Prinza Dam

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Coordinates: 14°26′18″N 120°58′31″E / 14.43846°N 120.97538°E / 14.43846; 120.97538

Prinza Dam
Molino Dam - 1.jpg
Prinza Dam from the Bacoor end
Prinza Dam is located in Philippines
Prinza Dam
Location of Prinza Dam in Philippines
Country Philippines
Location Barangay San Nicolas, Bacoor, Cavite and Barangay Talon Dos, Las Piñas, Metro Manila
Purpose irrigation
Status Used as a footbridge connecting Las Piñas and Bacoor, Cavite
Construction began April 24, 1885
Dam and spillways
Impounds Zapote River
Height 10 meters
Length 450 meters
Width (base) 600 meters

The Prinza Dam is a gravity dam on the Zapote River located on the border between Barangay San Nicolas I in Bacoor, Cavite and Barangay Talon Dos in Las Piñas, Metro Manila, in the Philippines. It was constructed in the 19th century during the Spanish colonial era by the Augustinian Recollect friars to irrigate the land and surrounding rice fields they own and leased out in the present cities of Las Piñas and Bacoor.[1]


Series of buttresses made out of adobe stones

The Pinza Dam is a man-made dam originally intended for used in irrigation. Its walls made out of adobe rocks (height ranging from 25-30 stacks) and some parts of the flooring made out of cobblestones. A series of buttresses support its perimeter walls. Also, the growth of vegetation flourished because of the natural composition of the building materials. Balete trees and bamboo grasses grow within the site. They contributed to the enhanced structural integrity of the dam. A layer of cobblestones and safety posts

Zapoted River above the dam.

The water level in the upper Zapote River was raised to three stories high by the dam, the same level as the fields. The dam also separates the freshwater above the dam coming from Almanza from the brackish water of the lower Zapote River. About 355 metres (1,165 ft) upstream from the dam is the confluence where the Molino River joins the Zapote River. The dam's construction enabled the irrigation and the rice farming of vast tracts of dry land in Las Piñas and Bacoor. Prinza Dam and its adjacent water distribution system was an outstanding feat of hydrological engineering at that time.[2]

Zapote River below the dam.


The Birth of Hacienda de San Nicolas (Saint Nicholas Estate)[edit]

The San Juan de Imus Hacienda [Saint John (the Baptist) Imus Estate] was purchased by Don Tomas de Andaya in 1685. The piece of land contiguous to Imus was then sold by Father Jose de Solis, a secular priest, to the Recollects in 1690. The third piece of land was handed down by Doña Hipolita de Zarate y Ozeguera in November 1666 to them, giving rise to Hacienda de San Nicolas.[3]

Father Fidel de Blas, author of oft-quoted Labor evangelica de los Padres Agustinos Recoletos en las Islas Filipinas [Evangelical Labor of the Augustinian Recollect Fathers in the Philippine Islands] confesses the dismal plight of the haciendas:

The estates (haciendas) of that period yielded very little, for they were still lands to be tilled and developed. And hardly was there any able workforce tapped for their cultivation. Since their produce was not of much import yet, all we could draw from the haciendas was improve what was available by constructing dams in river gorges as water depository together with huge water channels and irrigation canals for use during the dry season of the year thus increasing annual productivity.[3]

Construction of the irrigation dams[edit]

From 1780 to 1893, the hacienda administrators built forty-five irrigation dams with tunnels, waterways, and irrigation canals in order to channel available water sources to excellent use, that way securing rice paddies during extended drought periods. They appropriated considerable sums of money for breaking up untilled lands, putting up mangrove embankments, draining swamps, and building vital road arteries and streets. Also, a total of thirteen stone and brick bridges were constructed at the expense of the San Nicolas Estate.[3]

Saint Ezekiel Moreno[edit]

Bust of Saint Ezekiel Moreno

Father Ezekiel Moreno y Diaz (1848 - 1906) arrived in Manila on February 10, 1870 and given parochial assignments to several towns and provinces in the Philippines. He later served the parish of Las Piñas between June 1876 and June 1879. Between September 1882 and April 1885, he became the superior of Priory of San Juan Bautista in Imus and administrator of the Recollect estates (haciendas) encompassing the towns of Bacoor, Imus, and Dasmariñas. During his administration, he commenced the repair of Prinza Dam in Bacoor, one of the hacienda's most useful dams.

Repair works on Prinza Dam[edit]

One of the pressing problems that have occupied the administrator's attention was the Prinza Dam. Father Moreno redacted a letter urging the "need and great convenience of repairing the Prinza Dam" especially due to protracted drought periods. The 1885 drought moved the parish curate to request for the rehabilitation of the dam wall answer the need for food of many residents. It would be extremely beneficial for San Nicolas, he reasoned out, if the walls of the dam were raised higher. The proposed repair aimed to provide more water capacity to the Prinza Dam. On April 24, 1885, Provincial Definitorium approved the budget proposal of 3,926.00 pesos and the dam was reconstructed.[3]

Father Ezekiel Moreno, as an Augustinian Recollect whose mission is to serve and solidify his pastoral zeal for the benefit of the people in need. When the cholera plague ravaged the barrios of Mambog and Salinas in Bacoor, Cavite, several people of the Province were affected in the epidemic. Father Ezekiel gave the sacrament and anointed the 3,197 victims of the cholera. He was later beatified in 1975 and canonized as a saint in 1992.[4]

Present condition[edit]

Currently, the Prinza Dam serves as a footbridge for easy access between Las Piñas City and Bacoor, Cavite. It is no longer used for irrigation as the surrounding land around the dam are now residential areas.

Sagip Ilog[edit]

From 2002 to 2005, 9,070 residents from various communities along the river system in Las Pinas City, Paranaque City and Bacoor, Cavite were trained on ecological solid waste and river management. Some of them were designated river watch volunteers, grouped into 98 teams with 3,576 members. This undertaking has been the commitment of the Couples for Christ-Oikos Ministry volunteers who, since June 2003, have devoted every Saturday conducting values formation and solid waste management education for the Las Piñas residents. They were trained on ecological solid waste management as an important component of the program. Some of them became river watch volunteers.[5]

Rehabilitation and Restoration of Prinza[edit]

Proclaimed under SB Resolution No. 50

In commemoration of Saint Ezekiel Moreno's dedication and contribution to the people of Cavite and Las Piñas City the local government embarked on a joint project entitled "Rehabilitation and Restoration of Prinza", a beautification and preservation effort to develop their sections of the historic dam into parks. A layer of cobblestones were also added to the upper deck of the dam and safety posts on both sides were added as guide for the pedestrians.

Las Piñas River Station and Livelihood Center[edit]

Las Piñas River Station and Livelihood Center

In commemoration of the Prinza Dam as a historic testament to the engineering prowess of 18th and 19th century residents of Las Piñas, the Las Piñas River Station and Livelihood Center was inaugurated in July 28, 2006. It is located at BF Resort Village Barangay Talon Dos. It is a project of former Senator Manny Villar and Congresswoman Cynthia Villar; aiming to serve as a recreation area and tourist attraction.[2]

Saint Ezekiel Moreno y Diaz Park[edit]

The people of Bacoor, Cavite in their efforts to commemorate a significant historical site established the Saint Ezekiel Moreno y Diaz Park. The proclamation was approved under Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No. 50 Series of 2010 dated March 8, 2010 through the initiative of Mayor Strike B. Revilla, Vice Mayor Rosette M. Fernando, and the Sangguniang Bayan members.



  1. ^ "Molino Dam". Villar Foundation. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b "20-year old Villar Foundation paving the way out of poverty in Las Piñas City". Travel on a shoe string Philippines. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Romanillos, Emmanuel Luis (1993). Bishop Ezekiel Moreno: An Augustinian Recollect Saint Among Filipinos (1st ed.). Vicariate of the Philippines and China. pp. 155–156, 201. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ Crisanto, Joyce & De la Torre, Visitacion (2006). Las Piñas: A City with Heritage (1st ed.). Villar aFoundation. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  5. ^ "Las Pinas-Zapote River System Rehabilitation Program, Philippines" (PDF). Retrieved 24 May 2014.