Sariaya's Town Square
Map of Quezon showing the location of Sariaya
|Region||CALABARZON (Region IV-A)|
|District||2nd district of Quezon|
|Founded||October 4, 1599 (Castanas)|
|• Mayor||Rosauro "Boyet" V. Masilang (Liberal Party)|
|• Total||212.16 km2 (81.92 sq mi)|
|• Density||650/km2 (1,700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
|Income class||1st class; partially urban|
The Municipality of Sariaya (Filipino: Bayan ng Sariaya) is a first class municipality in the province of Quezon, Philippines. This populous municipality is famous for its pristine beach resorts, heritage houses, and hiking activities that lead hikers to the top of Mount Banahaw. It is one of the favorite tourist destinations during summer vacation and national holidays.
A growing number of expatriates from other countries who are habitués of the town's world-class beach resorts are recognizing that this town is a safe, affordable, and friendly haven for retirement. The peace and order situation is enviable, with its smiling residents going out of their way to make visitors and foreign guests feel safe and respected. The town's leisure activities for its senior citizens are varied and emotionally supportive. Its residents' penchant for higher and continuing education is legendary; most families work diligently to send their younger members to secondary schools, vocational colleges, and topnotch universities in Metro Manila and the Calabarzon Region. The current municipal leadership has shepherded the establishment and multi-faceted development of national high schools in its major barangays, especially those remote villages whose residents would have to spend so much money for transportation.
The town is also well known for its best-selling delicacies: pancit habhab, the Sariaya version of sautéed noodles eaten directly off banana leaves; pinagong bread (a tasty and filling bread shaped like a downturned clenched fist); export-oriented mazapan candies and pastries made of young coconut or buko meat; cassava confections and rice cakes that blend grated sweet coconut or makapuno and pulverized banana; and those luscious and juicy varieties of pakwan or watermelons, cantaloupes, santol, mangoes, and kaymito fruits.
If you are coming from the North, Sariaya is the bustling town you pass by before reaching the provincial capital city of Lucena. Tayabas City lies on its northeast side, the city of Lucena on its southeast, the municipality of Candelaria, Quezon on its west, and the municipality of San Juan, Batangas on its southwest. Mount Banahaw flanks it on the north while Tayabas Bay beckons from the south side. Old ancestral mansions, centuries-old Catholic church, high-quality and safe beach resorts, and a busy marketplace are landmarks that make Sariaya a unique and memorable place to visit.
Sariaya has a total land area of 21,216 hectares and composed of 43 barangays.
Hereunder is the list of Barangays in Municipality of Sariaya and its land area:
|Barangay||Land Area (Ha)||Area Rank||Population (2010)||Classification|
|Guisguis San Roque||448.54||29.5||2,197||
|Population census of Sariaya|
|Source: National Statistics Office|
According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 138,894 people. It is the second largest municipality of Quezon province in terms of population with Lucena City being the highly populated area.
- Agawan Festival: Held on May 15 every year, this religious festivity pays tribute to San Isidro Labrador, the Patron Saint of Farmers. This much-anticipated feast is almost similar to the "Pahiyas Festival" of Lucban, Quezon. Pliant bamboo treetops and trellises weighed down by hanging food treats, native candies, rice cakes, and colorful rice krispies called "kiping" are deliberately pulled down on the streets by the merrymakers right after the afternoon procession. Festival revelers from the town's barangays, neighboring towns, and other provinces would then scramble to gather as many treats as they can snatch and carry, hence the term "agawan."
- Annual Town Fiesta: September 14 in honor of the town's patron saint, Francis of Assisi. People from far-flung barangays flock to town to attend the fiesta Mass, sell their farm products and handicrafts in the public market, visit the gaudily-decorated and crowded venue for the annual "perya" (fiesta fair) for thrilling rides, occasional circus performances, and shows featuring human mutants, trained animals performing tricks, vendors peddling herbal medicines, and "peryantes," itinerant peddlers of cheap clothing, toys, and kitchen utensils. Basketball tournaments usually stage the championship game on the eve of this much-awaited day. Sometimes there are hired stage performances at the town plaza that feature national stage and film celebrities.
- Belen Festival: - December 15. To commemorate the birth of the Infant Jesus, many families and local institutions display their Christmas creches variously and creatively decorated to signify the scene, atmosphere, and characters of the Messiah's birth, either using clay, plaster, or ceramic models, and sometimes incorporating human reenactors.
"SARIAYA, QUEZON: The town of pinagong." - Eric J. Dedace
Sariaya, the only Mount Banahaw town in both Laguna and Quezon provinces with a sea coast is one of the acknowledged heritage centers of Southern Tagalog. Accordingly starting out as a pagan community along the shores of Tayabas Bay, in what is now Barangay Castañas, Spanish Franciscan friars converted the early settlers into Catholic Christianity and founded a mission in the year 1599. A turbulent succession of natural disasters and the burning pillage of Muslim pirates said to be based in Mindoro led the fledgling community to transfer residence northwards and away from the sea at Barangay Bucal in 1641, and then to the so-called “Lumangbayan” third settlement at Barangay Tumbaga in 1703. In the year 1743, a said strong earthquake destroyed the belfry of the stone church, followed by a very destructive flood of water, mud and rocks from Mount Banahaw that obliterated “Lumangbayan” and forced the surviving settlers to travel northwards up to the lower slopes of Mount Banahaw. Finally, they accordingly chose an area flanked by deep river gullies that has a commanding view of the sea shore and laid the foundations of present - day
Sariaya, in lieu of the turbulent experiences they had in the first 144 years of their existence. Sariaya is the result of four location transfers so described, that were brought about by these natural and man – made disasters, the blessings of its present geographical endowments that made it a self – sufficient community between the mountain and the sea, the changes in demography that placed it at the crossroads, where its peculiar brand of spoken Tagalog is the marriage between the lilting sing-song of the more easterly Tayabas (the old name of Quezon province) towns with that harsh intonation of nearby Batangas, and the strong influence of the Catholic church that spawned more acceptable versions of its inherent folklore and traditions. Old Sariaya is likewise the result of the traditional wide class divide between the rich landed gentry or the “Taga Gitna” who lived at the church-Municipio-town park center of town, that traditionally wielded power and influence as well as the much-needed patronage of the ever divisive and self - serving Spanish clergy, and the ordinary citizens who resided at the periphery of town and thus were then known as the “Taga Tabi”. Furthermore, the traditional “Sariayahins” were even divided into the “Taga Bayan” who lived in the “Poblacion” and their farmer tenants who resided in their big landholdings or “Bienes” to till them for measly gain and profit.
During the heyday of the coconut industry in the pre war years of the 20th century, these almost sybaritic landowners became even richer that enabled them to hire the services of well known Manila-based and foreign trained architects, who renovated their traditional “Bahay na Bato” Filipino – Hispanic residences as well as old wooden Municipio into beautiful, fabulous and very graceful Art Deco style edifices full of exquisite Narra and “solehiya” – decorated Don Gonzalo Puyat furniture as well as imported European and American fixtures. To weave exquisite embellishments into the awesome woodworks, the opulent “Taga Gitna” even hired the excellent craftsmanship of the skilled “Kapampangan” and “Batangueño” artisans and carpenters who came here in droves, who later stayed on and married into the local population, thus further enriching the local demography. All throughout those fabulous prewar years, the elegant Sariayahins who traditionally intermarried among themselves to concentrate the old money so to speak, wielded their affluence and influence, held the reins of power, donated costly artifacts to the church, sent their children to famous schools and universities in Manila and even abroad and further institutionalized the costly May time Feast of San Isidro Labrador harvest thanksgiving to pay homage to their farmer – land tillers, together with the Bacchanalian three - day September town fiesta in honor of their patron “San Francis de Assisi”, the 18th century icon “Lord Protector” of the town “Santo Cristo de Burgos” and the bejeweled little “Niña Maria” of ivory owned by spinster town philanthropist Doña Margarita Rodriguez . The fabulous ballroom parties at the park by the town’s social clubs were the norm among the party – loving Sariayahins, most especially the grandest event of them all, the Valentine parties of the “Cupid’s Club” that truly featured well – coiffed ladies in their exquisite evening dresses together with the dashing, genteel gentlemen in wool, sharkskin and “de Ilo” coat and pants sashaying to the live music of local and Manila – based orchestras up to the wee hours of the morning, likewise to the delight of the onlookers.
All of these drastically changed with the coming of the Japanese and wartime, the great equalizer, that saw the supposedly landed wealthy rendered humbled and threatened by the invaders and their equally vicious local Makapili cohorts, such that they learned to associate with the rest of their town mates in order to fit in with the times. The great Japanese – Makapili started fire of 1944 was a panicky offshoot of the supposed forthcoming invasion of the American – Filipino guerilla forces that burned areas south of the park destroying a lot of their old ancestral houses. After the liberation period and into the 1950s and 1960s, most of these landed families left Sariaya to settle in Manila and abroad, most of the Old Sariaya architecture being destroyed by two other big fires of 1951 and 1961, at the heels of the biggest of them all, in August 1930, four conflagrations that changed the face and the demography of Sariaya forever.
Since then, a lot has changed, with other families replacing the old “Ilustrado” class in political and economic importance in town, and the advent of the Overseas Filipino Workers phenomenon saw the rise of the new middle class that further blurred the once great social divide among the “Taga Gitna” and the “Taga Tabi”, as well as the “Taga Bayan” and the “Taga Linang”, now things of the distant past. Nowadays, everyone has equal opportunity and the influx of more additions into the inherent population by virtue of marriages of the locals with people from other localities, as well as economic adventurism from newcomers who have seen lucrative opportunities for settling hereabouts has redefined some of the elements and indicators of what the Sariayahin is all about. Yet enough of the old architecture, customs and traditions, the cuisine and the old habits that die hard have likewise remained that helped preserve that distinctive identity that is unmistakably Sariayahin as well. It is through the efforts of the Sariaya Tourism Council (STC), as well as some hard working and local heritage-concerned residents who really take the time to do research and document every aspect of the life in Old Sariaya, that the pleasant town and its wonderful heritage live on for posterity.
Places of Interest
- San Francisco de Assisi Church
- Stone church built in 1748, located at Brgy. Poblacion II. Records tell that the present church is the fifth one erected by the Spanish Franciscan Friars in the history of Sariaya. In 1938, a historical marker bearing a brief history of the church was installed on its facade by the National Research and Markers Committee, precursor of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
- Tumbaga Church Ruins
- Remains of an early 18th-century stone church and former town site of Sariaya, located at Brgy. Tumbaga I. The settlement was inaugurated in 1703 with Father Lucas Fernandez as first parish priest and Francisco Argente as Presidente del Pueblo. The church, which measured 500 square meters, served a recorded population of 3000 parishioners. Two events led to the abandonment of the town site: the earthquake of 1743 which consequently destroyed the church's bell tower, and the Moro raids which left the town site in ruins after being razed by fire. The venerated image of Santo Cristo de Burgos is said to have been enshrined in the church before it was transferred to its present shrine in the San Francisco Church in the present-day town proper of Sariaya. The unscathed image was said have been retrieved from the burnt church after the Muslim raider attack. The church is believed to be the fourth church structure built by the Spanish Franciscan Friars in Sariaya.
- Sariaya Heritage Houses
- On May 14, 2008, the National Historical Institute (NHI) unveiled markers of heritage houses for the three ancient yet still stately mansions at the heart of Sariaya town. These venerable houses are best viewed from the south, as they are silhouetted against the majestic and mystical Mount Banahaw, Quezon's long-dormant volcano. Cultural recognition was bestowed on three ancestral houses, namely: The Enriquez-Gala mansion, owned by former Tayabas (now Quezon) Gov. Natalio Enriquez and Susana Gala; the Gala-Rodriguez house of Dr. Isidro Rodriguez and Gregoria Gala, and the house of Catalino and Luisa Rodriguez also known as Villa Sariaya.
Sariaya belongs to the 2nd District of Quezon province. The said congressional district also includes San Antonio, Dolores, Tiaong, Candelaria and the City of Lucena.
- Lutucan National High School - public
- Canda National High School - public
- Sariaya Institute - private non-sectarian
- St. Joseph Academy of Sariaya Quezon - private sectarian
- Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Seminary - private sectarian (Junior Seminary)
- St. Francis High School - private sectarian
- Pili National High School- public
- Banahaw National High School- public
- Bignay National High School- public
- Castanas National High School - semi-public
- Governor Anacleto Alcala Memorial High School - soon to rise
- Sariaya National High School - soon to rise
Vocational / Colleges
- Southern Luzon State University (satellite campus) - planned
- Computer Systems Technological College (CSTC)- Gen. Luna St., Maharlika Highway, Sariaya, Quezon
- Colegio de Santo Cristo de Burgos (CDSCDB) - Valderas Street and Daliz Street, Sariaya, Quezon
- Leo Austria, former professional basketball player and coach in the Philippine Basketball Association.
- Martin C. Ilao, an outstanding alumnus of Sariaya Institute and a PhD Chemistry graduate of the famed Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, USA, he taught at the Ateneo de Manila University. Author of "Sariaya, Oh Sariaya: An Introductory History For The Young", 1999. This book was dedicated to the 400th Anniversary of Sariaya as a Christian Community, 1599-1999.
- Ysmael Baysa, an exemplary alumnus of the former Boys' Department of Saint Joseph Academy, he became a prominent business leader and current CFO of Jollibee.
- Robert Racelis, lawyer, educator, and former Governor of Quezon.
- Mrs. Angeles C. Racelis, the late founder and long-serving principal of Sariaya Institute, she instilled in her students a profound love for the arts and sciences, cultural awareness, sporting events, and community involvement. During her tenure, the school's basketball team and boy scouts won plaudits during provincial championship events.
- Ismael V. Alcantara, an outstanding alumnus of Sariaya Institute. He is now a respected certified public accountant and realty company owner in Southern California, a Catholic lay leader and a long-time advocate for the Sariaya Association of California.
- Don Maximo Solis, a member of the town's landed gentry, he is the father of Charito Solis, a respected and award-winning film luminary who won plaudits and awards for her acting prowesss. One of her films, DAHIL SA ISANG BULAKLAK, is now considered a cultural treasure.
- Dr. Luis Manese, the late former town mayor who actively promoted cultural and athletic development, bringing to his townsfolk sporting and cultural events such as the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters and dramatic ensembles from the University of the Philippines.
- "Province: QUEZON". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
- "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
- "Sariaya Church". http://www.waypoints.ph/. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- San Jose-Valdoria, Nancy (November–December 2001). "Tumbaga: Unang "Pueblo", 1703-1743". Sariaya Community Magazine 2 (7): 20–22.
- Mallari Jr., Delfin. "History lives in Sariaya mansions". Philippine daily Inquirer. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- "St. Joseph's Academy". St. Joseph's Academy. Retrieved February 2, 1970. Check date values in:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sariaya, Quezon.|
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- Philippine Census Information
- Local Governance Performance Management System
- Sariaya Quezon Web Portal
- Sariaya Institute Alumni Website
- CSTC Sariaya: Computer Systems Technological College Website
- St. Joseph Academy of Sariaya, Quezon Website
- Dalampasigan Beach and Pool Resort, Sariaya, Quezon
- Lucenahin Community Website
||Candelaria / Tayabas|
|San Juan, Batangas||Tayabas Bay|