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Pagsanjanjf4165 14.JPG
Official seal of Pagsanjan

Nickname(s): The Tourist Capital of Laguna;

Athens of Laguna;

Home of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Motto: Bayang Maunlad, Bayang Maganda, Bayang Payapa, Lahat ay Masaya
Map of Laguna showing the location of Pagsanjan
Map of Laguna showing the location of Pagsanjan
Pagsanjan is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 14°16′23″N 121°27′14″E / 14.27306°N 121.45389°E / 14.27306; 121.45389Coordinates: 14°16′23″N 121°27′14″E / 14.27306°N 121.45389°E / 14.27306; 121.45389
Country Philippines
Region CALABARZON (Region IV-A)
Province Laguna
District 4th district of Laguna
Founded December 12, 1668
Barangays 16
 • Mayor Girlie "Maita" J. Ejercito (PMP)
 • Total 26.36 km2 (10.18 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 39,313
 • Density 1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 4008
IDD:area code +63 (0)49
Income class 2nd

Pagsanjan (pronounced 'Pag-sang-han') is a second class municipality in the province of Laguna, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 39,313 people.[3] It is situated about 92 kilometres (57 mi) southeast of Manila.

Pagsanjan is the tourist capital of Laguna and the home of the Bangkero Festival. The bangkeros are tour guides, who steer the tourists' boats. They are the boatmen who shoot the 14 rapids between rocks and boulders all the way to the Pagsanjan Falls (or Magdapio Falls), for which the town is well known but are actually located in the neighboring municipality of Cavinti. The Bangkero Festival is celebrated in the month of March.

The incumbent mayor of Pagsanjan, Laguna is Girlie J. Ejercito, known as former actress Maita Sanchez. She is also the wife of Emilio Ramon "Jorge Estregan, Jr." Ejercito, who served as mayor from 2001–2010 and previous governor of Laguna.

For 170 years (1688–1858), Pagsanjan was the capital of the province of Laguna. During this long period, the town prospered as the commercial, cultural and learning center of the province, and was called the "Athens of Laguna".[4]


Pagsanjan is located in the riparian delta formed by the confluence of the Balanac and Bumbungan rivers. Originally named Pinagsangahan, meaning "branching" or "juncture", the town was given renamed Pagsanjan by early Spanish colonists, because they found it extremely difficult to pronounce its polysyllabic name.


Pagsanjan has a land area of 26.4 square kilometres. It is located about 92 kilometres (57 mi) southeast of Manila. It is bounded on the east by the Balubad Mountain; on the west by the capital town of Santa Cruz; on the north by the San Isidro Hill and Laguna de Bay; on the north-east by the town of Lumban; on the southeast by the towns of Cavinti and Luisiana; on the south by Mount Banahaw; and on the south-west by the town of Magdalena.


Pagsanjan is politically subdivided into 16 barangays.[2]

  • Anibong
  • Biñan
  • Buboy
  • Cabanbanan
  • Calusiche
  • Dingin
  • Lambac
  • Layugan
  • Magdapio
  • Maulawin
  • Pinagsaŋjan
  • Barangay I (Pob.)
  • Barangay II (Pob.)
  • Sabang
  • Sampaloc
  • San Isidro


Old Town Gate

Pagsanjan was originally a barrio of Lumban. In 1668, eight Japanese and Chinese traders who were highly impressed by the strategic location of the barrio at the juncture of Balanac and Bumbungan rivers founded the town. They established a trading settlement and engaged in the betelnut industry. In time, the barrio became the flourishing trading center of eastern Laguna and attracted families from the surrounding communities of Cavinti and Pila. On December 12, 1668, the then Governor, General Juan Manuel de la Peña Bonifaz, issued a gubernatorial decree elevating its status from barrio to a town. In 1688, Pagsanjan replaced Bay as the capital of the province. It remained such until 1858, during which it bloomed as the cultural and commercial center of the province.

Pagsanjan residents[edit]

Like all people in the world, the Pagsanjeños are hospitable and friendly to all visitors, especially the foreigners. They are warmhearted, fiesta-loving and witty. In time of peace, they are amiably peaceful, civic-spirited, and cheerful; in time of war, however, they are brave, intensely patriotic, and fight with fury. They are loyal and proud of their beloved town and ancestral heritage.

The people of Pagsanjan are also fortunate to have a resplendent cultural heritage. This culture is a harmonious blending of the Asian, Hispanic, Mexican, and American civilization influences. It is revealed in their rich folklore, customs and traditions, and colorful fiestas. During colonial times Pagsanjan was a famous center of culture. Her people, according to Fray Felix de la Huerta, Franciscan friar-chronicler, were "muy culto" (highly cultured). The Pagsanjeños then cherished good education. They sent their children to the elementary school to learn the fours R's (reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion). Children of the rich families studied in the homes of private teachers. After acquiring the fundamentals of Spanish and Latin languages, they were sent to Manila to obtain higher education at the Ateneo de Manila, College of San Juan de Letran, and in the University of Santo Tomas. It is a fact that during the Spanish regime Pagsanjan among all towns in Laguna had the highest percentage of illustrados (intellectuals).

This old tradition of acquiring a good education still exists among present-day Pagsanjeños. To them, a college diploma is a status symbol. Today numerous Pagsanjeños study law, medicine, education, nursing, engineering, and other college courses in the colleges and universities in Manila and in foreign countries.

As a cultured people, The Pagsanjeños take pride in their fine homes with beautiful furniture, oil paintings, pianos, and rugs; in their well-groomed lawns, and flower gardens; in their clean, beautiful streets, and sidewalks; and in their attire and personal appearance. But because of the destruction of their ancestral homes in Pagsanjan and the threat of the Huk movement in the towns and barrios of Laguna province, many Pagsanjeño families evacuated their native town and moved permanently to the Greater Manila area. This exodus of Pagsanjeño families mostly represented the elite of the local population, including rich landlords and the talented intellectuals. A few prominent families noted for their lineage and inherited wealth, however, remained in town and cooperated with the common people in the rebuilding of their ruined town.

The rich Pagsanjeño families who left the town resided in Manila, Pasay, Makati, Caloocan City, and San Juan, where they built their homes and reared their families. Some of them sold their ancestral residential lots in Pagsanjan, for they had no intention of restoring their old homes in town. They became absentee landlords, for they simply employed some persons called encargados to manage their family rice farms and coconut plantations.


Population census of Pagsanjan
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 25,024 —    
1995 28,999 +2.80%
2000 32,622 +2.56%
2007 35,944 +1.35%
2010 39,313 +3.31%
Source: National Statistics Office[3]

Notable Pagsanjeños[edit]

Pagsanjan March[edit]

The official song of the Municipality of Pagsanjan and its people is Pagsanjan March. The anthem was composed by Rogel Taiño, a native of Pagsanjan.

Pagsanjan March

Patnubayan bayan natin
Pagsanjan mahal sa atin
Dakilain, Papurihan
Karangalan ay ihain
Maligaya niyang tagumpay
Ang marubdob na balakin
Upang tamis ng pag-ibig
Sa puso ay palagiin

Pagsanjan na ating bayan
Na tirahan ng bayani
Bayan ng mga lakan at
Magagandang binibini
Pagsanjan ay idalangin
Pagpalain, bigyang puri
Itanghal at ating ibandila
Ang kanyang gandang iwi

In Popular Culture[edit]

Movies and films shot in Pagsanjan

Financial Institutions[edit]

Banco Laguna, Inc. - Head Office (A Rural Bank Since 1965)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 11 September 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: LAGUNA". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Pagsanjan Official Site

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Capital of Laguna
Succeeded by
Santa Cruz