History of Bulacan

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Bulacan is a province of the Philippines. It was established on 15 August 1578.


The earliest archeological evidence for human habitation in the Philippines archipelago is the 40,000-year-old Tabon Man of Palawan and the Angono Petroglyphs in Rizal.[1] By 1000 B.C. the inhabitants of the Philippine archipelago had developed into four distinct kinds of peoples: tribal groups who depended on hunter-gathering and were concentrated in forests; warrior societies who practiced social ranking and ritualized warfare and roamed the plains; the petty plutocracy of the Ifugao Cordillera Highlanders, who occupied the mountain ranges of Luzon; and the harbor principalities of the estuarine civilizations that grew along rivers and seashores while participating in trans-island maritime trade.[2]

Around 300–700 C.E. the seafaring peoples of the islands traveling in balangays began trading with the Indianized kingdoms of Maritime Southeast Asia and nearby East Asian principalities, adopting influences from Buddhism and Hinduism.[3][4]

During the reign of the Tang emperors in the 10th century, Arab and Chinese traders began to come to Bulacan, with both Indian and Chinese influences intensifying in the 11th and 12th centuries. Bulacan had by this time became an entreport and the Bulakeños expert seafarers.[citation needed]

They built and sailed various types of ships, river canoes and larger vessels to carry merchandise, with up to hundred rowers and 30 fighting men. They lived in houses made of wood, bamboo and palm leaf thatch, had a syllabary written on bark and bamboo, played music, wore silk doublets and loin clothes or flowing skirts and flimsy blouses and jewellery.[citation needed] They had devised a social scheme of nobles, freemen and serfs and buried their dead in formal graveyard (with grave furniture consisting of imported Chinese pottery) at least one example of which can still be seen in Bulacan today.[citation needed]

The history began when a settlement of fishermen lived along the coast of Manila Bay before the coming of the Spaniards. These settlers moved inland and begun farming as they discovered the interior was fertile and drained by the network of rivers and streams. The settlements flourished and grew into what is now known as the province of Bulacan.[5]

The Laguna Copperplate Inscription or the LCI was discovered at the Lumbang River in Laguna in 1991 (and deciphered by Antoon Postma of Mangyan Heritage Center in Mindoro).[citation needed] Historians such as Zeus Salazar of the University of the Philippines, consider the date of the LCI AD 900 as the commencement of recorded Philippine history rather than 1521.[citation needed] The copperplate was written in Kavi, an ancient script related to baybayin, and contains the placename "Binoangan" (now a barangay of Obando), Pailah (now Sitio Paila, San Lorenzo, Norzagaray), and Puliran (first said to be somewhere in Laguna, but Postma announced that it was much near to be Pulilan of Bulacan),[citation needed] and a native chieftain named Bukah from which Gatbuka in Calumpit probably derives.[citation needed] All of these were now part of Bulacan.


It is believed that flowers bloomed in the region when the Spaniards came. Because of these sprawling green orchards, vegetables and profusely flowering plants, as well as attractive women, this land had come to be called Bulacan as sort of shortened term for "bulak-lakan" and/or a derivative of the word "bulak" (kapok or cotton) which abounded in the province before the Spaniards came.[6]

Some historians disagree on where the name Bulacan came from: some say from the word burak, because the place was swampy and muddy, while others say from the word bulak, since the road to the capital town was once upon a time lined with rows of cotton trees. According to Bahay-saliksikan ng Bulacan (Center for Bulacan Studies)

Another point of disagreement is the year it became a province: officially it is recognized to be 1578, with the research conducted by the Bahay-saliksikan ng Bulacan in 2005, then its director Prof. Reynaldo S. Naguit agreed that it was founded in August 15, 1578 the Center for Bulacan Studies researchers found some documents mentioning Provincia de Bulacan as of 1578 in some Cedularios.

According to the Relación de encomiendas en las Islas Filipinas, which may be considered as the first census report of the Philippines prepared by Governor Gómez Pérez de Dasmariñas in 1591, there were 75,000 "souls"in "Pampanga, which included Bataán and Bulacán."[7]

Under the La Pampanga (same as Region) its encomiendas was divided into 4 Alcaldias (Provinces)

  • The Alcaldia de Bitis y Lubao (encompasses the today's towns of Lubao, Guagua, Floridablanca, Sasmuan, and Sta. Rita, and its capital was the Betis y Lubao [Betis is now part of Guagua]),
  • Alcaldia de Candava (encompasses the today's towns of Northern Apalit, San Simon, San Luis, and Candaba as its capital),
  • Alcaldia de Calonpite (more likely the Alcaldia de Calumpit and encompasses the today's towns of Macabebe, Masantol, Minalin, Sto. Tomas, part of Apalit, Hagonoy, Paombong, and Calumpit as its capital), and
  • The Alcaldia de Bulacan (where its capital was at the present-day town of Bulacan, Bulacan and encompasses he today's entire Bulacan, except those towns that were part of Alcaldia de Calonpite and the Northern Bulacan, because the northern part of Bulacan and Pampanga were then at the progress of Spanish exploration.

All of these alcaldias under a Vast Region called LaPampanga, with one corrigmiento, and that was the Corigimiento de Batan (the today's Province of Bataan) were all became alcaldias during the time of Governor-General Gonzalo Ronquillo de Peñalosa somewhere in 1580 according to Gov. Gen. Dasmariñas' report.

In fact, many places in Bulacan bear Kapampangan names: Barangay King Kabayo in San Miguel (king is a preposition that means "in" or "at") Because San Miguel was originally part of Pampanga and it was included only in Bulacan Province in the 1800s.

Spanish Period[edit]

The history of the province from the Spanish occupation has been replete with events worthy of recollection. As early as the time of the coming of Legaspi to conquer Manila with two of his subordinate officers, Martin de Goiti and Juan Salcedo, the 1000 Moro Bulakenyos through their seafaring brothers from Hagonoy showed their instinctive love of country by helping Bambalito (source ?), a brave datu of Macabebe, a town quite near to Bulacan in Pampanga (which according to Conquistas de las Islas Filipinas of Fray Gaspar de San Agustin in the 1590s he was a brave youth from Macabebe), and another 1000 Kapampangan Moros of Macabebe, Lubao, Betis, and some records tells also Calumpit fought at the naval Battle of the Bangkusay Channel on June 3, 1571. For Bahay-saliksikan ng Bulacan, as Bokal Ernesto Sulit of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan ng Bulacan on May 2008 recognized it as part of Bulacan's celebration to the month-long National Flag and Anthem Month (May 15-June 30, 2008), as the first recorded heroic deed of the Bulakenyos in history. Here also in this battle, Spanish friars and chroniclers recorded that Bulakenyos and Kapampangan Moro warlords sent 40 caracoas (an ancient warboat and trading boat of the Austrsnesians) to Tondo with lantakas (a native cañon believed to be made in Capalangan, Apalit, Pampangan by Panday Pira) and during that time a barangay having this caracoa means royalty, prosperity, and power in the seas and rivers. This is also recognized by Dr. Sonia M. Zaide as the first ever naval battle in the country.

By the time of Governor-General and adelantado Miguel Legazpi in 1571, Bulacan was reported to be well populated. The Spaniards organized the then existing barangays in Bulacan into pueblos (towns). The first pueblo established in Bulacan is the town of Calumpit. Calumpit was also the birthplace of Christianity in the province. ”The recorded history of Bulakan might as well start in 1572, when Fray Francisco Vivar of Guadalajara, an Augustinian, opened missions in Bulakan, Malolos and Hagonoy. He was the first to plant the Cross on Bulakan soil with the help of the Sword. He arrived in the Philippines from Mexico in 1570 and died in Pampanga in 1603. Three years later,The first pueblo established in Bulacan is the town of Calumpit Founded by the Agustinians friars in 1575.[8]

In 1578, Bulakan, Bulakan was established as the capital town of the province. With Bulakan as the center, the missionaries and the military might of Spain worked hand in hand to subjugate the pagan population to accepth the Christian faith. Fray Agustin Albuquerque established a mission in this town, then with 4,000 inhabitants. According to Fray Juan de Medina, O.S.A. “All the Manila religious extol the “Indians” of this town as the most tractable and most attached to the church.”It has been said that in 1578 the Augustinian conquered Bulakan and that same year the Franciscan Friar Juan Plasencia and Fray Diego de Oropesa founded Meycauayan, then, and for a time was the capital, people were able to do so flourishing, so rich, that her sons are six of the best in the province.[9](Bocaue-1606, Polo-1623, San Jose del Monte-1751, OBando-1754, Santa Maria de Pandi-1792, and Marilao-1796[10]

It was in 1580 that the town of Malolos founded. According to Blair and Robertson, the name “Li-han” was the ancient Chinese name for Malolos, whose leaders bore the title of “Gat-Salihan” or Gatchalian. The western town of Hagonoy became an independent town from Calumpit in 1581. The first Bulakeño uprising against Spanish rule occurred in 1587. The Chief of Bulakan, Esteban Tasi was executed with other Bulakeño chieftains in the same year. Felipe Salonga who started the revolt was exiled from Polo, Bulakan to New Spain, Mexico.

A Royal Decree in 1595 created the Archbishop of Manila, which has jurisdiction of all the parishes in the province of Bulakan. The power of the church bells was now encompassing more and more pueblos under its sway. The Cross and Sword worked marvels in the organization of the pueblos during the 17th century:

Bocaue a former visita of Meycauayan separated from its mother town in the year 1606 with its first minister R. P. Fr. Pedro de los Santos.[11] In the year 1623 Polo became a town with R. P. Fr. Juan Tarancon as its First minister and D. Juan Tibay as Gobernadorcillo[12] In 1628 Captain Fernando de Perona was appointed Alcalde Mayor of the Province of Bulakan and also as military commander.

A three-year war occurred in Bulakan province (1638–1640) where Chinese in many parts of Luzon revolted against Spain. There were more than 300 Chinese rebels killed in Bulakan by the Spaniards and the Bulakeños. Three years later (1643) another revolt took place led by Don Pedro Ladia, a native of Borneo. Ladia claimed that he was a descendant of Rajah Matanda, the petty King of Maynila in 1571. Ladia styled himself King of the Tagalog. This rebellion was checked by Fray Cristobal Enriquez. Ladia was arrested and sent to Manila where he was executed.[13]

The last town in the 17th century succumb to the power of the bells was Paombong which became a town in 1650. The 18th century found Baliuag a separate pueblo from Quingua in the year 1733. In 1750 the Augustinians had 11 parishes in Bulakan, namely; Angat, Baliuag, Bulakan, Dapdap (now the barrio of Sta. Ana), San Miguel, Guiguinto, Malolos, Quingua, Hagonoy, Paombong and Calumpit. The Town of San Jose (del Monte) separated from Meycauayan in the year 1751, having R. P. Fr. Estevan Gadea as its first minister.[14] The decree of the foundation of the town of Obando was made by Gov. Gen. Don Jose Francisco de Obando on May 14, 1753 directing that the visita of Polo(Catangalang) be made into town, but only took effect the year after, 1754 under the term of Sr. Don. Francisco Morales Y Mozarabe-Alcalde Mayor of the Province.[15]

October 4, 1762 marked the Fall of Manila from the British invaders.That same night Simon de Anda y Salazar left Manila aboard a small banca for Bulakan, Bulakan. Early in the morning of October 5, 1762 Simon de Anda landed on the Bulakan, Bulakan pier. Incidentally, the exact location of this wharf is the site of this writer’s residence. On the same day Anda issued his first proclamation naming himself Captain General and the Supreme Governor of the Philippines and President of the Real Audiencia on account of the Fall of Manila to the British.At this time the province was headed by Capitan Don Jose Pasarin, alcade mayor.[16]

During the years 1745 and 1746 there were agrarian revolts in several provinces near Manila, which included Bulacan, on account of occupations of Filipino lands by religious orders.[17] In a royal decree of November 7, 1751, it noted that in the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Morong (Rizal) (especially in the towns of Hagonoy, Taguig, Parañaque, San Mateo, Bacoor, Cavite Viejo (Kawit), Silang, Imus, and Biñan the people revolted because the religious orders had usurped "the lands of the Indians, without leaving them the freedom of the rivers for their fishing, or allowing them to cut wood for their necessary use, or even to collect the wild fruits; nor did they allow the natives to pasture on the hills near their villages the carabaos which they used for agriculture."[18]

On January 18, 1763, Capt. Slay left Manila for Bulakan with a force of 400 British soldiers, 300 Malabar Negroes and 2,000 Chinese allies. The Alcalde Mayor and Fr. Agustin de San Antonio, the Recollect Curate of Bulakan, fought them courageously but in vain. Fr. San Antonio died heroically in defending this town against the British invaders. But his death paved the way for unifying force among the Spaniards and Bulakeños.

It was in this first battle of Bulakan that the Catholic Church was burned. The British did not stay long in Bulakan, Bulakan. By June 1763, a strong force of Filipinos and Spaniards estimated at around 8,000 stormed the town under the command of Jose Pedro Bustos. With heavy casualties the British were forced to retreat to Manila. For the first time the valor of the Bulakeño soldier was recorded in our history.

In an article by Isidro C. Gregorio of Aliaga, Nueva Ecija published in The Philippines Free Press on September 29, 1962, the following portion appears: “The British issued a proclamation declaring Anda a bandit and promising a reward of P5,000 for his capture, dead or alive. Anda countered with an edict awarding 10 million pesos to anyone who could kill or capture a British officer. While the fighting raged in the Philippines, the Seven Years War came to an end, resulting in the signing of a peace treaty on February 10, 1763. Called the Treaty of Paris, it gave the Philippines back to Spain.

Accordingly, on May 31, 1764, Anda and his men entered Manila to receive the city form the enemy. The turnover rites took place on that same day in the patio of the Sta. Cruz Church. The British sailed away after having occupied Manila for a year and a half.” The story of the British occupation cannot be told without mention of the courage and fighting spirit displayed by the Filipino warriors. In this connection, General Draper wrote in his journal: “Had their skill or weapons been equal to their strength and ferocity, it might have cost us dear.

Although armed chiefly bows, arrows and lances, they advanced up to the very muzzles of our guns, and kept repeating their assaults…” The Fall of British in Bulakan marked a new epoch. It was a period of reconstruction: the government buildings were reconstructed but the church had to wait for another 50 years before it could be reconstructed from the ruins of war.

The Fall ushered in an era of peace that would last for more than a century. The Spanish colonizers also envisioned the use of the Cross and the Plow in giving the people of the pueblos under the bells an era of peace, progress and prosperity. In 1763 San Miguel was founded as a town by Miguel Pineda who became the first capitan municipal of the town. Vast tracts of land were cultivated and planted to the golden grain which brought bountiful harvest of the basic food. In 1782 Angat became a separate town from Bocaue.

The missionaries encourage the people of Angat to develop the iron mines for the production of harrows and plows for the peasants. The plows and harrows and other agricultural implements helped accelerate the agricultural development of the province.

In 1792 the town of Sta. Maria was founded and R. P. Fr. Francisco Javier became its First Curate.[19] The separation of Marilao from Meycauayan was verified by a Decree dated April 21, 1796, and R. P. Fr. Vicente de Talavera was assigned as its first curate.[20] In that same year Pulilan was founded by Augustinian friars. The symbol of this town up to the present is the carabao, the peasants’ beast of burden.

In 1848 its boundaries expanded to include the town of San Miguel de Mayumo and some adjacent territories from the province of Pampanga[21]

First Philippine Republic[edit]

A session of the Malolos Congress at Barasoain Church.

At the height of the Filipino-Spanish conflict in the 1890s, Bulacan was one of the first eight provinces to take up arms against the Spaniards in 1896. However the first phase of the revolution ceased in 1897 with the signing of the Pact of Biak-na-Bato in San Miguel. Under it terms the leaders were to go to Hong Kong and reside there. Under the illusory peace created by the Pact, the end of 1897 saw greater determination pm the part of the Filipinos to carry on the revolution. In early 1898, the provinces of Zambales, Ilocos, Pampanga, Bulacan, Laguna, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac. and Camarines rose again. In Central Luzon, a revolutionary government was organized under General Francisco Makabulos, a Kapampangan revolutionary leader of La Paz, Tarlac.

By the middle of 1898, the second phase of the revolution broke out and culminated with the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. Reynaldo Naguit's Hinubog sa Batong Buhay: Mga Dakilang Bulakenyo sa Kasaysayan (published by the Bahay-saliksikan ng Bulacan in 2004) noted that on June 1, 1898, Gregorio del Pilar attacked at the midnight the cazadores of the Spaniards in Bulakan, Bulacan. After the ranging smokes of the revolutionaries of del Pilar, at the break of the morning, Spaniards hid inside the Paroquia of the Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion and later surrendered with them. Also on this day, San Miguel de Mayumo was also liberated. June 10, 1898 San Ildefonso was next to be liberated. Following Biak-na-Bato on June 21, 1898, and finally on June 24, 1898 in Bulakan, Bulacan, the Spaniards finally liberated the Province and a treaty of surrendering was signed between the Spanish governor of the Province and del Pilar, the first Filipino governor of Bulacan appointed by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo on June 19, 1898 to be the military dictator of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija. For the first time, the Philippine flag was hoisted and the national anthem was played by a band for the first time while the Spanish flag was strikes down on the pole, with a feast celebrated for the whole day.

August 22, 1898 Gen. Aguinaldo announced that Malolos will be the next capital of the Philippines, as it was formally became the seat on September 9, 1898 upon the revolutionary government arrival at Malolos. The Malolos Cathedral and the Barasoain Church became the executive headquarter of President Aguinaldo and the legislative headquarter of the Malolos Congress, respectively.

American Period[edit]

The Americans established a local Philippine government in the Philippines when they held the first election in the country in the town of Baliuag, Bulacan on May 6, 1899.

In book, The Philippines and Round About (published in 1899), George John Younghusband described the town of Malolos during the height of the Philippine-American War:

In Malolos, we saw considerable numbers of Spanish prisoners, bare-headed, bare-footed, and in rags, performing all the most menial offices as domestic servants to individual natives or as public scavengers. Every railway station was guarded by insurgent troops, and every train at each station was carefully examined by them. Not even an American can travel without a passport, and the only safe and convenient nationality to assume is that of a British subject.[22]

Japanese Occupation and Second World War[edit]

In 1941, the Japanese bomber and fighter planes invaded Bulacan,

In 1942, the Japanese Imperial Army occupied Bulacan.

In 1942 to 1945, the ongoing local soldiers of the Philippine Commonwealth military and the Bulaceño guerrilla resistance fighters around the battles, sieges and invasions in the province of Bulacan during the Japanese Counter-Insurgencies and Allied Liberation against the Japanese Imperial armed forces.

In 1942 to 1946, the Military General Headquarters and Military Camp Bases of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was located in Bulacan and some parts in Central Luzon from 1942 to 1946, During the engagements of the Anti-Japanese Operations in Central Luzon from 1942 to 1945 and aiding helpful to the local guerrillas and U.S. military forces against the Japanese Imperial forces in the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga and Zambales during the Japanese Counter-Insurgencies (1942-1944) and Allied Liberation (1944-1945).

In 1945, combined Filipino and American forces including local guerrillas, attacked Japanese Imperial forces and liberated Bulacan.


  1. ^ The Utrecht Faculty of Education. "The Philippines - The Philippines in earlier times - The First Inhabitants 40,000 years ago". Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  2. ^ Legarda, Benito, Jr. (2001). "Cultural Landmarks and their Interactions with Economic Factors in the Second Millennium in the Philippines". Kinaadman (Wisdom) A Journal of the Southern Philippines 23: 40. 
  3. ^ The Philippines and India – Dhirendra Nath Roy, Manila 1929 and India and The World – By Buddha Prakash p. 119–120.
  4. ^ Cembrano, Margarita R. Patterns of the Past: The Ethno Archaeology of Butuan. Archived from the original on 2009-10-22. Retrieved August 18, 2009. 
  5. ^ Experience Bulacan (pamphlet), Malolos: Bulacan Tourism Council.
  6. ^ http://www.pia.gov.ph/info/provinces/bulacan.pdf Province of Bulacan : A PROFILE
  7. ^ Blair and Robertson, The Philippine Islands, 1493-1898, Vol. VIII, p. 96-141. The Arthur H. Clarke Company.;
    Census of the Philippines, 1903 Vol. I, p.421-423
  8. ^ Historical Markers, Regions I-IV and CAR, NHI ,1993 p. 297
  9. ^ Apuntes Interesantes sobre LAS ISLAS FILIPINAS... Imprenta de EL PUEBLO, Madrid 1869, p. 79
  10. ^ Felix de Huerta, OFM. Estado, geografico, topografico, Estadistico, Historico-Religioso de la Santa y apostolica provincia de San Gregorio Magno,. Binondo, Manila: 1885 p. 71-85
  11. ^ de Huerta, p. 76
  12. ^ de Huerta, p. 78
  13. ^ For the accounts of the attempted revolt, see Blair and Robertson, Vol. XXXVIII, p.98-99
  14. ^ de Huerta, p. 79
  15. ^ de Huerta, p. 81
  16. ^ Informe sobre el estado de las Islas Filipinas en 1842, Tomo 1, Madrid 1843, p. 139
  17. ^ Conrado Benitez. History of the Philippines, Ginn and Company, p. 275
  18. ^ Blair and Robertson, Vol. XLVIII, p.33
  19. ^ de Huerta, p. 84
  20. ^ de Huerta, p. 85
  21. ^ Paula Kay Byers, Asian American genealogical sourcebook Gale Research, 1995 p. 83
  22. ^ Maj. George John Younghusband. The Philippines and Round About, New York: The MacMillan Company, 1899, p.p.77

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