Unisan, Quezon

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Municipality of Unisan
Old Capital of Kalilayan Province
Map of Quezon with Unisan highlighted
Map of Quezon with Unisan highlighted
Unisan is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 13°50′N 121°59′E / 13.83°N 121.98°E / 13.83; 121.98Coordinates: 13°50′N 121°59′E / 13.83°N 121.98°E / 13.83; 121.98
Country Philippines
RegionCalabarzon (Region IV-A)
District3rd District
FoundedFebruary 18, 1876 [1]
Barangays36 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Bayan
 • MayorNonato E. Puache
 • Electorate15,787 voters (2016)
 • Total124.15 km2 (47.93 sq mi)
 (2015 census)[4]
 • Total26,884
 • Density220/km2 (560/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)42
Climate typeTropical rainforest climate
Income class4th municipal income class
Revenue (₱)79 million  (2016)
Native languagesTagalog

Unisan, officially the Municipality of Unisan, (Tagalog: Bayan ng Unisan), is a 4th class municipality in the province of Quezon, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 26,884 people.[4]


The name of Unisan may have been derived from the Spanish verb unir, meaning "unite". At that time inhabitants, which were composed of strangers from different parts of the island, were united and wanted to call the town Unisan, a corruption of the words union and unidos for the sake of euphony.[5]

There is another, more plausible version which related that the name was derived from the Latin words uni-sancti, meaning "one saint" or "in honor of a saint", possibly referring to Friar Pedro Bautista, once a missionary to Unisan when this town was still Kalilayan and later canonized saint following his martyrdom while a missionary in Japan.[5] Uni-Sancti was made Unisan for short and to suit the Visayan and Caviteño tongues.


Unisan is politically subdivided into 36 barangays. San Roque was formerly a sitio of barrio Tagumpay.[6]

  • Almacén
  • Balagtás
  • Balanacan
  • Bulo Ibabâ
  • Bulo Ilaya
  • Bonifacio
  • Burgos
  • Caigdál
  • General Luna
  • Kalilayan Ibabâ
  • Cabulihan Ibabâ
  • Mairok Ibaba
  • Kalilayan Ilaya
  • Cabulihan Ilaya
  • Mabini
  • Mairok Ilaya
  • Malvar
  • Maputat
  • Muliguin
  • Pagaguasan
  • Panaon Ibabâ
  • Panaon Ilaya
  • Pláridel
  • F. De Jesús (Poblacion)
  • R. Lapu-lapu (Poblacion)
  • Raja Solimán (Poblacion)
  • R. Magsaysay (Poblacion)
  • Poctol
  • Punta
  • Rizal Ibabâ
  • Rizal Ilaya
  • San Roque
  • Socorro
  • Tagumpay
  • Tubas
  • Tubigan

Town proper[edit]

The town center (poblacion) consists of 4 barangays, R. Soliman, Ramon Magsaysay, Lapu-lapu and F. de Jesus. The heart of the town is the Catholic Church, comprising several blocks. The Unisan Central Elementary School is on the southeastern side of the church, while the Government Center is located at the back of the school which consists of Municipal Hall, Municipal Library, Fire Station, Police Station, Comelec Building and the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) building. Remedios Etorma Suarez Memorial Auditorium (RESMA), a well used spot for programs and events is on the same government center, while just across the auditorium is the Unisan National High School. The Tamesis Park, named after a prominent Unisanin, Florencio Tamesis, the first Filipino director of the Bureau of Forestry and considered by experts as the father of Philippine Forestry, is likewise located at the center of the town, just across the Church Covered Court. The old municipal building, now a proud heritage building of Unisan, is on the southwest corner of the poblacion, near the Kalilayan River.


Unisan, originally called Kalilayan, is perhaps one of the oldest towns in the Philippines. As early as 1521, the town of Kalilayan was founded by Malayan settlers. All other towns in the country were established not earlier than 1565, when Spain formally occupied the Philippines as a colony. During the latter part of the 19th century, traditions said that the real founder of the town was a Malayan queen called of Ladya. Hence her title was "Queen of Kalilayan".[citation needed]

It is believed that the founding occurred in the Middle Ages when immigration of the Malayans to this country was still predominant. That was before the advent of Islam in the East Indies. This proven by the fact that no traces of Mohamed’s Creed were found in that part of the Philippines when the Europeans arrived.

The name Kalilayan derived from the Tagalog root word lilay, referring to a kind of palm similar to buri with the smaller leaves in the size of anahaw leaves that grew once in abundance.

In February 1876, Kalilayan was separated from Pitogo and became an independent municipality. At the same time, it was renamed to Unisan which was derived from the Latin word uni-sancti, meaning "holy saint".[5][7]


Population census of Unisan
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 2,692—    
1918 5,431+4.79%
1939 11,464+3.62%
1948 9,290−2.31%
1960 12,285+2.36%
1970 15,550+2.38%
1975 17,318+2.18%
1980 18,230+1.03%
1990 19,851+0.86%
1995 21,509+1.51%
2000 21,252−0.26%
2007 23,911+1.64%
2010 25,186+1.91%
2015 26,884+1.25%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[4][8][9][10]


The dominant religion in Unisan is Roman Catholic. Other religions present are:

  • Iglesia Ni Cristo
  • United Church of Christ in the Philippines
  • Born Again

Saint Peter the Apostle Parish[edit]

  • Parish Priest: Rev. Fr. Jose I. Cantos II


The foundation of Calilaya, the capital of the old province of Calilaya, by Friar de Plasencia and Friar de Oropesa started in 1578. The first church was made of bamboo and nipa. In 1589, Friar Pedro Bautista obtained the permission to rebuild it with wood. Friar Alonso Bañon administered Calilaya after 1595. Friar Jode de la Concepcion was Guardian of the convent in 1597. Friar Pedro de Alcazar administered the pueblo in 6100 and 601. Friar Juan Manso was the religious minister in 1602. Friar Diego de la Magdalena, a member of the 6th Mission that arrived in the Philippines in 1594, also administered Calilaya. In 1605, Calilaya was ravaged by the Moros. Of the 9,000 residents, barely 1,000 survived the attack. The survivors took refuge near the Pasabango River, where the missionaries, among whom was Friar Pedro de san Buenaventura, built a church, a convent and school buildings with bamboo and nipa. Friar Juan de Mérida administered Pasabango in 1609. In 1913, because of the crocodiles, the people relocated to the sitio of Cabuyao, where Friar de Mérida built a church and a convent with wood and school buildings with bamboo and nipa. The people lived peacefully in Cabuyao until 1635, when the Moro attacked again. Some 800 survivors took refuge in the sitios of Atimonan and Minanucan (now barrion Talaba in Atimonan). Hence, for many years the town of Calilaya was totally abandoned. From 1620 onwards, a certain Gregorio Vicente united various families from Cabuyao with wandering descendants of those who had lived in Calilaya and Pasabango, and he and all these people fixed there residence in the site of old Calilaya---the delta east of the Calilaya River---without recognizing any civil or religious authority. They lived there until 1637 when the Government saw the need to burn the town. Finally in 1874 or 1875, the town was established in the outskirts of the old Calilaya. During its early years, Unisan was administered by Fr. Marcos Tolentino, a secular priest, who In 1945, during the World War II, the church was partially destroyed; it was reconstructed by the Philippine Historical Commission in 1966.

Saint Roche Parish (Brgy. Panaon, Unisan, Quezon)[edit]

  • Parish Priest - Rev. Fr. Dennis Vargas


Established in 1962 by Father Ruben Profugo (later Bishop of the Diocese of Lucena), the Parokya ni San Roque was formerly a small church attached to the Parish of St Peter in the town proper and served by the priest/chaplains of the Holy Child Jesus Institute (Dominican Academy). The parish comprises the barangays of Ibabang Bulo, Ilayang Bulo, Ibabang Mairok, Ilayang Mairok, Almacen, Bonifacio, Burgos, Ilayang Panaon, Ibabang Panaon, Tubigan, Plaridel, Ibabang Rizal, Ilayang Rizal, Socorro and Poctol. Most of the people are farmers. The church itself stands in the midst of rice fields. The priests who served Panaon either as parish priest or administrator include Fr. Antonio Salvo, Fr. Froilan Zalameda, Fr. Jose Dural, Fr. Dario Endiape, Fr. Quirino Macatangay, Fr. Jose Erlito Ebron, Fr. Alvin Cabungcal, Fr. Edwin Panergo,Fr. Isagani Reyes, Fr. Rolando Grecia, and Fr. Benjamin Rhoda. Major Renovation of the church was done during the term of Fr. Roda.

Saint Peter the Apostle Parish and Saint Roche Parish are members of Roman Catholic Diocese of Lucena.


The municipality of Unisan is located on the central part of Quezon Province. It is bounded on the Northern part of Atimonan, Quezon, on the south by the Tayabas Bay, on the western part by Agdangan and on the east by Gumaca and Pitogo. East of provincial Capital, the city of Lucena. It is accessible by land via Agdangan and Atimonan from Lucena City.


The economy of Unisan is sustained by fishing and agriculture.



  • Almacen Elementary School
  • Beredo Elementary School
  • Bienvinido S. Lat Elementary School
  • Bonifacio Elementary School
  • Cabulihan Elementary School
  • Caigdal Elementary School
  • Dominican Academy (Elementary Department)
  • Kalilayan Elementary School
  • Muliguin Elementary School
  • Mabini Elementary School
  • Panaon Elementary School
  • Poctol Elementary School
  • Punta Elementary School
  • Santayana Elementary School
  • San Roque Elementary School
  • Unisan Central Elementary School


  • Caigdal National High School
  • Dominican Academy, formerly Holy Child Jesus Institute
  • Leonarda Deveza Vera Cruz National High School, formerly Panaon National High School and Panaon Barangay High School
  • Unisan National High School, formerly Unisan Municipal High School


  • Politechnic University of the Philippines (Unisan Campus)

Notable persons[edit]

  • San Pedro Bautista - a missionary have been to Calilaya and called the town Uni-Sancti;
  • Florencio Tamesis - First Filipino Director of the Bureau of Forestry (predecessor of the DENR), 2nd Dean and the first Filipino to become the dean of the UPLB School of Forestry and Natural Resources
  • Dr. Jesus V. Tamesis - one of the country's premiere ophthalmologist, First Filipino President of the World Medical Association, started the Maria project (predecessor of Philippine Medical Care Commission or MEDICARE wherein he is commissioner), Presidential Medal of Honor recipient during the time of President Carlos P. Garcia, established the Unisan Medicare Hospital, one of the first such hospitals in the Philippines
  • Dr. Benjamin V. Tamesis - former Director of the National Orthopedic Hospital
  • Guillermo Merano - strongest, bravest, impartial, feared and respected Chief of Police in the whole history of Unisan
  • Bienvenido C. Vera Cruz - retired Justice of the Sandiganbayan
  • Gerardo M. Maxino - First Municipal Mayor
  • Vicente Constantino - former Governor of Quezon
  • Gregorio Santayana - former Governor of Quezon
  • Danilo E. Suarez - 3rd District Representative to the Philippine Congress, 1992-2001, 2004-2013, 2016 to present
  • Aleta C. Suarez - 3rd District Representative to the Philippine Congress, 2001-2004, 2013-2016
  • David "Jay-jay" Suarez - Provincial Governor of Quezon, 2010 to present
  • Louie Alas - is a multi-titled Filipino basketball coach. He is the former head coach of the Letran Knights in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, former head coach of the Manila Metrostars in the now defunct Metropolitan Basketball League, former head coach of two other teams in the PBA and at present, assistant coach of the Alaska team, also in the PBA

Local government[edit]


List of former municipal mayors from 1941 onwards:

  • Gerardo M. Maxino 1941–1945
  • Pedro Constantino, Jr (Appointed) 1945–1946
  • Romualdo Vargas 1946–1955
  • Joaquin M. Carillo 1955–1967
  • Ramoncito C. Vera Cruz 1968–1972
  • Arturo I. Constantino, Sr. 1972–1980; Re-elected in 1980 but died a few days after assuming office
  • Ramoncito C. Vera Cruz (Elected Vice Mayor, became Mayor when Mayor Arturo Constantino died in March, 1980) 1980–1986
  • Joselito V. Tolentino (OIC) 1986–1987; Elected 1988–1992
  • Nonato E. Puache 1992–2001
  • Cesar P. Alpay 2001–2004
  • Nonato E. Puache 2004–2007
  • Cesar P. Alpay 2007–2010
  • Nonato E. Puache 2010–present

Appointed OIC:

  • Rodolfo B. Matociños 12-01-1987 to 01-01-1988
  • Renato V. Tolentino 01-01-1988 to 02-03-1988

Prominent Mayors in the pre-war era include, among others: Atty. Francisco Deveza De Jesus (whom Bgy. F. De Jesus was named after), Dr. Teodorico V. Valerio, Dionisio V. Valerio, and Eulogio Fernandez

Several Mayors in the same era were surnamed Constantino and Isaac, two prominent names in the municipality

Vice Mayors[edit]

Municipal vice mayors: 1968 onwards

  • Jorge B. Vargas - 1968–1972
  • Jose Redublo - 1972-1976
  • Ramoncito C. Vera Cruz - 1976-1980
  • Paulina E. Puache - 1980–1986
  • (OIC) Editha M. Valerio 1986–1988
  • Nonato E. Puache 1988–1992
  • Arturo C. Constantino, Jr. 1992–1995
  • Cesar P. Alpay 1995-2001
  • Arturo C. Constantino, Jr. 2001–2004
  • Joselito V. Tolentino 2004–2007
  • Arturo C. Constantino, Jr 2007–2010
  • Ferdinand Adulta 2010–2016
  • Danilo Suarez, Jr. 2016–present

Chief of Police[edit]

Congressional District[edit]

Unisan belongs to the 3rd District of Quezon province. The said congressional district also includes Agdangan, Buenavista, Catanauan, General Luna, Macalelon, Mulanay, Padre Burgos, Pitogo, San Andres, San Francisco and the San Narciso.

Events and festival[edit]

  • Sto. Niño Festival - (3rd Sunday of January)
  • Cocolilay Festival - February 18
  • Dinilawang Manok Festival - February 18
  • Unisan Day - February 18
  • Holy Week-The Passion of Christ/Senakulo - Lenten season
  • Flores De Mayo - (Last Sunday of May)
  • Flores De Maria/Tapusan - (Last Day of May)
  • Feast of Saint Peter the Apostle (Town Fiesta) - June 29
  • Unisan Family Day - November 30


CocoLilay Festival When the month of February comes, the people of Unisan, Quezon prepare for the annual celebration of CocoLilay Festival, wherein the coconut tree and the Lilay Tree is the main attraction of the festivities. The festival is highlighted by a street dancing competition participated by the residents of different barangays, as well as by elementary and high school students.

In the later part of 2011, the Dinilawang Manok Festival was held in the town. However, it was replaced again by CocoLilay Festival in the succeeding years to give importance to the town's history.

Tourism potential and destinations[edit]

  • Old Municipal Hall
  • Liwasang Kagitingan
  • Kalilayan Bridge
  • Malatandang Beach Resort
  • Adela's Beach House
  • Presca Beach Resort
  • Bonifacio Cave
  • Mag-asawang Bato Beaches
  • Sangat Beach Resort
  • Casa Carrillo
  • Casa De Jesus
  • Casa Deveza
  • Casa Tolentino
  • Vargas' Masion
  • Tulay Buwaya
  • Tulay Butiki
  • Unisan's Port
  • St. Peter the Apostle Parish
  • St. Roche Parish


  1. ^ https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=586948504724743&id=100002287971332
  2. ^ "Municipality". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Province: Quezon". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Census of Population (2015). "Region IV-A (Calabarzon)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "Municipality of Unisan". Quezon Province. Retrieved 2012-10-10.
  6. ^ "An Act Creating the Barrio of San Roque in the Municipality of Unisan, Province of Quezon". LawPH.com. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  7. ^ Philippine Daily Inquirer
  8. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region IV-A (Calabarzon)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  9. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Region IV-A (Calabarzon)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. NSO.
  10. ^ "Province of Quezon". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016.