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.
Hereunder is the list of Barangays in Municipality of Sariaya and its land area:
|Barangay||Land Area (Has)||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 15th 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 14th 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 15th. 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.
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, QUEZON: The town that heritage built." - 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 of 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.
Legends and Myths
According to an existing legend, the town was named after the pueblo's largest river, Sadyaya. A group of Spanish soldiers who were reconnoitering in the area came upon a group of local ladies washing their clothes in the river. When they asked one of them what was the tiny pueblo's name, she quickly replied, "Sadyaya," mistakenly thinking that they were asking for the river's name. Eventually, the name "Sadyaya" became "Sariaya," a name most Spaniards could enunciate easily.
Another quaint legend presents a more romantic narrative: a beautiful maiden named Sarya was courted by suitors from as far away as Zamboanga. Sarya's stern father and village chieftain, Datu Hanagdong, and her mother, Talaan, wanted to marry her off to Lagnas, a valiant warrior who had fiercely fought the marauding pirates of the time. Unbeknownst to her parents, she had already betrothed herself to Balubal during one of their secret trysts in the foothills of the sacred mountain, where they vowed to unite their hearts under the benign eyes of Banahaw, their beloved deity. Balubal was a hunter who never failed to offer burnt offerings of his best preys to Banahaw. Bayawaks (monitor lizards), eagles, deer, and rare birds were offerings that brought Balubal close to the deity's heart. Sarya, for her part, was a favorite of Mamala, Banahaw's wife. Sarya would sing love songs in her melodious voice while weaving colorful mats made of buli (buri palms) and durable hemp, her habitual offerings to the mountain gods. She also wove exquisite hats proudly worn by Banahaw's five dashing sons--Gisgis, Hibanga, Tumbaga, Lutukan, and Manggalang--as they roamed and frolicked all over their mountain haunts that overlooked the settlements of Lukban, Tayabas, and Dolores. It was music that had bonded Banahaw to Mamala, a half-mortal. Whenever Sarya sang, Mamala would suddenly appear to gather the maiden's plaintive notes and melodies, sewing them as inlays for her ornate alampay (shawl). When the zephyr winds wafted up gently from the blue Tayabas Bay, Bathala and Mamala would sit side by side on their mountain perch, the songs in the shawl enshrouding them. It was Sarya's pristine voice that first drew Balubal to Sarya's sylvan lair, keeping him there rapt and pining with love while his friend, Palasan, kept vigil to prevent their preys from slipping through their bamboo cages. At times, Balubal would join her in singing, merging their sonorous voices into a haunting harana (serenade) that cajoled icy mists, white billowy clouds, and a fleeting rainbow to crown the holy mountain.
Meanwhile, the wily Lagnas had repeatedly plied Sarya's parents with ostentatious gifts: tracts of fertile land and glistening gold from his rich lodes in Pili. When Lagnas finally asked for Sarya's hand, Datu Hanagdong eagerly set a wedding date which should follow the season of the monsoon rains. On the eve of the wedding day, Sarya and Balubal eloped, with the help of Sarya's compassionate sisters, Kanda and Bignay. Lagnas was deeply humiliated, and in his fury, he ordered his men to destroy Datu Hanagdong's village and to pursue and kill the eloping lovers. His father, Morong, a childhood friend of Hanagdong, cautioned him that his decision would enrage the mountain gods. Kiling and Bukal, his brothers, earned Lagnas's ire when they refused to lend him their warrriors to avenge the family honor. Lagnas ordered his ruthless men to proceed with their gory mission. When Sarya heard about the tragic fate that ensnared her parents and people, she cried copious tears day and night. Balubal raised his arms to summon Bathalang Banahaw's justice and might. As soon as the great deity heard his favorite mortal's plea, he summoned deafening thunders, shards of lightning, hailstorms, and torrential rains. All the deity's sons, weighed down by Sarya's grief, waved their hats in sullen rage, causing massive boulders and logs to tumble down and mash the villainous warriors upon the soggy ground.
Through the ages, the villagers would look up toward Mount Banahaw and contemplate with awe and wonder the might of Banahaw who avenged Sarya's people, enshrining in his godly heart the abiding love between Sarya and Balubal. The maiden's name had become legendary, uttered with veneration and devotion, particularly on those days when the cold mists, the cottony clouds, and a magnificent rainbow lay unperturbed atop the sacred mountain. Infants were soon named after her. Tribal men would utter Balubal's name while sharpening their scythes, spears, arrowheads, and knives. After countless solstices under the harvest moons, the villages that bore witness to the fury of the great flood gradually coalesced to form the town of Sarya, which over time became "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 Sto. Cristo de Burgos
- 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.
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". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 27 November 2013.
- 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.
|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
- Dalampasigan Beach and Pool Resort, Sariaya, Quezon
- Lucenahin Community Website
||Candelaria / Tayabas|
|San Juan, Batangas||Tayabas Bay|