kaligtasan ) 
  • Santa Mesa-Rotonda Interchange


  1. ^ a b "Final Results - 2007 Census of Population". Census population of the Philippines. Philippines: National Statistics Office. April 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2009. Total Population and Annual Population Growth Rates by Region: Population Censuses 1995, 2000, and 2007 
  2. ^ a b c Alcazaren, Paulo (2012-06-13). "Sta. Mesa: Manila's northeastern edge" Retrieved on 2014-09-19.
  3. ^ "Metro Manila Malls - SM City Sta. Mesa". SM Prime. Retrieved on 2014-11-23.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 14°36′N 121°01′E / 14.600°N 121.017°E / 14.600; 121.017