Villalba, Puerto Rico
Municipio de Villalba
Town and Municipality
Walter Mck Jones School in Villalba
"Ciudad de los Avancinos", "Ciudad del Gandul", "Ciudad de los Lagos", "Ciudad del Cooperativismo"
|Anthem: "A las orillas del Río Jacaguas"|
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Villalba Municipality
|• Mayor||Luis Javier 'Javi' Hernández Ortiz (PPD)|
|• Senatorial dist.||6 - Guayama|
|• Total||37.69 sq mi (97.61 km2)|
|• Land||37 sq mi (96 km2)|
|• Water||0.62 sq mi (1.61 km2)|
|• Density||690/sq mi (270/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−4 (AST)|
Villalba (Spanish pronunciation: [biˈʎalβa]) (a shortening of Villa Alba) is a municipality of Puerto Rico located in the central region, northeast of Juana Díaz; south of Orocovis; and west of Coamo. Villalba is spread over 6 barrios and Villalba barrio-pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the Ponce Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Villalba was founded in 1917 by José Ramón Figueroa y Rivera and Walter McJones. Its current mayor is the Luis Javier Hernàndez. By 1918, there weren't any highways connecting Villalba to its neighboring towns but by 1927 there were.
The entire electrical system was destroyed. Villalba's emergency operations center and an assisted living center were among the many buildings destroyed in Villalba. "From Catastrophe to Hope" (De la catastrofe a la esperanza), a documentary describing the destruction of infrastructure in Villalba, and how volunteers, community members, the mayor, and all emergency service personnel worked to save people's lives, was published in 2019 by Noticias de Villalba, Villalba News. Bridges were destroyed and many areas where vital infrastructure was located were inaccessible. The geography of Villalba made restoring electricity and water services to Villalba extremely challenging. Chaplains, religious leaders of all denominations provided emotional support to all involved.
In 2018, Javier Hernández, the mayor discussed other options for electrical power, such as micro-grids, for Villalba, with the mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, who reminded him that recovery from such a powerful hurricane would take years. Architect Jonathan Marvel talked about his company's plans to build an off-the-grid, 41-unit building in Villalba on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria.
Villalba is located in the central region of Puerto Rico.
- Guayabal Lake
- Toa Vaca Lake
- Toro Negro Forest Reserve
Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Villalba is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a barrio referred to as "el pueblo".
Barrios (which are like minor civil divisions) in turn are further subdivided into smaller local populated place areas/units called sectores (sectors in English). The types of sectores may vary, from normally sector to urbanización to reparto to barriada to residencial, among others.
Of the 742 places on the list of Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico, the following barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods the following were in Villalba: Chino neighborhood, Cooperativa neighborhood, Hato Puerco Arriba, Apeaderos, Sector Cubones in Caonillas Arriba, Palmarejo in Villalba Arriba, Céspedes in Pino, Cerro Gordo and Sector El Semil in Villalba Arriba.
An Energy Consortium was signed in late February, 2019 by the mayors of Villalba, Orocovis, Morovis, Ciales and Barranquitas municipalities. The consortium is the first of its kind for the island. It is intended to have municipalities work together to safeguard and create resilient, and efficient energy networks, with backups for their communities.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
1930-1950 1960-2000 2010
Landmarks and places of interest
- Guayabal Lake
- La Corona Hill
- Toa Vaca Lake
- Toro Negro Forest Reserve
- Biblioteca Pública
- Centro de Bellas Artes Adrian Rosado
- Iglesia Católica Nuestra Señora del Carmen
- Coffee, Green Pigeon Peas.
- Manufacturing of aluminum packaging and electrical and electronic machinery, nutritional products, medical devices, and others.
Festivals and events
Villalba celebrates its patron saint festival in July. The Fiestas Patronales de Nuestra Sra. del Carmen is a religious and cultural celebration that generally features parades, games, artisans, amusement rides, regional food, and live entertainment.
Other festivals and events celebrated in Villalba include:
- Puerto Rico Marathon - July
- Areyto Festival - November
- Carlos Báez Marathon - December
- Festival del ñame y Carne Frita- November
In 2017, Villalba celebrated the 100th year of its founding.
All municipalities in Puerto Rico are administered by a mayor, elected every four years. Waldemar Rivera Torres (of the Popular Democratic Party) served as mayor since 2005 to 2012. The current mayor is Javier (Javi) Hernández who was elected in 2013.
Four horizontal, unequal stripes in width, that from top to bottom have the following order: green, white, green and yellow. In the immediate side to the flagstaff, in the superior stripe, appears, in white color, the star of the shield.
Coat of arms
This municipality has a coat of arms.
There are 23 bridges in Villalba.
- Villalba School District (Puerto Rico Department of Education)
- Puerto Rico Criminal Justice College- Villalba Campus (Puerto Rico Police Academy)
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