Historical Timeline

Santa Rosa’s historical past can be traced back to 1571.  The Spanish Conquistador Juan de Salcedo, while exploring the Laguna Lake Region, discovered Biñan which was hence annexed as a barrio to the town of Tabuco (now the town of Cabuyao).  During that time, Santa Rosa was part of Biñan and was called Barrio Bukol.  Later in 1688, Biñan together with Barrio Bukol separated from Cabuyao.  Barrio Bukol, in turn, was politically emancipated in January 18, 1792 as the municipality of Santa Rosa. The town was named after Saint Rose of Lima of Peru under whose protection and patronage it was consecrated to. This was validated by numerous material and spiritual blessings bestowed on the Town’s people for the last 207 years.

During the revolutionary period, Sta. Rosa was instrumental in the proclamation of Philippine Independence from Spain when it signed the Act of Independence on June 12, 1898. Later on, the town’s local revolutionaries fought alongside the forces of General PiodelPilar during the short lived Filipino-American War.  After being briefly occupied by the Japanese during World War II, Santa Rosa was liberated by members of the Filipino guerilla resistance movement on February 5, 1945. During the post war era until the 1970’s, the people of the municipality were still largely dependent on basic agriculture and family-owned enterprises for livelihood. The influence of industrialization slowly took shape in the 1980’s with the entry of local and foreign investors who were instrumental in the rapid economic and social transformation of the town. 

From a fourth class municipality with an average income of P4 million in 1986, Santa Rosa became a first class town when its income reached P54.2 million in 1993. In 1998, the municipality’s annual revenue further increased due to intensified tax collection. Then became a City of Santa Rosa on the 10th of July 2004 (plebiscite conducted) by virtue of Republic Act No. 9264 dated March 10, 2005. The City of Santa Rosa enjoys the status of a major residential, commercial and industrial centre in the South Luzon Region, the most dynamic sub-region in the country today.

Present day historical areas of interest in Santa Rosa are the following: (i) Baroque style Roman Catholic Church built by the Spanish Dominican Order, circa 1792; (ii) Arch de Triumph style structure, circa 1931; (iii) Spanish style houses, circa 1800s; Cuartel de Santo Domingo, mini Spanish bastion, circa 1872; and City Museum, circa 1900. 

Cuartel de Santo Domingo

Cuartel de Santo Domingo, also known as Fort Sto. Domingo and Intramuros of Sta. Rosa, is an old two-storey Spanish barracks building in Santa Rosa, Laguna in the Philippines. It is currently used as the headquarters of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police.


A brief historical perspective of Santa Rosa City is provided in order to trace the whole spectrum of its development that in turn can serve as a useful guide in the current planning exercise being conducted for the city. The temporal narrative will provide a picture of the direction being experienced by the city that will inform planners what interventions need to be taken that will lead the city towards a more sustainable form of development. In this narrative, the city’s history is traced through the following periods of its existence: From Barrio Bukol, Revolutionary Period, American Period, Sakdalista Revolt Period, Japanese Period and Post-War Period. A detailed list of local chief executives and periods served is provided at the end of this chapter.

From Barrio Bukol

When the Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo, grandson of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, explored the wide span of the Laguna Lake during the early period, he discovered the settlements of native people along the coastal areas – in particular the area of “Tabuco”, that covered what are now the nearby towns of Cabuyao and Biñan. Santa Rosa was then a territorial extension of Biñan called Barrio Bukol – an area presumably referring to the sloping and elevated western section of the town.

The land is part of the Hacienda Biñan, the center of vast tracks of land in Laguna owned by the Dominicans, the famed Order of Preachers (OP), as early as 1644. According to stories, a kapilya or chapel was erected by the Dominicans friars in 1757. During the period also, the Historical Cuartel de Santo Domingo, a bastion of the Spanish Civil Guards, was established near the boundary with Silang Cavite to guard and protect the lowland residents from the tulisanes or bandits that roam and cross from the province of Cavite to the province of Laguna. During the Spanish revolution, reinforcements against Philippine revolutionaries were stationed in this eight-hectare headquarters.

Barrio Bukol was already an established settlement in Biñan spread over various sitios such as Makinang Apoy, Tagapo, Pulong Santa Cruz, Aplaya and Caingin, among others. Similar to the “encomienda system” of the Spaniards, a hacienda situated in the Poblacion area was established. A native woman of the barrio named Doña Juana Galintang owned several hectares of grassland and her status in the community was duly recognized by naming the plaza after her.Barrio Bukol was already an established settlement in Biñan spread over various sitios such as Makinang Apoy, Tagapo, Pulong Santa Cruz, Aplaya and Caingin, among others. Similar to the “encomienda system” of the Spaniards, a hacienda situated in the Poblacion area was established. A native woman of the barrio named Doña Juana Galintang owned several hectares of grassland and her status in the community was duly recognized by naming the plaza after her.


Santa Rosa Arch

The Santa Rosa Arch,also known as the Bantayang Bato is a monument in the city of Santa Rosa in Laguna, Philippines. The original structure was built between 1859 and 1860 and was patterned after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It was commissioned to be built by Arcadio Arambulo. It was built as a replacement to an old guard tower which was used by the Spanish colonial authorities to guard the city from bandits. The current structure was erected in 1925 during the tenure of Municipal President Jose Zavalla. Local sculptor David Diaz was commissioned to renovate the arch in 1931. Since the 1931 renovation, the arch exhibits Art Deco characteristics.

Historical Eras

With the start of the Filipino Revolution in 1896 from Cavite that spread like wildfire to Laguna, Bulacan and other neighboring provinces, the town people found themselves divided in the fight for national independence against the Spanish colonial masters. The town “loyalists” joined the Spanish authorities in defending the Royal Crown and preventing the rapid spread of the revolutionary forces that were trying to encircle the old City of Manila. The Spanish army under the command of Captain Heneral Blanco, in a desperate attempt, established a stronghold the Calamba-Tanauan-Banadero defense line and soon infantry as well as the cazadores or chasseurs sent from Spain under General Rios and Aguirre also took part in the offensive.

The area around the famous Cuartel de Santo Domingo was attacked on October 27, 1896 by the Filipino revolutionaries. The fort was defended by the Guardia Civil with the assistance of volunteer citizens from Santa Rosa who for their heroic efforts were given rewards and citations such as land grants and tax privileges by the Spanish authorities.

With General Emilio Aguinaldo gaining the upper hand in the revolution, a populist leader named Tinyente Basilio “Ilyong” Gonzales, carried the local fight in Santa Rosa by organizing the original Magdalo faction and by appointing himself president. In recognition of this role in the town’s history, a statue of him has been erected outside the city’s Gusaling Batasan. When the Philippine Independence was proclaimed in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898, the municipal government sent Francisco Arambulo and other local prominent citizens to sign the documents of declaration.

Eventually, war broke out again with the Americans on February 1899 such that many local citizens like David Zavalla, Felix Reyes, and Delfin Vallejo fought alongside the forces of General Pio del Pilar. With the gradual fall of Filipino forces in major battles, the town of Santa Rosa was later occupied by the American forces led by Colonel Robert Bullard on January 1900.

During the Spanish period, the so-called gobernadillos were Jose Dizon, Ignacio Balberino, Sebastian Arambulo, Vicente Nepomuceno, Policarpio Juarique, Eugenio Francisco, Domingo Arambulo, Clemete Añonuevo, Pedro Vallejo, Mariano Gonzales, Angel Zavalla, and Francisco Arambulo. During the American regime, so- called presidents were Pedro Leano, Pablo Manguerra, Celerino Tiongco, Francisco Arambulo, and many others.

With the establishment of the Insular Government of the Americans, all friar lands in the Philippines were purchased for distribution to the local people and paid on installment basis. In Santa Rosa, the Dominican friar lands were bought for 14.4 million pesos on July 4, 1901. The period of reconstruction was initiated by the civil government which allocated 2 million pesos for the construction of roads, bridges and school buildings in Santa Rosa. At the same time, German Arambulo, a rich philanthropist with a great vision for the town, donated his family- owned land estates as sites for the present-day public market, playground, and elementary school building. The famous Santa Rosa Arch, a small replica of the Arch of Triumph in Paris, France was also built in 1931. In a sense, the modern-day physical planning and development of the municipality started during this early period.

The town was no exception to agrarian unrest that dominated the Philippine political scene of the early 1930s. The issues and problems related to abuses by landowners dubbed as “caciquism” culminated in a bloody revolt by farmers of Santa Rosa and Cabuyao on May 3, 1935. About 30 people, most of them occupying the Cabuyao Parish Church patio, died from the Springfield rifles of the government constabulary. Many rebels were arrested, including their woman leader, Henerala Salud Algabre, and were put to prison charged with rebellion. It did not take long when President Manuel L. Quezon of the Commonwealth Government granted them political amnesty through the intercession of Governor Juan Cailles of Laguna.

Life went on as usual in Santa Rosa until the Second World War which broke out in 1941. What was conspicuous before the war was the presence of Japanese nationals such as “Meda” and “Mekawa” who were seen selling “kending happon”. They were later seen dressed in army uniform when the invading Japanese forces came in. Tragic incidents marked the Japanese occupation of the town. Suspected local guerillas identified by the treacherous local makapili spies in hooded bayong were arrested, tortured and just disappeared.

The hacienda was converted into a garrison by the Japanese Army. Some local residents were caught in the crossfire between the “tora-tora” planes and American planes which were engaged in dogfights. The belfry of the parish church was heavily damaged during these clashes.

The town plaza later became the site for executing makapilis by the local guerillas. Fearful for their lives, the Japanese forces, together with their local cohorts, fled towards the eastern side of the lake known as the “darangan” and their fate was never known again. When the American forces returned on February 5, 1945 together with their Filipino allies, some Japanese collaborators were imprisoned at the “Kapitolyo” in Santa Cruz, Laguna.


During the post-war era until the 1970s, the town people were largely dependent on basic agriculture and family-owned enterprises for livelihood. Aside from farming, residents were also engaged in fishing, livestock raising, and small backyard gardening, However, progress and development came to the town of Santa Rosa at a very fast pace several decades after the liberation period. From a sleepy agricultural community regarded as a “bedroom area” of Metro Manila, it was transformed into a boomtown of close to 300,000 people and the center of business, commerce, and industry not only in Laguna but also the whole of CALABARZON sub-regionthe fastest growth center of the country. CALABARZON was formed by virtue of Executive Order No. 103 which was issued in 2002 for the purpose of breaking up the large Region IV into two regional planning areas and assigning development roles for each area. CALABARZON was assigned the role of a growth corridor area to which Santa Rosa belongs. The corridor is described as a rapidly urbanizing and industrializing area. Due to its proximity to Metro Manila, a high level of urbanization has taken place over the years in the region, with Laguna and Cavite particularly becoming sites of manufacturing and high-technology industries.

The influence of industrialization slowly took shape in Santa Rosa in the 1980s with the entry of local and foreign investors who were instrumental in the fast-paced economic and social transformation of the town and the province. The foreign multinational companies were particularly attracted by cheap labor and government incentives in the PEZA-registered economic zones and industrial estates. The quiet town of Laguna Province actually started its progress initially from the establishment of Filsyn, CIGI and a couple of small multi-national companies there when the government Board Of Investments (BOI) provided incentives to companies located at not less than 40 km. away from Metro Manila.

With the timely opening of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) in the 1980s, many private business enterprises, big and small, started to come in, particularly the Coca-Cola Bottling Company Plantthe biggest in Southeast Asia – and the Ayala- owned Laguna Technopark Inc. (LTI) in joint venture with Japanese companies that opened its more than 300 hectares world-class industrial estate to locator companies known in the global business, namely: National Panasonic, Fujitsu Ten, Emerson, Honda Cars Philippines, Isuzu and Lamcor, among others. Later on, economic zones followed suit, particularly the Greenfield Business Park that hosts the multi-million dollar manufacturing plant of the famous Ford Motor Company, the Lakeside Eco-zone Industrial Technology Park, and Toyota Sta. Rosa Special Economic Zone.

The town so to speak is world-class with the presence of multinational companies in its premier industrial estates. It is regarded as the Automotive Capital of the Philippines because of the active presence and operation of Toyota Motor Philippines, Nissan Motor Philippines, Honda Cars Philippines, Star Motors, Columbian Motors, Ford Motors and Mitsubishi Motors, among others. The Enchanted Kingdom – the only world-class theme park in the country – is located in Santa Rosa City as well as the Santa Elena Golf Club, a premier golf course. There are many first-class housing projects offering accommodation for the middle and upper-middle-class population. Recently, the opening of another Ayala Corporation signature project, the NUVALI, makes Santa Rosa City another pride to the country. Nuvali Evo-living is the largest self- sustainable eco-friendly community which also houses two multinational ICT-BPO Companies – Convergys and IBM. The above economic developments have allowed Santa Rosa City to be recognized by the Department of Science and Technology as a “Smart City” and to be popularly dubbed the “Investment Capital of Southern Luzon.” Also, because of the above developments, Santa Rosa rose to become a first-class municipality in 1993 from its fourth-class status in 1986. Later, through Republic Act No. 9264 signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Santa Rosa became a component city of the province on July 10, 2004.

Heritage Site

Historical Landmarks

Cuartel de Santo Domingo played a very crucial role in massive Spanish military offensive that overrun the rebellious province of Cavite during the summer months of February-May 1897, The armed engagement led to the defeat of the ragtag Filipino forces under Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.

The National Historical Institute (NH I) dedared the site a National Historical Landmark on July 21. 2005 and the National Histonca’ Marker was unveiled on September 20. 2015 part of the Naional History Week.

The church of Santa Rosa Laguna was built sometime in 1796, and its first curo paracco or parish priest was Padre Francisco Favier. The church, which was built during the Hispanic era, is made of adobe, bricks and stone. And just like the typical church built during the colonial era, The Santa Rosa de Lima church sits right in front of a large plaza. One of the highlights of this church is ist hexagonal-shaped belfry with a globe on top of it. Other important details are its doors with its intricate carvings.

Construction of the Santa Rosa de Lima Parish Church begun in 1796. The citizenry helped in the procurement of materials. They supplied albumin (egg white) which when mixed with lime and mortar served as cement that cohered the adobe stones firmly. After 16 years, the church was completed. The Zavalla Manuscripts disclosed that the church was blessed on August 4, 1812 and the first holy mass with homily was celebrated on August 30, 1812.

Gusaling Museo (primarily a “Bahay-Pamahalaan”) is a two-story building which was built in 1828 during the Spanish period as government building under the reign of Hon. Don Bernardo Zavalla, refitted in 1954, became Museum on January 17, 2006 (soft opening), the old government building of Santa Rosa was redesignated as the “City of Sa nta Rosa Museum” a nd inaugurated on August 23, 2006.

It is in the city proper where the tallest pylon in the Philippines (behind the statue of Dr. Jose Rizal), with a length of 18.3 meters off the ground, is located.

The famous landmark of the city, The original Bantayang Bato that serves as a lookout was built in 1792 near the Santa Rosa River and refitted in 1925 was dismantled to give way to a motorized near the Market which is patterned after the Arc De Triomphe in Champs Elysees in Paris, France.




Gusaling Museo



Local Chief Executive

Local Town Heroes

With due recognition and gratitude, and to arouse the spirit of patriotism amongst our younger generation, the Sangguniang Bayan of 1998 issued the following Ordinance declaring these gallant breed of Santa Rosa Town Heroes :

Basilio Baroma S. Gonzales

Feliciano Arambulo Gomez

Kautusang Bayan Blg. 661-’98

Celerino Castillo Tiongco

The Town / City Executives

Period Town Executive
Danilo Ramon S. Fernandez
Arlene B. Arcillas
Jose B. Catindig Jr.
1998-2005 May 10
Leon Catindig Arcillas
Roberto delos Reyes Gonzales
1987-1988 February 2
Leo Tiongco Bustamante
1987 December 3
Zosimo Belsa Cartaño
Cesar Entena Nepomuceno
Angel Zavalla Tiongco
Gervacio Almira de Guzman
Felimon delos Trinos de Guzman
Francisco Gomez Arambulo Jr.
1945 March 7
Jose Alumno Alinsod
1944-1945 March 6
Angel Z. Tiongco
Eduardo de Leon Marcelo
1943-1943 December
Valentin Regalado delos Reyes
1942-1943 August
Jose Alumno Alinsod
1942 January - 1945 March 6
Japanese Occupation

Mayors were appointed in acting capacity,
there were no Vice Mayors and Councilors
Valentin Regalado delos Reyes
Celso Gonzaga Carteciano
Hermenegildo Regalado delos Reyes
Benito Lijauco delos Reyes
Felixberto Castro Tiongco
Aquilino Carballo
Jose Vallejo Zavalla
Lorenzo Cartagena Tatlonghari
Honorio Tiongco
Feliciano Arambulo Gomez
Celerino Castillo Tiongco.
Pablo Monsod Manguerra Sr.
Pedro Teaño Perlas
Basilio B. Gonzales
Francisco Arambulo
Arcadio Arambulo



1859 - 1860


1890 - 1894


1899 - 1900


1900 - 1901


1902 - 1904


1905 - 1907


1910 - 1911


1911 - 1921


1916 - 1922


1922 - 1925


1926 - 1928


1928 - 1931


1931 - 1937


1938 - 1940


1941 - 1942


1942 - 1943; 1945




1946 - 1947


1947 - 1951


1952 - 1959


1940 - 1945; 1960 - 1978


1978 - 1987


1987 - 1987


1941 - 1942


1988 - 1998


1998 - 2005


2005 - 2007
Contact Us

J.P Rizal BLVD. Brgy. Malusak
City of Santa Rosa Laguna , Philippines 4026 
Local Number(049)530-0015(LOCAL 0)
City of Santa Rosa Laguna, Manila Line
(02) 8519-4024